Freda Payne

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Freda Payne
Freda Payne NYC 1997 (46663862432).jpg
Payne in 1998
Freda Charcilia Payne

(1942-09-19) September 19, 1942 (age 78)
  • Singer
  • actress
Years active1961–present
(m. 1976; div. 1979)
Partner(s)Edmund Sylvers
RelativesScherrie Payne
Musical career
Associated acts

Freda Charcilia Payne (born September 19, 1942)[1][2][3][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.[4] Payne is the older sister of Scherrie Payne, a former singer with the American vocal group The Supremes.


Early life and career[edit]

Payne was born in Detroit, Michigan,[5] and grew up listening to jazz singers, such as Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday.[4] 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.[4] In 1963, she moved to New York City and worked with many entertainers, including Quincy Jones, Pearl Bailey, and Bill Cosby.[4] 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.[4] (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 style, How Do You Say I Don't Love You Anymore, for MGM Records.[4] She also made occasional guest appearances on television shows including The Merv Griffin Show and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.[4]

She added theatrical credits to her repertoire: she understudied Leslie Uggams for the Broadway show Hallelujah Baby in 1967,[6] and appeared with the Equity Theatre in a production of Lost in the Stars.[citation needed] 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.[4] During that same year, her first Invictus single, "Unhooked Generation" (a minor R&B hit), was released.[7] 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.[7] 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.[4][6] Global sales were estimated at two million.[6] An album of the same name proved to be fairly successful as well.[4] Other Invictus singles included "Deeper and Deeper", which reached # US24 and UK #33 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.[6][7] 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).[4]

Payne performing at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center for a taping of The Ed Sullivan Show, 1970

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.[4] She recorded a duet "I Wanna See You Soon" with Capitol stablemates Tavares, which was a radio airplay hit in the UK in 1977.[citation needed] She released three disco albums for Capitol from 1977 to 1979, Stares And Whispers, Supernatural High and Hot.[8][9] The first one features the disco hit "Love Magnet" produced by Frank Wilson (1977).[10]

In 1981, she briefly hosted her own talk show Today's Black Woman,[11] and also found work acting in different movies, Broadway and other theatre productions throughout the 1980s.[4] 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.[citation needed] 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."[citation needed] In the mid-1990s, she released two albums for Dove Music: An Evening With Freda Payne: Live in Concert which featured her sister Scherrie Payne[12][13] 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).[4] She also continued her acting career appearing in the films, Private Obsession (1995), Ragdoll (1999), Nutty Professor II: The Klumps (2000), and Fire & Ice (made-for-TV, 2001).[4]

Later career[edit]

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).[4] 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.[14] 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).[4] 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".[15] In February 2010, Payne joined Kanye West, Jordin Sparks, Jennifer Hudson, Barbra Streisand and many more on We Are The World for Haiti Relief.[16] In 2011 Payne recorded a duet, "Saving A Life", with British pop star Sir Cliff Richard for inclusion on his Soulicious album. She also 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".

On June 25, 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed Freda Payne among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire.[17]

Personal life and honors[edit]

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.[5] Payne later had a relationship with American musician Edmund Sylvers (lead singer of The Sylvers) from 1979 until January 1983.[18] Sylvers wrote and produced her 1982 single 'In Motion'.[19] In 1974, she made the cover of Jet magazine after she was made a Dame of Malta by the Knights of Malta.[11] In 2017, Payne was inducted into the 2017 class of the Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame, in her hometown of Detroit.



Year Single Chart positions[20]
AUS[21] UK[22]
1962 "(Desafinado) Slightly Out of Tune"
1963 "Pretty Baby"
"It's Time"
1966 "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'"
1969 "The Unhooked Generation" 43
1970 "Band of Gold" 3 20 5 1
"Deeper & Deeper" 24 9 64 33
1971 "Cherish What Is Dear to You (While It's Near To You)" 44 11 46
"Bring the Boys Home" 12 3
"You Brought the Joy" 52 21
1972 "The Road We Didn't Take" 100
"Through the Memory of My Mind"
1973 "Two Wrongs Don't Make a Right" 75
"For No Reason"
1974 "It's Yours to Have" 81
1975 "I Get Carried Away"
1976 "I Get High (On Your Memory)"
1977 "Bring Back the Joy"
"Love Magnet" 85
1978 "Feed Me Your Love"
"Happy Days Are Here Again/ Happy Music (Dance the Night Away)"
1979 "I'll Do Anything for You"
"Red Hot"
"Can't Wait"
1982 "In Motion" 63
"—" denotes the single failed to chart





As an actress[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 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.


  1. ^ "Freda Payne." Contemporary Black Biography. Vol. 58. Detroit: Gale, 2007. Gale Biography In Context. Web. 5 Aug. 2011.
  2. ^ "Freda Payne." Almanac of Famous People. Gale, 2007. Gale Biography In Context. Web. 5 Aug. 2011.
  3. ^ "Freda Payne." Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television. Vol. 98. Gale, 2010. Gale Biography In Context. Web. 5 Aug. 2011.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q "Biography by Greg Prato". Retrieved March 27, 2009.
  5. ^ a b "Freda Payne Discography at Discogs". 2014-04-14. Retrieved 2014-07-29.
  6. ^ a b c d Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins. p. 301. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
  7. ^ a b c 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.
  8. ^ "Freda Payne - Discography". Retrieved June 17, 2011.
  9. ^ "Freda Payne — Hot [Capitol Records ST-12003]". Wax FM. Retrieved June 17, 2011.
  10. ^ "Freda Payne — Stares And Whispers". Wax FM. Retrieved June 17, 2011.
  11. ^ a b [1] Archived September 26, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ Larkin, Colin (1998). Colin Larkin, The Virgin encyclopedia of R&B and soul, p.257. ISBN 9780753502419. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
  13. ^ "Scherrie Payne: Supreme reflections". Retrieved 2014-07-29.
  14. ^ "Freda Payne". Archived from the original on 2011-05-10. Retrieved June 17, 2011.
  15. ^ "Who Is Freda Payne And Why Was She On 'American Idol'?". MTV. April 23, 2009. Retrieved June 17, 2011.
  16. ^ "'We Are The World -- 25 For Haiti' Artists Include Kanye West, Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber". MTV. February 2, 2010. Retrieved June 17, 2011.
  17. ^ Rosen, Jody (25 June 2019). "Here Are Hundreds More Artists Whose Tapes Were Destroyed in the UMG Fire". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 June 2019.
  18. ^ JET Magazine - Celebrity Beat - January 24, 1983
  19. ^ "Freda&Gregory". Panache Report. Retrieved 2014-07-29.
  20. ^ "Freda Payne US singles chart history". Retrieved 2010-12-17.[dead link]
  21. ^ 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.
  22. ^ "UK Official Charts - Freda Payne". Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  23. ^ a b " ((( Freda Payne > Charts & Awards > Albums )))".
  24. ^ All About Jazz Review, July 20, 2014
  25. ^ a b c d e f "Book of Numbers". Retrieved 2014-07-29.
  26. ^ Pressley, Nelson. "MetroStage's 'Ella' has plenty of swing thanks to Freda Payne's spot-on singing as Fitzgerald". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2014-07-29.

External links[edit]