Meet A Taste Of Honey [PHOTOS/VIDEOS]
“A Taste Of Honey” named themselves after another artist’s hit record…and scored one of the biggest hits of the disco era!
The band formed in Los Angeles in 1971.
Janice Marie Johnson wrote some of their first songs, and sings vocals, and plays bass.
Carlita Dorhan sang, and played guitar.
Perry Kibble played the keyboards, and was a co-writer and producer for the band.
Donald Ray Johnson, no relation to Janice Marie, played drums.
Kibble and Janice Marie Johnson were longtime friends, and the original members of the band. Each had left another band to form what would become “A Taste Of Honey.”
Carlita Dohan left the group in early 1976…and Hazel Payne took her place.
Gregory Walker took on lead singer status…after an earlier (unnamed) lead departed…just before the band made it “big!”
Through much of the 1970′s, the band worked on their sound, initially playing the clubs around Los Angeles.
Eventually, they were playing locations around the globe, as they took part in USO tours. Stops included Spain, Morocco, Taiwan, Thailand, the Philippines, and Japan!
Upon returning to sunny Southern California, while playing in an L.A. club, they were spotted by record producers Fonce and Larry Mizell. They convinced Capitol Records vice-executive-producer, Larkin Arnold, to give the band an audition.
A five-album contract was the result, and the newly-signed band named themselves after Herb Alpert’s (#7/1965) hit song “A Taste Of Honey.”
“Boogie Oogie Oogie” was the first song off their self-named debut album…
…it stayed perched atop the charts at #1 for three weeks in 1978. Two million copies of the single flew off record store shelves!
“A Taste Of Honey” was awarded two platinum records for the single and the album!
“A Taste Of Honey” won the 1978 Best New Artist Award, at the 20th Grammy Awards Show, on February 15, 1979.
Janice Marie Johnson calls the “Boogie Oogie Oogie” single her “lifeline.” Further, she credits Larkin Arnold with making sure that the band owned their publishing rights (read: lots of $$).
Followup disco releases, such as “Do It Good” (#79/1979) from the album “Another Taste”
and the non-charter “Rescue Me” in 1980, failed to get the attention of the record buyers.
By 1980, the band had shrunk to just Janice Marie Johnson and Hazel Payne. Later that year, the duo returned to the studio to record the band’s third album, “Twice As Sweet.”
They resisted the suggestion that they make their cover version of Kyu Sakamoto’s “Sukiyaki” a disco record. Good thing!
As a ballad, the song brought “A Taste Of Honey” their second (and last) major hit in 1981. It landed at #1 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary and R&B charts. It went to #3 on the Hot 100 chart.
“A Taste Of Honey” released it last album, “Ladies Of The Eighties” in 1982.
It featured their last chart single, “I’ll Try Something New” (#41/1982).
With the band’s popularity on the slide (read: “disco backlash”), Johnson decided to try going the solo route.
Her solo album “One Taste Of Honey” produced the single “Love Me Tonight,” which was a minor hit on the R&B chart.
Hazel Payne returned to the theater…and went on to become an international stage actress.
After moving to Calgary, Alberta (Canada), in the early 1990′s to play in the local clubs and write music for a TV show, Perry Kibble married a local music teacher. He died of heart failure in 1999, at the age of 49.
Donald Ray Johnson continues to live in, and play the blues in, Calgary. He also married a local. Over the years, he has released several blues albums under his own name.
Janice Marie Johnson has released a second solo album; “Hiatus Of The Heart.”
Hazel Payne and Janice Marie Johnson reunited in 2004, taking part in two PBS specials…
…their first time together in over 20 years!
One final interesting note about “A Taste Of Honey”
According to her website’s biography, Janice Marie Johnson is of “Stockbridge-Munsee-Mohican heritage. She was inducted in the “Native American Music Association Hall Of Fame” in 2008.