19 October 1945
Norfolk, Virginia, United States
1 May 1992 (aged 46)
Sharon Redd (October 19, 1945 - May 1, 1992)
Vocalist Sharon Redd had an extensive entertainment pedigree. Her father worked at King Records, her stepfather played in Benny Goodman's band, her brother was a writer/producer for Kool & the Gang and BMP, and her sister (Pennye Ford) is also a professional singer.
Sharon took classical voice lessons as a child in Norfolk, Virginia, and later had the lead role in the Australian version of "Hair" as well as her own television special. Sharon went to London in the mid-'70s while appearing in an American production of "The Wedding Of Iphigenia." After returning to America, she got widespread recognition for being a "Shaffer Beer Girl" and used the exposure to land a job as a background vocalist for Bette Midler.
Once she became one of Bette's infamous "Harlettes" her career took off. Spending several years on the road with Bette Midler she can be seen (and heard) on "Live At Last" and "Divine Madness" among others. "The Harlettes" became so popular on Bette's tours that they eventually recorded their own album for Columbia Records which spawned the 12" single "Can't Dance (Dance, Dance, Dance)," a minor club hit.
She also did background vocals on Norman Connors' "You Are My Starship." Her most famous recording prior to her solo releases in the 1980's was a non-credited lead vocal on the club smash "Love Insurance" by Front Page in 1979.
Based on the strength of that single she was offered a contract with the small Prelude Records label. Her debut release "Sharon Redd" in 1980 spawned the huge club hit "Can You Handle It."
Her 1982 sophmore release featured the even bigger hits "Never Give You Up," "Beat The Street," and thanks to a Hot Tracks remix "In The Name Of Love." "Redd Hot" produced by Eric Matthews and Willie Payne remains her biggest selling album to date.
Her third and final release, 1983's "Love How You Feel," once again missed the radio mark but shot up the club charts. 12" singles of the title track and "You're A Winner" once again became instant club classics. Then as musical club tastes shifted in the mid-80's she dropped from sight. A 1989 "Best Of" was thrown together to capture additional sales but her glory days were essentially over. She returned in 1991 with a new single, "All The Way To Love," but this was to be her last, with the exception of reissued remixes of her earlier hits, most notably DNA's reworking of "Can You Handle It" which charted shortly before her death in 1992.
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