Gwen Dickey

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Gwen Dickey
Birth nameGwen Dickey
Also known asRose Norwalt
Born (1953-12-01) December 1, 1953 (age 66)
Biloxi, Mississippi, U.S.
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • record producer
  • musician
  • Vocals
  • piano
Years active1973–present
Associated acts

Gwen Dickey (born December 1, 1953) is an American singer best known as the front-woman of the R&B band Rose Royce, where she performed under the name Rose Norwalt. Her most recognized songs include "Car Wash" and "Wishing on a Star". In 1976, her lead vocals on the Billboard Hot 100 number-one single "Car Wash" brought Dickey and the band immediate international fame. She left the band in 1980. She subsequently left the United States for the United Kingdom, where she remains a popular performer.[1]


Born in Biloxi, Mississippi, Dickey began performing professionally at local clubs. She eventually began performing with a local venue's house band known as The Jewels. During a tour stop in Miami, Joe Harris of The Undisputed Truth noticed Dickey, after hearing her perform with The Jewels. Harris, who had been looking for a female singer to replace Brenda Evans, had Dickey flown to Los Angeles to audition for their music producer and record label CEO Norman Whitfield. After auditioning for Whitfield, Whitfield instead placed her in his newly signed group Rose Royce. Dickey was also given the stage name Rose Norwalt by Whitfield.[citation needed]

In September 1976, Rose Royce released their first single "Car Wash", with lead vocals performed by Dickey. The single peaked at number one on Billboard's Hot 100 chart,[2] and sold over a million copies in United States.[3] Rose Royce's debut album Car Wash was released on September 13, 1976. It sold over two million copies worldwide and won Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack Album in 1977.[4] The album's final single "I'm Going Down", which also featured lead vocals from Dickey, peaked at number 70 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and reached number ten on the R&B singles chart.

The group's second album Rose Royce II: In Full Bloom became a platinum-seller in the United States, topped the R&B albums chart, and peaked at number nine on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart.[3][5] The album spawned three successful singles: "Do Your Dance (Part 1)", "It Makes You Feel Like Dancin'", "Ooh Boy", and "Wishing on a Star". Despite the poor chart performance of "Wishing on a Star", which was led completely by Dickey, the song became an international pop hit and garnered a certified silver certification in the United Kingdom.[6]

In August 1978, Rose Royce released their third album Rose Royce III: Strikes Again!, which was certified gold in the United States.[3] The album spawned two top-ten R&B singles: "Love Don't Live Here Anymore" and "I'm in Love (And I Love the Feeling)".[5] In 1979, Rose Royce released their fourth album Rose Royce IV: Rainbow Connection, the final album to feature vocals with Dickey. In April 1980, Dickey left Rose Royce to pursue a solo career after experiencing turmoil with other members of the group.

In 1993, Dickey released her debut solo album Time to Change, which spawned the single "Don't Stop". In 1994, she and KWS released a cover of Chaka Khan's song "Ain't Nobody". In 1998, Dickey sang a duet with rapper Jay-Z on a cover of Rose Royce's "Wishing on a Star", which peaked at number thirteen on the UK Singles charts. In the same year, she also provided guest vocals on the song "Flying" by Romeo for the soundtrack of the movie Albeltje.

In 2001, she headlined a musical tour called "What A Feeling" which played in major theaters throughout England. Dickey opened for James Brown at the One Grand Prix Ball in Monte Carlo and shared a bill with Meatloaf in Antwerp, Belgium for Night of the Proms to a sold out show for three nights that same year. In 2004, Dickey performed at the Glastonbury Music Festival in England. Dickey performed once again with James Brown at Monte Carlo for Formula 1 in 2005. She did an encore performance for the Formula 1 Drivers Annual Charity Ball in 2006. She performed throughout the United Kingdom and Europe in both 2007 and 2008.

In 2010, Dickey and her former Rose Royce band members appeared in an episode of Unsung.

Personal life[edit]

In 2010, Dickey suffered a spinal cord injury in her London home, leaving her reliant on a wheelchair. As of 2018, she still performed concerts while seated on stage.[7]


  • Time to Change (1993)[8]


  1. ^ Waring, Charles (30 July 2015). "A Rose by any other name – Ex-Rose Royce singer Gwen Dickey talks". Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  2. ^ "Rose Royce – Chart history: Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved January 11, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c "US Certifications > Rose Royce". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 2012-05-05.
  4. ^ "Norman Whitfield | Biography, Albums, Streaming Links". AllMusic. Retrieved 2019-05-19.
  5. ^ a b Rose Royce Billboard Chart History. Billboard. Retrieved on December 1, 2018
  6. ^ "UK Certified Awards Search > Rose Royce". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 2012-05-05.
  7. ^ Brennan, Stuart (14 February 2014). "Review: David Gest's Legends of Soul Spectacular @ Stockport Plaza". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  8. ^ "Gwen Dickey – Time To Change". Discogs. Retrieved 10 August 2018.