R&B/Pop singer Freda Payne is best known for her catchy 1970s hit song “Band of Gold” and war protest song “Bring the Boys Home”. She is also an actress who starred in many TV shows and movies over the decades.
Ms. Payne was born in Detroit, Michigan on Sept. 19, 1942. She grew up listening to jazz singers Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday. After winning many local shows as a teenager, Ms. Payne took her talents to New York City where she worked with Quincy Jones, Pearl Bailey and Bill Cosby.
Back home in Detroit, Payne ran into old friends Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Edward Holland, Jr., of Motown’s award-winning Holland Dozier Holland production team. They invited her to join their newly-formed record label Invictus Records.
After enjoying a minor R&B hit with “Unhooked Generation”, Eddie Holland offered her “Band of Gold”, which he co-wrote with Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier And Ron Dunbar.
The song was an instant smash when it was released in February 1970. It peaked at #3 on the U.S. charts and topped the UK charts at #1, earning Payne her first gold record.
More hits followed, including the Vietnam war protest song “Bring the Boys Home”, which peaked at #12 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and earned Payne her 2nd gold record in 1971.
In 1973, Payne left Invictus and signed with ABC/Dunhill Records and later with Capitol Records. She went on to star in TV shows and movies such as Nutty Professor II: The Klumps (2000).
Ms. Payne is pictured above right with singers Mary Wilson (The Supremes), left, and Brenda Russell, center.
Ms. Payne is pictured center with singer Mary Wilson and friend of the blog fashion designer Sir Keith Holman at the Marvin Gaye stamp ceremony in Los Angeles on Tuesday, April 2.
If you live in Hollywood, Ms. Payne will be in concert tonight, Saturday, April 6, at the Catalina Jazz Club on West Sunset Boulevard. She will join Corky Hale and Eloise Law to celebrate what would’ve been the 102nd birthday of jazz great Billie Holiday.
Click here to see a list of her upcoming events.
Band of Gold
Bring the Boys Home
Photos by GAB Archive/Redferns, Michael Ochs Archives, Kevin Winter/Getty Images, Sir Keith Holman