The Emotions

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The Emotions
OriginChicago, Illinois, U.S.
Years active1962–present
LabelsStax, Volt, Columbia
Associated acts
MembersPamela Hutchinson
Sheila Hutchinson-Witt
Wanda Vaughn
Past membersJeanette Hawes
Theresa Davis
Adrianne Harris

The Emotions are an American Grammy Award–winning soul/R&B vocal group from Chicago, Illinois. The group started out in Gospel but later delved into R&B and Soul. The Emotions were named by VH1 as one of the 18 most influential girl groups of all time.[1][2][3]



The group was originally a gospel outfit known as the Hutchinson Sunbeams. They eventually became an R&B/Soul act with a popular following in their hometown of Chicago, Illinois. Soon being renamed as The Emotions, they signed with the Memphis-based Volt imprint of Stax Records in the late 60s.[4][5][6] Under the production of Isaac Hayes and David Porter the group issued their 1969 debut album entitled "So I Can Love You" on Stax.[7]

So I Can Love You rose to no. 43 upon the Billboard Top R&B Albums chart.[8] The album's title track got to nos. 3 & 39 upon the Hot R&B Songs and Hot 100 charts respectively.[9][10] Another single entitled The Best Part Of A Love Affair rose to no. 27 upon the Hot R&B Songs chart.[11]

The group went on to release their sophomore LP entitled Untouched in 1972 upon Stax.[12] The album cut Show Me How rose to no. 13 upon the Hot R&B Songs chart.[13]

The Emotions then started to work on their third studio album entitled Songs of Innocence and Experience. This LP was due to be issued in 1972, but was eventually shelved. The girl group went on to appear in the 1973 feature film Wattstax. They also contributed the song peace be still to the soundtrack of the movie. With Stax going on to become defunct in 1975, the group then left the record label altogether.[14][15][16]

Above and beyond[edit]

The group then joined up with Columbia Records where an association with Maurice White of Earth, Wind & Fire brought them their greatest level of success.[1] With Charles Stepney and White's production, The Emotions issued in 1976 their third studio album Flowers on Columbia.[17] Flowers rose to no.5 upon the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. As well Flowers was certified Gold in the US by the Recording Industry Association of America.[18][19] The album's title track got to no. 16 on the Billboard Hot R&B Songs chart. Another single being I Don't Wanna Lose Your Love rose to nos. 4 & 13 on the Dance Club Songs and Hot R&B Songs chart respectively.[20][21][22][23]

Following Charles Stepney's death in 1976, White took over producing the Emotions.[4] During 1977 the group issued their follow up album entitled Rejoice The album reached No. 1 on the Billboard Top R&B Albums chart and No. 7 on the Billboard 200 chart. Rejoice has also been certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

With the LP came the single "Don't Ask My Neighbors" which got to the top ten on the Billboard R&B singles charts. Another song called Best of My Love" reached No. 1 on the Billboard Pop and R&B charts.[24] "Best of My Love" won a Grammy for Best R&B Performance By a Duo or Group with Vocals,[2] and an American Music Award for Favorite Soul/R&B Single. Best of My Love has also been certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

During summer 1978 The Emotions went on to issue their third Columbia album called Sunbeam. The album rose to No. 12 on the Billboard Top Soul Albums chart. An album cut called Smile reached No. 6 on the Billboard Hot Soul Songs chart. Sunbeam has been certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.[1]

During 1979 Earth, Wind & Fire collaborated with the Emotions on the single "Boogie Wonderland". The song reached No. 6 and No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Hot Soul Songs charts. Boogie Wonderland has also been certified Gold in the US by the RIAA. Within October of that year the Emotions issued their follow up studio album again produced by White entitled Come into Our World upon Columbia.[25] Come into Our World rose to no. 35 upon the Billboard Top R&B Albums chart. The album cut What's the Name of Your Love? also got to no. 30 upon the Billboard Hot R&B Songs chart.[26][27]

Wanda and Jeanette went on to appear on Jennifer Holliday's Grammy nominated 1983 LP Feel My Soul.[28][29]

The Emotions' eight studio album entitled Sincerely was issued in 1984 on the Red Label.[30] The album rose to No. 33 on the Billboard Top Soul Albums chart.[31] As a single You're The Best rose to No. 33 on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart.[32]

The Emotions went on to feature on Tyler Collins 1989 album Girls Nite Out. A song off the LP which the girl group sang on called Watcha Gonna Do? rose to No. 8 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.[33][34]

Jeanette and Wanda then appeared upon EWF's 1990 album Heritage. The Emotions also guested upon Nancy Wilson's 1990 album A Lady with a Song and jazz group Urban Knights's 1995 LP Urban Knights I. They then featured on LL Cool J's 1995 LP Mr. Smith which has been certified Double Platinum in the US by the RIAA.[1][35] The Emotions also appeared on George Duke's 1995 album Illusions and Smokey Robinson's 1999 Grammy nominated album Intimate.[1][36][37]

During 2000 Pamela eventually rejoined the group.[1] The Emotions went on to guest upon Earth, Wind & Fire's 2003 single "All in the Way". All in the Way rose to nos. 13 & 25 upon the Adult R&B Songs and Adult Contemporary Songs chart. This track featured upon EWF's 2003 album The Promise which was also produced by Maurice White.[38][39][40] As well the group appeared on a 2004 PBS soul music special hosted by Patti La Belle where they performed "Best Of My Love".[41] Within September of that year Songs of Innocence and Experience was finally released by Stax.[14]

The Emotions went on to collaborate with rapper Snoop Dogg on a track called "Life" upon his 2006 album Tha Blue Carpet Treatment.[42] The album has been certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.[43] The Emotions also appeared as a guest artist upon Terrace Martin's 2016 Grammy nominated album Velvet Portraits.[44][45]


