Freda Payne — “Unhooked Generation”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — April 13, 2023


794) Freda Payne — “Unhooked Generation”

Which soul song has the greatest, oft-samples. guitar riff? I’d suggest this ‘69 A-side by the great Freda Payne. Sally O’Rourke says that this “debut single by the First Lady of Invictus Records . . . allowed Holland-Dozier-Holland* to go in a funkier, racier direction than they could have taken the Supremes at Motown.” (

Juno (“world’s largest dance music and equipment store. . . . [b]ased in London”) says:

It was recorded in 1969 and features a golden production touch that made it a hugely popular tune for sample-hunting producers in the hip hop world. The killer guitar hook intro is particularly popular and was most notably used by JVC Force in their ‘Strong Island’, tune.

As to the pleasure of Payne, Greg Prato tells us that

The multi-talented Freda Payne is best known for her singing career, yet she has also performed in musicals and acted in movies over the years, and was briefly the host of her own TV talk show. Born . . . in Detroit . . . . Payne[] . . . began early singing radio commercial jingles, which brought the young vocalist to the attention of several music-biz heavyweights. Berry Gordy, Jr. attempted to sign Payne to his then-burgeoning record company Motown, while Duke Ellington employed Payne as the featured singer with his renowned orchestra for two nights in Pittsburgh, resulting in [him] offering the teenager a ten-year contract. But in both cases, Payne’s mother turned them down. During the early to mid-’60s, Payne established herself as a fine jazz vocalist, touring the country with bothQuincy Jones and Bill Cosby, and issuing a jazz/big band-based album in 1963 . . . . Payne enjoyed further exposure via appearances on such TV shows as Johnny Carson, David Frost, and Merv Griffin. But it wasn’t until Payne signed on to the Invictus label in 1969 (headed by longtime friends/former Motown songwriters/producers Eddie Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Brian Holland and issued the fine album Band of Gold that she scored her breakthrough hit single, the album’s title track, which peaked at number three in the U.S. and topped the chart in the U.K. in 1970.

* Ron Wynn:

Gordy put the three together in the early ’60s, after it became evident that Eddie Holland wasn’t going to last as a solo act. The laundry list of Holland-Dozier-Holland hits seems endless; they include “Where Did Our Love Go,” “Baby Love,” “Reach Out I’ll Be There,” “Standing in the Shadows of Love,” “This Old Heart of Mine,” “Nowhere to Run,” “I’m a Road Runner,” and many others. They produced gems for the Supremes, Junior Walker & the All-Stars, the Four Tops, Martha & the Vandellas, the Isley Brothers, and the Elgins until they left in 1968. After moving from Detroit to Los Angeles, the trio created the Hot Wax and Invictus labels. Freda Payne . . . [was] among the[ir] acts that scored hits in the early ’70s. . . . Dozier then decided to start a solo career, and the long partnership ended.

Here is J.V.C. Force:

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