Gwen Guthrie was one of a kind. A trained pianist and vocalist, Gwen’s career began as a background singer for Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Peter Tosh, Madonna & others. Gwen also wrote songs that were made famous by Angela Bofill, Ben E. King & Roberta Flack.
Known as The First Lady of The Paradise Garage, Gwen was an ally to the LGBT+ community.
Gwen deserves her flowers because she was a phenomenal singer and songwriter. & honestly the generations after her HAVE to know who she is & her music.
Artists in the 90s have sampled Gwen’s work!
Albums Released: N/A
Gwen’s career began as a member in vocal groups like The Ebonettes & the Matchmakers, but her filling in for one of Aretha Franklin’s background singers saw Gwen alongside the legendary Cissy Houston (Mother of Whitney Houston & aunt of Dionne Warwick) for one of Aunt Ree’s classics “I’m In Love.”
Gwen eventually became an in demand songwriter for artists like Angela Bofill, Ben E. King, Roberta Flack & Sister Sledge.￼
Albums Released: Gwen Guthrie, Portrait, Just For You, Padlock, Good to Go Lover, Lifeline.
Gwen transitioned into her solo career in the early 80s, working with legendary paradise garage DJ Larry Levan on her first major hit “Padlock.”
Gwen also had a record with the honourable Peter Tosh from The Wailers with Bob Marley! A whole bop.
Gwen’s biggest successful hit record was “Ain’t Nothin’ Goin’ on But the Rent.” Written and produced by Gwen, the record is known for its “materialistic” lyrics “No Romance Without Finance.”
I personally think the record is a feminist record…because if you aren’t bringing anything to the table, you get NOTHING! 🗣
Gwen also had classics with “Outside in the Rain,” her cover of The Carpenters “(They Long To Be) Close to You,)” & the song “Can’t Love You Tonight.”
“Can’t Love You Tonight” addressed the topic of AIDS, which was a very taboo subject at the time. She was one of the very few artists to speak on the topic through music, & proceedings from the record went to the AIDS Coalition.
Albums Released: Hot Times.
Gwen’s final studio album was filled with great vibes!
Tragically Gwen passed away in 1999 from Cancer.
Gwen will always be remembered for her incredible sound, good bops and for her advocacy for the LGBT+ community. Her voice was remarkable. Her presence is terribly missed in the music world. -MJ