1972 Honey Cone – One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show
Edna Wright’s father was a pastor in Los Angeles. Edna and her sister Darlene sang in the choir at the church. Darlene became the lead singer of the Blossoms in 1958 and began using the stage name, Darlene Love. That group’s members sang on an endless string of records as lead singers and/or backup singers.
From 1962 to 1964, Edna and Carolyn Willis also joined the Blossoms, working with Phil Spector. In 1964, Edna sang lead on the single Yes Sir, That’s My Baby, which was credited to Hale & the Hushabyes. The backup vocalists on her record included The Blossoms, Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, Sonny & Cher, and Jackie DeShannon, but somehow the record wasn’t a hit.
Edna and Carolyn left the Blossoms and sang background vocals on several more hit singles before joining up with Shelley Clark on a broadcast of the Andy Williams Show in 1969. Eddie Holland, Brian Holland, and Lamont Dozier had just left Motown and formed HDH Records. Eddie saw the performance and offered to sign Edna to a recording contract, but she insisted she wanted to sing in a group. As a result, the label ended up signing the three young women as a trio. Eddie named the trio Honey Cone after an ice cream flavor.
The Honey Cone had several top thirty hits on the R&B chart their first two years but did not break into the Hot 100 in a big way until their release of Want Ads in 1971. The single topped both the Hot 100 and the R&B chart and sold over a million copies.
Their next single did nearly as well. Stick Up again sold a million copies and topped the R&B chart but peaked at #11 on the Hot 100. The single One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show only reached #15 on the Hot 100 and #5 on the R&B chart in early 1972, after which their records slowly became less and less successful. The group finally disbanded in 1973. Their record label put together a new Honey Cone and released a single in 1976, but it failed to chart.
Edna married Greg Perry, who had produced and co-written many of the group’s hits. She has recently toured with two new backup singers as Edna Wright and The Honey Cone.
Carolyn has made a living recording jingles. She also sang on the single Get Closer with Seals and Croft and has sung on records and toured singing background vocals for Neil Diamond, Boz Scaggs, and Carly Simon.
In 1985, Shelley married bass-player Verdine White, a member of Earth, Wind, And Fire. She represents celebrities through the W&W Management Company that she formed.
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