Last week's Throwback Thursday got me thinking of something. This is actually a topic people have asked me about in the past, because clearly if any brain is going to contain this info, it's mine.
It involves the lip synching scandal of the early 90s. No not that one. There was another one, which people vaguely recall, so when they want all the facts, it's "Hey Jason, you know this... wasn't there another lip synching scandal?" Yes. Yes there was. It involved two groups, actually, C+C Music Factory and Black Box. Both featured the vocal stylings of one Martha Wash.
Martha Wash's professional singing career began back in the 70s, as a backup singer to openly gay disco artist Sylvester, whose biggest hit was "(You Make Me Feel) Mighty Real."
Sylvester referred to Wash and fellow backup singer Izora Rhodes as "Two Tons of Fun" and the pair actually released several disco records under that name, before becoming The Weather Girls in the 80s, when they scored their biggest hit, the classic "It's Raining Men."
Then, in the early 90s, she sang the hook in the smash hit "Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)" by C+C Music Factory.
And she provided almost ALL the vocals for the group Black Box. (The exception being the song "Ride On Time" featuring vocals by Loleatta Holloway.)
Black Box - Everybody, Everybody:
Black Box - Strike It Up:
Black Box - I Don't Know Anybody Else:
See the problem? BOTH groups replaced Wash with skinny bitches in their videos!
In the case of C+C Music Factory, allegedly, "Gonna Make You Sweat" was recorded a long time before it was a hit in America. By the time it started getting popular here, the parties involved had long-since gone their separate ways and Cliviles and Cole (the C and the other C) had been working with a new singer, Zelma Davis, so when they made the video, they had Zelma lip synch Martha's parts.
The Black Box's case was a lot shadier. Martha sang a total of six songs for the group, but in all of the videos and in concerts, her parts (as well as Loleatta Holloway's on "Ride on Time") were lip synched by skinny model Katrin Quinol. By the way, her name isn't even Katrin! It's Catherine! She was just trying to be all fancy!
I thought it was all fairly well-known, but I used to go on this one message board and this guy who used to write these LONG ASS posts going on and on about his favorite artist would repeatedly write about how much he loved Black Box and what a powerhouse vocalist Katrin Quinol was. I tried responding several times, but he never seemed to see the responses. I just love that, when someone writes a freaking novel on a message board but doesn't bother reading anything that anyone else writes. Fuck you. I finally "replied with quote" and he finally saw it. Sorry to burst your bubble, Kitty Cat. Not really. Schooled, Punk Ass!
Anyway, back to the story, Martha Wash went on the Joan Rivers Show and blew the whistle on all these shenanigans. (Joan Rivers? Girl, no you di'iiiiin!) She also sued both groups and their labels and won. To be fair though, this was during the rise in sampling in hip hop and dance music, so there weren't a lot of precedents and there weren't firm rules in place about credits and such. Even so, she won. The deal with C+C was settled amicably, because she re-teamed with them, including Zelma Davis, for the single "Do You Wanna Get Funky."
She was also awarded her own record deal and released a self-titled album in 1993, just in time for everyone to stop liking dance music. Sad. Even so, she scored three club hits, including the two number 1 singles, Give It To You (with one of the most boneriffic videos ever):
And Carry On:
Prior to this, she went on The Arsenio Hall Show (Arsenio? Girl, no you di'iiiiiin!) and RECLAIMED Everybody, Everybody with this searing performance:
Martha's always been a gay icon. I mean, HELLO?, "It's Raining Men?!" What little fag didn't grow up blasting and singing along to THAT?! Plus, we love our Big Girls, just ask Mika! Did all those producers really think they had to substitute some skinny bitch to get GAYS to like their music? Bitch please! Martha continues to release club hits to this day and performs at Pride events the world over. She was also a guest judge on RuPaul's Drag Race last season, where the contestants had to lip sync.... for their lives... to "Carry On."
So there, Tigers! The knowledge has been passed on. Throw that little nugget out at your next Rotary Club meeting!