Sunday, December 27, 2009

Gwen Guthrie

Gwen Guthrie (born on July 14, 1950 in Okemah, Oklahoma) was a female R&B/dance singer from the 80s.

Raised in Newark, New Jersey, she studied classical music in school and was taught to play the piano by her father when she was 8 years old. By the early 70s, Gwen joined vocal groups such as the Ebonettes and the Matchmakers while working as an elementary school teacher.

In 1974, when a back-up singer who was scheduled to sing on Aretha Franklin's single "I'm in Love" became sick, Gwen took the singer's place. Soon after that, she began moonlighting as a commercial jingle singer, sometimes with her good friend Valerie Simpson (of Ashford & Simpson).

Gwen developed a songwriting partnership with her musician boyfriend Haras Frye & wrote songs for artists such as Ben E. King, Sister Sledge and Roberta Flack.

She also provided vocals on albums by artists such as East Coast, Jackie DeShannon, Patti Austin, Roberta Flack, Kenny Loggins and Michael Henderson.
In 1981, Gwen was featured on late Jamaican reggae singer Peter Tosh's single "Nothing But Love" which peaked at #43 on Billboard's Hot Soul Singles chart, staying on the chart for 11 weeks.
In 1982, Gwen released her self-titled debut album on Island Records. The album managed to peak at #28 on Billboard's R&B Albums chart.
The first single "It Should Have Been You" peaked at #11 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart and #27 on Billboard's Black Singles chart, staying on the chart for 12 weeks.
The follow-up singles "Peek-A-Boo" and "For You (With a Melody Too)" didn't appear to make any impact on the charts.
In 1983, Gwen released her second album "Portrait" which missed the charts in the United States, but managed to chart in New Zealand. 
The first single "Peanut Butter" peaked at #83 on Billboard's Black Singles chart, staying on the chart for only 3 weeks.
The follow-up single "Hopscotch" was released, but didn't make the charts.  In 1984, Gwen was featured on Dutch music group the Limit's single "Say Yeah" which peaked at #7 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart and managed to chart in the U.K. and Ireland.
During that same year, Gwen released the single "Love in Moderation" which peaked at #110 on Billboard's Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart and #17 on Billboard's Hot Black Singles chart, staying on the chart for 15 weeks.
In 1985, Gwen released her third album "Just For You" which peaked at #55 on Billboard's R&B Albums chart. The title song managed to peak at #53 on Billboard's Hot Black Singles chart, staying on the chart for 9 weeks.
During that same year, Gwen released the EP "Padlock" which managed to peak at #47 on Billboard's R&B Albums chart.
The title song peaked at #102 on Billboard's Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart and #25 on Billboard's Hot Black Singles chart, staying on the chart for 14 weeks. A remixed version of "Peanut Butter" peaked at #75 on Billboard's Hot Black Singles chart, staying on the chart for 4 weeks.
The last single "Seventh Heaven" peaked at #85 on the U.K. Singles chart. The whole EP charted at #13 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart and #12 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales chart.
In 1986, Gwen released her fourth album, "Good to Go Lover" on Polydor Records which peaked at #158 on the Billboard 200, #20 on Billboard's R&B Albums chart and #42 on the U.K. Albums chart.
The first single "Ain't Nothin' Goin' On But the Rent" became Gwen's only biggest hit, peaking at #42 on the Billboard Hot 100, #3 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales chart, topped Billboard's Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart for 2 weeks in August of 1986, topped Billboard's Hot Black Singles chart for a week in September of 1986, staying on the chart for 19 weeks and #5 on the U.K. Singles chart.
The follow-up single "Outside in the Rain" peaked at #51 on Billboard's Hot Black Singles chart, staying on the chart for 8 weeks. The song also peaked at #37 on the U.K. Singles chart along with the title song.
The last single "(They Long to Be) Close To You" peaked at #25 on the U.K. Singles chart and 69 on Billboard's Hot Black Singles chart, staying on the chart for 9 weeks.
In 1988, Gwen released her fifth album "Lifeline" on Warner Bros. Records. The album failed to make the Billboard album charts at all.
The only single to chart was "Can't Love You Tonight" which peaked at #79 on the U.K. Singles chart, #44 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart, #38 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales chart and #83 on Billboard's Hot Black Singles chart, staying on the chart for 6 weeks.
In 1990, Gwen released her last album "Hot Times" on Reprise Records. Once again, the album failed to make any impact on the Billboard album charts.
The first single "Miss My Love" peaked at #27 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart, but missed the Hot 100.
The follow-up single "Sweet Bitter Love" peaked at #74 on Billboard's Hot R&B Singles chart, staying on the chart for 6 weeks.

In 1993, a remixed version of "Ain't Nothin' Goin' On But the Rent" managed to peak at #42 on the U.K. Singles chart.

Sadly on February 3, 1999, Gwen passed away from uterine cancer at the age of 48.

To see the music video for "Ain't Nothing Goin' On But the Rent," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkO9us2ZmGg

To see the music video for "(They Long To Be) Close To You," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VRMYxp86mOU

To see the music video for "Outside in the Rain," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qb176llDw0

To see a fan-made video for "Padlock," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYa08shKb7A

To see a fan-made video for "Just for You," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QR-3WOHNOig

To see a fan-made video for "Peanut Butter," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJCz4SkM7jo

To see a fan-made video for "Love in Moderation," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fXMxFXoz7X4

To see a fan-made video for "It Should Have Been You," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PcLL9UdI9q0

To see a fan-made video for "Can't Love You Tonight," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fFcycdtv-S8

To see a fan-made video for "Sweet Bitter Love," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fes4CziUAAk



[updated on 06/17/13]

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