Infobox musical artist
Name = Labelle

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Background = group_or_band
Origin = United States
Genre = R&B
Years_active = 1961 to Present
Label = Atlantic Records, Warner Bros.
Current_members = Patti LaBelle, Nona Hendryx, Sarah Dash
Past_members = Sandra Tucker, Cindy Birdsong

Labelle is an American R&B/soul group, who melded disco with funk and glam rock. The group was led by Patti LaBelle, who later had a solo career. Nona Hendryx and Sarah Dash were the other 2 members. The group was best known for their gospel singing harmonies and the group sang of racism, sexism and eroticism.This female trio is responsible for the proto-disco funk classic "Lady Marmalade," and LaBelle's outlandish space-age costumes and brash incorporation of rock & roll were a far cry from their early days as a typical '60s girl group, not to mention the later solo career of Patti LaBelle. The group's songwriter was Nona Hendryx, who followed an idiosyncratic muse into her own solo career, which often bordered on the avant-garde. [ [ Labelle | View the Music Artists Biography Online | ] ]


The beginning – initial success

In 1961, Nona Hendryx and Sarah Dash of the Del Capris joined Patricia Holt and Sundray Tucker as replacement singers for Holt's singing group, The Ordettes (when Tucker's parents made her leave the group, she was replaced by Cindy Birdsong). Patricia Holt had her name changed to Patti LaBelle after the group became “The Bluebelles”.

Though the first single was "I Sold My Heart to the Junkman" (released as "the Bluebelles"), LaBelle relays in her memoir, ("Don't Block The Blessings," that the group did not actually perform on the original track. The song's producer recorded it with “The Starlets” and renamed them the “Bluebelles”, but the group left upon the single's release.

He quickly recruited The Ordettes to perform and promote the single using the Bluebells’ moniker, and "I Sold My Heart to the Junkman" was later re-cut by the new group. The song was a hit, as were the new Bluebelles. In 1963 they followed this success with songs such as, "Down the Aisle", "You'll Never Walk Alone" (1964; Rodgers & Hammerstein) and "Danny Boy".

Becoming Patti LaBelle & the Bluebelles – Atlantic Records

They signed with Atlantic Records in 1965, releasing "Over the Rainbow" and "Groovy Kind of Love" (later a hit for the Mindbenders and Phil Collins) with only mild success. They also contributed background vocals to Wilson Pickett's hit "634-5789" in 1966. Along the line, they extended their name to Patti LaBelle & the Bluebelles.

In 1967, the group became a trio after Cindy Birdsong left to join the Supremes, replacing Florence Ballard. Three years later, the group lost their contract and hired Vicki Wickham, a British TV producer, to remake their image. She changed the name to Labelle and pushed the group to a more contemporary sound, incorporated glam influences, particularly in the spectacular spacey stage costumes that included large amounts of glitter, feathers and other acoutrements. In the early 70s, Labelle opened for the Who and lent their unmistakably powerful vocals to Laura Nyro's "Gonna Take a Miracle" album in 1971 (now considered a classic). Two songs from this album ("Desiree" and "Gonna Take a Miracle") were used in the 2004 Colin Farrell film "A Home at the End of the World" to great dramatic effect — especially "Gonna Take a Miracle," at the end of the film. Labelle also contributed to Nikki Giovanni's "Peace Be Still".

The group released "Labelle" in 1971 on Warner Bros. Records. It included covers of songs by the Rolling Stones, Kenny Rogers, Carole King and Laura Nyro. The following album, "Moonshadow" (1972), even though it included covers of famous songs ("MoonShadow" by Cat Stevens and the Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again"), gave Hendryx more freedom to write material for Labelle. The album flopped commercially, as did the third Labelle album, "Pressure Cookin", (1973), released on RCA Records. By this time and until Labelle's break-up, Hendryx wrote most of Labelle's material, taking the songs in a highly experimental direction that was a far cry from the sound that the Bluebelle's (and most other "girl groups" of the era) had performed. Although the album was not commercially successful, "Pressure Cookin"' allowed her to hone her talents as a songwriter, clearly demonstrated by the moving "(Can I Speak to You Before You Go to) Hollywood," which was based on the way the ladies felt when people who had "made it" in the business no longer were interested in keeping in contact with Patti, Sarah, or Nona.

Labelle begins her solo career

After "Pressure Cookin"', Labelle signed with Epic Records and recorded an album, "Nightbirds", with Allen Toussaint, a famous record producer. "Lady Marmalade", a sexy, funky disco song about a New Orleans prostitute (with a come-hither French chorus, "Voulez-vous coucher avec moi?") became a massive hit in 1975 and one of the first mainstream disco hits (Jones and Kantonen, 1999). The success of the single also pushed the album to the top of the charts. It would be covered by numerous artists including Madchester-era indie The Happy Mondays (spliced into "Kinky Afro") and most notably Christina Aguilera, Lil' Kim, Mýa and P!nk for the "Moulin Rouge!" soundtrack.

Labelle's commercial momentum after "Nightbirds" and "Lady Marmalade" decreased, in spite of several hits and the critically acclaimed experimental albums "Phoenix" (1975) and "Chameleon" (1976). When the group split up in 1976, Hendryx and LaBelle managed successful solo careers, while Sarah Dash had a few notable dance hits: "Sinner Man" (1978, which gained her much public attention), and "Lucky Tonight" (1984), with Sylvester singing background vocals. Dash also acted on television for the PBS series "Watch Your Mouth", (1978), and has performed on Broadway. Her career picked up again om the 90s when she was asked to sing with The Rolling Stones on their "Steel Wheels" album, and even more so when she became one of Keith Richards' "X-pensive Winos," and was given solo and duet opportunities with his band (namely the (duet) ballad, "Make No Mistake," and solo "Time Is on My Side," which Richards said in his autobiography is "the best version he has ever heard").


