In addition to recording and touring with some of the most talented artists in the history of music, (Bob Dylan, Joe Cocker and Neil Diamond to name a few), Monalisa Young has also accomplished chart topping recordings of her own (solo as well as groups), singing on Gold and Platinum recordings.
The group was originally formed by a Compton club owner Alonzo Williams as a mobile DJ crew for several years and it wasn't until 1983 that they decided to record music. In 1984 the group debuted on Lonzo's Kru-Cut record label releasing the single "Surgery" followed by "Juice". Both records proved to become local electro-rap favorites “selling many units on the west coast.”
Alonzo Williams would soon find "Monalisa Young" and asked her to sing their rap-ballad called "Lovers". It would be the groups first effort of adding female vocals. Monalisa went in hearing the song for the first time, performed it and watched as this cut climbed the charts as it became one of music's first cross-over rap ballads. The success of "Lovers" helped to mark this group with a totally identifiable style of it's own and Monalisa would become their featured vocalist on several tracks including "Must Be The Music" as well as "Loveletter".
The following year the group put out their first album World Class. The group's dancer, Shakespeare, later replaced Cli-N-Tel as they signed to Epic Records releasing a string of singles and their second album Rapped In Romance.
The Wreckin' Cru enlisted aspiring rapper Ice Cube to help as a ghostwriter for the "House Calls / Cabbage Patch" single in 1987. Shortly before disbanding over financial problems, the slow jam record "Before You Turn Off The Lights" (which featured Michel'le) became a big hit all across the country's urban and pop charts by early 1988.
But even as the World Class Wreckin' Cru became one of southern California's most popular rap acts, Dr. Dre and DJ Yella were pursuing other production opportunities, one of which came from a new label (Ruthless) formed by Eazy-E. Along with Ice Cube, they wrote a single named "Boyz-n-the Hood" that was initially offered to the Ruthless act HBO, but later prompted the entire crew to form as N.W.A.
After street-level singles like "Dopeman" and "8 Ball" became huge local hits, the World Class Wreckin' Cru became less of a priority for both Dr. Dre and Yella. Even after the loverman ballad "Turn Off the Lights" entered the R&B Top 40 in 1988, they continued with N.W.A. Phases in Life, a World Class Wreckin' Cru LP released in 1990, was basically a solo release by Lonzo. Shakespeare later pursued a position as a pastor. Michel'le married Dr. Dre and released an album on Ruthless Records.
Lonzo (Alonzo Williams), Andre Young (Dr. Dre), Marquette Hawkins (Cli-N-Tel), DJ Yella (Antoine Carraby), Barry Severe (Shakespeare), Mona Lisa Young, Michelle Toussaint (Michel'le), Darrell Robertson, Frank Tebo, Will Griffin.
* Surgery (12") (1985) * Bust It Up 2 + 1 (12") (1985) * Juice (12") (1985) * He's Bionic/The Fly (12") (1986) * Keep it Real Letter (12") (1986) * Mission Pregnat (7") (1986) * Mission Possible/World Class Freak (12") (1986) * The Zoowoo (12") (1986) * Turn Off The Lights (12") (1987) * House Calls (12") (1987) * Lay Your Body Down (12") (1988) * Lovers (12") (1988) * World Class Mega Mix 89 (12") (1989) * House Niggas (12") (1990) * I'll Be SmOkin On Dat Dro (12") (1992)
* World Class (1985) * Rapped In Romance (1986) * The Best Of The World Class Wreckin Cru (1987) * Fast Lane (1988) * Phases In Life (1990) * Turn Off The Lights (1991) * Gold (1994) * The World Class Wreckin' Cru Greatest Hits Plus (2000)
Like many disco groups of the 70s, Saint Tropez was a producers' brainchild, in this case of American producers Laurin Rinder & W. Michael Lewis who had already been successful with disco groups El Coco and Le Pamplemousse.
Saint Tropez was a female ménage-à-trois, three good-looking women, striking in lesbian poses on the covers of the first two albums Je T'aime (1977) and Belle de Jour (1978), both hugely successfull disco albums with big symphonic orchestrations and a tight disco backing, all the instruments played solely by the two producers.
