Dee Dee Sharp

Dee Dee Sharp (born Dione LaRue, September 9, 1945, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States[1]) is an American R&B singer, who began her career recording as a backing vocalist in 1961.

Dee Dee Sharp
Birth nameDione LaRue
Born (1945-09-09) September 9, 1945
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Years active1961–present
LabelsCameo, Atco, Atlantic, Gamble, Philadelphia International, Highland Music, Inc.


Although Sharp had been playing the piano from an early age and directed church choirs for her grandfather's and other congregations in her hometown of Philadelphia, her singing career began in 1958 at the age of 13 years when her mother's car accident spurred her to find a job to help support her family while she recovered from her injuries.[2][3][4] With her grandmother's blessing, given only after she promised to keep up with the schooling.[5][3] Sharp responded to an ad in the daily news for backup singers. Her first job was with Willa Ward Moultrie and was soon singing backup vocals for the likes of Lloyd Price, Chubby Checker, Bobby Rydell, Frankie Avalon and Jackie Wilson.[2][5][3][4]

In 1962, she was signed by Cameo/Parkway and was christened Dee Dee Sharp by producers Kal Mann and Bernie Lowe.[2][4] At the time, her brother called her “Dee” and since she sang in D sharp she was given this new identity.[5] She produced a string of successful Billboard Hot 100 Top 10 hits: "Slow Twistin'" (with Chubby Checker) (#3) for which she was uncredited on the label, "Mashed Potato Time" (#2), "Gravy (For My Mashed Potatoes)" (#9), "Ride!" (#5) and "Do the Bird" (#10).[1] Both "Mashed Potato Time" and "Ride!" each sold over one million copies, and were awarded gold discs.[6] "Do the Bird" provided her only entry in the UK Singles Chart, where it peaked at #46 in April 1963.[7] She has appeared several times on the American Bandstand, a syndicated music-performance and dance television program, from 1962 to 1981, and was also a regular feature on Dick Clark's Caravan of Stars tours.[3][2] In 1967, she married record producer and Philadelphia International co-founder Kenny Gamble and recorded under the name Dee Dee Sharp-Gamble until their divorce in 1980. Unhappy with record sales, she switched to Atco/Atlantic Records and later founded Gamble Records with Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff. Over time she would also work with TSOP and Philadelphia International.[2]

She had a brief career resurgence during the disco era and hit the charts again with her version of 10 CC's "I'm Not In Love." She also joined Lou Rawls, Billy Paul, Teddy Pendergrass, The O'Jays and Archie Bell as a member of the Philadelphia International All Stars, who had a minor hit with "Let's Clean Up the Ghetto." In 1980 she spent four weeks at number one on the Hot Dance Club Play chart with "Breaking and Entering" / "Easy Money," from her album Dee Dee.[2]

In 1992, Sharp's 1962 hit "Gravy (For My Mashed Potatoes)" was featured in a scene in the American movie comedy Sister Act which starred Whoopi Goldberg. It was also included as part of the film's soundtrack album. More recent appearances included a performance at Pontins in the UK for the Northern Soul Show, and at the 2008 Detroit Jazz Festival. In May 2009, she appeared in Belgium at the Salle De L'Hotel de Ville.

Personal life

In a documentary film, Muhammad Ali: The Whole Story, Sharp claimed that in 1964 she was engaged to Muhammad Ali shortly before he converted to the Muslim faith;[8] when she was told that she herself had to become a Muslim before she married Ali, her mother ended the engagement.

Sharp and her husband Bill Witherspoon reside in Medford, New Jersey.[9]


On November 9, 2013, the prestigious Sandy Hosey Lifetime Achievement Award was bestowed upon Sharp by the Artists Music Guild. Sharp thought she was in attendance to bestow the honor upon her longtime friend, Chubby Checker when she was surprised with her own honors. The Sandy Hosey Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to five artists every year by the Guild.[10]


Studio albums

  • 1962: It's Mashed Potato Time (US #44)
  • 1962: Songs Of Faith
  • 1962: Down To Earth with Chubby Checker (US #117)
  • 1963: Do The Bird
  • 1963: Down Memory Lane
  • 1963: Wild
  • 1975: Happy Bout The Whole Thing (R&B #48)
  • 1977: What Color Is Love (as Dee Dee Sharp Gamble, in association with Kenneth Gamble)
  • 1980: Dee Dee (R&B #59)


  • 1963: 18 Golden Hits
  • 1963: All The Hits
  • 1963: Biggest Hits
  • 1979: Cameo-Parkway Sessions
  • 1993: All The Hits & More
  • 1995: All The Golden Hits
  • 1998: What Color Is Love / Dee Dee
  • 2004: Chubby Checker, Bobby Rydell, Dee Dee Sharp - Bobby Rydell & Chubby Checker And Down To Earth
  • 2005: Best Of Dee Dee Sharp 1962-1966
  • 2006: Sharp Goes Wild
  • 2010: It's Mashed Potato Time / Do The Bird
  • 2010: Happy 'Bout The Whole Thing + What Color Is Love + Dee Dee
  • 2015: Hurry On Down, It's Mashed Potato Time
  • 2020: The Queen Of Rhythm & Blues