LaBelle, Hendryx and Dash have reunited several times including a famed 1991 reunion at the Apollo Theater 30 years after the group first stole the audience's hearts at the same venue. The concert was recorded as a live album. A brief reunion came in the form of the huge dance success "Turn It Out," from the "To Wong Foo" soundtrack. They reunited again in 2001 to honor Patti on BET's "Walk of Fame," where they performed an explosive version of "What Can I Do for You," as well as "Lady Marmalade". The most recent reunion was in 2005 during a tribute to Patti's 45th anniversary in show business. In January 2006, Labelle again reunited to record "Dear Rosa," a tribute to the late civil rights champion Rosa Parks. The release date of the single has not been set at this time. There are also plans for an entire reunion album and tour, set to happen in 2008. In addition, Labelle contributed the theme song for the soundtrack of the film, "Preaching to the Choir".

Erykah Badu pays homage to the group's final album "Chameleon" in her new video "Honey (Erykah Badu song)" by recreating the album cover art.

Plans for the future

According to her recent [ Fashion News Live interview] during Fashion Week 2007, Patti Labelle announced that Labelle is currently recording with Lenny Kravitz as the producer. They plan to finish recording this year and plan to tour in 2008.


*"Labelle" (Warner Bros. Records)
*"Moonshadow" (Warner Bros. Records)
*"Pressure Cookin'" (RCA)
*"Nightbirds" (Epic)
*"Phoenix" (Epic)
*"Chameleon" (Epic)
*"Back To Now"


*"Morning Much Better", 1971, Warner Bros. Records
*"Moonshadow", 1972, Warner Bros. Records
*"Ain't It Sad It's All Over", 1972, Warner Bros. Records
*"Sunshine", 1973, RCA
*"Going On a Holiday", 1973, RCA
*"Lady Marmalade", 1974, Epic
*"What Can I Do for You", 1974, Epic
*"Messin' With My Mind", 1975, Epic
*"Far As We Felt Like Goin'", 1975, Epic
*"Get You Somebody New", 1976, Epic
*"Isn't It a Shame", 1976, Epic
*"Miss Otis Regrets", 1976
*"Lady Marmalade / Messin' With My Mind" (re-release), 1989 12-inch, Epic
*"Turn It Out" (from the soundtrack "To Wong Foo..."), 1995, MCA
*"Roll Out", 2008


*Jones, Alan and Kantonen, Jussi (1999) "Saturday Night Forever: The Story of Disco". Chicago, Illinois: A Cappella Books. ISBN 1-55652-411-0.

*LaBelle, Patti, with Laura B. Randolph (1996). "Don't Block the Blessings: Revelations of a Lifetime". New York, NY: Riverhead Books. ISBN 1-57322-039-6.

* [] , “Labelle”, by Steve Huey, All Music Guide (accessed on June 29th, 2008)

ee also

*List of number-one hits (United States)
*List of artists who reached number one on the Hot 100 (U.S.)
*List of number-one dance hits (United States)
*List of artists who reached number one on the U.S. Dance chart

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  • labelle — [ labɛl ] n. m. • 1815; lat. labellum « petite lèvre » ♦ Sc. nat. 1 ♦ Pétale supérieur de la corolle des orchidées. 2 ♦ Bord renversé de certains coquillages. ⊗ HOM. Label. ● labelle nom masculin (latin labellum, petite lèvre) La plus grande des… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Labelle — Labelle, FL U.S. city in Florida Population (2000): 4210 Housing Units (2000): 1739 Land area (2000): 3.468007 sq. miles (8.982096 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.086356 sq. miles (0.223662 sq. km) Total area (2000): 3.554363 sq. miles (9.205758 sq …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Labelle, FL — U.S. city in Florida Population (2000): 4210 Housing Units (2000): 1739 Land area (2000): 3.468007 sq. miles (8.982096 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.086356 sq. miles (0.223662 sq. km) Total area (2000): 3.554363 sq. miles (9.205758 sq. km) FIPS… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • labellé — labellé, ée (la bèl lé, lée) adj. Coquille labellée, coquille univalve dont le bord interne est prolongé en une petite lèvre. ÉTYMOLOGIE    Labelle …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • Labelle — Le nom est porté notamment dans la Sarthe. S agit il d un surnom pour celle qui est belle ? C est possible, à moins qu on ait affaire à une forme l Abelle, ou Abelle pourrait désigner le peuplier blanc (latin albellus) …   Noms de famille

  • LaBelle — Patti LaBelle Patti LaBelle (* 24. Mai 1944 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), eigentlich Patricia Louise Holt, ist eine legendäre US amerikanische R B und Soul Sängerin. Inhaltsverzeichnis …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Labelle — Patti LaBelle Patti LaBelle (* 24. Mai 1944 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), eigentlich Patricia Louise Holt, ist eine legendäre US amerikanische R B und Soul Sängerin. Inhaltsverzeichnis …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Labelle —  Pour l’article homophone, voir Label. Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Labelle peut faire référence à : Labelle (botanique), troisième pétale de la fleur des orchidées Labelle… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • LaBelle — La ville de LaBelle est le siège du comté de Hendry, situé en Floride, aux États Unis. v · sièges de comtés de l’État de Floride …   Wikipédia en Français

  • LaBelle — Original name in latin LaBelle Name in other language State code US Continent/City America/New York longitude 26.76173 latitude 81.43841 altitude 8 Population 4640 Date 2011 05 14 …   Cities with a population over 1000 database

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