BLACK MUSIC MONTH SPOTLIGHT: A Taste Of HoneyPublished by Justin Joseph on Thursday, June 21, 2012 at 10:03 am.
After singer/bassist Janice Marie Johnson met keyboardist Perry Kimble at an audition for a cruise line band, A Taste of Honey was formed. The pair then added their friends, guitarist, Hazel Payne; and drummer, Donald Johnson into the mix, and it wasn’t long before the musical four-some scored a deal with Capitol Records.
The two ladies took to the foreground, while the fellas backed them up—unheard of at the time. However, the formula worked. The group’s first single, 1978’s “Boogie Oogie Oogie”, became a an instant hit, and a definitive disco era classic. The song spent three weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, yielding a platinum status for not only the single, but their self titled debut album, and a Grammy Award for Best New Artist.
Their popularity waned throughout the late 70’s and 80’s, and both Kimble and Johnson left the group, leaving Janice and Hazel as a duo. After three years of minor hits, the ladies reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, with their cover of Kyu Sakamoto’s 1963 hit “Sukiyaki,” which famously got their label sued for copyright infringement.
Their final album, 1982’s Ladies of the Eighties, considered to be their best album, produced the top 10 R&B hit “I’ll Try Something New”, but it failed to make any real impact.
Janice released a solo project in 1999, A Hiatus of the Heart, and the ladies reunited for one night only in 2004 for PBS’ “Get Down Tonight: The Disco Explosion”.
Their music helped define an era of music that will go down in history as one of the greatest.