The 80s were a great time for music as genres were being combined the produced new sounds that would lay the groundwork for contemporary R&B and hip-hop. Within the decade, we had hits from iconic singers and lesser-known talent, whose music we still love. Below, see 9 Black women artists whose songs were major hits.
Barbara Weathers of Atlantic Starr
Even though they got together almost ten years before their biggest hit “Secret Lovers”, Weathers’ vocals will always be cherished. In 1987 she left the group to pursue solo endeavors and she still continues to perform today.
Sybil Lynch has had quite a healthy career but she’s most known for her 1989 song “Don’t Make Me Over.” She hasn’t recored a studio album since 1997 but released a single in 2016.
Sisters Denise Dunning Wilkinson, Bonnie Dunning Williams and Delores Dunning Milligan started the R&B funk group Skyy in 1973. The band composed of eight people recorded nine albums with their 1981 hit “Call Me” charting No. 1 on the US R&B chart. Currently the three sisters tour as The Ladies of SKYY.
Even though she was a gospel singer, Murdock’s most popular song was “As We Lay” released in 1986. The song about two lovers in other relationships, was sampled by Jennifer Lopez in her song “Hold You Down.” Murdock still performs throughout the country.
Mary Jane Girls
As proteges of the late Rick James, the Mary Jane Girls got instant attention. Composed of Joanne “JoJo” McDuffie, Cheri Wells, Candice “Candi” Ghant, Kimberly “Maxi” Wuletich and Yvette “Corvette” Marine their biggest hits were “In My House”. All the ladies eventually split after legal issues with James— and pursued other career. Ghant remains in the entertainment industry and Kim Wuletich has gone on to becoming a chef.
Yes, we know Rebbie as a Jackson family member, but she also sang. Her biggest hit was 1984’s “Centipede” written by none other than her brother, Michael Jackson. She hasn’t made music in a while and spends time with family, last spotted visiting her sister Janet in London.
Although this jazz artist has had a long and prosperous career, her 1982 single “Baby, Come to Me” with John Ingram was her most successful. Austin still records music and most recently appeared in the documentary, ’20 Feet from Stardom’.
Alisa Delois Peoples
Still performing and making music, Peoples was one-half of Yarbrough and Peoples whose biggest hit was “Don’t Stop the Music.” The childhood friends married in 1987 and soon after started their production company, Yarbrough & Peoples Productions, which they still run today.
Married to Stevie Wonder for a short two years, Wright had an impact on R&B during her time recording music. Having worked with Quincy Jones, Ray Charles and Leon Ware, the talent could sing and write. She died in 2004 after a long battle with cancer.