Black Box (band)

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Black Box
Also known as Groove Groove Melody
Origin Italy
Genres Italo house, house, eurodance
Years active 1989–present
Labels RCA, Out, Groove Groove Melody
Website www.blackboxhouse.eu/
Members Celestine Walcott-Gordon
Daniele Davoli
Valerio Semplici
Mirko Limoni
Past members Katrin Quinol
Charvoni Woodson

Black Box is an Italian house music group popular in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The members of the group included a trio made up of a club DJ (Daniele Davoli), a classically trained clarinet teacher (Valerio Semplici), and a keyboard and electronic music "wiz" (Mirko Limoni). The group created an image for the Black Box act using French fashion model Katrin Quinol on its album/singles' cover art and supposed lead singer in all of the group's music videos.[1] However, their success quickly turned to infamy when it was revealed that Quinol was lip-syncing to the group's actual recorded vocalist Martha Wash, who sang majority of the songs on the group's debut album Dreamland.

Davoli, Semplici, and Limoni had previously formed a group called Groove Groove Melody, producing dance music under names such as Starlight[2] (who had a UK Top 10 hit in August 1989 with "Numero Uno"[3]) and Wood Allen. They went on to record music under many other aliases, most notably Mixmaster, which scored a UK #9 hit in November 1989 with the song "Grand Piano".

History[edit]

In 1989, the trio teamed up with French Caribbean model Katrin Quinol (b. Catherine Quinol) and formed the group Black Box. Quinol did not contribute musically to any of the tracks on the album, was considered the group's "image", lip-synching the songs in TV performances and music videos.

The first single "Ride On Time" was an international hit, making Top 10 in many countries and No. 1 in the UK, soon becoming the UK's best-selling single of 1989. The song heavily sampled "Love Sensation" by Loleatta Holloway, a 1980 disco hit. The Black Box title is derived from the lyrics "Cause you're right on time".[4]

Dan Hartman, writer and producer of "Love Sensation", was not sought for permission to sample his song, and soon after the international success of "Ride On Time," questions arose as to the true vocalist on the song. Legal proceedings ruled that Loleatta Holloway was the actual singer on "Ride On Time" (albeit by means of the "Love Sensation" vocal samples) and Black Box surrendered a large percentage of the royalties from the song to Hartman and Holloway. A new version of the track with uncredited vocals by Heather Small appeared solely as a single.

The album Dreamland was released in May 1990, and featured six songs sung by Martha Wash, including the singles "Everybody Everybody", "I Don't Know Anybody Else", and "Strike It Up", which became major hits worldwide. Dreamland earned a gold disc in both the UK and the US and achieved double-platinum status in Canada.[5] In Australia it spent three weeks at #1, achieved platinum accreditation and was ranked the country's 16th highest selling album of 1991.[6] Along the way, it also spawned six hit singles, both on the mainstream charts and in the clubs.

In mid-1990, Wash sued the group and RCA Records for minor contractual issues, sleeve credits, and lack of royalties. RCA and Wash later settled out of court with Wash receiving a record deal with RCA. Wash also received full vocal credits upon the single release of "Strike It Up", but the music video still featured Katrin Quinol lip-synching the lyrics. She also received vocal credits on the single releases of the songs she recorded with Black Box.

In 1993, the group returned with the single "Rockin' To The Music", dismissing Quinol as the group's image and using American singer Charvoni Woodson as lead vocalist and image, but failed to emulate their previous success. The group recorded their second album Positive Vibration, with Woodson. The album was released around Europe and Asia in different independent labels from 1995 to 1997. The album spawned four singles, including a cover of Odyssey's disco hit "Native New Yorker" which became minor hits in Europe.

In America, they are best remembered for their early '90s singles, "Everybody Everybody", "I Don't Know Anybody Else", and "Strike It Up", their biggest hit in the United States, where all three of their hits are still heard on rhythmic radio and in clubs on a fairly regular basis to this day. Black Box remain one of the few piano-house groups to achieve mainstream success in the USA. In 2010, the group began touring with Charvoni as their lead vocalist. In 2015, Celestine Walcott-Gordon began performing live as the new lead vocalist of the group.

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Year Album details Peak chart positions Certifications
(sales threshold)
AUS
[7]
AUT
[8]
CAN
[9]
FRA
[10]
GER
[11]
NLD
[12]
NZ
[13]
NOR
[14]
SWE
[15]
SWI
[16]
UK
[17]
US
[18]
US
R&B

[18]
1990 Dreamland 1 14 18 35 36 63 4 8 15 9 14 56 16
1995 Positive Vibration
  • Released: 23 August 1995
  • Label: Clubstitute
  • Formats: CD
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Compilation albums[edit]

Year Album details Peak chart positions Certifications
(sales threshold)
AUS
[7]
AUT
[8]
CAN
[9]
FRA
[10]
GER
[11]
NLD
[12]
NZ
[13]
NOR
[14]
SWE
[15]
SWI
[16]
UK
[17]
US
[18]
US
R&B

[18]
1998 Strike It Up: The Best of Black Box
Hits & Mixes
  • Released: 30 June 1998
  • Label: BMG
  • Formats: CD
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Remix albums[edit]

