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|Born||July 15, 1953|
|Origin||Charlotte, North Carolina, United States|
Born in Charlotte, North Carolina and raised in the small Cleveland County town of Lawndale, Alicia Bridges sang from a very young age, learning to play guitar at the age of 10. At the age of 12 she had her own radio program: The Alicia Bridges Show, broadcast every Saturday on station WADA in Shelby, North Carolina. Occasionally she would sing on the show but has said what she is most proud of is that she "ran all the dials, the turntables, cued the records and made all the announcements live on the air". From age thirteen Bridges fronted bands who performed in local clubs- (Alicia Bridges quote:)"They were pretty rough places...but these were the only places I could get...performing experience... so I had to adjust to that rough environment and learn to survive in it"
Discovery and fame (1970s)
Bridges first recorded for the Nashville-based Mega Records with two 1973 single releases of her original material: both singles flopped but Bridges came to the attention of the president of the publisher of her songs: Bill Lowery, who signed as her manager, subsidizing Bridges over a roughly two year period of canvassing record labels which ended when she was signed to Polydor in 1977.
Bridges' self-titled debut album was the inaugural production by Steve Buckingham who was assigned to produce Bridges after playing guitar on one of her earliest sessions. Bridges and her personal and songwriting partner Susan Hutcheson had written a song entitled "Disco 'Round" which at Buckingham's suggestion was recorded as "I Love the Nightlife" as Buckingham felt the song was R&B rather than disco ("Disco 'Round" was retained as the song's subtitle): Bridges herself would later admit she'd had hopes that the song would be received as a Memphis soul number, calling it "something Al Green might sing". However club support was a key factor in the success of the track which became a "sleeper" Top 40 hit spending 27 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 with a peak of number five, and also appearing on several international hit parades as evinced by the Billboard's "Hits of the World" chart. The song was also in the #5 position on the Record World and Cash Box charts. It was also a "crossover" hit, receiving play even on country music stations. The cover of the 1978 self-titled LP features an early skyline picture of Atlanta, Georgia.
In 1978 Bridges was a Grammy nominee and was the opening act, performing "I Love the Nightlife". Bridges' self-titled LP, Alicia Bridges, was also rising on the Billboard, Cash Box and Record World charts and the LP remained on the charts for up to 35 weeks. Both the LP and the single release were international successes, and "I Love the Nightlife" went top 40 in the UK and Germany, Spain and other European countries. Bridges' music was especially popular in Japan. She received an RIAA Certified Gold Record for the sale of over one million copies of her hit single in the USA, as well as a gold record from Canada.
Contrary to the impression created by her success with "I Love the Nightlife", Bridges was primarily a singer of R&B, rock, blues and love songs. "I Love the Nightlife" has a definite back beat and organ similar to early 1970s R&B; the original intention was for "I Love the Nightlife" to be an R&B song, but when Bill Lowery first heard the song, he saw its disco potential: subsequently a 12" single remix was created by Jim Burgess, ultimately becoming a worldwide club smash.
Bridges' second single, "Body Heat", was a rock song with strong electric guitar rhythms. It was a "rock/dance" song released at a time when there was some rivalry between disco fans and rock fans; this time period began to see more songs which mixed the genres of rock and disco to create a "rock/disco" flavor.
In an interview, Bridges mentioned Elvis Presley as the singer who originally aroused her interest in rock music but she has always considered herself an R&B singer. She cited Tina Turner, Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight and Patti Labelle as her 70's influences. She said that she didn't care for white female singers as a rule with the exception of Joni Mitchell and Janis Joplin. She complained that white women sounded like they were "sleepwalking" through their performances. "Yeah, I jump around a lot when I'm performing," she said.
In 1983, a woman was arrested in Nashville, Tennessee for pretending to be Alicia Bridges during a country music convention. Bridges drove from her home in Atlanta to give evidence in the case. Bridges stated that she had been plagued by an impostor for five years.
Subsequent to the 1984 release of the second of two consecutive flop album releases Bridges began working as a disc jockey at Atlanta dance clubs, and was working at the Ponce de Leon Avenue venue the Atlanta Eagle when her disco classic "I Love the Nightlife" had its 1994 revival due to its inclusion on the soundtrack of the movie The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. This revival spurred Bridges to perform at retro disco shows for a number of years, before retiring to Charlotte NC.
Alicia Bridges Music Publications was founded in 2006 and has produced three albums.
In November 2006 Bridges released a remixed and remastered compilation of her songs titled This Girl Don't Care. In 2007 she released Say It Sister. Her third CD, Faux Diva, was released in 2008; this included a remix of "I Love The Nightlife".
Bridges is currently active in the music community as a producer and DJ. Her works, digital versions of her recordings, a blog and videos can be found on her official web sites, aliciabridges.com, discoround.com and ilovethenightlife.com.
In 2009 Bridges was inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame.
- 1978: Alicia Bridges (Polydor, 1978)
- 1979: Play It as It Lays
- 1984: Hocus Pocus
- 2002: The Collection: I Love the Nightlife (compilation)
- 2006: This Girl Don't Care (remixed and remastered compilation)
- 2007: Say It Sister (remastered compilation)
- 2008: Faux Diva (remixed and remastered compilation)
- Los Angeles Times 4 February 1979 "Bridges: 'I Ain't Mary Sunshine'" by Dennis Hunt p.78
- Daily Record (Morristown NJ) 29 July 2002 "VH1 Looks at Once-Hot Hits" by Kevin McDonough p.B5
- "Sultry and bluesy-voiced Alicia doesn't renege on tough image" (March 3, 1979) Winnipeg Free Press, Winnipeg, Manitoba
- "Impostor's identity revealed" (October 23, 1983) Hutchinson News, Hutchinson, Kansas
- Atlanta Constitution 29 July 2002 "Divas Get Replay of Fleeting Fame" by Craig Seymour p.D6
- Walters, Barry (1998-07-21), "Where are they now?", The Advocate, retrieved 2007-09-06[dead link]