First Choice (group)

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First Choice
OriginPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
GenresSoul, R&B, disco
Years active1971–1984
2014- present
LabelsPhilly Groove, Gold Mind, Warner Bros. Records, Salsoul
MembersRochelle Fleming
Annette Guest
Wardell Piper
Joyce Jones
Ursula Herring
Debbie Martin

First Choice is an American girl group vocal music trio from Philadelphia. The group produced the Soul/disco hits "Armed and Extremely Dangerous", "Smarty Pants", "The Player", "Love Thang", "Let No Man Put Asunder" and "Doctor Love". They were signed to soul label Philly Groove Records and to disco label Gold Mind in addition to Warner Bros. Records and Salsoul.


The First Choice began singing in high school as the Debonettes. The group consisted of lead singer Rochelle Fleming, Annette Guest and Wardell Piper. They performed in clubs after school in and around Philadelphia, PA. They were introduced to record man Norman Harris by radio DJ Georgie Woods. Harris produced their first single “This Is The House Where Love Died”. The single failed to chart nationally but was played in Philadelphia and dance club across the U.S. Their next release was “Armed and Extremely Dangerous” . The single quickly became an R&B top 11 hit in early 1973 and making the UK Top 20. Wardell Piper quit the group to go solo before their first album was released and is not pictured although she is singing on the album . She was replaced by singer Joyce Jones. Their new hit enabled the group to get national exposure on TV shows like Dinah , Soul Train and American Bandstand. Other R&B hits followed like “Smarty Pants”went to #25 R&B and became the group's biggest UK single reaching #9 , “Newsy Neighbors” and “The Player” which became their biggest R&B hit going to number #7 . The band switched labels in 1976 for Warner Brothers records . Jones left the group and was replaced by Ursula Herring. At Warner’s they recorded Dance Floor hits like “Gotta Get Away From You Baby” “Ain’t He Bad” and the album title song, “So Let Us Entertain You” In 1977 the trio switched labels again this time recording for their producer Norman Harris' label, Goldmine Records where they got their biggest dance single , the infectious “Doctor Love”. The single became a dance club favorite internationally. The single is from the album “Delusions” that critics regard as the trio's best LP . The next release came in March 1979 called “Hold Your Horses”. Ursula Herring left and was replaced by Debbie Martin. The album became an instant sensation in discotheques all over the world. The LP contained the dance hits “Love Thang”, “Double Cross” and the title track “Hold Your Horses”. The trio officially disbanded in 1980 however in 1983 Sal-Soul records released “Let No Man Put Asunder” from their 1977 LP “Delusions”. That single rose to #13 on the Billboard dance chart and has become the group's signature song and still a current favorite on the house music scene.

Rochelle Fleming continued to record and perform internationally as a solo artist . Annette Guest became a successful songwriter writing for artist such as Stephanie Mills.

Official members Annette Guest and Ursula Herring along with Andre Jackson are currently performing again as The First Choice.

Legacy and re-union[edit]

Performing at the 2014 Salsoul reunion show

The group was influential to early house and techno music, because of sampling by many artists, including Todd Terry[1] and The Jungle Brothers,[2][3] mostly from First Choice's 1977 track, "Let No Man Put Asunder". "Let No Man Put Asunder" was also covered by Mary J. Blige on her 1999 album Mary.

On August 6, 2014, First Choice performed a reunion concert at East River Bandshell, New York City, with original members: Rochelle Fleming, Annette Guest, Wardell Piper and Ursula Herring. The concert featured many of the group's ex-label mates from Salsoul records. The group is still performing, but without Rochelle Fleming. In 2019, rapper J. Cole sampled their song 'Wake up to me" in his song "Middle Child."

Members timeline[edit]

1971–73 1973–75 1975–79 1979–80
Rochelle Fleming Rochelle Fleming Rochelle Fleming Rochelle Fleming
Annette Guest Annette Guest Annette Guest Annette Guest
Wardell Piper Joyce Jones Ursula Herring Debbie Martin


Studio albums[edit]

Year Title Peak chart positions Record label

1973 Armed and Extremely Dangerous 184 55 Philly Groove
1974 The Player 143 36
1976 So Let Us Entertain You 204 53 Warner Bros./Philly Groove
1977 Delusions 103 Gold Mind
1979 Hold Your Horses 135 58
1980 Breakaway
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Compilation albums[edit]

  • The Best of the First Choice (1976, Kory)
  • Greatest Hits (1992, Salsoul)
  • Philly Golden Classics (1994, Collectables)
  • The Best of First Choice (1994, Southbound)
  • Greatest Hits (1996, The Right Stuff)
  • The Best of First Choice (1997, Charly)
  • The Best of First Choice: Armed & Extremely Dangerous (1999, Philly Groove)
  • The Ultimate Club Collection (2001, Philly Groove/The Right Stuff/Capitol/EMI)
  • The Anthology (2005, Suss'd)
  • The Greatest Hits: It's Not Over (2006, Koch)
  • The Best of First Choice (2007, Metro Doubles)


Year Title Peak chart positions Album


1972 "This Is the House (Where Love Died)" Armed and Extremely Dangerous
1973 "Armed and Extremely Dangerous" 28 11 55 16
"Smarty Pants" 56 25 99 9
1974 "Newsy Neighbors" 97 35
"The Player (Part 1)" 70 7 68 The Player
"Guilty" 103 19
1975 "Love Freeze" 61 N/A
1976 "First Choice Theme" / "Ain't He Bad" (medley) 7 So Let Us Entertain You
"Are You Ready for Me?"
"Gotta Get Away (From You Baby)" 64 16
"Let Him Go" 97
1977 "Doctor Love" 41 23 8 28 Delusions
"Love Having You Around" 68
1979 "Hold Your Horses" 73 5 Hold Your Horses
"Double Cross" 104 60
"Love Thang" 52
1980 "Breakaway" 80 Breakaway
1983 "Let No Man Put Asunder" 13 47 Delusions
1984 "Doctor Love" (Special Remix) 61 N/A
1997 "Armed and Extremely Dangerous" (1997 Remixes) 88
1999 "Doctor Love" (remixes) 22
2001 "The Player" (remixes) 7
2002 "Ain't He Bad" (remixes) 89
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.


  1. ^ "Royal House - Can You Party (Todd Terry's B.Boy Remix) (Vinyl) at Discogs". Retrieved 2012-12-28.
  2. ^ "Jungle Brothers - I'll House You (Vinyl) at Discogs". Retrieved 2012-12-28.
  3. ^ "Todd Terry Presents Sax - This Will Be Mine (Vinyl, LP) at Discogs". Retrieved 2012-12-28.
  4. ^ a b c d e "US Charts > First Choice". Billboard. Retrieved 2011-12-11.
  5. ^ David Kent (1993). Australian Charts Book 1970—1992. Australian Chart Book Pty Ltd, Turramurra, N.S.W. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  6. ^ "CAN Charts > First Choice". RPM. Retrieved 2014-08-08.
  7. ^ "NLD Charts > First Choice". MegaCharts. Retrieved 2014-08-08.
  8. ^ "UK Charts > First Choice". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2011-12-11.

External links[edit]