As I got older I learned to appreciate more varied musical types. Still in love with melancholy, I had become more attuned to trends in dance music and why not, it was influencing pop music more than it had in the past. Often hip hop, dance and pop would converge to make something new on the charts.
This synergy meant that my usual favorite, alternative rock had taken a temporary back seat to dance music in my quest for innovation. Although I enjoyed the rapidly evolving electronic dance music scene, it was good olde club dance music that seemed to motivate pop music if not always me.
There were few with the initial impact of C+C Music Factory. After seeing one of their videos early on it was impossible to believe that such a big sound could have come from so skinny a diva, but that would be just part of their act as one of a handful of studio bands to arrive during the first half of the ’90s. Through studio wizardry, they created an infectious energy that appealed to people like me who never went to clubs. C+C Music Factory along with more
talented popular Black Box (they sounded very much alike), spearheaded house musics arrival on the pop charts.
C+C Music factory’s debut album Gonna Make You Sweat rode in on the house music craze of the early 90s to become one of it’s biggest hits if only for a moment. The single ‘Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now) became a huge hit and would be the template sound for many dance songs during the first half of the 1990s. Another track inspired by Arsonio Hall ‘Things That Make You Go Humm’ became a top 5 hit and helped maintain “Factory mania” through the summer of 1991.
Like most dance bands, C+C Music factory was more a studio concoction made up primarily of DJs/producers Robert Clivilles and Freedom Williams. While Freedom offered the kind of color by numbers rap common in pop songs of the era, it would be the beats and the voice of Martha Wash that gave the band its positive energy. Coensidently Wash was also the voice behind Black Box, another act with a skinny model as the face of the band.
C+C Music factory used a rotating roster of lead vocalists, each with some degree of diviaesque sound. However the best of these voices, Martha Wash would be hidden for most public appearances while the thinner Zalma Davis lip synced to Wash’s voice. Unfortunately, the controversy and ensuing lawsuit from Wash took the wind out of the C+C Music factory’s sails. At around the same time the notorious Milli Vanilli lip-sync drama was unfolding putting another damper on mainstream high energy dance music.
C+C Music factory carried on with Zelma Davis, but she never had the range of Martha Wash who herself went on to become a dance music diva in her own right. The bubble gum dance music era was quickly maturing and suddenly bands like Techntronic, Black Box and C+C Music factory no longer had a place on the mainstream charts.
Ce Ce Peniston