Je T'aime offered Serge Gainsbourg & Jane Birkin's well-known classic in an equally sensual disco symphony. They also covered material by Van McCoy and Gregg Diamond's "Heart To Heart" (sung in French as "Coeur à coeur"), originally written for The Andrea True Connection.
Belle de Jour followed the same formula, yielding two successful 12"s "One More Minute" and "Fill My Life With Love", and also covering Gloria Gaynor's "Most Of All". Typical for this kind of studio projects, lots of different singers were involved in the project.
After a four year hiatus, Rinder & Lewis revived Saint Tropez in 1982 for a third album, Hot and Nasty, which leaned more towards R&B but still kept the lush orchestration of the first two albums. It yielded the single "The Love Stealers", a cover of Peaches & Herb's disco hit.
A curiosity for all three Saint Tropez albums was a continued story, an audio film noir in French, telling the story of Nicole who's fallen in love with a woman assailant whom the Paris Police, as well as Interpol, are looking for. It started as "Violation" on Je T'aime, on Belle de Jour it was the title track and "When You Are Gone", and on Hot and Nasty, it was "Femmes Fatales".
The third LP cover read an editor's note: "With respect to Femmes Fatales, the fundamental question before us is what will happen to Noicole's lover [...] Perhaps in St. Tropez IV we will learn the answer to this." But there never was a fourth Saint Tropez album. Only a final 12" single "Morning Music" saw the story continue on the B-side "The Chase" which closed the book on Saint Tropez. The group's three albums were all released on CD in 1994, and several Greatest Hits compilations followed.
One of the most intriguing singles of 1982 was Saint Tropez's "Femmes Fatales," which became an R&B/disco hit in the U.S. despite the fact that it was performed entirely in French. "Femmes Fatales" doesn't contain any actual singing-rather, this piece of musical film noir (which involves sex and a murder) combines French dialogue with a lush Euro-disco track. Even if you don't speak a word of French, the song “sounds” interesting.
Although "Femmes Fatales" is the best known item on Saint Tropez's third album, Hot and Nasty, the rest of the LP is also worth hearing. Chic is a major influence on this album; from "Save This Night for Love" to "Midnight Fantasy," Hot and Nasty is full of Chic-minded grooves that are pleasing even though they aren't as unusual as "Femmes Fatales."
Also enjoyable are "I Let Love Slip Right Through My Hands" (which Gloria Gaynor recorded in 1980) and a steamy cover of Leon Haywood's "I Want to Do Something Freaky to You" (the melody that Dr. Dre and Snoop Doggy Dogg used on their 1993 hit "Nuthin' But A G Thang"). Except for "Femmes Fatales," Hot and Nasty is a solid LP that both disco and R&B fans can appreciate.
Monalisa was a member of “Saint Tropez” with hit song hit song “Femme Fatal” from the hit album, “Hot and Nasty” which peaked at #51 on the Billboard R&B Albums Chart in 1982.
(1977) Suzanne Mireille, Ida Boros, Louis Aldebert, Monique D'Ozo (1978) Pam Feener, Venetta Cloud, Marilyn Jackson, Myrna Matthews, Lisa Roberts, Jean-Paul Vignon, Carmen Twillie (1982) Phyllis Rhodes, Lyndie White, Mona Young
Hot and Nasty Tracklist
1. Love Stealers 2. Midnight Fantasy 3. I've Been Watching You 4. Save This Night for Love 5. Femmes Fatales 6. Say the Word 7. I Want to Do Something Freaky with You 8. Bein' with You 9. I Let Love Slip Right Through My Hands 10. The Love Stealers [Remix] 11. Morning Music 12. The Chase
1977 Ja T'aime 1978 Belle de Jour 1982 Hot and Nasty 1994 Icarus
1982 Bein' with You 1982 The Love Stealers 1994 Ja T'aime [Single] 1998 You're My Heart, You're My Soul
Billboard Chart Positions
1977 Je T'Aime...Moi Non Plus Dance Music/Club Play Singles #5 1979 One More Minute Dance Music/Club Play Singles #8 1979 One More Minute The Billboard Hot 100 #49 1979 One More Minute R&B Singles #90 1982 Femmes Fatales R&B Singles #43 1982 I Want to Do Something Freaky with You R&B Singles #71 1982 The Love Stealers Dance Music/Club Play Singles #47 1983 Morning Music Dance Music/Club Play Singles #61
This album features a variety of Motown covers as well as a few tunes that aren’t covers. The “Knife” LP finds the singer (who has a girlishly soulful style of singing á la Deniece Williams) putting her spin on several Motown favorites, including the Jackson Five's "Dancing Machine," Michael Jackson's "I'll Be There," Stevie Wonder's "Superstition," and Smokey Robinson's "Don't Mess With Bill."
