b. Brenda Holloway Davis, 21st June 1946, Atascadero, California, U.S.A.
Brenda Holloway is a singer and songwriter, signed, initially, to the Motown Records imprint in the early 1960's.
Brenda's sister is the singer Patrice Holloway.
She was the oldest of three siblings, whose parents are Wade and Johnnie Mae (Fossett) Holloway.
Born in 1946 in California, Brenda and her family relocated to Los Angeles when she was two years old.
In Los Angeles, Brenda began singing in her church choir and took up playing the violin.
Patrice was born when Brenda was five, and by the time Brenda had reached 14 years of age, Brenda and Patrice began singing backup vocals for various R&B acts in L.A., including an early version of the group the Whispers.
hey fool b/w echo / i'll give my life b/w more echo - 1962
In 1962, Brenda recorded her first single, entitled 'Hey Fool' b/w 'Echo'.
When she was 16, she first recorded the song 'Every Little Bit Hurts' b/w 'I'll Give My Life' for the Del-Fi label.
In 1963, a chance meeting with Berry Gordy (at a DJ convention), Brenda performed the Mary Well's song 'You Beat Me To The Punch', which led to Berry signing Brenda, when she was 17, impressed by the power of her voice.
After signing to the imprint, Brenda declined an offer to relocate to Detroit, remaining in L.A.
it's you b/w unless i have you - 1963 / you've made me so very happy b/w i've got to find it - 1967
She recorded her earlier sides in Los Angeles across that period, sides being produced by Hal Davis (whom Brenda had duetted with in 1963 at the Minasa and Snap labels).
Throughout 1963, Brenda recorded with Hal, along with the artists Jess Harris, The Soul-Mates, Bonnie & Clyde and the Sisters.
Brenda's Motown debut was a second recording of 'Every Little Bit Hurts' b/w 'Land Of A Thousand Boys', which, as was Motown's format at the time, a song recorded by several of the label's acts.
Brenda's proved to be the version of choice.
The song was released in 1964, three months before Brenda's eighteenth birthday.
'Every Little Bit Hurts' reached number thirteen on the Billboard Hot 100, and led to her recruitment to Motown's Motortown Revue.
every little hurts - 1964 / hurtin' and cryin' - 1967 (unreleased) / the artistry of brenda holloway - 1968 / brand new! - 1980
1964 saw the release of Brenda's debut album for Motown, a set named after the hit single.
'I'll Always Love You' b/w 'Sad Song' was released as a single from the album.
Mary Wells, at this time, departed Motown, leaving Brenda becoming showcased as Motown's major female solo performer.
Some of the sides, set aside for Mary, were handed over to Brenda, one of which became a top 40 single in 1965, entitled 'When I'm Gone' b/w 'I've Been Good To You' (penned by Smokey Robinson).
Recorded in Detroit, 'When I'm Gone' reached number twenty-five on the Hot 100 and number thirteen on the R&B chart.
when i'm gone b/w i've been good to you / operator b/w i'll be available - 1965
Brenda then released the hugely popular 'Operator' b/w 'I'll Be Available', a song originally recorded by Mary Wells.
She continued to tour with the Motortown Revue, opening at The Beatles' U.S. tour in 1965, and at the group's Shea Stadium show.
Her live performances led to her becoming an in-demand televsion celebrity.
Brenda was one of the few acts to write her own songs at Motown.
Throughout the mid Sixties she recorded several songs in both Los Angeles and Detroit, and in 1965, she had a small hit with the Berry Gordy-penned song 'You Can Cry on My Shoulder' b/w 'How Many Times Did You Mean It'.
Brenda was keen to write more of her own material, however, her inability to make progress in this area, led to some tension at the imprint.
One planned second album, entitled 'Hurtin' & Cryin', never saw the light of day.
In 1967, Tamla released 'Just Look What You've Done' b/w 'Starting The Hurt All Over Again' (penned by Frank Wilson and R Dean Taylor), which charted, leading to Motown releasing one of Brenda's own compositions (along with her sister Patrice), namely 'You've Made Me So Very Happy'.
Berry Gordy tinkered with the song and he and Frank Wilson received writing credits on the song.
'You've Made Me So Very Happy' b/w 'I've Got To Find It' became Brenda's third top forty pop single, also reaching number thirty-nine on the Hot 100 and number forty R&B.
A 1968 album entitled 'The Artistry Of Brenda Holloway was released, although the tensions at the label led to Brenda's eventual departure from Motown.
She announced her retirement from the music business, and in 1969, Brenda sued Berry Gordy regarding the Blood, Sweat & Tears' cover version of her single, 'You've Made Me So Very Happy'.
That version reached number two in the United States that year, and Brenda won her case eventually.
Brenda and Patrice continued to work into the 1970's, working with several performers including Joe Cocker.
Brenda married the preacher Albert Davis, in Los Angeles, and the couple had four children, Beoir, Unita, Christy and Dontese.
Brenda released some Gospel recordings in the early Eighties
Her and Albert Davis later divorced in the mid-1980's.
all it takes - 1991 / it's a woman's world - 1999 / together - 2001 / my love is your love - 2003
By the late Eighties, Brenda had returned to the secular stage, recording for the U.K. label Motorcity Records.
In 1991, Brenda released the album, 'All It Takes' for the label.
Following the passing of Mary Wells, Brenda began to perform live again.
In 1999 she signed with the Volt imprint, releasing 'It's a Woman's World'.
'My Love is Your Love', was released in 2003, whilst several excellent compilations of her work followed.
20th century masters - 2003 / the motown anthology - 2005
'Every Little Bit Hurts', 'When I'm Gone' and 'You've Made Me So Very Happy' have been extensively covered by many performers since they were first released, including Vivian Green and Alicia Keys.
Every Little Bit Hurts (Tamla Records 1964)
The Artistry Of Brenda Holloway (Motown Records 1968)
Brand New! (Birthright Records Records 1980)
All It Takes (Motorcity Records Records 1991)
It's A Woman's World (Vanguard Records 1999)
Together (live) (KRL Records 1999)
My Love Is Your Love (Bestway Records 2003)
20th Century Masters (Tamla Motown Records 2003)
Anthology (Tamla Motown Records 2005)