Did C + C Music Factory Effectively Try to Erase the Lead Female Vocalist on Their Hit “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)”?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about music and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the movie urban legends featured so far.

MUSIC URBAN LEGEND: Not only did C + C Music Factory use a different singer to lip sync to the music sung by another singer for the music video AND some live performances of their hit song “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now),” they did not even CREDIT the actual singer on the song!

David Cole and, Robert Clivillés were a production duo who put together the “group” C + C Music Factory, quotes because they would just hire different singers according to what they felt the song needed.

One of their most popular songs was “Things That Make You Go ‘Hmm'”…

but their biggest hit by far was the title track to their 1991 smash album, “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)”…

In the popular music video for the song, the booming hook of the female singer singing “Everybody Dance Now” is depicted as this woman, Zelma Davis…

Heck, it even credits her by NAME…

Davis did, indeed, sing on more than a few tracks on the album. However, she did NOT do the singing on this song.

No, the singing came courtesy of Martha Wash, seen below from a 1980s music video for her hit song “It’s Raining Men,” from her singing duo, The Weather Girls (along with Izora Rhodes, who she met when both women were working as backup singers during the late 1970s/early 1980s).

As you can see, Wash is a bit less svelte than Davis, and as a result, the producers of the group and the record label felt that she was “unmarketable.” Not only would Davis lip sync to her singing on the music video, but she would also do the same on certain live performances, like when C + C Music Factory was on Saturday Night Live.

Not only that, but Wash was not even CREDITED on the album’s liner notes!

Eventually, almost certainly buoyed by the lip syncing scandal involving the pop group, Milli Vanilli, Wash sued the record label (Columbia) to get credit (and royalties from the song’s success) and she succeeded. Not only did she succeed, but her actions at least partially inspired Congress to pass legislation making proper crediting mandatory on song releases.

It’s nice to see a happy ending!

The legend is…

STATUS: True

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is [email protected]

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