The Godmother of Soul Turns 80: Patti LaBelle

A symphony of remarkable artistry and empowering anthems, there should be no question as to why Patti LaBelle reigns as the Godmother of Soul. Born Patricia Louise Holte in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on May 24, 1944, the 42-time Billboard charting songstress’ legacy has been a blueprint for many.

From the Blue Belles to LaBelle and her solo career, here are eight of Ms. Patti’s most trendsetting songs as we celebrate her life and decades of impact:

Lady Marmalade (1974)

A Labelle classic, this monumental record is preserved in the National Recording Registry. One of the first songs about women’s sexual liberation, this hit was covered by Christina Aguilera, Mýa, P!nk and Lil’ Kim in 2001, and continues to be an empowering tune for women everywhere.

    Feels Like Another One (1991)

    Co-written by LaBelle for her eleventh studio album Burnin, this new jack swing-styled track peaked at number three on the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop.  

    On My Own (1986)

    A duet sung by Patti LaBelle and Michael McDonald, this record went to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 within three weeks and became the most successful single for both artists.

    If You Only Knew (1983)

    As the first single off Patti LaBelle’s sixth solo album, I’m in Love Again, this was her first song to break into the pop charts. Spending four weeks at No. 1 on the R&B chart in 1983, it’s clear why this is a classic.

    New Attitude (1984)

    Recorded by LaBelle for the 1984 Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack, this dance record catapulted the singer right to No. 1 on the Hot Dance Music chart and peaked at No. 3  on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.

    Love, Need and Want You (1983)

    Peaking at No. 10 on the US Billboard R&B chart, “Love, Need and Want You” gave LaBelle another R&B hit. The second single off I’m in Love Again, this song has been sampled in songs by Ciara, Outkast, and Kelly Rowland.

    You Are My Friend (1978)

    Dedicated to their son Zuri, and co-written with her then-husband Armstead Edwards, this signature song was the second single off her 1978 self-titled debut album.
    Updated: May 24, 2024 — 12:03 pm