Don’t You Forget About Me: Loleatta Holloway’s “Love Sensation,” Jocelyn Brown’s “Love’s Gonna Get You” and the Diva House That Ensued
Posted by Andrew Unterberger on June 10, 2008
And time won’t take my love away….
One of my favorite things about the cannibalistic nature of both and dance and hip-hop culture–or, to be more accurate I suppose, just DJ culture in general–is how the songs most frequently drawn from are so often songs that barely anyone outside the culture would recognize heard on their own. The songs that essentially form the base of these sample-based genres, songs like Kraftwerk’s “Numbers,” Dennis Edwards’ “Don’t Look Any Further,” and Bob James’ “Take Me to the Mardi Gras,” get used in so many different ways by so many different hit songs, yet as songs they’re all completely anonymous to the general public. You’d think that these core tracks would have to some pretty hot shit on their own. Yet such, I suppose, is often the challenge of a good DJ–to take that which is unremarkable and make it so.
Even still, I’m always blown away when I listen to “Love Sensation” and “Love’s Gonna Get You.” I’ll forever associate the two together, for a number of reasons. Both are sung by artists who were probably relatively farmiliar to anyone on the club scene in the 80s that was in the know, but largely unknown elsewhere. Both are extremely soulful ballads at the core, maintaining my position that both bliss and heartache always sound more compelling at over 120 bpm. And without either, diva house (hi-NRG dance with shouty chick vocals; C&C Music Factory, Deee-Lite, “Vogue”) would probably not exist as we know it–not only because of how influential the two songs most likely were, but in the fact that so many of the signature hits of the diva house era were basically carved out of already-existing chunks of those two songs–five of the 90s’ bigger and better dance hits, in fact. Yet–I hadn’t heard of either before, had you?
If you recognize Loleatta Holloway’s name, it’s likely from her appearance on Marky Mark + the Funky Bunch’s 1991 #1 hit “Good Vibrations,” in which Loleatta sang the chorus hook. This is taken straight from a couple of pieced together sections in “Love Sensation,” in which it appears as one line in a sort of off-the-cuff verse section. Loleatta was given credit from her sampled vocals out of respect from the Bunch, partly because “Love Sensation” had been blatantly ripped from a year or two earlier when Black Box used a whole bunch of different sections of her vocal in this song on their UK smash “Ride on Time,” but did not credit her for them (and started a long and controversial trend of getting a hot model chick to lip synch the fat diva lady’s parts in the video). Then, a few years later, Moby took yet another different section of the vocal hook in his “Move (You Make Me Feel So Good).” Apparently Samantha Fox’s “I Wanna Have Some Fun” uses some part of it too, but it’s definitely not the “S-S-S-S-SAMANTHA FOX!” part so I don’t really care about that.
The resume of Jocelyn Brown’s “Love’s Gonna Get You” isn’t quite so vast (to my knowledge, anyway), but is no less striking. Immediately, even by the song’s title, you might get the hint that this song had something to do with Bizarre Inc’s ecstatic mid-90s dance classic “I’m Gonna Get You” (easily one of my ten favorite dance songs of the whole decade), and indeed, the song sources both the “I’m gonna get you yesss I am!!!” and the “WHY WASTE YOUR TIME?? YOU KNOW YOU’RE GONNA BE MINE!” hooks. But even more of a treat is to be found at the 3:00 minute mark, when the clarion call–well, maybe just the backup clarion call, since C&C Music Factory are nowhere to be found here–of all diva house is heard in its original form–“I’VE GOT THE POW-AH!”
And I guess the question is, why doesn’t anyone know about these two songs? And i guess the answer is–these two songs just aren’t nearly as good as the half-dozen or so they helped spawn. I listen through them and I only perk up for the parts I’ve already mentally underlined, and when I try to think of how they go, the only parts that run through my head are those. Still, there are worse fates than being the under-recognized architects, accidentally or not, of nearly an entire subgenre of music. Especially when you’ve got nerds like me to discover you ever now an dthen and fawn over your innovations.