Year Album details Peak chart positions Certifications
<es threshold]])
AUS
[7]
AUT
[8]
CAN
[9]
FRA
[10]
GER
[11]
NLD
[12]
NZ
[13]
NOR
[14]
SWE
[15]
SWI
[16]
UK
[17]
US
[18]
US
R&B

[18]
1990 Remixland 58
1991 Mixed Up!
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Singles[edit]

Year Single Peak chart positions Album
ITA
[23]
UK
[17]
IRE
[24]
NLD
[12]
BEL
(FLA)

[25]
FRA
[26]
GER
[11]
AUT
[8]
SWI
[16]
SWE
[15]
NOR
[14]
AUS
[7]
NZ
[13]
CAN
[9]
US
[18]
US
R&B

[18]
US
Dance

[18]
1989 "Ride On Time" 19 1 1 17 7 3 5 8 5 2 5 2 2 39 Dreamland
"Megamix" (with Lelewel) (FRA only) 15 single only
1990 "I Don't Know Anybody Else"
(featuring Martha Wash)
22 4 2 25 21 9 12 10 3 8 4 6 9 87 23 10 1 Dreamland
"Everybody Everybody"
(featuring Martha Wash)
7 16 6 29 39 11 41 21 35 11 28 8 2 1
"Fantasy"
(featuring Martha Wash)
19 5 3 18 20 21 16 4 26 3 28
"The Total Mix" 12 10 24 39 Remixland
"Get Down" (featuring Stepz) (FRA only)
1991 "Megamix" 34 33 18
"Bright On Time" 48
"Strike It Up"
(featuring Martha Wash)
16 8 4 13 26 26 27 20 29 35 8 16 1 Dreamland
"Open Your Eyes"
(featuring Martha Wash)
17 48 45 44 32 60
1992 "Hold On"
(featuring Martha Wash)
1993 "Rockin' to the Music" 39 14 103 Positive Vibration
1994 "Bright On Time ('94 Remixes)" single only
1995 "Not Anyone" 31 151 Positive Vibration
(1st & 2nd edition)
"A Positive Vibration" 18
1996 "I Got the Vibration" 21
1997 "Native New Yorker" 46
"Fall Into My Love" (ITA only)
1999 "Bright On Time ('99 Remixes)" (FRA only) 77 singles only
2003 "Ride On Time 2003" (GER only)
2007 "Everybody Everybody 2007" 39
2009 "Ride On Time 20th" (ITA only)
"—" denotes the single failed to chart or was not released

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2009). Top Pop Singles 1955-2008 (12th ed.). Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 97. ISBN 0-89820-180-2. 
  2. ^ "Starlight Discography". Discogs.com. 
  3. ^ Everyhit.com NB Enter "Starlight" and "Numero Uno" in the respective fields
  4. ^ Hindmarch, Carl. (Director). (2001). Pump Up the Volume [Documentary]. UK: Flame Television Production Ltd.
  5. ^ "Gold Platinum Database". Music Canada. 
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-10-04. Retrieved 2012-08-08. 
  7. ^ a b c d Australian (ARIA) chart peaks:
  8. ^ a b c d "AUT Charts > Black Box". Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 2011-12-18. 
  9. ^ a b c d "CAN Charts > Black Box". RPM. Retrieved 2011-12-18. 
  10. ^ a b c "FRA Charts Search > Black Box". Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Archived from the original on 2012-06-22. Retrieved 2011-12-18. 
  11. ^ a b c d "GER Charts > Black Box". Media Control Charts. Retrieved 2011-12-18. 
  12. ^ a b c d "NL Charts > Black Box". MegaCharts. Retrieved 2011-12-18. 
  13. ^ a b c d "NZ Charts > Black Box". Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved 2011-12-18. 
  14. ^ a b c d "NOR Charts > Black Box". VG-lista. Retrieved 2011-12-18. 
  15. ^ a b c d "SWE Charts > Black Box". Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved 2011-12-18. 
  16. ^ a b c d "SWI Charts > Black Box". Swiss Music Charts. Retrieved 2011-12-18. 
  17. ^ a b c d "UK Charts > Black Box". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2011-12-18. 
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h i "US Charts > Black Box". Billboard. Retrieved 2011-12-18. 
  19. ^ Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988–2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing. 
  20. ^ "CAN Certifications > Black Box". Music Canada. Retrieved 2011-12-18. 
  21. ^ "UK Certified Awards Search > Black Box". British Phonographic Industry. Archived from the original on 2010-01-17. Retrieved 2011-12-18. 
  22. ^ "US Certifications > Black Box". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 2011-12-18. 
  23. ^ "ITA Charts > Black Box". hitparadeitalia.it. Retrieved 2014-04-14. 
  24. ^ "IRE Charts Search > Black Box". Irish Recorded Music Association. Archived from the original on 2010-01-05. Retrieved 2011-12-18. 
  25. ^ "ITA Charts > Black Box". ultratop.be. Retrieved 2014-04-14. 
  26. ^ "FRA Charts > Black Box". Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved 2011-12-18. 

External links[edit]