Born: July 23, 1942 Primary Instrument: Vocal
Born Madeline Bell Brodus on 23 July 1942 in Newark, New Jersey, USA, and raised by her grandmother, who was originally instrumental in encouraging Madeline's natural singing talent at the age of five. She sang gospel music in church and at school, approximately eight years later Madeline became aware of pop music, inspired by Sam Cooke.
During her High School years Madeline met singers at school who targeted their gospel music towards pop music. In addition Madeline sang on corners of streets, local clubs, and talent shows. Madeline was a prominent member of the local gospel choir and at the age of fourteen her voice was unique and powerfully penetrating, with such range it could be distinctly heard above a one hundred and fifty strong gospel ensemble.
Madeline was sixteen when she joined her first gospel group The Glovertones and sang in church halls all over New Jersey and New York. This superb group toured America's Deep South with Madeline's illuminating voice impressing audiences everywhere. Madeline stayed with The Glovertones for two years until her involvement with the Alex Bradford Singers.
Alex Bradford who formed and pioneered America's most famous gospel group was immediately magnetised by Madeline's compelling and creative voice. He instantly recruited her to the group being acutely aware that Madeline's presence in the Alex Bradford Singers would enhance their vocal performances. The Alex Bradford Singers sang all over America and toured Europe as part of the off-Broadway hit show Black Nativity written by Langston Hughes. The musical was also recorded for television. Madeline played an integral part in the show projecting her magnificent voice to the full. Such artists as Cliff Richard and Chris Barber acclaimed Black Nativity when it was staged in London in 1962. After completion of the Black Nativity tour Madeline decided to make her home in England.
Norman Newell, who was Shirley Bassey's recording manager, was so enthralled by Madeline's vocal diversity of style that he was inspired to sign her to Columbia Records. She embarked on a solo recording career making some excellent and outstanding singles and working in cabaret. Madeline's first cabaret date was in 1964 at the La Dolce Vita nightclub in Newcastle upon Tyne. Also on the bill were Lionel Blair and comedian Les Dawson.
She moved into vocal backing work having signed to sing vocal backing along with Lesley Duncan and Doris Troy on the legendary Dusty Springfield hit In The Middle Of Nowhere. Later more impressive quality vocal backing followed on future Dusty recording sessions, joined mainly by her colleagues Lesley Duncan, Kiki Dee and Kay Garner. Madeline proceeded to be signed to Philips Records and made some spectacular singles to include Bacharach and David's What The World Needs Now Is Love, Rogers and Hammerstein's Climb Every Mountain and Motown songwriters Ashford and Simpson's One Step At A Time. Madeline also provided exhilarating vocal backing for Cliff Richard, Tom Jones, Scott Walker, Long John Baldry, Joe Cocker, Elton John and many more singers too numerous to mention.
Her vocal contribution on these stars' records added that necessary golden ingredient to make the recordings more noticeable. It is a certain fact that Madeline assisted in making many known singers worldwide celebrities. Madeline's powerful voice was clearly ahead of its time and that all-important British hit single eluded her. Madeline achieved another aspect to her career by making T.V. Jingles including British Gas, Tea, McDonalds and other significant brand leading product commercials. Madeline's delectable voice radiated through many of these Jingles, bringing her majestic voice into the homes of the British public. This valuable T.V. work proved to be both promotional and lucrative for her.
Madeline became very popular on the continent especially in Holland, Spain and Germany. She recorded the beautiful song I'm Gonna Make You Love Me. Dee Dee Warwick sister of the famous Dionne originally recorded this. The Supremes and the Temptations had the biggest hit but the record buying public need to be alerted to the fact that it was Madeline Bell who had the first impressive USA hit in 1968 reaching an incredible number 26 and staying in the charts for 6 weeks. Madeline's lovely version of the song is stimulating and possesses the essence of professionalism. Madeline promoted the song in America and released an album there.
