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Album: DreamlandReleased: 1989Charted:
Black Box was made up of three Italian producers: Mirko Limoni, Daniele Davoli and Valerio Semplici. They also recorded as Groove Groove Melody.
Was the biggest-selling single in the UK in 1989. It spent 6 weeks at #1. It is still one of the top 100 best selling singles ever in most of Europe.
The success of this record was marred with controversy when it was revealed that the vocals had been sampled from Loleatta Holloway's "Love Sensation," a disco song written and produced by Dan Hartman and released in 1980. The group had hired French model Katrin Quniol to pose as their singer. Quniol couldn't speak English and had trouble lip synching the song on music shows. It has been argued that the combination of Black Box's excellent production, Holloway's powerful voice and Quinol's good looks made the record such a success, but the controversy still tarnishes the record.
Although this was by far their biggest hit, Black Box didn't make much money from it as Holloway sued them. There is still no love lost between them. Black Box later claimed that Holloway was crying crocodile tears and pointed out that she got an expensive fur coat out of the compensation money they had to pay her. Holloway still maintains she was upset that the group had "stolen her voice" and to add insult to injury they pretended someone else was singing the song, and that even though she won the case she still felt that the damage had been done.
Other producers later sampled Holloway's vocals from "Love Sensation," including Cevin Fisher on "(You Got Me) Burning Up" and Marky Mark And The Funky Bunch on the US chart topper "Good Vibrations." Unlike Black Box, both credited Loleatta Holloway.
A few remixed versions have been released over the years, some with Holloway's vocals removed and replaced by a soundalike session singer, though one was released in 2003 credited as Black Box featuring Loleatta Holloway.
Apart from this song and two instrumentals, all the songs on Black Box's debut album Dreamland
featured vocals from Martha Wash, one half of The Weather Girls. Wash was uncredited and the group still used Katrin Quniol to lip-sync the songs for the videos. Sadly for Wash, this wasn't an unusual experience for her as around the same time, her vocals were featured on C+C Music Factory's "Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)
," again lip-synched by a model in the video.
Among the songs on Dreamland
is a cover of Earth, Wind & Fire's "Fantasy."
Daniele Davoli (from 1000 UK #1 Hits
by Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh): "People were dancing to the new piano sound, even though it sounded quite different. The piano sound wasn't that big in Italy until after we had the success in England. Mirko came to the club where I was DJing. I would play the keyboard and sampler, but it was such a small sampler, I only had space for 2 or 3 lines. The main sound I created was a wah-wah-wah-wah-wah effect and incorporated into nearly every record I played. Mirko said to me, 'I couldn't help noticing that, what was it?' I said, 'It was from this acapella that I got from an old record.' Mirko said, 'Bring it in to the studio and I think we can do something with it.'"