TIR 124: Wanda Hutchinson Tells How Emotions Gave Us the Best of Their Love

 

Wanda Hutchinson pictured center, with Emotions sisters Jeanette and Sheila.

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Brought to you by FUNKNSTUFF.NET and hosted by Scott Goldfine — musicologist and author of “Everything Is on THE ONE: The First Guide of Funk” ― “TRUTH IN RHYTHM” is the interview show that gets DEEP into the pocket with contemporary music’s foremost masters of the groove.

Featured in TIR Episode 124 (2 parts): A founding member of one of the greatest and most influential female vocal groups of all time — Wanda Hutchinson of the dynamic soul-R&B trio The Emotions. Along with her sisters Jeanette and Sheila, the Emotions started their professional recording career as teens in the 1960s. Signed by Stax Records and working closely with, among others, Isaac Hayes, they released some two dozen singles through the mid-1970s. During that career phase, the young ladies notched eight top 40 R&B hits in the U.S., topped by “So I Can Love You” in 1969, which reached No. 3 on the R&B chart and cracked the pop top 40.

However, Wanda and her sisters achieved a whole new level of fame and success after their one-of-a-kind sound and harmonies inspired Earth, Wind and Fire’s Charles Stepney and Maurice White to sign them on as part of EWF’s production deal with Columbia Records. From the back half of the 1970s through the first half of the 1980s, the Emotions sent nine more hits, dance floor anthems and ballads alike, into the U.S. R&B top 40. Those included classics like “Flowers,” “I Don’t Want to Lose Your Love,” the chart-topping crossover smash “Best of My Love,” “Don’t Ask My Neighbors,” “Smile” and teaming with EWF on “Boogie Wonderland.”

The Hutchinson siblings scored three platinum and gold albums, and performed around the world in support of superstar acts like EWF, The Commodores and The Brothers Johnson. Among their accolades were American Music and Grammy Awards. Although they stopped releasing their own albums, during the 1990s the Emotions contributed to music made by Nancy Wilson, LL Cool J, George Duke, Smokey Robinson, Snoop Dogg and their old friends, EWF.

Here, Wanda Hutchinson takes us back to the group’s childhood origins through the Stax and Columbia years all the way to a present-day in which she is continuing to perform and mentoring her own three singing daughters, one of whom, Wendi, is heard off camera in this interview. It’s time to rejoice with the effervescent Wanda Hutchinson — who even sings a bit during the interview!

RECORDED NOVEMBER 2019

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