Maxine Nightingale (born 2 November 1952; Wembley, London) is a British R&B and soul music singer. She is best known for her hits in the 1970s, with the million seller “Right Back Where We Started From” (1975, U.K. & 1976, U.S.), “Love Hit Me” (1977), and “Lead Me On” (1979).
One of the three children of Guyanese-born comedian Benny Nightingale and his wife Iris (they also had daughter Rosalind and son Glen), Maxine Nightingale first vocalized with her school band. At thirteen, she and a friend visited a neighborhood house where the band Unisound was rehearsing. They asked her to sing with them and she joined them in performing extensively on the British cabaret circuit.
The manager of one of the clubs where they performed asked Nightingale to cut a demo and shopped it to Pye Records, for whom Nightingale made her first recordings. Despite being overseen by label A&R head Cyril Stapleton, Nightingale’s three Pye single releases—issued in June and July 1969 and 26 March 1971—went unnoticed.
In 1969 Nightingale began a tenure of roughly 18 months West End production of Hair, playing a supporting role and understudying the female lead role of Sheila; she then relocated to Germany, having formed a relationship with an actor from the German production of Hair whom she had met when he visited the West End production. In Germany, Nightingale continued her stage musical career in Hair (as Sheila), Jesus Christ Superstar, and Godspell, and she began a relationship with Minoru Terada Domberger, the director of the German production of Hair, which led to marriage and a daughter, Langka Veva Domberger, born in 1973.
Nightingale returned to London with her husband and daughter and appeared in the West End production of Savages, after which she withdrew from professional performing. According to Nightingale, “I started doing session singing. I didn’t do a lot but it was easy to go out in the evening when the baby was sleeping.”
Her vocalizing on the recording of Al Matthews’ “Fool” caught the attention of the session’s producer Pierre Tubbs, enough that he asked composer J. Vincent Edwards to write a song for her. Edwards, who had worked with Nightingale in the West End production of Hair, convinced her to record the song, “Right Back Where We Started From”, overcoming Nightingale’s initial refusal and disinterest in a second attempt at a recording career. She recorded “Right Back Where We Started From” with the understanding it would be issued under a pseudonym. (Nightingale also had to be convinced to take a royalty rather than a onetime $45 session fee.)
After being released on United Artists Records (in Nightingale’s true name), “Right Back Where We Started From” reached #8 in the UK in the autumn of 1975. It was released in the US early 1976 to enthusiastic reaction, reaching #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in May 1976. Nightingale, who had accompanied her husband to his native Japan, was motivated by her single’s US success to return to London to complete a Right Back Where We Started From album. She then proceeded to the US, which has since remained her home base.
Nightingale’s only significant hit in the period following the success of “Right Back Where We Started From” was in the UK with “Love Hit Me” the title cut from her second album. Promoted by Nightingale in a TOTP appearance broadcast 17 March 1977, “Love Hit Me”, peaked at #11 on the UK chart dated 9 April 1977.
Nightingale’s third album Love Lines was a 1978 release in the UK and Europe with UK single releases “Lead Me On” and “(Bringing Out) The Girl in Me”. Both were overlooked despite Nightingale’s promotion of the latter in another TOTP appearance on 8 June 1978. The US release of “Lead Me On” early in 1979 met with a favorable reception, especially in the easy listening market, and the track reached #1 on Billboard’s Easy Listening chart that July2; the track gradually accrued enough mainstream pop support to reach #5 on the Hot 100 that September. As with “Right Back Where We Started From”, Nightingale was unable to follow-up her US Top Ten success, the subsequent “(Bringing Out) The Girl in Me” marking Nightingale’s final Hot 100 appearance with a #73 peak. Lead Me On is a re-packaged and slightly remixed version of the previous European lp with the addition of a new song, the disco-styled “Hideaway”. The songs “Lead Me On” and “Hideaway” were extended for a promo 12-inch record.
Nightingale reached the Top 20 on Billboard’s R&B chart for the first time in 1982 with “Turn to Me”, a duet with Jimmy Ruffin. She then dropped out of the pop mainstream, working for some 20 years as a more jazz-orientated live performer. She has reportedly recorded an album of her live performance at B.B. King’s Club at Universal Studios Hollywood although it remains unreleased. Since 2000 Nightingale has become active on the retro music circuit, appearing in the 2004 PBS music special Superstars of Seventies Soul: Live. In February 2008 Nightingale undertook a club tour of Australia.
It´s A Beautiful Thing
Highrise Records 1982
Tracks: Never Gonna Be Another One, So Right, Shakin´Me Up, Turn To Me, Stand Up For Your Heart, Anyone Who Had A Heart, Give A Little Love (To Me) & I Don´t Miss You At All.
