Freda Charcilia Payne
September 19, 1942
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
(m. 1976; div. 1979)
Freda Charcilia Payne (born September 19, 1942[nb 1]) is an American singer and actress. Payne is best known for her career in music during the mid-1960s through the mid-1980s. Her most notable record is her 1970 hit single "Band of Gold". Payne was also an actress in musicals and film, as well as the host of a TV talk show. Payne is the older sister of Scherrie Payne, a former singer with the American vocal group the Supremes.
Early life and career
Payne was born in Detroit, Michigan, and grew up listening to jazz singers, such as Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday. As a teenager, she attended the Detroit Institute of Musical Arts; she soon began singing radio commercial jingles, and took part in (and won many) local TV and radio talent shows. In 1963, she moved to New York City and worked with many entertainers, including Quincy Jones, Pearl Bailey, and Bill Cosby. The next year, her debut album, a jazz recording with arranger Manny Albam entitled After the Lights Go Down Low and Much More!!! was released on the Impulse! label. (This album was re-issued on CD in Japan in early 2002, and again in the United States in 2005.) In 1965 she toured Europe for the first time recording an album in Sweden with Don Gardner and Bengt-Arne Wallin. In 1966, she released her second American album, again in the jazz idiom, How Do You Say I Don't Love You Anymore, for MGM Records. She also made occasional guest appearances on television shows including The Merv Griffin Show and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.
She added theatrical credits to her repertoire: she understudied Leslie Uggams for the Broadway show Hallelujah Baby in 1967, and appeared with the Equity Theatre in a production of Lost in the Stars. In 1969, her old friends back home in Detroit, Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Edward Holland, Jr., persuaded her to sign with their newly formed record label Invictus. During that same year, her first Invictus single, "Unhooked Generation" (a minor R&B hit), was released. Shortly thereafter, Eddie Holland offered her a song entitled "Band of Gold", which he along with Brian Holland and Lamont Dozier co-wrote (under the pen name Edythe Wayne) with Ronald Dunbar. In early 1970, the song became an instant pop smash reaching #3 in the US and #1 in the UK for six consecutive weeks; it also gave Payne her first gold record. Global sales were estimated at two million. An album of the same name proved to be fairly successful as well. Other Invictus singles included "Deeper and Deeper", which reached #24 in the US and #33 in the UK at the end of 1970; "You Brought the Joy", and the Vietnam War protest song "Bring the Boys Home" (U.S. Billboard Hot 100 #12, 1971), her second gold record. Her other Invictus albums were Contact (1971), The Best of Freda Payne (1972, a compilation which included four new, unissued songs), and her last Invictus album Reaching Out (1973).
In 1973, she left Invictus and recorded albums for ABC/Dunhill and Capitol, but she never found the commercial success that she had enjoyed with Invictus. She recorded a duet "I Wanna See You Soon" with Capitol stablemates Tavares. She released three disco albums for Capitol from 1977 to 1979, Stares and Whispers, Supernatural High and Hot. The first one features the disco hit "Love Magnet" produced by Frank Wilson (1977).
In 1981, she briefly hosted her own talk show Today's Black Woman, and also found work acting in different movies, Broadway and other theatre productions throughout the 1980s. Although she was concentrating more on acting by that time, she never gave up music; in 1982, she recorded a single entitled "In Motion" for the Sutra label in New York, and in 1986, she recorded a remake of her old hit "Band of Gold" with Belinda Carlisle. In 1990, she recorded three songs for Ian Levine's UK Motorcity label: another remake of "Band of Gold", "Memories and Souvenirs", and "Only Minutes Away". In the mid-1990s, she released three albums for Dove Music: The (Unauthorized) I Hate Barney Songbook: A Parody (1994), An Evening with Freda Payne: Live in Concert which featured her sister Scherrie Payne on background vocals, and her first (and only) Christmas album Christmas with Freda and Friends, which featured a duet between Freda and Scherrie (both 1996). She also continued her acting career appearing in the films, Private Obsession (1995), Ragdoll (1999) as the character Gran, Nutty Professor II: The Klumps (2000), and Fire & Ice (made-for-TV, 2001).
In early 2001, Payne released a new album entitled Come See About Me for the Volt Records label (the title track is a remake of the Supremes' hit). In early 2003, she performed in a show called Love & Payne, with Darlene Love at Feinstein's at the Regency in New York, and at the Cinegrill in the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles, getting excellent reviews.
During the early 2000s, the following compilation albums of her music were released: Lost in Love (which includes nine of her post-Invictus recordings), Band of Gold: The Best of Freda Payne (both 2000), Unhooked Generation: The Complete Invictus Recordings (2001), and The Best of Freda Payne: Ten Best Series (2002). In late 2002, Payne appeared with many R&B stars on the "Rhythm, Love, and Soul" edition of the PBS series American Soundtrack. Her performance of "Band of Gold" was included on the accompanying live album that was released in 2004. On April 22, 2009, Payne appeared on American Idol and sang "Band of Gold".
