Under The Duvet Productions

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SPOTLIGHT: Disco Legend ANITA WARD by Photojournalist Lisa Pacino

Disco legend Anita Ward is a singer, songwriter and musician born in Memphis, Tennessee, December 20, 1956. She is an artist in the Disco and R&B genres; best known for her #1 Disco Hit “Ring My Bell”, 1979.

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Disco Legend Anita Ward, GEMA Foundation Show, Delaware, October 11, 2014. Photography by Lisa Pacino.

Her professional music career began in 1979; but before she signed a recording contract she earned a degree in psychology from Rust College in Mississippi, and became a school teacher. She was singing since she was two years old, and came from a musical family. During her time at Rust College she joined the College’s Accapella Choir, and would also sing lead in various Church Choirs in Memphis. An administrator at Rust College, Chuck Holmes, heard Anita auditioning for Godspell on the campus; a part she did receive. He thought her voice was unique, suggesting she become a recording artist. Anita’s unique powerful voice is a blend of soprano, gospel, and R&B. He became her manager, signing her to Juana Records in 1978, but he had been very ill, after her first two albums were released he passed away shortly after in 1981.

 In 1978, in the mist of recording her debut album, Frederick Knight, the record label owner, approached her with a song he had initially written for then eleven-year-old Stacy Lattisaw. Anita didn’t like the song, which was written about teenagers talking on the telephone. He insisted it would be a top disco hit; upon her request he re-wrote the lyrics modifying them for an adult. The change of lyrics resulted in the hit single “Ring My Bell” released May 17, 1979 on Juana Records; which reached number one in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada. By the summer of 1979 it reached number one on the Dance charts, the R&B charts, Billboard Hot 100, and the Soul Singles Chart. In over 15 countries it was in the top ten. “If I Could Feel That Old Feeling Again” was a beautiful ballad on the B-side, and “Make Believe Lovers” on the alternate B-side. The 12” single of “Ring My Bell” was released on TK Records, an affiliate of Juana Records, and were the distributors. The album, Songs Of Love, was released reaching number two on the R&B charts. “Ring My Bell” has been re-mixed countless times, and has been covered by many artists since its original release in 1979; covers include Tori Amos, INOJ, Ann Lee, DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, Pato Fu, Saïan Supa Crew, and more.

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Anita Ward at the G.E.M.A. Foundation Annual DISCO Awards Luncheon honored, and presented with a Citation from Philadelphia, PA, October 10, 2014. Photograph by Lisa Pacino.

The album, Songs of Love, had another hit “Spoiled By Your Love” which was actually her first recording. Unfortunately most songs on Songs of Love were overshadowed by “Ring My Bell”. It is an underrated extraordinary album which includes ballads and disco songs such as “Sweet Splendor”, “I Won’t Stop Loving You”, “There’s No Doubt About It”, and my personal ultimate favorite “You Lied” co-written by Anita. This past year, 2014, I asked Anita with great enthusiasm if she would re-make and release “You Lied” as a single; with great pleasure I can report she seemed to be quite receptive to the idea.

That same year, 1979, she released her second album, Sweet Surrender, placing “Don’t Drop My Love” on the 1980 Billboard Hot 100. Another underrated beautiful album which included “Cover Me”, “Can’t Nobody Love Me Like You Do”, “Caught Between A Good Thing and Good-Bye”, “Forever Green”, “I Go Crazy”, “Forever Love You More”, and ”Someday We’ll Be Together”.


In 1981, the same year her manager Chuck Holmes passed away, Anita was in a terrible car accident placing her in critical condition; she eventually had necessary sinus surgery and began to perform again. In 1989, she released a lovely album entitled Wherever There’s Love with “Be My Baby”, “When A Women Loves”, “All The Money In The World”, “I’ll Be Loving You (Always)”, “I’ll Be The Girl”, “Someone Like You”, “Have I Got A Girl For You”, and more.

In between her singing career she has gone back to teaching intermittently, but has continued to be a vibrant force in the music world still performing and giving concerts, both solo, and with her fellow disco artists. On New Year’s Eve, 2002 in New York City, Anita performed “Ring My Bell” in the legendary Times Square. In 2005, she performed “Ring My Bell” again for New Year’s Eve in Memphis, Tennessee. May 20, 2011, she released a fabulous new single “It’s My Night”; a modern dance song with disco and R&B roots, and a get up on the dance floor beat. Anita’s strong and beautiful voice holds notes nearly impossible for most. I hope to see another studio release in the near future.

 On October 10th and 11th, 2014, the G.E.M.A. Foundation held its Annual DISCO Weekend in Wilmington, Delaware, which consisted of an awards luncheon, show, and after party. Anita was among the honorees for her contributions; and was also presented with a Citation from Councilman David Oh of Philadelphia, PA. She is also featured in two recent books by James Arena, First Ladies of Disco, and First Legends of Disco.