Musicians on the It´s A Beautiful Thing album: Maxine Nightingale, Ed Greene, James Gadson, Cornelius Mims, Charles Fearing, Chuck Pierce, Bob Bowles, Sam Brown III, Luis Cabaza & Sonny Burke.
RCA Records 1980
Tracks: Take Your Heart 2 – I’m Givin’ It All To You 3 – Work On It 4 – Just Because 5 – All Night With Me 6 – Never Enough 7 – Tight Spot 8 – Why Did You Turn Me On.
Musicians on the Bittersweet album: Maxine Nightingale, Greg Moore, Glen Nightingale, Thom Rotella, Jerry Knight, Abraham Laboriel, Eddie Watkins, Bobby Watson, Michael Boddicker, Michel Colombier, John “JR” Robinson, Steve Schaeffer, Larry Tolbert, Paulinho Da Costa, Stan Farber, Jim Haas, Jon Joyce, David Lasley, Marcy Levy, Bruce Roberts & Allee Willis.
Lead Me On
United Artists 1979
Tracks: Hideway, (Bringing Out) The Girl In Me, Darlin’ Dear, Love Me Like You Mean It, Lead Me On, You Got Me, Ask Billy (They Tell Me) & You Are The Most Important Person In Your Life.
Musicians on the Lead Me On album: Maxine Nightingale, Larry Carlton, Charles Fearing, Glen Nightingale, Ray Parker Jr., Thom Rotella, David Hungate, Jerry Knight, Eddie Watkins, Michael Boddicker, Vincent Bonham, Michel Colombier, David Foster, Marilyn McLeod, Sylvester Rivers, Ollie Brown, Ed Greene, Larry Tolbert, Melvin Webb, Michael Brecker, Stan Farber, Jim Haas, Jon Joyce, Marilyn McLeod, Julia Tillman Waters, Allee Waters, Oren Waters & Maxine Willard Waters.
United Artists 1978
Tracks: You Are The Most Important Person In Your Life, You Got To Me, Your Love´s Too Strong, (Bringing Out) The Girl In Me, Love Me Like You Mean It, Lead Me On, I Die Inside Without You (Darlin´Dear), Ask Billy (They Tell Me), No One Like My Baby, Someone Like Me & You Made My Life Beautiful.
Musicians on the Love Lines album: Maxine Nightingale, Ed Greene, Larry Tolbert, Ollie Brown, Jerry Knight, David Hungate, Eddie Watkins, Ray Parker Jr, Larry Carlton, Glen Nightingale, Thom Rotella, Charles Fearing, Michel Colombier, David Foster, Michael Boddicker, Sylvester Rivers, Marilyn McLeod, Vincent Bonham, Melvin Webb, Michael Brecker, Stan Fraber, Jim Haas, Jon Joyce, Maxine Waters, Julia Waters, Oren Waters, Allee Waters & Marilyn McLeod.
United Artists 1977
Tracks: Will You Be My Lover, You Are Everything, Love Hit Me, You, Get It Up For Love, Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time), Love Or Let Me Be Lonely, I Wonder Who’s Waiting Up For You Tonight, How Much Love & Right Now.
Musicians on the Night Life album: Maxine Nightingale, Larry Carlton, Jay Graydon, Lee Ritenour, Wilton Felder, Anthony Jackson, Michel Colombier, Larry Muhoberac, Jim Gordon, Ed Greene, Ron Tutt, Milt Holland, Tom Scott, Chuck Findley, Gayle Levant, Lew McCreary, Steve Madaio, Oliver Mitchell, Jack Redmond, George Tatcher, Denny Diante, Julia Tillman Waters, Oren Waters & Maxine Willard Waters.
Right Back Where We Started From
United Artists 1976
Tracks: (I Think I Wanna) Possess You, Bless You, Right Back Where We Started From, In Love We Grow, Gotta Be The One, One Last Ride, Reasons, If I Ever Lose This Heaven, Love Enough, You Got The Love, Life Has Just Begun, Evertime I See A Butterfly & Good-bye Again.
Musicians on the Right Back Where We Started From album: Maxine Nightingale, Theodore Thunder, Pete Kirshaw, Mike De Alburquerque, Mick Barker, Glenn Nightingale, Pierre Tubbs, Lynton Naif, Bob Andrews, Dave Ulm, Vince Edwards, Ian Harrison, Peter Hughes, Raphael Ravenscroft, Kenny Wheeler, Tony Rivers, John Perry, Ken Gold, Vince Edwards, Pete Kirshaw, Bob Andrews & Helen Chappel.