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  A Taste of Honey
 

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Click below for a Taste of Honey sample:

Sukiyaki

Let Love Rain Down

 

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Winners of the 1978 Grammy award for best new artist, the popularity of "Boogie Oogie Oogie" tended to obscure the fact that A Taste of Honey were one of the few female-led bands of the 1970s.  Janice Johnson (bass) and Hazel Payne (guitar) were the focal points of the group, which also included keyboardist Perry Kibble and drummer Donald Johnson. After forming earlier in the decade, the band built their popularity by playing California bars and military bases. 

Super producers Larry and Fonce Mizell, who had worked with Donald Byrd, Johnny Hammond and Bobbi Humphrey, heard about the group and brought them to Capitol records.  Their first single was "Boogie Oogie Oogie," a song written by Johnson in response to a cold reception during a concert on a military base.  With its distinctive bass intro, the song raced up the charts on its way to selling two million copies. One of the most memorable records of the disco era, the single helped their debut album go platinum. Another Taste, released in 1979, was less popular but contained a top 20 single in "Do It Good." 

In 1980, Kibble and Donald Johnson left the band.  To introduce the act as a duo, and move out of the disco category, they decided to do a cover version of "Sukiyaki," the 1963 hit by Kyu Sakamoto that they had sung while touring Japan.While Johnson had written her own lyrics for the song, a publishing dispute required that she relinquish her writing credits before the record was able to be released.

Despite these concessions, Capitol refused to issue the song as a single, choosing instead to release "Rescue Me" and "I'm Talking About You" from their Twice As Sweet album. "Rescue Me" was a hit, reaching #16 during the summer of 1980, but massive airplay of "Sukiyaki" forced the label to make it a single. Finally available to the public, the single became their second most popular song, topping the r&b charts and crossing over to #3 on the pop charts in 1981. A Taste of Honey toured Japan on the success of the single. "Sukiyaki" was famously quoted in Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick's "La Di Da Di," joining "Rescue Me" and "Boogie Oogie Oogie" as songs that have been sampled or used in commercials.

Their final album was Ladies of the Eighties, most memorable for "I'll Try Something New" and production from members of the Commodores and Earth, Wind and Fire.  Johnson then pursued a solo career with the One Taste of Honey project.  She returned to the studio for Hiatus of the Heart, an independent album, in 1999.  A Taste of Honey most recently performed at the American Bandstand 50th Anniversary special in 2002. 

A Taste of Honey can be contacted at tasteofhoney2000@aol.com.

A Taste of Honey's Deepest Grooves

A Taste of Honey (Capitol, 1978)
First and most popular album contains the hit and such sublime moments as "World Spin" and "Sky High."  A great example of the Mizell production technique adapted to a more commercial audience.

Another Taste (Capitol, 1979)

Twice As Sweet (Capitol, 1980)

Ladies of the Eighties (Capitol, 1982)

One Taste of Honey - Janice Marie Johnson (Capitol, 1984)

Anthology (Capitol, 1995)

Beauty and the Boogie (Capitol, 1997)
Budget collection that I believe is now out of print.

Hiatus of the Heart - Janice Marie Johnson (IUMA, 1999)
You can buy this album by going to www.iuma.com and searching for A Taste of Honey.

Classic Masters (Capitol, 2002)

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