Patti Burns Lehman Stage

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By Deardra Schuler

Who doesn’t know the legendary Patti LaBelle?  The woman is an icon, a trendsetter, a chart topper and a monster talent.  This Grammy Award winner has been electrifying national and international audiences as far back as the 1960s when she was known as Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles.  Ms. LaBelle topped the charts and wowed her fans with hits such as “Lady Marmalade,�  “On My Own,� and “New Attitude.�  This weekend, she will be bringing the same high energy to the Lehman Center for the Performing Arts, located at 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West, in the Bronx, on Saturday, January 20, at 8:00 p.m.

Born Patrica Louise Holt in Philadelpia, Pennsylvania, LaBelle who was the youngest of five children, began singing at the age of 14.  In 1958, she formed a girl group known as the Ordettes.  When two of the original Ordettes left, she and Sandra Tucker brought in Nona Hendryx and Sara Dash.  When Tucker left, Cindy Birdsong replaced her.  They became the Bluebelles.  The ladies scored a hit with “I Sold My Heart to the Junkman,� and gained further acclaim in 1964 with “You’ll Never Walk Alone.�  Shortly after, the group became known as Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles.

Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles scored a hit with “Somewhere Over the Rainbow� but became even more popular when they went space-age and became LaBelle.  As LaBelle the ladies became the first African American act to appear at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York.  In 1977, the group disbanded and Patti went solo.  Patti scored a #1 R&B hit “If You Only Knew,� and went on to reach the pop Top 20 with her “Beverly Hills Cop� soundtrack contribution “New Attitude.�

Patti found herself on the Broadway stage by 1982, when she co-starred in the Broadway revival “Your Arms Too Short To Box With God.� Not to be undone, Patti went on and proved herself a unstop winner when in 1986 she debuted with the song “The Winner in You,� for MCA featuring the Michael McDonald duet “On My Own.� It went platinum. “Burnin’ won Ms. LaBelle her first Grammy Award for best female R&B performance in 1991.  Her second Grammy came in 1998 with Live! One Night Only� and netted her the award of Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance.

Patti proved that not only could she sing but that she could write as well when she published her best-selling autobiography, “Don’t Block the Blessings: Revelations of a Lifetime.�  Patti also has a clothing line which is available on HSN.

Most recently, Patti launched her new lifestyle show on the TV One Network entitled, “Living It Up with Patti LaBelle.� 

A humanitarian, Patti brings awareness about diabetes, AIDS, and cancer via her position as spokeswoman for the American Diabetes Association and National Minority AIDS Council, and via her position on the Board of the National Cancer Institute.  In fact, the University of Miami dedicated a research laboratory to honor Patti’s work on behalf of cancer awareness.

Interested parties can obtain tickets for Patti LaBelle’s show by calling the Lehman Center box office at 718-960-8833 (Mon. through Fri., 10 AM – 5 PM, and beginning at 12 noon on the day of the concert.)  Ticket prices are $100, $85, $75, and $55.

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