In February 2010, Payne joined Kanye West, Jordin Sparks, Jennifer Hudson, Barbra Streisand and many more on We Are the World for Haiti Relief. In 2011, Payne recorded a duet, "Saving A Life", with British pop star Sir Cliff Richard for inclusion on his Soulicious album. She joined Richard on his "Soulicious" tour of the UK in October of the same year. She sang the new duet with Richard along with her own hit "Band of Gold".
Personal life and honors
Payne was married to American singer Gregory Abbott from 1976 until 1979. Payne and Abbott had a son, Gregory Abbott, Jr., who was born on September 19, 1977, Payne's 35th birthday. Payne later had a relationship with American musician Edmund Sylvers (lead singer of the Sylvers) from 1979 until January 1983. Sylvers wrote and produced her 1982 single "In Motion".
In 2017, Payne was inducted into the 2017 class of the Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame, in her hometown of Detroit.
|1964||After the Lights Go Down Low and Much More!!!||—||—|
|1966||How Do You Say I Don't Love You Anymore||—||—|
|1970||Band of Gold||60||17|
|1974||Payne & Pleasure||—||55|
|1975||Out of Payne Comes Love||—||—|
|1977||Stares and Whispers||—||—|
|1994||The (Unauthorized) I Hate Barney Songbook: A Parody||—||—|
|1996||Christmas with Freda and Friends||—||—|
|2001||Come See About Me||—||—|
|2007||On the Inside||—||—|
|2014||Come Back to Me Love||—||—|
|2021||Let There Be Love||—||—|
|"—" denotes the album failed to chart|
- 1965: Freda Payne in Stockholm' with Don Gardner Quintet with Dee Dee Ford and Jimmy Ricks (Swedish release 1965, USA release 1971)
- 1996: An Evening with Freda Payne: Live in Concert
- 1999: Live in Concert
|1972||The Best of Freda Payne||152||44|
|2000||Lost in Love||—||—|
|Band of Gold: The Best of Freda Payne||—||—|
|2001||Unhooked Generation: The Complete Invictus Recordings||—||—|
|2002||The Best of Freda Payne: Ten Best Series||—||—|
|"—" denotes the album failed to chart|
As a lead artist
|"(Desafinado) Slightly Out of Tune"||1962||—||—||—||—||Non-album single|
|"It's Time"||—||—||—||—||After the Lights Go Down Low and Much More!!!|
|"You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'"||1966||—||—||—||—||How Do You Say I Don't Love You Anymore|
|"The Unhooked Generation"||1969||—||43||—||—||Band of Gold|
|"Band of Gold"||1970||3||20||5||1|
|"Deeper and Deeper"||24||9||64||33|
|"Cherish What Is Dear to You (While It's Near To You)"||1971||44||11||—||46||Contact|
|"Bring the Boys Home"||12||3||—||—||
|"You Brought the Joy"||52||21||—||—|
|"The Road We Didn't Take"||1972||100||—||—||—|
|"Through the Memory of My Mind"||—||—||—||—||The Best of Freda Payne|
|"Two Wrongs Don't Make a Right"||1973||—||75||—||—||Reaching Out|
|"For No Reason"||—||—||—||—|
|"It's Yours to Have"||1974||—||81||—||—||Payne & Pleasure|
|"I Get Carried Away"||1975||—||—||—||—|
|"You"||—||—||—||—||Out of Payne Comes Love|
|"I Get High (On Your Memory)"||1976||—||—||—||—||Stares And Whispers|
|"Bring Back the Joy"||1977||—||—||—||—|
|"Feed Me Your Love"||1978||—||—||—||—|
|"Happy Days Are Here Again/ Happy Music (Dance the Night Away)"||—||—||—||—||Supernatural High|
|"I'll Do Anything for You"||1979||—||—||—||—|
|"In Motion"||1982||—||63||—||—||Non-album single|
|"—" denotes the single failed to chart or was not released|
As a featured artist
|"I Wanna See You Soon"
(Tavares featuring Freda Payne)
|1977||—||—||The Best Of Tavares|
|"L.A. Street Scene (It's A Jubilee)"
(Donny Osmond featuring Phillip Ingram, Scherrie Payne and Freda Payne)
|"Band of Gold"
(Belinda Carlisle featuring Freda Payne)
- 2006: Flashbacks: Soul Sensation – Compilation
- 2009: Freda Payne: High Standards with Stanley Turrentine and Jerome Richardson
- 2009: Live in Concert with The Stylistics
As an actress
- 1973: Book of Numbers
- 1997: Sprung
- 1999: Ragdoll
- 2000: Nutty Professor II: The Klumps
- 2001: Deadly Rhapsody
- 2007: Cordially Invited
- 2014: Ella: First Lady of Song
- 2014: The Divorce
- 2017: Kinky
- List of soul musicians
- List of disco artists (F–K)
- List of people from Detroit
- List of acts who appeared on American Bandstand
- List of people who appeared on Soul Train
- List of performers on Top of the Pops
- Some sources give a birth year of 1945, but this appears to be an error as all sources agree that she is older than her sister Scherrie, born 1944.
