A Taste of Honey

A Taste of Honey was an R&B band best known for their disco-influenced 1978 hit single “Boogie Oogie Oogie” and for being the first black group to win a Best New Artist Grammy (1979). They also scored a hit single with their 1980 cover of “Sukiyaki”, formerly a hit nearly 20 years earlier for Japanese pop singer Kyu Sakamoto. A Taste Of Honey was formed in 1971 by singer, songwriter and bassist Janice-Marie Johnson and keyboardist, songwriter, and producer Perry Kibble. The duo recruited a few different members over the years, finally settling in 1976 with the best known line-up that also featured vocalist and guitarist Hazel Payne and drummer Donald R. Johnson. Naming themselves after a Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass song, the quartet signed with Capitol Records. Their first single, 1978’s “Boogie Oogie Oogie”, became a massive hit, reaching Number 1 in America on Billboard’s Hot 100, R&B, and Dance charts. The song also charted in the Top 5 in Canada, the UK, and New Zealand. The other two singles didn’t chart as well, but the self-titled album made the Top 10 in the U.S. and Canada, eventually going Platinum in both countries. Their second album, Another Taste, was released in 1979 and wasn’t as successful as their debut album. By 1980, Perry Kibble and Donald Johnson were out of the group and A Taste of Honey continued as a duo. They scored another hit single in 1981 with their cover of “Sukiyaki”, taken from their third album, Twice as Sweet, released the previous year. With new American lyrics – courtesy of Janice-Marie Johnson – and a different arrangement, the ballad hit the Number 1 spot on Billboard’s R&B and Adult Contemporary charts, and Number 3 on the Hot 100 Singles chart in America. The duo recorded one more album, Ladies of the Eighties, in 1982 before Hazel Payne left the following year. Because of contractual obligations, Janice-Marie Johnson released a solo album called One Taste of Honey, but it was not successful. Capitol Records released Golden Honey in 1984 as the final album in the contract and A Taste of Honey was no more.

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