Dee Dee Sharp (b. September 9, 1945) is an R&B/soul singer with a clear and powerful voice who became famous during the early 1960s. She is best known for her series of dance hits that include her signature song, "Mashed Potato Time" (1962).
Born Dione LaRue in Philadelphia, she studied the piano as a child and served as a choir director at her grandfather's and other local churches. At age 13, she began working as a backup singer for such top artists as Frankie Avalon, Chubby Checker, Fabian, Lloyd Price, Bobby Rydell, and Jackie Wilson. By the time she was 17, she was signed to Cameo-Parkway and had recorded "Slow Twistin'" with Chubby Checker and what would be the first of many hits, "Mashed Potato Time." Kal Mann and Bernie Lowe, who co-wrote and produced the latter song, gave LaRue a new stage name, Dee Dee Sharp, which was created from her nickname, Dee, and the key in which she most preferred to sing, D sharp.
Dee Dee Sharp debuted on the Pop/Rock charts in 1962 with "Mashed Potato Time," a song about a dance craze from that year known as the Mashed Potato which topped the R&B charts and reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. This smash was followed later that year by "Slow Twistin'" (with Chubby Checker), "Gravy (For My Mashed Potatoes)," and "Ride." Both "Mashed Potato Time" and "Ride!" sold over one million copies each and went gold. Her long string of hits also included "Do The Bird" (1963), "Rock Me In The Cradle Of Love" (1963), "Wild!" (1963), "Where Did I Go Wrong" (1964), "Willyam, Willyam" (1964), and "I Really Love You" (1965). Sharp later had two R&B chart entries with "I Love You Anyway" (1981) and a disco version of 10cc's "I'm Not In Love" (1976). She also joined The Philadelphia International All Stars who had a hit in 1977 with "Let's Clean Up The Ghetto." In 1980, Sharp topped the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart with "Breaking And Entering" and "Easy Money" which are both included on her album, "Dee Dee."
Sharp made numerous appearances on "American Bandstand" during the 1960s and 1970s and was also a regular in Dick Clark's Caravan of Stars tours. She has continued to perform and record actively over the years and was honored in 2013 with the Sandy Hosey Lifetime Achievement Award. Her 1962 smash hit, "Gravy (For My Mashed Potatoes)," was part of the soundtrack to the 1992 movie, "Sister Act," starring Whoopi Goldberg. She is married to attorney Bill Witherspoon.
- For more info about Dee Dee Sharp, visit deedeesharp.com.
- Sharp discusses her early career, her recent work, and other topics in an interview with Gary James of classicbands.com (2017).
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Dee Dee Sharp
- Do The Bird 1963
- Gravy (For My Mashed Potatoes) 1962
(This song was a follow-up to "Mashed Potato Time.")
- Mashed Potato Time 1962
(The Mashed Potato was a popular dance craze during the early 1960s.)
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