"Never Can Say Goodbye" was a hit for the Jackson Five and was also embraced by Isaac Hayes and Gloria Gaynor. Original songs such as the reggae-tinged "Sweet Remedy" and the exuberant "Bust My Bubble" -- display Young’s vocals at her best.
1. Knife (4:22) 2. Dancing Machine (5:40) 3. Bust My Bubble (5:20) 4. I'll Be There (3:50) 5. Sweet Remedy (5:06) 6. Never Can Say Goodbye (3:26) 7. Superstition (3:48) 8. You Got to Hurry Boy (4:01) 9. Don't Mess With Bill (3:49)
Johnny Lee - Art Direction Dennis Moody- Engineer Alan Oldfield - Synthesizer Bob Robitaille - Engineer Kevin Sorrells - Synthesizer, Engineer Eddie Summers - Percussion, Arranger, Drums Russ Terrana - Mixing Melvin Webb - Drums Monalisa Young - Vocals Terry Young - Vocals (Background) Raul Vega - Photography John Matousek - Mastering Gordon Banks - Guitar (Electric) Milt Calice - Engineer Hal Davis - Producer Oma Drake - Vocals (Background) Welton Gite - Bass (Electric) Gerald Albright - Saxophone
The "World Famous Supreme Team Show" originated in 1979 in New York by Se'Divine the Mastermind (Se'Divine Price) and JazzyJust the Superstar (R. Larkins).
In its early days, the formation hosted its own show on New Jersey station WHBI, alongside the legendary Mr. Magic, before the latter shifted to WBLS. The idea of the group's partnership with Malcolm McLaren was to make a modern hip-hop record with Shakespearean and Opera themes, as demonstrated by the hit single "Operaa House" which features lead vocals by Monalisa Young, who was a member of the group.
The British Airways Commercial was first recorded, then “Operaa House / Aria On Air" with the same vocals. Yanni liked the song so much, he asked Monalisa to re-record it again this time for his Grammy Nominated "Dare To Dream" album. The vocal from the single originally used on the British Airways Commercial earned Monalisa the Clio Award for her performance.
With Monalisa’s vocals and Malcom McLaren’s concept of this Commercial has helped resurrect the original piece worldwide. Monalisa’s vocals of this gorgeous piece was played in forty-four Countries and also used for the French Elections.
Operaa House / Aria on Air (CD Single) Tracklist
1. Operaa House 2. Diva Loves Operaa House 3. Madam Butterfly 4. Aria on Air
Album Track Listing for Malcolm McLaren Presents World Famous Supreme Team Show: “Round The Outside, Round The Outside!”
1. Operaa House! 2. World Tribe 3. Diva Loves Opera House 4. To Be Or Not To Be 5. Romeo And Juliet 6. Whrefor Art Thou? 7. Buffalo Gals II (Remix) 8. World Famous Supreme Team Radio Show (Remix) 9. Un Coche De Agua Negra 10. Aladdin's Scratch
Released: January 16, 1991
Label: Virgin Records
On February 11th, 1992 Quality Records released Monalisa’s second solo album titled "Partners In Pleasure".
The album featured two hit singles "If You Could See Through My Eyes" and "Love In The Making" featuring the legendary Barry White. A music video was filmed for the video for “Love In The Making” with Barry White.
Click Here to listen to tracks from “Partners in Pleasure”.
