Black Box was an Italian house music group popular in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
The members of the group included a trio made up of a club DJ (Daniele Davoli), a classically trained clarinet teacher (Valerio Semplici), and a keyboard and electronic music "wiz" (Mirko Limoni).
The three created an image for the Black Box act using French fashion model Katrin Quinol as its album/singles cover art and supposed lead singer in all of the group's music videos.Davoli, Semplici, and Limoni had previously formed a group called Groove Groove Melody, producing dance music under names such as Starlight (who had a UK Top 10 hit in August 1989 with "Numero Uno") and Wood Allen.
They went on to record music under many other aliases, most notably the alias Mixmaster, which scored a UK #9 hit in November 1989 with the song "Grand Piano".HistoryIn 1989, the trio teamed up with French Caribbean model Katrin Quinol (b.
Catherine Quinol) and formed the group Black Box.
Quinol did not contribute musically to any of the tracks on the album, and was considered the group's "image", and lip-synched the songs in TV performances and music videos.The first single "Ride on Time" was an international hit, making Top 10 in many countries and No.
1 in the UK, soon becoming the UK's best-selling single of 1989.
The song heavily sampled "Love Sensation" by Loleatta Holloway, a 1980 disco hit.
The Black Box title is derived from the lyrics "Cause you're right on time".Dan Hartman, writer and producer of "Love Sensation", was not sought for permission to sample his song, and soon after the international success of "Ride on Time," questions arose as to the true vocalist on the song.
Legal proceedings ruled that Loleatta Holloway was the actual singer on "Ride on Time" (albeit by means of the "Love Sensation" vocal samples) and Black Box surrendered a large percentage of the royalties from the song to Hartman and Holloway.
A new version of the track with uncredited vocals by Heather Small appeared solely as a single.The group enlisted Martha Wash to perform vocals on a number of tracks which, Wash was apparently told, were for club consumption and were not for mass-release.
The album Dreamland was released in May 1990, and featured six songs sung by Wash, including the singles "Everybody Everybody", "I Don't Know Anybody Else", and "Strike It Up", which became major hits worldwide.
Dreamland earned a gold disc in both the UK and the US and achieved double-platinum status in Canada[1\] and Australia, where it spent eight weeks at #1 during early 1991.
Along the way, it also spawned six massive hit singles, both on the mainstream charts and in the clubs.Martha Wash was uncredited on the album and singles, with Katrin Quinol lip-synching to the songs in public appearances.
Wash sued Black Box, RCA Records and then C+C Music Factory for performing vocals on their respective songs and not receiving due credit.
These legal actions led to the legal recognition of vocalists who perform songs for other artists, including samplings.
Wash received full vocal credit upon the single release of "Strike It Up", but the music video still featured Katrin Quinol lip-synching the lyrics.In 1993, the group returned with the single "Rockin' To The Music", dismissing Quinol as the group's image and using American singer Charvoni Woodson as lead vocalist and image, but failed to emulate their previous success.
The group recorded their second album Positive Vibration, with Woodson.
The album was released around Europe and Asia in different independent labels from 1995 to 1997.
The album spawned four singles, including a cover of Odyssey's disco hit "Native New Yorker" which became minor hits in Europe.In America, they are best remembered for their early '90s singles, "Everybody Everybody", "I Don't Know Anybody Else", and "Strike It Up", their biggest hit in the United States, where all three of their hits are still heard on rhythmic radio and in clubs on a fairly regular basis to this day.
Black Box remain one of the few piano-house groups to achieve mainstream success in the USA.
Ride On Time
Strike It Up
I Don't Know Anybody Else
Open Your Eyes