Here are two famous songs performed in her inimitable style by the one and unique Joyce Bryant.
Joyce Bryant, "the Bronze Blond Bombshell", the four octave singer, aka the black Marilyn Monroe, "the Voice You'll Always Remember" and "the Belter", was born in Oakland, CA, but raised in San Francisco (the oldest of eight children). She moved to Los Angeles to live with cousins when she was in her late teens. An impromptu singalong in a Los Angeles club in the late 1940s was Bryant's first public performance. From there, she picked up other gigs and built a strong reputation.
Her act was outrageously sexy; she wore provocative, tight, backless, cleavage-revealing mermaid dresses that left little to imagine and they were so tight, she had to be carried off-stage. Supposedly, Bryant twisted so much she lost four pounds a performance. The blond hair probably inspired Etta James – who, like Bryant, was also raised in San Francisco and lived in Los Angeles – to copy the blond hair image later. Bryant's hair was naturally black, but not wanting to be upstaged by Josephine Baker at a club, she doused it with silver radiator paint, slithered into a tight silver dress: the Bronze Blond Bombshell and even Baker was impressed!
The gimmick and Bryant's elastic voice elevated the singer to heavyweight status. She was called one of the most beautiful black women in the world and regularly appeared in Afrocentric magazines like Jet. A Life magazine layout in 1953 depicted the sexy singer in provocative poses.
She recorded a series of 78s for OKeh Records with the Joe Reisman Orchestra around 1952.
As meteoric as her career took off, it landed even faster. The first phase of her career ended in 1955 when she denounced it for the church. She enrolled in a Seventh-Day Adventist College in Alabama and later became an evangelist. She returned to entertaining in the 1960s, finding work with touring foreign opera companies. She returned to the rocky club scene and sang on cruise ships; this time without the theatrics, blond hair, and tight dresses. Bryant was honored at the Arlington County Library in Arlington, VA, during Black History Month at an event hosted by jazz historian and WPFW radio host Jim Beyers (who calls her the Lost Diva). (From AMG.)
Enjoy Joyce Bryant's brilliant voice and beauty!
Running wild / Love for sale