1. If You Could See Through My Eyes 2. You Must Be Convinced 3. The Best Of Love 4. I Wasn't Looking For A Miracle 5. Love In The Making 6. Love X Two 7. Do You Wanna Get Wit Me 8. Partners In Pleasure 9. I Still Love You 10. Don't Stop
1. If You Could See Through My Eyes (3:55) Written by Jud J. Friedman and Gregory Abbott PSO LT / Music by Candlelight (ASCAP) / Grabbit Music (BMI) Produced and Arranged by Jud J. Friedman Keyboards and Drum Programming: Jud J. Friedman Guitar: Teddy Castelluci Background Vocals: Mona Lisa
2. You Must Be Convinced (4:07) Written by Karin Rybar and Micelle Vice Colgems-EMI Music Inc. (ASCAP) / Polygram-Island Music / Slice Meister Music (BMI) Produced by Karin Rybar and Jud J. Friedman Arranged by: Karin Rybar, Jud J. Friedman and Eddie Miller Keyboards and Drum Programming: Karin Rybar, Eddie Miller, Jud J. Friedman, Chick Frelix and Reed Vertelney Guitar: Larry Treadwell Background Vocals: Mona Lisa, Terry Young and Alfie Silas Synclavier: Hayden Clement
3. The Best of Love (4:30) Written by Karin Rybar and Susanne White Colgems-EMI Music Inc. (ASCAP) Produced and Arranged by Karin Rybar and Jud J. Friedman Keyboards: Jud J. Friedman Saxophone: Gerald Albright Background Vocals: Mona Lisa
4. I Wasn't Looking For A Miracle (3:35) Written by Jud J. Friedman PSO LTD / Music by Candlelight (ASCAP) Produced by Jud J. Friedman and Karin Rybar Arranged by: Jud J. Friedman and Eddie Miller Keyboards and Drum Programming: Eddie Miller and Jud J. Friedman Saxophone: Gerald Albright Background Vocals: Mona Lisa, Terry Young and Portia Griffin
5. Love In The Making (5:02) Written by Dick Winzeler and Steve Lane Bill & Betty Music (ASCAP) / Steve Evans Lane Music (BMI) / Cheddar Cheese Music Inc. / Le Grand Fromage Music Inc. (ASCAP) Produced and Arranged by: Ollie E. Brown for Brown Sugar Productions Drums and Percussion: Ollie E. Brown Keyboard and Synthesizer: Joe Curiale Keyboard Programming: Oliver Miller Guitar: Paul Jackson Jr. Tenor Saxophone: Gerald Albright Strings: Joe Curiale Lovers Rap: "The Master" Barry White Background Vocals: Mona Lisa, Terry Steele, Angel Rogers
6. Love X Two (4:02) Written, Produced and Arranged by Michael McGregor Potential Gold Music (BMI) / RMI Songs (BMI) All Instruments: Michael McGregor All Vocals: Mona Lisa Recorded at Ground Control and Track Record Mixed at Studio Masters Recording Engineer: Taavi Mote Mixing Assistant: Tony Alvarez
7. Do You Wanna Get Wit Me (4:14) Written by John Taylor and Anishja Jas-Elan Music (ASCAP) Veroniza-Jennifer Music / All Nations Music (ASCAP) Produced by John D. Taylor Jr. for J.T. Productions Drum Programming, Bass Synth, Strings and Keyboards by John D. Taylor, Jr. Additional Production and Arrangement by Wally Winzer for Wallywhirl Productions Additional Keyboards by Wally Winzer Lead Vocals: Mona Lisa Background Vocals: Maxi Anderson, Carmen Twillie, Mona Lisa and Terry Young Additional Background Vocals by Anishja Engineers: Darryl Swann, Wally Winzer, Al Singleton and Jason Clarke Mixed by Wally Winzer Jr. Assistant Engineers: D. Sheidene and M. Azam Recorded at J-Jam Studios, Oakland, CA and M'Bila Studios, Hollywood, CA Mixed at Hyped Right Recording Studio, Reseda, CA
8. Partner In Pleasure (4:52) Written by Richard Scher and Michael Price Star Haven Songs / WB Music / Green Lantern Music (ASCAP) All rights on behalf of Star Haven Music and Green Lantern Music administered by WB Music Corp, Virgin Music Inc, RC Songs. All Rights for RC Songs controlled and administered by Virgin Music, Inc. (ASCAP) Produced and Arranged by Richard Scher for Richard Scher Productions Keyboards and Drum Programming by Richard Scher Sax Solo by: Steve Nieves Background Vocals: Mona Lisa, Terry Young, Maxi Anderson and Mary Russell Engineered by: Richard Scher Assistant Engineer: Dave Dershin Mix Engineer: Barry Rudolph