Her first UK album in 1967 entitled Bell's A Poppin included Madeline's USA hit I'm Gonna Make You Love Me which incidentally featured the international singing legend and Icon Of Music Dusty Springfield providing vocal backing on the song. Another excitingly terrific track from this gem of an album Picture Me Gone narrowly missed the charts in 1967 despite constant promotion, however, the song is now recognised as a momentous Northern Soul classic and is frequently heard in many soul venues and if remixed and reproduced it has all the necessary qualities to be a smash hit single. The B side to the tremendous single Picture Me Gone called Go Ahead On was superbly written by Madeline and the late great Dusty Springfield OBE. Go Ahead On is also the B side to superstar Dusty's gigantic hit All I See Is You 1966 (No 9). Another dynamic emotional heartbreaker of a song called I'm Gonna Leave You was penned by Dusty, Madeline and Stockton on Tees born Lesley Duncan. I'm Gonna Leave You is featured on Madeline's album Bell's A Poppin 1967 and is also the B side to Dusty's everlasting hit Goin' Back 1966 (No 10). Dusty was also Honorary President of Madeline's fan club which commenced late '65 early '66, it was extremely productive and based initially in the North East of England in the village of Dipton. Honorary Members included Motown's Martha and The Vandellas and Elvis Presley. Madeline was selected to be a support act for the Four Tops when they arrived in England in 1966 for a nation wide tour. She gave an outstanding performance of her songs and was a huge success with British audiences.
Madeline entertained the public in another capacity as Disc Jockey on BBC Radio 1 for a while displaying a flair for other aspects of the music industry. She has also appeared many times on a variety of television programmes to include Top Of The Pops and other popular music shows singing with her powerhouse of unique vocal talents. Various radio stations have given Madeline a vast amount of airplay for her songs.
Along with singer and song writer Roger Cook ,Madeline became a central part of the invigorating group Blue Mink and recorded a fantastic memorable song called Melting Pot which became a huge British hit in 1969, reaching number 3 in the hit parade and remaining in the charts for 15 weeks, bringing Madeline's voice centre stage and finally to the noticeable attention of the British public. The group succeeded in having 7 hit singles, spending a total of 84 weeks in the charts throughout their career. The band toured the world and Madeline's voice was projected into the international music scene. It was Elton John who announced them onto stage whilst performing The Troubadour in Los Angeles, Madeline continued to release other UK albums with Blue Mink as well as her own treasure trove of recordings. She recorded a duet with David Martin called East Side-West Side, once again displaying her brilliant vocal talents. Blue Mink finally parted in May 1974 after a very successful career.
Madeline's diverse talents were utilised to their full potential on soundtracks to films to include Hammerhead, A Touch Of Class, and The Greek Tycoon and in addition displayed remarkable diversity in writing some of her own songs and appearing in the Dutch production of the The Cotton Club and Lionel Bart's splendid La Strada, where she performed lead vocal. John Paul Jones from the famous Led Zeppelin group wrote songs with Madeline and provided backing for her T.V. shows.
Madeline worked for James Last on a world tour and provided exquisite vocal backing on his shows and albums. She was a vital component in making James Last's work more entertaining. Madeline's contribution to his musical work is electrifying and significantly essential to the overall effect.
Madeline has worked many times with the BBC's Big Band and was their special guest on 19 August 1999 at the Royal Albert Hall London impressing everyone with her incredible vocal dynamics. She has performed at the world famous Ronnie Scott's club in London since 1987 and on every occasion received a tumultuous reaction from enthusiastic audiences. Madeline has released numerous CDs of her work in the 90's, revealing supreme talents and array of styles, and on her recordings, plus live performances Madeline's backing musicians have provided ultimate professionalism.
Madeline has enraptured Holland many times with her glittering performances and completed a nine-week tour, which proved to be a resounding success. In Holland Madeline became famous because of her substantial contribution to the CD productions with Tom Parker. These productions, which are popular arrangements of classical composers like Beethoven, Verdi, and Handel, have attained massive sales. Madeline has worked with the Netherlands Metropole Orchestra which comprises of no less than sixty one musicians and has recorded a CD called Beat Out That Rhythm On A Drum, which is on the Koch International Label 1998. Her versions of Bridge Over Troubled Water and Evergreen are adorable musical masterpieces. The orchestra is a national and international phenomenon and has also worked with Celine Dion, Andy Williams, Natalie Cole, Sarah Vaughan, Andrea Bocelli, Ella Fitzgerald, Art Garfunkel and many more worldwide entertainers.
Boyzone were enthusiastically interested in working with Madeline and in 1996 recorded a new version of her outstanding hit Melting Pot, which is featured on the Boyzone hit CD A Different Beat 1996, track 3. It was Madeline who was the prime motivator in this musical collaboration working extensively on the project. The song was to have been released as a single however, negotiations failed to reach fruition. It proved to be an impressive version with Madeline's voice excelling incredibly vocally.
