Friday, August 07, 2009

Whitney does Loleatta..



..well, sort of.

It seems Whitney Houston's upcoming comeback single "Million Dollar Bill," produced by Swizz Beatz and written (quite partially) by Alicia Keys has leaked, and surprises of surprises (truly), it's based right off of Loleatta Holloway's Salsoul classic "We're Getting Stronger (The Longer We Stay Together)." Took me a few minutes to put it together, but from the opening basslines, I knew I was hearing something familiar. For all the press attention this has been receiving lately, I'm surprised this doesn't seem to have been mentioned (even vaguely) yet, but I guess it was only a matter of time.



Whitney Houston - Million Dollar Bill


Loleatta Holloway - We're Getting Stronger


The original track, off of Loleatta's "Loleatta" (1976, Gold Mind/Salsoul) LP her first for Salsoul, was produced by the late, great Norman Harris and written by Harris along with prolific Philly writers Allan Felder and Ron Tyson (currently of The Temptations). Tyson, Felder and Harris together had written the bulk of Loleatta's first Salsoul LP along other Salsoul staples like Loleatta's own "Dreamin'," First Choice's "Doctor Love," Love Committee's "Law & Order" to name a few. Back to the song though, the late Walter Gibbons' stunning remix needs to be heard as well, with all of it's exquisite instrumental breaks, really brings out the melody and vocals making it that much better, in my opinion..

Listen: Loleatta Holloway - We're Getting Stronger (The Longer We Stay Together) (Walter Gibbons 12" Mix)

Though personally, nothing can take away from Loleatta's original, it's probably the best out of all the leaks from Whitney's upcoming 'comeback' record and seems to have gotten the strongest reception so far. The sample itself is well done and the single goes a way in rehabbing her image from the 'Crack is Wack'/Being Bobby Brown lows (or 'highs,' depending on your perspective) several years back. If anything, probably the last thing that I expected a Swizz Beatz single to sound like, given what I've heard of his stuff. If it hits big, I can only wonder how long before other Philly/disco samples start hitting the airwaves again.

PREVIOUS RELATED ENTRIES:
DISCO DELIVERY #55: CISSY HOUSTON - STEP ASIDE FOR A LADY (1980, COLUMBIA) (FRIDAY JUNE 20, 2008)
DISCO DELIVERY #36: LOLEATTA HOLLOWAY - QUEEN OF THE NIGHT (1978, GOLD MIND/SALSOUL) (WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 28, 2007)
DISCO DELIVERY #8: CISSY HOUSTON - THINK IT OVER (1978, PRIVATE STOCK) (FRIDAY FEBRUARY 24, 2006)

LINKS:
DISCOMUSIC.COM: INTERVIEW WITH LOLEATTA HOLLOWAY
DISCOGS: LOLEATTA HOLLOWAY - LOLEATTA LP
DISCO-DISCO.COM: INTERVIEW WITH LOLEATTA HOLLOWAY
MYSPACE: LOLEATTA HOLLOWAY (OFFICIAL)
FOURFOUR: PUT ONE HAND IN THE AIR (AUGUST 7, 2009)
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: WHITNEY HOUSTON'S 'I LOOK TO YOU' FIGURES FOR A STRONG RADIO RECEPTION (BY DAVID HINCKLEY) (MONDAY AUGUST 3, 2009)
POP & HISS, THE L.A. TIMES MUSIC BLOG: WHITNEY HOUSTON ENJOYS A COMING OUT PARTY (JULY 24, 2009)
WHUDAT: WHITNEY HOUSTON DEBUTS I LOOK TO YOU.. "LOVE ME LIKE I NEVER LEFT" (WEDNESDAY JULY 22, 2009)
DOSE.CA: WE LOOK TO NYC FOR WHITNEY HOUSTON'S ALBUM PARTY; YES, SHE'S LOOKING GOOD, SAME GOES FOR THE MUSIC (BY LEAH COLLINS) (WEDNESDAY JULY 22, 2009)
MIRROR.CO.UK: MY PREVIEW OF THE NEW WHITNEY HOUSTON ALBUM (BY DEAN PIPER) (JULY 19, 2009)
BILLBOARD: WHITNEY HOUSTON PREMIERES NEW ALBUM IN LONDON (BY MARK SUTHERLAND) (JULY 15, 2009)

CATEGORIES: DISCO NEWS

20 comments:

martymartymarty said...

I just wish Loleatta could make some Whitney-size money as a result of the use of the sample!!! =)

Tommy said...

Yeah, so do I. Although given what I've heard about royalties and the contracts that were signed then, somehow I doubt it. :(

Haroon said...

First Whitney song I've liked in years. Too bad this one is going to get so much airplay you'll never want to hear it again though.

jc said...

great tune! too bad whitney can't hit the same notes as loleatta these days...

DJ San Fran said...

Hey Tommy!

Glad to see that I'm not the only person who noticed the sampling of Loleatta on the new Whitney track.

