Pennington was born in 1950s in Chicago and began her musical career when Hi-NRG and soul record producer Ian Levine came to the United States in search of new talent for his burgeoning record label. In terms of vocal exuberance, her voice may be compared to that of singer Chaka Khan, also a native of Chicago.
By the early 1980s, she had scored several disco hits, then several more Hi-NRG hits across mainland Europe. Her Stateside success was more variable, but not a failure. "Twenty Four Hours a Day" also became a disco hit in the U.S., peaking at #4 on the Club Play Chart, and "You Are the Music in Me" which peaked at #20 in 1977.
Her single "On a Crowded Street", from the album Out of the Darkest Night, became popular on both sides of the Atlantic in 1985. Follow up singles such as "All American Boy", "Don't Stop the World", "Way Deep Down in My Soul", "Fan the Flame", and "Out of the Darkest Night" all became major European hits, while remaining relatively unknown in the U.S.
- Midnight Ride - (1979) United Artists Records
- Out of the Darkest Night - (1985) Record Shack Records
- The Very Best of Barbara Pennington - (1995) Hot Productions
- "Running in Another Direction"
- "Twenty Four Hours a Day"
- "You Are the Music Within Me"
- "Spend a Little Time with Me"
- "I Can't Erase the Thoughts of You"
- "There Are Brighter Days"
- "Don't Stop the World"
- "Way Down Deep in My Soul"
- "Midnight Ride"
- "Fan the Flame"
- "I Can't Keep My Heart Still"
- "All American Boy"
- "I've Been a Bad Girl"
- "On a Crowded Street"