Madeline Bell is immensely talented her voice range can tower to spectacular heights then swoop to deep emotional intensity, vibrant and expressive in its delivery. She possesses a quality voice. Madeline can hold the listener spellbound and firmly entranced in vocal splendour with her incredible range and diverse styles. All Madeline's colleagues agree she has one of the best voices in the business. It was Joe Cocker who insisted on waiting one year until this most in demand session singer was free to record with him on the song With A Little Help From My Friends which became a British number one, thanks to the outstanding vocal performance of Madeline Bell.
Having started out as a gospel singer in 1956, toured Europe with the successful show Black Nativity in 1962, provided many stars with quality vocal backing and recorded superb singles and albums of her own. Worked and recorded hits with Blue Mink, provided vocal backing for James Last, toured the Netherlands and impressed inner Europe with outstanding performances. Played a major role in London's recording studios and written a considerable amount of her own songs, Madeline continues to enthral the public with her excellent voice and dynamic personality. Madeline has achieved many other significant show business events throughout her career which are not mentioned here, indeed sufficient to fill a book. The 9 July 1999 brought about a tremendous occasion in the singing career of this amazing lady when Madeline was given full acclaim and recognition for her work in the form of an award, which was presented by The International Alliance For Women In Music. Record Producers, Song Writers, T.V. Producers, Musical Directors of shows and the Global Press need look no further than Madeline, for they have a golden talent in their vision ready to enter the hall of fame where she will remain as a brilliant perpetual star. The June Mendoza portrait of Madeline at Ronnie Scott's Club in London will be touring the UK Art Galleries for 18 months until June 2001.
On the 22 June 2003 Madeline was honoured with a LIFETIME ACHEIVEMENT AWARD, presented by the Music Heritage Foundation for her significant and outstanding contribution to the music industry. The event, held at the Grosvenor Hotel, Park Lane, London, was attended by many prominent celebrities. This award is long overdue and more than well deserved for a lady whose musical career is diamond studded with great songs and immaculate performances this prestigious award will place Madeline at the top of the ladder of international stardom where she belongs as a magnetic and outstanding entertainer whose class and quality voice has spanned the decades and remained impeccably intact.
The world zoomed into the Millennium on 1 January 2000 and the Celebration Bells rang out, our own magnificent Madeline Bell was ready to continue holding the universal public transfixed with her miraculous vocal ability, inspiring hearts and minds musically way into the 21st Century.
Madeline's career has continued to blossom proving that her supreme vocal ability has sustained its excellent driving force. Madeline has worked regularly with the SAS rock band once again showing audiences diverse sides of her voice, which covers all aspects of music. With the SAS band Madeline has sang outstanding versions of Natural Woman, Higher Ground, Lady Marmalade and Move on Up.
Madeline has recently completed over fifty interviews for BBC and Independent Radio nationwide in the UK giving an account of her remarkable career, in addition Madeline has contributed to many TV programmes through interviews relating to the music industry. Madeline continues to work with the BBC Big Band and is involved in concerts titled The 3 Divas. These shows have impressed audiences everywhere and have included other top singers, Sheila Ferguson, Ruby Turner and PP Arnold.
A considerable amount of Madeline's time is spent in Holland performing with a great Dutch band headed by Frits Landesbergen all the musicians are excellent and tours continue to be successful. Memorable Christmas tours are brilliant. Madeline also continues to work in Germany.
Madeline is now involved in a great enterprise and has completed a series of shows in Movie Theatres in the Netherlands and Belgium. These important shows incorporate the film Ray, and Madeline's vocal tribute to the great Ray Charles's Music. The full extravaganza which includes an introduction to Ray's music with Madeline involved, the film Ray with actor Jamie Fox giving an awe inspiring performance as Ray, then the entire Jazz orchestra of the Concertgebouw with Madeline performing in front of the screen where the film had just been shown, Madeline gives an electrifying vocal tribute to Ray Charles's songs.
Madeline's rendition of Ray's songs is spectacular and audiences responded enthusiastically in respect of Madeline's great voice and personality a live CD entitled Tribute to Ray Charles Jazz Orchestra of the Concertgebouw featuring Madeline is on release, e-mail @jazzorchesta.nl. It is miraculous that Madeline's voice continues to mature and no doubt she will be involved in many more musical adventures well into the future.