Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The daughter of a cotton picker mother, Houston and her three sisters grew in Long Beach, California. After marrying and having two children, she joined the Al Reynolds Singers band. There, she met Marc Gordon, who signed her as a recording artist with Dunhill Records. In 1969, Houston released her first album.
In 1971, she went on to sign with Motown Records, but she failed to score any big hits for some time. She went into acting, appearing in The Bingo Long Travelling All Stars and Motor Kings, alongside Billy Dee Williams and James Earl Jones. In 1976, she sang backgrounds for Motown labelmate Jermaine Jackson.
1976 was the year that she recorded her Any Way You Like It album. In February of 1977, the album's single "Don't Leave Me This Way" hit #1 on the US Billboard pop and R&B charts. It had been a hit previously with Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes. Her version incorporated some elements of the current disco style, and it became a popular hit in dance clubs, and has come to be regarded as one of the major songs of the disco era.
Thelma Houston failed to produce another major hit. Her version of "Don't Leave Me This Way", however, continues to be popular, being mentioned by VH1 among the greatest dance songs in 2000, and also being featured on a VH1 show about "One Hit Wonders".
- Dunhill release
- 1969: Sunshower
- Motown releases
- 1973: Thelma Houston
- 1976: Any Way You Like It
- 1977: Thelma & Jerry
- 1978: Ready to Roll
- 1978: The Devil in Me
- 1978: Two to One
- 1979: Ride to the Rainbow
- 1982: Sunshine
- RCA releases
- 1980: Breakwater Cat
- 1981: Never Gonna Be Another One
- Sheffield Lab release
- 1981: I've Got the Music in Me
- MCA releases
- 1983: Thelma Houston
- 1984: Qualifying Heat
- Reprise release
- 1990: Throw You Down
- 1974: "You've Been Doing Wrong For So Long"
- 1976: "Don't Leave Me This Way" (US #1)
- 1976: "Any Way You Live It"
- 1977: "I'm Here Again"
- 1979: "If It's The Last Thing I Do" (US #47)
- 1979: "Saturday Night, Sunday Morning" (US #34)
- 1981: "96 Tears"
- 1981: "If You Feel It"
- 1984: "You Used to Hold Me So Tight"
- 1989: "Lean on Me"
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