Harvey Fuqua discovered Anne Bogan singing in a church on Quincy Avenue in Cleveland, OH and championed the shy, petite soul singer's career. Like the Womack Brothers, Bogan traveled on the gospel circuit, singing at churches in other cities, but after meeting Harvey, she formed a secular group. The original Challengers consisted of two neighborhood (79th & Central/Quincy area) friends: Dorothy and James Hutchinson. Harvey issued their first release in 1962 on Tri-Phi Records a label he ran with his wife, Gwen Gordy-Fuqua. "Honey, Honey, Honey" did well where it got played. Bogan delivers a bloodcurdling performance on the underrated self-written ballad that's also known as "Honey Three Times." Tri-Phi just didn't have the clout or the resources to put it over the top. A second Tri-Phi single, "The Butterfly," was a drastic change from "Honey"; it was the first release in 1962 on Tri-Phi with a 1015 catalog number, but was pulled and issued on Challenge Records with a 1105 catalog number. It did nothing, and wasn't what the group was about anyway. Tri-Phi reused catalog number 1015 for Shorty Long's second Tri- Phi release, "Too Smart" b/w "I'll Be Here."
The Challengers next Tri-Phi release was "I Hear an Echo," written by Bogan, Harvey Fuqua, and Pa Colman; it was similar to "Honey," complete with another thrilling vocal from Bogan, but was less successful. On this release they became the Challengers III featuring Ann Bogan. Cleveland native, George Hendricks, substituted for Hutchinson when James couldn't make a gig, but gigs weren't plentiful, so the work didn't amount to much. Hendricks would befriend Choker Campbell, Motown's road bandleader, and record for Campbell's company.
As the Challengers III, their career was over, but Fuqua started them anew as the Executives; they recorded two obscure singles in 1963, "River of Tears" and "Why." Both were initially released on Explosive Records then switched to Mink and Revenge Records, respectively. In May of 1963, Bogan recorded a duet on Harvey Records with Fuqua entitled "Will I Do" b/w "What Can You Do Now"; the A-side is a stark, simple ballad, and the flip is a classic '50s styled R&B duet.
Neither the Executives nor the duet sold well and Harvey and Gwen joined the blooming Motown empire. Bogan became a Motowner in the merger, but nobody jumped to record her. She languished for years before replacing Gladys Horton in the Marvelettes, joining originals: Katherine Anderson and Wanda Young-Rogers. Supposedly, she sung bits with the Andantes, but it couldn't have been much, she lived in Cleveland, not Detroit (though she did spend time there), and wasn't often hanging around waiting for background gigs. Her family owned a bar near on 116th Street near Woodhill Road, where Bogan worked as a barmaid and sometimes performed as Little Ann.
When Harvey left Motown, Bogan's career languished again, that is, until Fuqua formed New Birth from Vernon Bullock's concept and placed Bogan in Love, Peace & Happiness with Melvin and Leslie Wilson. She also sung with New Birth (uncredited) as did the Wilson Brothers. They released two albums on RCA Records which featured 12 songs co-written by Bogan; they didn't sell due to RCA's lackluster promotion. But the New Birth recordings made some noise and they became a very popular soul group. Bogan was part of the revue until she opted to stay home and raise her kids. James Hutchinson died years ago and Dorothy's whereabouts are unknown, Bogan lives in Cleveland, OH.