Unsigned Portrait of Dee Dee Sharp Oil on Canvas c 1960 P2864
It's a very fine painting by an obviously highly skilled illustrator, jazzy and flashy and at the same time a perfect likeness of a truly dynamite artist. Possibly done for a record company or a club or a high end music store, such as used to exist.
Measures 12" x 16".
Dee Dee Sharp (born Dione LaRue, September 9, 1945, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States) is an American R&B singer, who began her career recording as a backing vocalist in 1961.
Although Sharp had been playing the piano from an early age and directed church choirs for her grandfather's and other congregations in her hometown of Philadelphia, her singing career began in 1958 at the age of 13 years when her mother's car accident spurred her to find a job to help support her family while she recovered from her injuries. With her grandmother's blessing, given only after she promised to keep up with the schooling, Sharp responded to an ad in the daily news for backup singers. Her first job was with Willa Ward Moultrie and was soon singing backup vocals for the likes of Lloyd Price, Chubby Checker, Bobby Rydell, Frankie Avalon and Jackie Wilson.
In 1962, she was signed by Cameo/Parkway and was christened Dee Dee Sharp by producers Kal Mann and Bernie Lowe. At the time, her brother called her “Dee” and since she sang in D sharp she was given this new identity. She produced a string of successful Billboard Hot 100 Top 10 hits: "Slow Twistin'" (with Chubby Checker) (#3) for which she was uncredited on the label, "Mashed Potato Time" (#2), "Gravy (For My Mashed Potatoes)" (#9), "Ride!" (#5) and "Do the Bird" (#10). Both "Mashed Potato Time" and "Ride!" each sold over one million copies, and were awarded gold discs. "Do the Bird" provided her only entry in the UK Singles Chart, where it peaked at #46 in April 1963. She has appeared several times on the American Bandstand, a syndicated music-performance and dance television program, from 1962 to 1981, and was also a regular feature on Dick Clark's Caravan of Stars tours. In 1967, she married record producer and Philadelphia International co-founder Kenny Gamble and recorded under the name Dee Dee Sharp-Gamble until their divorce in 1980. Unhappy with record sales, she switched to Atco/Atlantic Records and later founded Gamble Records with Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff. Over time she would also work with TSOP and Philadelphia International.
She had a brief career resurgence during the disco era and hit the charts again with her version of 10 CC's "I'm Not In Love." She also joined Lou Rawls, Billy Paul, Teddy Pendergrass, The O'Jays and Archie Bell as a member of the Philadelphia International All Stars, who had a minor hit with "Let's Clean Up the Ghetto." In 1980 she spent four weeks at number one on the Hot Dance Club Play chart with "Breaking and Entering" / "Easy Money," from her album Dee Dee.
In 1992, Sharp's 1962 hit "Gravy (For My Mashed Potatoes)" was featured in a scene in the American movie comedy Sister Act which starred Whoopi Goldberg. It was also included as part of the film's soundtrack album. More recent appearances included a performance at Pontins in the UK for the Northern Soul Show, and at the 2008 Detroit Jazz Festival. In May 2009, she appeared in Belgium at the Salle De L'Hotel de Ville.
In a documentary film, Muhammad Ali: The Whole Story, Sharp claimed that in 1964 she was engaged to Muhammad Ali shortly before he converted to the Muslim faith; when she was told that she herself had to become a Muslim before she married Ali, her mother ended the engagement.
Sharp and her husband Bill Witherspoon reside in Medford, New Jersey