Anita Ward has given us wonderful music through the years, with a professional and heavenly singing voice. She is gracious, kind, and talented making her one of my favorite Disco Artists of all time.

PLEASE NOTE: If you wish to share any of our photographs for personal use they are not to be altered in any way. It must be “as is”, with photo name credit, not cropped, no filters, or adjusted. They are not to be used in collages or any other formats. If needed for commercial and/or promotional use please email us to license. Thank you. Email: UnderTheDuvetProductions@gmail.com

All photographs and Article by Celebrity Photojournalist Lisa Pacino of Under The Duvet Productions, NY. All Rights Reserved.

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Anita Ward at the G.E.M.A. Foundation Annual DISCO Awards Luncheon with Mimi Brown of WDAS-FM Philly, and Wardell Piper, October 10, 2014. Photograph by Lisa Pacino.

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Anita Ward at the G.E.M.A. Foundation Annual DISCO Awards Luncheon with Wardell Piper, October 10, 2014. Photograph by Lisa Pacino.

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Anita Ward at the G.E.M.A. Foundation Annual DISCO Awards Luncheon being honored by Dee Wellmon and Wardell Piper, October 10, 2014. Photograph by Lisa Pacino.

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Anita Ward at the G.E.M.A. Foundation Annual DISCO Awards Luncheon being honored by Dee Wellmon and Wardell Piper, October 10, 2014. Photograph by Lisa Pacino.

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Anita Ward with Linda Clifford at the G.E.M.A. Foundation Annual DISCO Awards Luncheon, October 10, 2014. Photograph by Lisa Pacino.

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Anita Ward with Denise Wilkinson of SKYY at the G.E.M.A. Foundation Annual DISCO Awards Luncheon, October 10, 2014. Photograph by Lisa Pacino.

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Anita Ward with Helen Scott of The Three Degrees and Denise Montana in the hotel lobby during the G.E.M.A. Foundation Annual DISCO Weekend, October 10, 2014. Photograph by Lisa Pacino.

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Anita Ward during rehearsal at the G.E.M.A. Foundation Annual DISCO Weekend, October 11, 2014. Photograph by Lisa Pacino.

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Anita Ward during rehearsal at the G.E.M.A. Foundation Annual DISCO Weekend, October 11, 2014. Photograph by Lisa Pacino.

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Anita Ward with DeVerne D. Williams during rehearsal at the G.E.M.A. Foundation Annual DISCO Weekend, October 11, 2014. Photograph by Lisa Pacino.

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Anita Ward during rehearsal at the G.E.M.A. Foundation Annual DISCO Weekend, October 11, 2014. Photograph by Lisa Pacino.

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Anita Ward performing at the G.E.M.A. Foundation Annual DISCO Show, October 11, 2014. Photograph by Lisa Pacino.

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Anita Ward backstage with Linda Clifford and Denise Montana at the G.E.M.A. Foundation Annual DISCO Show, October 11, 2014. Photograph by Lisa Pacino.

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Anita Ward backstage with Valerie Holiday & Freddie Pool of The Three Degrees and Carol Douglas at the G.E.M.A. Foundation Annual DISCO Show, October 11, 2014. Photograph by Lisa Pacino.

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Anita Ward backstage with Denise Montana at the G.E.M.A. Foundation Annual DISCO Show, October 11, 2014. Photograph by Lisa Pacino.

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Anita Ward backstage with Wardell Piper and Annette Guest of First Choice at the G.E.M.A. Foundation Annual DISCO Show, October 11, 2014. Photograph by Lisa Pacino.

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Anita Ward backstage with Tom Moulton at the G.E.M.A. Foundation Annual DISCO Show, October 11, 2014. Photograph by Lisa Pacino.

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Anita Ward presenting James Arena his award at the G.E.M.A. Foundation Annual DISCO Luncheon Awards, October 10, 2014. Photograph by Lisa Pacino.

Anita’s cousin is music artist Wardell Piper. Wardell is a solo artist who began her career in 1970; and in 1971 and 1973 she recorded with the group First Choice. Please see our Spotlight on Wardell Piper: https://undertheduvetproductions.wordpress.com/2015/01/26/spotlight-45-years-of-disco-legend-wardell-piper/

Anita Ward Retrospect:

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Anita Ward with Dick Clark, American Bandstand, April 15, 1979. Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images.

Anita Ward on The Donny & Marie Osmond Talk Show, April 12, 1999.

REMINDER: If you wish to share any of our photographs for personal use they are not to be altered in any way. It must be “as is”, with photo name credit, not cropped, no filters, or adjusted. They are not to be used in collages or any other formats. If needed for commercial and/or promotional use please email us to license. Thank you. Email: UnderTheDuvetProductions@gmail.com

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Celebrity Photojournalist Lisa Pacino of Under The Duvet Productions, NY ©.

Website:
http://lisapacino.smugmug.com/

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