A soul singer with a powerful voice, Madeline Bell’s name might be lost in music history but her work in a different genre would be a vocal influence in EDM.
1960s: BREAKING INTO THE BUSINESS
Born July 23, 1942, in Newark, New Jersey, Madeline Bell pursued singing at an early age before starting her career in 1962 as a singer for the Bradford Singers, led by Alex Bradford.
It wasn’t until she moved to England in the mid-1960s that her career started to get momentum. She did session and backing vocal work for a number of musical acts in addition to solo material. Bell released three during the later part of the 1960s: ‘Bell’s a Poppin’’ in 1967 and the 1968 releases ‘Doin’ Thangs’ and ‘I’m Gonna Make You Love Me.’ All three albums had a soul/funk sound as would her solo albums in the 1970s.
1970s and 1980s: SUCCESS IN EUROPE
Madeline Bell continued doing backing vocals into the 1970s. This included choir appearances on two albums of Donna Summer’s “Love” tetralogy: ‘A Love Trilogy’ and ‘Four Seasons of Love’ in 1976. She would perform on albums by Elton John and others at this time.
Recording in Munich, Germany with revered producer Giorgio Moroder, Bell would be exposed to the Italo Disco scene where Donna Summer’s career was based at the time. She would join Italian disco act Space as the lead singer. It would be her vocal stylings on the first two albums–’Magic Fly’ and ‘Deliverance’–in 1977 that would be an influence when Italo Disco became the foundation for early hi-NRG music.
After leaving Space, she continued performing in Europe and appearing on other albums.
1990s and Beyond
As far as solo albums, Bell’s final album until the early 1990s was 1976’s ‘This One Girl.’ When 1993 rolled around she returned with ‘Madeline.’ She would be backed by Bernard Berkhout and his Swingmates band for the ‘Have You Met Miss Bell’ album that year. The rest of the 1990s was an extremely busy period for Madeline Bell throughout the European music market.
The following decades have seen Bell release her material through Europe while based in the UK. She has remained busy in music into her late 70s working with a number of musical acts and producers. Her most recent album was the live album ‘Singer – The Musical’ from 2014.
Bell’s and other soul singers’ performance in European disco would serve as part of the foundation for 1980s EDM. This is because European DJs used albums available locally–often meaning disco from a decade earlier.
-”I’m Gonna Make You Love Me” from Beat Club: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uV7Msc0mZ0Y
-”Make It good”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6FUJNoLzDA
-”Deliverance” by Space: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WzM3opDjG4Q