I’m 40 and consequently pushing middle age, so growing up I was closer to the 1970’s than I realized. I can just look back at old Polaroids of me to suss that out. What that means is that many icons from the 70’s were still somewhat relevant in the early 80’s, if cocaine hadn’t already killed them off. I clearly remember folks like Lou Rawls and Tina Turner being the business in the early 1980’s, because they were still churning out the hits that made us younger kids shake our hips.
Now dig this. There is a woman from the 1970’s who is still slaying it in the 2000’s. And honestly, barring a handful of folks (we’re looking at you Bernadette Stanis and John Amos), there ain’t many in the game doing this. Freda Payne is her name, and, if you’ve never heard of her you can thank us now:
Born Freda Charcilia Payne on September 19, 1942, Payne is best known for her career in music during the mid–1960’s through the mid–1980’s. Her most notable record is her 1970 hit single, “Band of Gold. (and unfortunately you won’t be able to get the song out of your head now). Payne was also an early protégé of Quincy Jones during his big band era. Apart from being a musical sensation, Payne briefly hosted her own talk show Today’s Black Womanand also found work acting in different movies, Broadway and other theater productions throughout the 1980’s. Most recently she’s joined notable starts such as Kayne West, Jennifer Hudson and others for their We Are The World for Haiti Relief. In 2011 she recorded a duet, “Saving A Life”, with British pop star Sir Cliff Richard for inclusion on his Soulicious album.
What I am most taken by is Payne’s insane sense of style, both when she was younger and as a refined older woman. Payne, who is still incredibly beautiful at 76, can rock a retro look like no other:
Ms. Payne is still performing, mind you, so if you happen to catch her in your area be sure to drop what you’re doing to check this living legend out: