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Fabulous Flip Sides In Memoriam – Honey Cone’s Edna Wright

The trio Honey Cone had two back to back gold singles with “Want Ads” and “Stick-Up” in 1971 on Holland-Dozier-Holland’s Hot Wax label. Lamont Dozier shares his memories of Edna Wright.
Edna Wright, center, left Shellie Clark, right Carolyn Willis, on NBC's The Midnight Special, photo by Fred Sabine, Getty Images

Edna Wright, center, left Shellie Clark, right Carolyn Willis, on NBC's The Midnight Special, photo by Fred Sabine, Getty Images

After leaving Motown in the late 1960s, the songwriting team of Holland-Dozier-Holland founded a pair of record labels. The Invictus label’s hits included Freda Payne’s “Band of Gold” and The Chairmen of The Board’s “Give Me Just a Little More Time.” The Hot Wax label featured The Flaming Ember with “Mind, Body and Soul” and the act with the most Top 40 hits for the label, Honey Cone, comprised of Shellie Clark, Carolyn Willis, and Edna Wright, who passed away on September 12 at the age of 76. Lamont Dozier told Goldmine, “It is with heavy heart that I say Edna was a bright star in my life and in the world. She had an amazing vocal gift and talent, but more than that she was a truly wonderful person.” Edna’s sister Darlene Love said, “I am in complete shock and so heartbroken. Please keep me and my family in your prayers during this very sad time for us.”

Edna Sweet

Edna Wright spoke then sang, “Wanted, young man single and free, experience in love preferred, but will accept a young trainee. Oh, I'm gonna put it in the want ads,” as the opening of Honey Cone’s debut Top 40 pop single, “Want Ads,” which went all the way to No. 1, and one that they performed on the television show Soul Train. The flip side, co-written by The Chairmen of The Board’s General Johnson, was “We Belong Together,” reminiscent of Martha Reeves & The Vandellas’ late 1960s hit “Honey Chile.” Both songs were included on their Sweet Replies album.

Edna flip

The Honey Cone

Flip side: We Belong Together

A side: Want Ads

Top Pop 100 debut: April 10, 1971

Peak position: No. 1

Hot Wax HS 7011

As “Want Ads” was leaving the Top 100, their song “Stick-Up” debuted, a steady tempo broken-hearted loved song with lines including, “Stick-Up, highway robbery. Stole my love from me. It’s a case of grand larceny.” This single reached No. 11 on the pop chart and, like its predecessor, multiple weeks at No. 1 on the soul chart. The trio’s third hit single to debut in 1971 was the lively “One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show,” with a fun Latin rhythm. The group’s Top 40 pop run concluded the following year with the Holland-Dozier-Holland, General Johnson and Ronald Dunbar composition “The Day I Found Myself,” about freedom from a controlling relationship, with the chorus line, “The day that I lost you, that’s the day I found myself.”

Edna Soulful

After nine Top 40 soul hits for Honey Cone, the trio disbanded in 1973. Edna released a solo album in 1977. In 1988, like her sister Darlene’s background vocalist success, Edna returned to the Top 10 for a final time as the background vocalist on U2’s first gold single “Desire.”