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Madeline Bell

Madeline Bell was born July 23, 1942, in Newark, NJ, and was strongly influenced by her grandmother, who had been a singer. Bell was raised by her grandmother after her parents divorced. Showing a bent toward creative arts, Bell first took piano lessons at 50 cents a pop, but couldn't master the complexities of the keyboard. Next, her grandmother paid for dancing lessons and discovered Madeline would never be confused with Ginger Rogers or Josephine Baker, so the lessons stopped. By the fifth grade, Bell found her calling -- singing -- and she regularly appeared in school shows. At age 11, she pantomimed "Santa Baby," a tune popularized by Eartha Kitt. Bell regularly attended church and sang in the choir. She later joined a group called Four Jacks & a Jill, who sung on street corners. Madeline Bell was the Jill. At 16, she joined the Glovertones, a gospel group, who sang gospel on weekends, often traveling hundreds of miles in an old dilapidated station wagon, to gigs that paid five dollars a member. The station wagon often broke down and many times Bell showed up for work (in a supermarket as a meat wrapper) on Monday mornings both frustrated and dead tired. Luckily, she had an understanding boss, and besides, she could wrap 75 chickens in an hour, which easily made her the fastest chicken wrapper in the house. Her productivity was helped by the R&B music coming from the radio her boss graciously let her play while working.

Her first big break occurred when she met Alex Bradford around 1961 and was invited to join his group after successfully passing an audition. She stayed with Bradford for two years, criss-crossing the United States, playing in too many cities to mention. At the time, Bradford was considered one of the top male gospel vocalists. Toward the end of Bell's first year with the Bradford Singers, they were asked to appear in Black Nativity, a traveling musical that toured all over America and Europe. It was in Britain that she befriended the late Dusty Springfield and performed on many of her background sessions. She also worked in the studio behind Kiki Dee, Doris Troy, Joe Brown, Lesley Duncan, and Kenny Lynch, to name a few. By that time, she had left the Bradford Singers and settled in England. In 1968, six years after settling in England, a bigshot at the United Kingdoms' Philips Records heard her working in a studio and offered a contract. She first released "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me," which had previously been recorded by Dee Dee Warwick, Dionne's sister and a fellow native of Newark. Phillips initially released the record in the States on their Mod label, then switched it to Philips when it began to catch fire. It eventually went to number 26 in the United States. A year later she joined Blue Mink, Roger Cook's group, and stayed for four years, scoring on "Melting Pot" (number three, U.K.), and "Our World" (which climbed to number 64 in the States in 1970). Other sides did well in England, "Randy" (number nine), "Banner Man" (number three), and "Stay With Me" (number 11).

Leaving Blue Mink, she returned to both the lucrative world of session singing and soloing in the Netherlands. Bell made a name for herself by contributing with Tom Parker on some CD productions that were popular arrangements of classical compositions. The discs sold quite well. She appeared in the London stage production, Space, hitting the charts again at number 60 with "My Love Is Music," on which she was the featured vocalist. She also toured with the Swingmates throughout the Netherlands and had a leading part in A Night at the Cotton Club. With the Swingmates, she recorded a CD, Have You Met Miss Bell. Still singing, she appears in England clubs like Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club with her group Madeline Bell & her Musicians. She visits the States occasionally, but England has been home to the Jerseyite since 1962. ~ Andrew Hamilton
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: One Kiss Can Lead To Another: Girl Group Sounds, Lost & Found

Disc 1

1. Needle In A Haystack

2. He's Got The Power

4. I'd Much Rather Be With The Girls

5. Keep Your Hands Off My Baby

7. You Don't Know

8. Boys

9. Big Bad World

10. Out In The Streets

11. Is It True

13. I'll Keep Holding On

14. Oh No Not My Baby

15. May My Heart Be Cast Into Stone

17. I Never Dreamed

18. He's A Bad Boy

20. Dream Boy

21. Try The Worryin' Way

22. I Can't Let Go

23. Go Now

24. You're No Good

26. Life And Soul Of The Party

28. What Am I Gonna Do With You

29. He Did It

Disc 2

2. The Train From Kansas City

4. Let Me Get Close To You

5. I Have A Boyfriend

6. I'm Into Something Good

8. If There's Anything Else You Want (Let Me Know)

9. When The Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes

10. It Comes And Goes

11. Baby, Baby (I Still Love You)

12. Girl Don't Come

13. That's When The Tears Start

15. Don't Drop Out

16. The One You Can't Have

17. I'm Nobody's Baby Now

18. You're So Fine

19. When You're Young And In Love

20. My One And Only Jimmy Boy

22. Chico's Girl

23. Cause I Love Him

24. Bye Bye Baby

25. The First Cut Is The Deepest

27. Egyptian Shumba

28. I Sold My Heart To The Junkman

29. Walking In Different Circles

30. The Hideaway

Disc 3

1. The Trouble With Boys

3. Dream Baby

5. Should I Cry (Alternate Take)

6. I'm Blue (The Gong Gong Song)

7. I've Been Wrong Before

8. Love's Gone Bad

9. Nightmare

11. Will You Be My Love

12. Take Me For A Little While

13. Funnel Of Love

15. Terry

17. Sophisticated Boom Boom

19. Don't Ever Leave Me

20. Don't Forget About Me

22. Only To Other People

26. How Can I Tell My Mom & Dad

29. When I Think Of You

30. Good, Good Lovin'

Disc 4

1. When The Boy's Happy (The Girl's Happy Too)

2. Don't Drag No More

4. That's How It Goes

8. Steady Boyfriend

9. He Was Really Sayin' Somethin'

10. I Know You Love Me Not

11. Whatever Happened To Our Love

15. I Can't Wait Until I See My Baby's Face

16. Crying In The Rain

19. Hey, Tell Me Boy

20. Brink Of Disaster

21. Who Do You Love

23. They Never Taught That In School

24. Dressed In Black

25. Ain't Gonna Kiss Ya

27. Mister Loveman

28. Make The Night A Little Longer

Comments

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