Nona Hendryx

One-third of the pop/soul act Labelle (their big hit was "Lady Marmalade"), Nona Hendryx, by far and away, made the hippest solo records of any member of that group (the others being Patti LaBelle and Sarah Dash). After Labelle called it quits in 1976, Hendryx released her self-titled debut record, which was an amazingly strong amalgam of soul and hard rock. It also went almost completely ignored by critics, soul fans, and even Labelle fans, and Hendryx took her strong, clear, booming voice and did lots of session work in the late '70s and early '80s. It was here that she fell in with a hip crowd of musicians, including David Johansen, Peter Gabriel, Prince, Yoko Ono, Cameo, Garland Jeffreys, and Afrika Bambaataa, and sang backup for a time with Talking Heads. The association with the Heads' David Byrne led to her working with bassist/producer/conceptualist Bill Laswell, who, along with his band Material, helped Hendryx put together a second solo record entitled Nona. A strong album not as wild-eyed as her debut, Nona did spark greater interest in Hendryx's considerable talents, and after that, her solo career flourished to the point where she no longer needed studio work to supplement her income.