Song:Strike It Up
There has been a long history of fakery in the music business. But it reached a brazen crescendo in the late 80s and early 90s. Of course most folks will point to the phony duo Milli Vanilli. But those two guys knew they were faking and just went with it. Black Box was a lot worse because they hired Martha Wash of The Weather Girls to sing several songs on their 1991 album Dreamland and then used a lip syncing model in the videos with no credit for Martha. Strike It Up was one of their two top ten hits. Black Box came out of the Italian house music scene led by DJ Daniele Davoli along with electronic music whiz Mirko Limoni and classical clarinetist Valeric Semplici. They were known as Groove Groove Melody. They decided to become Black Box in 1989 and hired model Catherine Quinol AKA Katrin as lead singer. The problem was she couldn't sing. Black Box got into trouble when their first single Ride On Time was a hit in England. The song heavily sampled Loleatta Holloway's 1980 hit Love Sensation. They used her vocals on the record without credit and failed to credit songwriter Dan Hartman. They had to pull the record and re-record the vocals. Black Box hired Martha Wash to sing most of the songs on the 1990 album Dreamland. But she was not credited and when the video for Everybody Everybody was released, Martha was nowhere to be seen and Katrin was dancing and lip syncing. The song reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 and so did Strike It Up. The album was a huge success. Martha Wash sued RCA Records. She says she was hired as a demo singer for a flat fee and her vocals were not supposed to be released. They told her the songs were to be re-recorded with a different vocalist. Martha got cash and a record deal from RCA. US laws were changed afterwards. I'm not sure how that affects European dance music producers who don't care about US laws. RCA dropped Black Box. The 1995 album Positive Vibration featuring singer Charvoni Woodson but still using Katrin publicly did not sell. They haven't recorded as Black Box since then but they have recorded under other names and are still active today as producers. Here's the video for Strike it Up by Black Box.