9. I Still Love You (5:52) Written by Terry Young and Mary Dean Lauria Take Note Music / RMI Songs (BMI) Produced by Terry Young Bass: Freddie Washington Guitar: Ted Pearlman Sax: Gerald Albright Keyboards: Terry Young Programming: David Allison, Terry Young, Boon Background Vocals: Mona Lisa, Carmen Twillie, Mary Russell, Peggi Blu, Terry Young, Lawrence Hill Recorded at Rusk Sound Recording Studio, Hollywood, CA Engineered by: Boon Mixed at Ameraycan Recording Studio Mixed by Steve Hall Quist, Terry Young / Assistant: Chris Olivas
10. Don't Stop (3:42) Written by John Taylor and Anishja Jas-Elan Music (ASCAP) Veronica-Jennifer Music / All Nations Music (ASCAP) Produced by John D. Taylor Jr. and Norman Whitfield Jr. for J.T. Productions Rhythm Arrangement and Instrumental Performance by: John D. Taylor Jr. Lead and Background Vocals by: Mona Lisa Engineers: Darryl Swann, Al Singleton and Norman Whitfield Mixed by: Norman "Slam" Whitfield Jr. Recorded at: Straight Arrow Recording Studio, Van Nuys, CA and M'Bla Recording Studio, Hollywood, CA Mixed at Amigo Recording Studios, North Hollywood, CA
Design: Rowan Moore
Photography: John Abeyta
Barry White appears courtesy of A&M Records
Terry Steele appears courtesy of SBK Records and Brown Sugar Productions
Paul Jackson Jr. appears courtesy of Atlantic Records
Gerald Albright appears courtesy of Atlantic Records
Monalisa's Album Thank You's
I want to thank you Father for blessing me, saving me and wrapping me in your loving kindness.
Special and loving thanks to Rev. Talmin Fields and Sis. Fields, my mom and dad, Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Ballinger, Russ Regan, Dan Kilman and the staff at Quality Records.
Also to the rest of my family, loved ones and friends - I love you!
Ronale Bea-Moné (Frenchy), Charity Young, Lavell Harrington, Ronale Jr. and Tony, Randye Rand, Terry Young, Twila, David & Iris, Richard and Ché, Hester, Bruce, Bernard, Barry White, Ollie Brown, Mommy, Janice, Cheryl, Tamera, Butch & Mercedes, Cathy & Isaac, Tony, Mary Russell, Khalid, Maxi Anderson and Family, Carmen Twillie and Myla Twillie, Stephanie and Family, Tiger, Nikki & Kenny, Rhene, Donna and Family, Erica & Daisy, George Baker, Alonzo Williams, Malcolm McLaren, Pete & Nancy, Danny Irby, Peggy & Ted, Judd & Karen, Alfie Sylas, Portia Griffin, Terry Bradford, Yanni & Linda, Richard Feldman and Paul Gurvitz
Yanni’s version of “Aria” are derived from two previous recordings, both featuring lead vocals by Monalisa. First, the award-winning British Airways Commercial was recorded, then the hit “Operaa House / Aria On Air" by Malcom McLaren’s World Famous Supreme Team with the same vocals. Yanni liked the song so much, he asked Monalisa to re-record it again, this time for his Grammy Nominated "Dare To Dream" album. The vocal from the single originally used on the British Airways Commercial earned Monalisa the Clio Award for her performance.
This song was inspired by a 19th century French opera called Lakme (“The Flower Duet”) by Leo Delibes. The versions recorded by Yannii and Malcom McLaren’s “World's Famous Supreme Team” both feature lead vocals by Monalisa Young. Monalisa’s vocals were re-recorded for Yanni’s “Dare To Dream” album.
