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Meet Maxine Nightingale [PHOTOS,VIDEOS]

Nightingale album cover
1979 “Lead Me On” album cover. (Craig Allen photo)

Born in Wembly England, November 2, 1952, Maxine Nightingale began singing at age 16 with her school band!

After her formal education came to an end, Maxine began touring on the British cabaret circuit! She made her first records in 1969, singing  on the British singles “Talk to Me” and “Don’t Push Me Baby,” which were released under the name Nighttime Flyer. “Don’t Push Me Baby” was released in Australia in Nightingale’s own name!  “Love On Borrowed Time” was the first record in England released in Maxine Nightingale’s name. This was in 1971.

Back to 1969. Nightingale joined the cast of the London production of “Hair,” playing a supporting role, and understudying the female lead role of Sheila.  After about 18 months, Nightingale relocated to Germany, having formed a relationship with an actor from the German production of Hair. In Germany Nightingale continued her stage musical career in “Hair” as Sheila. She also appeared in “Jesus Christ Superstar,” and “Godspell.”

At this time, Maxine’s relationship with the actor led to marriage, and her daughter Langka Veva Domberger born in 1973.

Nightingale returned to London with her husband and daughter and (briefly) resumed her stage career.

Nightingale also started session singing. While she stated at the time that she didn’t enjoy it, the singing was easy work, and she could do it at night while her daughter was asleep!

I know that you’re waiting for news of that “Big Break!” Here it comes!

Record session producer Pierre Tubbs asked composer his composer friend J. Vincent Edwards to write a song Maxine. Edwards, who had worked with Nightingale in the West End production of “Hair”, convinced her to record “Right Back Where We Started From.”

This was a hard sell! First, Edwards had to overcome Nightingale’s initial refusal: she wasn’t interested in a second attempt at a recording career! So, she recorded “Right Back Where We Started From” with the understanding that it would be released under a pseudonym! Wait…there’s more: Nightingale also had to be convinced to take a royalty, rather than a onetime $45 session fee!!

After being released in Nightingale’s name,  “Right Back Where We Started From” went to  #8 in England  in the autumn of 1975.

It did even better in the U.S!  “Right Back Where We Started From” was released in early 1976, reaching #2 on the Billboard charts in May 1976!

Motivated by her single’s US success, Nightingale rushed into a London recording studio to complete a “Right Back Where We Started From” album! Maxine Nightingale then came here to America, which has been her home ever since.

Nightingale’s followup single “Gotta Be The One,” stalled out at #53 in 1976. Oops!

Nightingale’s third album Love Lines, came out in Europe in 1978. It featured “Lead Me On,” and “(Bringing Out) The Girl in Me.” Both singles were ignored, there!

Lead Me On back cover
“Lead Me On” back cover, 1979 U.S. release. (Craig Allen photo)

The US release of “Lead Me On” early in 1979 brought Maxine her next taste of success!

The single hit  #1 on Billboard’s “Easy Listening Chart” in July, and gradually got enough Top-40 radio airplay, to reach #5 on the Hot 100 in September 1979.

As with “Right Back Where We Started From”, Nightingale was unable to follow-up her US Top-Ten success! “(Bringing Out) The Girl in Me” was Nightingale’s final pop chart appearance, at a disappointing #73. “Lead Me On,” as seen above, is a re-packaged and slightly remixed version of the (ignored) European album.  It includes a new song, the disco-styled “Hideaway”. The songs “Lead Me On” and “Hideaway” were extended for a promotional 12 inch record.

In the early 1980s, Maxine Nightingale reinvented herself as a jazz-oriented live performer. But, since 2000, she has occasionally returned to her musical roots. For example, she appeared on the 2004 Public Broadcasting music special “Superstars of Seventies Soul: Live.”  In February 2008, Nightingale undertook a club tour of Australia.

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