You always remember your first crush…

Mine was Stephanie Mills. I was 3 when “What’cha Gonna Do with My Lovin'” came out back in ’79. “Sweet Sensation” came out the year after, and I was smitten. There was something about the voice and the attitude that caught my interest. Granted, you can’t have much of a crush when you’re a toddler, but I wanted the little lady with the big voice to be my pretend girlfriend. We could sit around and listen to records all day.

Those two albums marked a decade of non-stop hits for the powerhouse vocalist, who initially gained fame portraying Dorothy in the Broadway version of “The Wiz”. She scored five #1 R&B singles, a string of hit albums, and garnered an American Music Award and a Grammy during that stretch. Even after parting ways with MCA Records in the early Nineties, Stephanie never really went away for long: touring the world, returning to the stage, and releasing a gospel CD during that time. She made a return to pop music just a couple of years ago with the album “Born for This”.

Miss Mills is now back, with a beautiful version of The Beatles’ standard “Yesterday” and an upcoming album entitled “Breathless”. Her performance of the Lennon/McCartney classic is beautiful. She dedicates it to her friend Michael Jackson-as most MJ fans know, he and Stephanie enjoyed a very close friendship back in the late Seventies. I gotta say-good black don’t crack. Stephanie still looks and sounds as fine as ever. Check out her website and also follow her on Twitter: @prettymill1.

In addition to the official video for “Yesterday”, I’m also including her American Music Awards acceptance speech from 1982 (if they’d have asked me to pick a winner in that category, my brain might have exploded) and one of my favorite classic tracks from her and another superstar who left us too soon, Teddy Pendergrass.

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