- "Freda Payne." Contemporary Black Biography. Vol. 58. Detroit: Gale, 2007. Retrieved August 5, 2011.
- "Freda Payne." Almanac of Famous People. Gale Group, 2007. Retrieved August 5, 2011.
- "Freda Payne." Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television. Vol. 98. Gale Group, 2010. Retrieved August 5, 2011.
- Prato, Greg. "Artist Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved March 27, 2009.
- Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins. p. 301. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
- "Freda Payne Biography". April 28, 2005. Archived from the original on September 26, 2007.
- Rice, Jo (1982). The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits (1st ed.). Enfield, Middlesex: Guinness Superlatives Ltd. p. 136. ISBN 0-85112-250-7.
- "Freda Payne Page". Soulwalking.co.uk. Retrieved December 12, 2021.
- "Freda Payne - Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved June 17, 2011.
- "Freda Payne — Hot [Capitol Records ST-12003]". Wax FM. Archived from the original on September 2, 2011. Retrieved June 17, 2011.
- "Freda Payne — Stares and Whispers". Wax FM. Archived from the original on September 2, 2011. Retrieved June 17, 2011.
- Larkin, Colin (1998). Colin Larkin, The Virgin encyclopedia of R&B and soul, p.257. ISBN 9780753502419. Retrieved September 12, 2014.
- Davis, Sharon. "Scherrie Payne: Supreme Reflections". Blues & Soul. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
- "Ragdoll (1999)". Retrieved August 21, 2022.
- "Freda Payne". SanFrancisco.com. Archived from the original on May 10, 2011. Retrieved June 17, 2011.
- Kaufman, Gil (April 23, 2009). "Who Is Freda Payne And Why Was She On 'American Idol'?". MTV. Retrieved June 17, 2011.
- Kaufman, Gil (February 2, 2010). "'We Are The World -- 25 For Haiti' Artists Include Kanye West, Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber". MTV. Retrieved June 17, 2011.
- Cristi, A. A. "Centenary Stage Co. presents Freda Payne in A TRIBUTE TO ELLA FITZGERALD". BroadwayWorld.com. Retrieved February 17, 2022.
- "Celebrity Beat". Jet. Vol. 63, no. 19. Johnson Publishing Company. January 24, 1983. p. 54. ISSN 0021-5996.
- "FREDA PAYNE & GREGORY ABBOTT". Panache Report. Archived from the original on October 12, 2007. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
- "Freda Payne - Awards". AllMusic. Archived from the original on September 19, 2012. Retrieved December 17, 2010.
- Schlesinger, Judith (July 20, 2014). "Freda Payne: Come Back to Me Love". All About Jazz.
- Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 231. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
- "UK Official Charts - Freda Payne". Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 4, 2016.
- "Mr & Mrs. Freda Gets Her Band Of Gold, Honeymoons In Acapulco, Mexico". Jet . Vol. 51, no. 13. Johnson Publishing Company. December 16, 1976. p. 16. ISSN 0021-5996. Retrieved August 21, 2022 – via Google Books.
- Joseph Murrells (1984). Million Selling Records from the 1900s to the 1980s: An Illustrated Directory. Batsford Books. p. 313. ISBN 0-7134-3843-6.
- "Gold Awards". Billboard. Vol. 82, no. 31. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. August 1, 1970. p. 72. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved August 21, 2022 – via Google Books.
- "British single certifications – Freda Payne – Band of Gold". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved August 19, 2022.
- "Gold & Platinum - RIAA". RIAA. Retrieved August 21, 2022.
- "British certifications – Freda Payne". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved August 21, 2022. Type Freda Payne in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
- Joseph Murrells (1984). Million Selling Records from the 1900s to the 1980s: An Illustrated Directory. Batsford Books. p. 333. ISBN 0-7134-3843-6.
- For "Band of Gold": "Belinda Carlisle Chart History (Dance Club Songs)". Billboard.com. Retrieved August 21, 2022.
- "Freda Payne". IMDb. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
- Pressley, Nelson. "MetroStage's 'Ella' has plenty of swing thanks to Freda Payne's spot-on singing as Fitzgerald". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 29, 2014.