Anita Ward

Perhaps more so than any other genre in the history of popular music, the '70s disco scene was littered with countless one-hit wonders, including Anita Ward. In 1979, “Ring My Bell” hit the airwaves and it didn’t take long to scale the charts peaking at number one during the summer (out-gunning such other future disco-classics as Donna Summer’s “Hot Stuff’ and “Bad Girls,” plus Sister Sledge’s “We Are Family,” all of which were in the Top Five) and remaining on the charts for five months solid. Within less than a year, this song and Ward were a household name.

Although Ward is mainly known for this track, her singing interest was in the Gospel genre and not the up-tempo dance style with which she has become synonymous. Prior to recording her only commerciai album “Songs Of Love” on TK Records, she performed with the Rust College acappella choir (which included recording alongside renowned Metropolitan Opera vocalist Leontyne Price), and issued an obscure album recorded by her own gospel quartet.

Pursuing a career in music was not Ward’s first intention as a career and instead she became a substitute teacher in the Memphis elementary school system. it wasn’t long before Ward realized music was too much a part of her life to ignore and her manager put her in contact with singer/songwriter Frederick Knight (who had scored a substantial hit on his own in the summer of 1972, with “I’ve Been Loneiy for So Long”). Knight signed on to help produce a three-song demo session with Ward, but once the tape was rolling, Knight became so taken by Ward’s singing ability that the sessions soon produced an album’s worth of material. From there, she was awarded a distribution deal with TK Records and history was made as the album went on to sell one miilion+ units in a very short time.

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