Friday Night Music Byte
Our “one hit wonders” of the 1970’s continues tonight with someone who is actually a three hit wonder. Maxine Nightingale (born 2 November 1952; Wembley, London) is a British R&B and soul music singer. She is best known for her hits in the 1970s, with the million seller “Right Back Where We Started From” (1975), “Love Hit Me” (1977), and “Lead Me On” (1979).
The daughter of comedian Benny Nightingale, Maxine Nightingale began singing at age 16 with her school band, displaying sufficient vocal prowess to begin performing in London area venues with her brother Glen1 on guitar. In 1969 – the year she turned 17 – Nightingale joined the cast of the West End production of Hair; the same year she made her first recordings, vocalizing on the Pye singles “Talk to Me” and “Don’t Push Me Baby” which were released under the name Nightime Flyer. “Don’t Push Me Baby” was issued by Pye’s Australian distributor Astor in Nightingale’s own name; her first UK release as Maxine Nightingale was in 1971 with the Pye single “Love on Borrowed Time”.
In the early 1970s Nightingale relocated to Germany, having become affianced to Minoru Terada Domberger, the Japanese-born director of the German production of Hair whom she’d met when he visited the London production. In Germany Nightingale continued her stage musical career in Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar and Godspell. After dropping out of performing to marry her fiancé and give birth in 1973 to their daughter Langka Veva Domberger, Nightingale returned to London in the summer of 1975 to appear in the West End production of Savages; at this time she also provided background vocals on recording sessions including that for Al Matthews’ “Fool”.
Matthews’ producer Pierre Tubbs was struck by Nightingale’s voice and asked composer J. Vincent Edwards to write a song for her. Edwards, who had worked with Nightingale in the West End production of “Hair”, convinced her to record this song: “Right Back Where We Started From” overcoming Nightingale’s initial refusal occasioned by her disinterest in a second attempt at a recording career; however she recorded “Right Back…” on the understanding it would be issued under a pseudonym. (Nightingale also had to be convinced to take a royalty rather than a onetime session fee.)
After being released on United Artists Records – in Nightingale’s true name – “Right Back…” reached #8 in the UK in the autumn of 1975, “Right Back… was released in the US early 1976 to enthusiastic reaction, reaching #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in May of 1976. Nightingale, who had returned to Germany, was motivated by her single’s US success to complete a Right Back Where We Started From album in London and then precede to the US, which has remained her home base ever since. However her only significant hit in the period following the success of “Right Back…” was in the UK, where she reached #11 in 1977 with “Love Hit Me” the title cut from her second album (aka Night Life).
Please enjoy this video clip of Maxine Nightingale performing her biggest hit, “Right Back Where We Started From“.