The samples become more apparent when you listen to the Salsoul DJ Tools 12" of "We're Getting Stronger". Swizz Beats basically cut between the Bass & Drums mix and the Rhythm Track mix, and had Whitney's vocals put on top along with some extra claps.

That being said, I do enjoy the song, though of course it can't top the original!

M.E. Grant said...

I wouldn't expect it of Swizz Beats either, but Alicia Keys uses vintage embellishments in her own work.

Tommy said...

Thanks for the comments!

Haroon - good point. I hate it when that happens, but I suppose that would be a good thing for Whitney (and for Salsoul and the Norman Harris estate, I suppose). Anyway, that's exactly why I tend to avoid commercial radio like the plague these days.

jc - yeah, i like it too. Loleatta's voice was golden at this time. I think Whitney still sounds allright though, considering how bad the crack addiction apparently was. God forbid she ever starts croaking like Dionne apparently is these days.

DJ San Fran - totally agree! I should pick up those Salsoul DJ Tools 12", I never knew about those mixes. Great work figuring that out! Thanks for posting! :)

M.E. Grant, you're right.. I don't listen to Alicia much, but yeah, I guess that's probably why some people on blogs are mentioning how it sounds 'very alicia.'

Kristofer David said...

Love it - us old-schoolers are pleased !!!!

So now we know that Whitney's CD does feature at least 3 dance tracks...and the DIDN'T KNOW MY OWN STRENGTH (already huge in my favorite club in Montreal).

Can't wait to hear her ballad-intro/Hi-NRG treatment of A SONG FOR YOU !!!!

Tommy said...

Hey Kris, glad to know!

The 'love hangover' treatment of "Song For You" sounds very intriguing. A diva proclaiming her survival to a dance beat, I just know the queens are gonna eat this one up like it was their last meal.. I oughta know, I suppose haha ;)

Mike said...

Wow that totally passed me by! I have to say, I am excited to have Whitney back and "Million Dollar Bill" is the pick of the bunch so far. I love Loleatta and will have to track down her album.

adam said...

I kind of like it. Agreed it would be good to see Loleatta getting some attention cos if you like the Whitney there's no reason not to like the other at all.

I've actually popped the two together for some friends and for me to play out if anyone is interested?

http://soundcloud.com/scrimshire/whitney-loleatta-million-dollar-bill

Thanks for this wicked blog.

And I apologise if you don't like me linking this edit please remove if you don't like.

richard said...

I can't download the Loleatta tune, breaks after 20 seconds?

Tommy said...

Hey Mike - So am I! You should go and get a best of Loleatta compilation sometime. I think you'd love her!

Hey Adam - Yeah, I hope Loleatta gets some credit here. From what I've heard/read (her own statements and others'), I'm doubtful she'll be getting much in the way of financial credit, so to speak.. As far as posting the edit, no problem. You can really hear it, when they're put side-by-side like that..

Hey Richard, it seems the server (fileden) is down, so I moved them somewhere else. They should work again now. Thanks for letting me know.

QH said...

I luv this song, it reminds me very much of "Upside Down" in spirit if not so much its style locale. Either way I'm pleased with the single, and I was glad to read this piece, I didn't know this was a lifted sample. Very well utilized.-QH

professor Eddy said...

I don't know why Whitney tries to hit notes she can't reach anymore. It makes the song very weak at some points. I like Loleatta Holloway! She's a very underrated singer and only known by a relatively small group of disco-lovers. Her voice is so powerful on this track (so much better than Whitney's, I think). Nice to see Loleatta in the limelight of your blog, Tommy!

Jay Watts III said...

There was a mention about this earlier this week in the Globe & Mail. (Either Monday or Tuesday's edition, I can't recall). Anyways, I love your blog, thanks for the music!

Steven said...

I know i'll probably get crucified for this but, I actually like Whitney's track better than the original. I love Loleatta, but "We're Getting Stronger" isn't one of her stronger moments IMHO. I think the vocals are too busy and doesn't let the track breath enough.
I think "Million Dollar Bill" has a more solid hook, funky swing to it all & isn't over sung or too crowded like the arrangements in "We're Getting Stronger."
With that being said, it's a shame the media doesn't seem to be acknowledging the connection, like at all.
No disrespect to Loleatta, i'm a much bigger fan of her's than Whitney, whom I never really been a fan of really until this track.
Either way, I think we can all agree that Loleatta deserves to get the props and get paid!

Lady Blacktronika said...

The original was better but I'm glad Whitney is getting on the Nu Disco train.

Brian said...

Loleatta was pushed aside by the music industry because of bias marketing. Large women had a hard time getting support. One example is this track, and the 50+ sampled euro records (Black Box and others).
I paid for the original Holloway LP, which I play in gigs. I have people running up to me saying 'what did they do to whitney's record?' LOL

Still this is a nice disco flavor for whitney, though she was a little girl in the disco era.

timothyjamaal said...

I have to disagree with Steven, her version pales to Loleatta's! Only Alicia part in Whitney's is the "O-o-o-h"s in it, lol

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