Throwback: Sharon Redd-Beat The Street

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Sharon Redd’s eventual legacy as a club diva started in Norfolk, Virginia where she took classical voice lessons as a child. She was surrounded by a family who all worked in the music industry. Her father was an employee at King Records, her sister a professional singer, her brother was a songwriter for Kool & the Gang and her stepfather worked as a sideman for Benny Goodman. Her recording and acting careers started in the late ’60’s when she cut some singles for the United Artists label and got a role in the Australian production of the musical Hair. There were a few more appearances in various musicals including Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and a television gig on the TV show Rhoda. A stint in the ’70’s as a Shaffer Beer Girl lead to a job with Bette Midler’s Harlettes. Future work with disco stars Carol Douglas and Gwen McCrae, blues rock singer Bonnie Raitt and Norman Connors helped her attract a solo deal with Prelude. Three albums of dance-oriented material made her a recognized name in clubs but invisible to the mainstream R&B audience. “Never Give You Up,” “Can You Handle It,” “Love How You Feel,” “Love Insurance,” “In The Name Of Love” and “Beat The Street” were some of the songs that gave her voice a pulse with the nightlife crowd and a few made the dance chart. Redd returned to working as a background vocalist and re-entered the industry with “All The Way To Love” in 1991 which would be her last solo release. The singer passed in 1992 and her sister Penny Ford released an eponymous album in ’93 that included the duet “Under Pressure” with Redd.