Friday, March 1, 2013

"First Be a Woman" by Leonore O'Malley

Song#:  0267
Date:  07/26/1980
Debut:  90
Peak:  53
Weeks:  8
Genre:  Disco, Dance

Pop Bits:  What is interesting about this song is that I've seen comments that folks thought this was a black woman singing, but then they saw the pretty, blonde girl on the cover and were quite surprised. But maybe their initial instincts were correct. It is often mentioned that Leonore (or Lenore) O'Malley did not do any of the singing on her first two albums, including this song. Apparently, the record company matched the work of a production team with O'Malley's diva-ish good looks and a pseudo-artist was born. The vocals on the recordings are reported to be those of Catherine Russell, a (black) background session singer who does have vocal credits on both albums. Is this a total shock? Not really. It wasn't the first time or the last time that this type of musical ruse would happen, and since this was not a major hit, it didn't seem to get much attention. I can't find any current info on O'Malley, but Russell is now a jazz recording artist with a few recent albums to her own solo credit.

ReduxReview:  I don't think it matters who is singing this song. It is just a nice, faceless disco tune that is certainly danceable. Chances are O'Malley could most likely sing, but probably the production team that did all these songs just wanted to get them out there with their studio vocalist on them since everything was done. So just get a face on these and get it out. Kind of sad because it never seems to really work out for the real vocalist or the one who is the face.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  In addition to the vocal issue, folks thought this sounded a lot like "I Will Survive" by Gloria Gaynor. Oddly enough, Gaynor ended up covering this tune herself in 1992.



  1. O'Malley now lives in California and is married to I could not find any other photo of her from 1981 until recently.
    If FB and other sites that store information on individuals had not existed, even that much would have been unavailable publicly.
    If O'Malley is even on FB at all, she is obviously protecting her privacy fanatically, and she excellent reasons to.
    One could argue she was overly naive when her first album was produced and was unaware of how record companies handle such matters. But this excuse definitely does not work for the second time around.

    1. Thanks for the info. With internet information expanding so fast, it almost seems odd now not to be able to find information on artists like this. And you are right - without the internet there would be zero information available on a lot of artists. It certainly is fun to find this info now!

  2. Sadly Lenore O'Malley passed away on September 22nd 2020 in California

  3. yes she has passed away...but they don't mention the reason for her passing...illness ...accident ...etc...nothing else is said about this woman...sad...she never really was a singer after all...just a pretty face.

  4. Chart Run: 90 - 82 - 71 - 60 - 60 - 53 - 53 - 84