Radio Facts: Gwen Guthrie/What Went Wrong?

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If Gwen Guthrie was trying to make it as a star in this American Idol state of the music industry, she would have had a much greater chance of success today. I met Gwen in the mid 80s after her biggest hit “Ain’t Nothing Goin‘ on But the Rent” came out. She was in a suite at Jack the Rapper in Atlanta where Cameo was celebrating their second coming with the super smash “Word Up.” She was perched on the couch and I was SHOCKED when I saw her. She was, and this is being kind… HUGE. Gwen had to be close to 350 and women like her were just not considered marketable in the music industry. Every one of her albums had pictures of her from the neck up and when Nothing Goin‘ on was on the radio, announcers would create their own lines like: “You gotta have some gro-cery, if you wanna be with me.” (laugh). I must admit, it was funny. To her credit, Gwen was a phenomenal singer. Some of her BEST shit were her ballads: “You Touched My life,” “Oh Donny No,” “Just for You,” and more. My ALL TIME FAVORITE Gwen Guthrie cut is the remake of Sly and the Family Stone’s “Family Affair” with her former label mate Grace Jones’ producers Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare. Gwen NAILED that song to the wall but it was never released as a single. Gwen quietly died in 1999 at the age of 48 of uterine cancer…. in this video Outside in the Rain (let’s make love) it looks more like the guys want to make love with each other instead of her (laugh) but Gwen was also a huge staple in NY’s gay community and an advocate for AIDS.

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