Nona Hendryx

The Heat

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After Labelle's breakup in early 1977, Patti LaBelle, Nona Hendryx, and Sarah Dash took very different paths as solo artists. LaBelle became a middle of the road urban/adult contemporary superstar, Dash recorded the occasional R&B album with little commercial success, and Hendryx favored rock-minded albums that came the closest to Labelle's free-spirited wildness. Hendryx's solo career started out on a hard rock note with her self-titled debut album of 1977, but she took a more new wave-influenced turn in the '80s, and 1985's The Heat brings together rock and synth funk with memorable results. The Heat is quite a contrast to the solo albums that Patti LaBelle was offering in the mid-'80s; LaBelle and Hendryx both had crossover appeal, but while LaBelle was going after a combination of urban and adult contemporary fans, Hendryx was going after a combination of pop/rock, new wave/ and urban fans. The Heat, for all its funkiness, proved to be too rock-minded for R&B stations; regardless, Hendryx has a lot of fun on infectious offerings such as "A Girl Like That," "Rock This House," "I Need Love," and "Revolutionary Dance." Hendryx wrote or co-wrote everything on this album, including "If Looks Could Kill (D.O.A.)," which should not be confused with the song that both Heart and dance-pop singer Pamala Stanley recorded in the mid-'80s. The producers on The Heat include Hendryx, Arthur Baker, and the late Bernard Edwards, who co-led Chic with Nile Rodgers in the late '70s and early '80s. Edwards, like Rodgers, broadened his horizons considerably as a producer in the '80s; many of the albums Edwards worked on after Chic's breakup didn't sound anything like Chic, and that is certainly true of The Heat (which is a long way from Chic's influential disco-funk). Originally released on LP by RCA, The Heat was reissued as a 67-minute CD by Funky Town Grooves in 2011. And the Brooklyn-based label added three bonus tracks, including an extended version of "I Need Love" and a club mix of "If Looks Could Kill (D.O.A.)." The Heat is an exciting document of Hendryx in the mid-'80s.

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