Lakmé is an opera in three acts by Léo Delibes to a French libretto by Edmond Gondinet and Philippe Gille, based on the 1880 novel Rarahu ou Le Mariage de Loti by Pierre Loti.
The subject of the opera was suggested by Gondinet as a vehicle for the American soprano Marie van Zandt. Delibes wrote the score during 1881-82. Like other French operas of the period, Lakmé captures the ambience of the Orient that was in vogue during the latter part of the nineteenth century; Bizet's The Pearl Fishers and Massenet's Le roi de Lahore being two other examples.
“Dare to Dream” is Yanni's eighth album, released on the Private Music label in 1992. The album peaked at #2 on Billboard's "Top New Age Albums" chart and at #32 on the "Billboard 200" chart in the same year. It went gold within two months of its release.
The album was followed by the sell-out, 65-city Dare to Dream concert tour which challenged audiences "not to be afraid to dream."
Dare To Dream Track Listing
1. "Once Upon a Time" – 3:53 2. "A Love for Life" – 5:10 3. "Nice to Meet You" – 5:37 4. "So Long My Friend" – 3:50 5. "You Only Live Once" – 7:22 6. "To the One Who Knows" – 5:40 7. "Face in the Photograph" – 3:49 8. "Felitsa" – 4:47 9. "Desire" – 5:02 10. "Aria" – 4:00 11. "A Night to Remember" – 5:48 12. "In the Mirror" – 4:07
The track “Aria” is also featured on:
1. Yanni - Aria – Private Music 2. Yanni - Collection (2006 Private Music/Legacy) 3. Yanni – Ultimate Yanni (Windham Hill/BMG Heritage 4. Ultimate Yanni – Disk 1 (Private Music) 5. The Very Best Of Yanni (2000 Windham Hill) 6. Songs From The Heart (1999 BMG International Vol.1 7. Yanni – Private Years (1999 Private Music) 8. Yanni – Forbidden Dreams: Encore Collection, Vol. 1 & 2 (1998 BMG Special Products) 9. Forbidden Dreams – 1998 (BMG Special Products) 10. Yanni – Greatest Hits Vol.1 11. Yanni – Devotion: The Best Of Yanni (1997 Private Music) 12. Yanni – In The Mirror (1997 Private Music) 13. Dare To Dream – 1992 (Private Music) 14. (Aria) was also released as a Single
The Secret Guide To Music says “Up Front” from The Power of Seven contains 12 songs ranging from punchy Motown funk to sweet romantic ballads, sung by the seven hottest female studio singers in L.A. "An awesome showcase of vocal talent... it’s a killer disc".
This album, which has been out of print for some time, was the brainchild of producer Jeffrey Weber who had worked with this highly talented group of background singers on an earlier production for Sheffield Lab.
Sheffield Lab is fortunate that the excitement in Jeff Weber's vision was fully realized in the studio, with great arrangements, musical performances and superb engineering by Jim Scheffer.
"Nobody knows our names, It's the star who owns the show. But we're the ones you sing along with on the radio." From Marie Cain's "Back-up Singer's Blues".
The seven ladies of color who make up The Power of Seven are Mona Lisa Young, Clydene Jackson Edwards, Myrna Matthews, Maxi Anderson, Carmen Twillie, Alfie Silas and Yvonne Williams.
Label: Sheffield Lab
1. When Something Is Wrong With My Baby 2. Mockingbird 3. My Love Its Yours 4. Shadows On A Screen 5. Will It Go Round In Circles 6. Tears Of My Heart 7. Come As You Are 8. Dancin' In The Street 9. California Blues 10. Stranger In My Bed 11. Gospel Medley (A City Called Heaven, Motherless Child, Soon I Will Be Done) 12. Back-Up Singer's Blues
Produced by: Jeffrey Weber
Hit song "Love and Desire” with the group known as “Arpeggio” (Duet by Monalisa and Sidney Barnes; composed by Sidney Barnes)
Featured Vocalist with “Little Anthony” with Duet “Your Love”
Personal single- the hit song “Rock Me Down” as “Monalisa”