The Emotions have been sampled by rappers such as Big Daddy Kane, Tupac Shakur, LL Cool J, Wu Tang Clan, 50 Cent, Ice Cube, Salt n Pepa, De La Soul, Kanye West, A Tribe Called Quest and Notorious BIG.[46][47]

Artists such as Toni Braxton, 112, Mariah Carey, Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam, Mary J Blige, Ginuwine, Keyshia Cole, Tamia and Janet Jackson have also sampled the girl group.[46][48][49]

As well they've been covered by artists such as Phoebe Snow, Minnie Riperton, Marcia Hines, Patti La Belle, Maysa, The Temptations, Will Downing and Nancy Wilson[46]

The Emotions have also influenced artists such as En Vogue,[50] Anita Baker,[51][52] Shanice,[53] Regina Belle,[54] Lalah Hathaway,[55] Jade,[56] Kirk Whalum,[57] Sheena Easton,[58] Teena Marie[59] and Fantasia.[60]


Grammy Awards[edit]


Year Nominee / work Award Result
1978 Best Of My Love Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo, Group or Chorus Won
1980 Boogie Wonderland Best Disco Recording Nominated

Rhythm & Blues Foundation[edit]


Year Nominee / work Award Result
2001 Rhythm & Blues Foundation Pioneer Award Won



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  5. ^ "The Emotions".
  6. ^ "Grammy Winners Reunite to Prove They're 'Bigger Than Bubblegum'".
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  8. ^ "The Emotions: So I Can Love You (Top R&B Albums)".
  9. ^ "The Emotions: So I Can Love You (Hot 100)".
  10. ^ "The Emotions: So I Can Love You (Hot R&B Songs)".
  11. ^ "The Emotions: The Best Part Of A Love Affair (Hot R&B Songs)".
  12. ^ "The Emotions: Untouched".
  13. ^ "The Emotions: Show Me How (Hot R&B Songs)".
  14. ^ a b "The Emotions: Songs of Innocence and Experience".
  15. ^ "Wattstax: Soundtrack".
  16. ^ "Wattstax: Cast".
  17. ^ "The Emotions: Flowers".
  18. ^ "The Emotions: Flowers (Top R&B Albums)".
  19. ^ "The Emotions: Flowers".
  20. ^ "The Emotions: Flowers (Hot R&B Songs)".
  21. ^ "The Emotions: Flowers (Hot R&B Songs)".
  22. ^ "The Emotions: I Don't Wanna Lose Your Love (Hot R&B Songs)".
  23. ^ "The Emotions: I Don't Wanna Lose Your Love (Dance Club Songs)".
  24. ^ "Best of My Love – The Emotions". AllMusic. Retrieved April 13, 2008.
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  26. ^ "The Emotions: What's the Name of Your Love?".
  27. ^ "The Emotions: Come into Our World (Top R&B Albums)".
  28. ^ "Jennifer Holliday: Feel My Soul".
  29. ^ "Jennifer Holliday".
  30. ^ The Emotions: Sincerely. Red Label. 1984.
  31. ^ "The Emotions: Sincerely (Top Soul Albums)".
  32. ^ "The Emotions: You're The Best (Dance Club Songs)".
  33. ^ "Tyler Collins: Girls Nite Out".
  34. ^ "Tyler Collins: Whatcha Gonna Do?".
  35. ^ "LL Cool J: Mr. Smith".
  36. ^ "Smokey Robinson".
  37. ^ "Smokey Robinson: Intimate".
  38. ^ "Earth, Wind & Fire: The Promise".
  39. ^ "Earth, Wind & Fire: All In The Way (Adult R&B Songs)".
  40. ^ "Earth, Wind & Fire: All In The Way (Adult Contemporary)".
  41. ^ "70s Soul Superstars". PBS Hawaii.
  42. ^ Snoop Dogg: Tha Blue Carpet Treatment (Bonus Tracks). Doggy style/Geffen Records. 2006.
  43. ^ "Snoop Dogg: Tha Blue Carpet Treatment".
  44. ^ "Terrace Martin: Velvet Portraits".
  45. ^ "Terrace Martin".
  46. ^ a b c "The Emotions".
  47. ^ Kelley, Frannie (November 4, 2011). When Old School Was New: Big Daddy Kane's 'Ain't No Half-Steppin'". Georgia Public Broadcasting. Retrieved October 28, 2012.
  48. ^ "The Emotions".
  49. ^ Frere-Jones, Sasha (April 3, 2006). Mariah Carey's record-breaking career. The New Yorker. Retrieved October 28, 2012.
  50. ^ "EN VOGUE : Off to a Fast Start and Making a Supreme Effort".
  51. ^ "Anita Baker breaks out of Pop pack".
  52. ^ Anita Baker [@IAMANITABAKER] (Aug 6, 2014). "y'all Bettah SANG...EMOTIONS!! YES. YESSS!! :) Stomps Foot/Drops Mic.. (Eddie Murphy Sexual Choclate Voice)" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  53. ^ "I Love Your Smile, Voice Coach Sally b. Interviews Legendary R&b Star, Shanice".
  54. ^ "BELLE EPOQUE RISE OF REGINA". Washington
  55. ^ "Lalah Hathaway".
  56. ^ "Turning Jade to Gold : With a Steady-Selling Album and Hit Single, the R&B Trio Is Proving a Worthy Investment for Its Creator, Giant Records".
  57. ^ "Kirk Whalum On The Emotions: Best Soul Girl Groups Countdown".
  58. ^ 'Fabulous Easton turns Dance Diva. 112. Billboard Magazine. November 11, 2000. pp. 18 & 24.
  60. ^ "The Making of an Idol".
  61. ^ "Pioneer Awards (2001)".

External links[edit]