Year Single (A-side, B-side)
Both sides from same album except where indicated
Label and number Chart positions Album
*Wyncote label compilations of various Cameo-Parkway artists
1962 "Mashed Potato Time"
b/w "Set My Heart At Ease" (Non-album track)
Cameo 212 2 1 It's Mashed Potato Time
"Slow Twistin'" (Chubby Checker & Dee Dee Sharp)
b/w "La Paloma Twist" (by Chubby Checker, non-album track)
Parkway 835 3 3
"Gravy (For My Mashed Potatoes)"
b/w "Baby Cakes" (Non-album track)
Cameo 219 9 11
b/w "The Night" (Non-album track)
Cameo 230 5 7 All The Hits By Dee Dee Sharp Volume II
1963 "Do the Bird"A
b/w "Lover Boy" (from Hullabaloo With The Stars*)
Cameo 244 10 8 Do The Bird
"Rock Me In The Cradle Of Love"
b/w "You'll Never Be Mine" (from Hullabaloo With The Stars*)
Cameo 260 43 Biggest Hits
b/w "Why Doncha Ask Me?" (from Do The Bird)
Cameo 274 33 25 All The Hits With All The Stars*
1964 "Where Did I Go Wrong" / Cameo 296 82 Shindig With The Stars*
"Willyam, Willyam" 97 Hullabaloo With The Stars Vol. 2*
"Never Pick A Pretty Boy"
b/w "He's No Ordinary Guy" (Non-album track)
Cameo 329 131 Hits A Go-Go With The Stars*
"Deep Dark Secret"
b/w "Good"
Cameo 335 Non-album tracks
"To Know Him Is To Love Him"
b/w "There Ain't Nothin' I Wouldn't Do For You"
Cameo 347
1965 "Let's Twine"
b/w "(That's What) My Mama Said"
Cameo 357
"I Really Love You"
b/w "Standing In The Need Of Love"
Cameo 375 78 37
1966 "(It's Wonderful) The Love I Feel For You"
b/w "Willyam, Willyam"
Fairmount 1004
"It's A Funny Situation"
b/w "There Ain't Nothin' I Wouldn't Do For You"
Cameo 382 126
"My Best Friend's Man"
b/w "Bye Bye Baby"
Atco 6445
1967 "What Am I Gonna Do"
b/w "(Heart and Soul) Baby I Love You"
Atco 6502
1968 "We Got A Thing Going On"
b/w "What 'Cha Gonna Do About It"
Both tracks: Ben E. King & Dee Dee Sharp
Atco 6557 127
"A Woman Will Do Wrong"
b/w "You're Just A Fool In Love"
Atco 6576
"Help Me Find My Groove"
b/w "This Love Won't Run Out"
Atco 6587
"What Kind Of Lady"
b/w "You're Gonna Miss Me (When I'm Gone)"
Gamble 219
1970 "The Bottle Or Me"
b/w "You're Gonna Miss Me (When I'm Gone)"
Gamble 4005
1971 "Conquer The World"
b/w "We Got A Thing Going On"
Both sides: Dee Dee Sharp Gamble with Bunny Sigler
Philadelphia International 3512
1974 "Happy 'Bout The Whole Thing"
b/w "Touch My Life"
TSOP 4776 Happy 'Bout The Whole Thing
1975 "Share My Love"B album cut
1976 "I'm Not In Love"
b/w "Make It Till Tomorrow"
TSOP 4778 62
1977 "Nobody Could Take Your Place"
b/w "Flashback"
Philadelphia International 3625 What Color Is Love
"I'd Really Love To See You Tonight"
b/w "What Color Is Love"
Philadelphia International 3636
1978 "Just As Long As I Know You're Mine"
b/w "I Believe In Love"
Philadelphia International 3638
"I Wanna Be Your Woman"
b/w "Trying To Get The Feeling Again"
Philadelphia International 3644
1981 "Easy Money"
b/w "I Love You Anyway" (see below)
Philadelphia International 70058 Dee Dee
"Breaking and Entering"C / Philadelphia International 02041
"I Love You Anyway" 79
  • A"Do the Bird" also peaked at #46 on UK Singles.
  • B"Share Your Love" also peaked at #28 on Disco Singles
  • C"Breaking and Entering" also peaked at #1 on Dance Music/Club Play Singles

See also


  1. "Biography by Andrew Hamilton". Retrieved 14 April 2009.
  2. "Dee Dee Sharp | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 2019-12-20.
  3. "Gary James' Interview With Dee Dee Sharp". Retrieved 2019-12-20.
  4. "Dee Dee Sharp - Artist Profile". Retrieved December 20, 2019.
  5. Charleston, Rita. "Singer DeeDee Sharp recalls early days in Philly as an 'overnight sensation'". The Philadelphia Tribune. Retrieved 2019-12-20.
  6. Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 152. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
  7. Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 494. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  8. "A Real Knockout". tribunedigital-chicagotribune. Retrieved 2017-11-21.
  9. Staff. "For Dee Dee Sharp, a good life moves on", The Philadelphia Inquirer, October 24, 2008. Accessed October 24, 2011. "Over the next 20 years, that spotlight would shine on a career that took her around the world and finally back to Medford, NJ, where she spends most of her time keeping house for her husband, attorney Bill Witherspoon."
  10. Sharp, Dee Dee. "Sharp is bestowed a Lifetime Achievement Award". Artists Music Guild. Archived from the original on 12 December 2013. Retrieved 9 December 2013.
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