The timeless music of the Grammy Award winning female R&B group The Emotions, continue to touch the hearts of adoring fans and admirers. Comprised of three sisters, Wanda, Sheila and Jeanette Hutchinson, The Emotions originally performed as the Hutchinson Sunbeams as children, from 3 to 5 years of age, while singing gospel in their hometown Chicago.
Under the guidance of their father and manager Joe Hutchinson, the young trio performed popular ballads, folk music, gospel and blues, as they broadened their audiences by performing in New York. In 1958 the Sunbeams made their first television appearance on the Jerry Van Dyke Show. Years later as teenagers, the group signed with Stax Records in 1968, and recorded as The Emotions.
Like other successful '70's artists who had musical roots in gospel; Aretha Franklin, Walter Hawkins and Andrae' Crouch; The Emotions' angelic harmony extended their popularity from the church to becoming R&B pop stars. Their growing success led them to collaborate with Grammy Award winning producers Isaac Hayes and David Porter. Together they lit up America's Top 40 charts in July 1969, with So I Can Love You (Volt 1969).
When Stax Records folded in 1975, the group signed with Kalimba Productions under the direction of Maurice White of the Grammy Award winning R&B group Earth, Wind & Fire, and released the album Rejoice (Columbia 1977). White and Clarence McDonald co-produced the album's single, Best of My Love. The song earned The Emotions their first Grammy Award, for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo, Group, or Chorus.
The Emotions and White followed up their success with the release of Don’t Ask My Neighbors (Columbia 1977), the second hit single from the Rejoice (Columbia 1977) album. And two years later in 1979, their reunion once again produced their next hit record, Boogie Wonderland (ARC/Columbia 1979).
Today, the Emotions are touring throughout the world, spending time with family and making special appearances with Earth, Wind & Fire. And though the original three members were Wanda, Sheila and Jeanette; another sister Pamela, had occasionally replaced Jeanette during the past years, while she took time to pursue personal goals.
In 1990, after an 11 year hiatus from the music limelight, The Emotions headlined at the Strand Supper Club in Redondo Beach California. On stage for the first time, instead of a trio, all four Hutchinson sisters; Wanda, Sheila, Jeanette and Pamela, performed together in what Wanda described as 'a legendary night'.
"We called it our togetherness show," expressed Sheila Hutchinson, during an on-camera interview with entertainment correspondent Cat'Ania McCoy-Howze after the concert. "I think it was the rebirth of the Emotions. It's just a really great feeling to be back out there after so long with my family."
As part of our Chicago's Black History Vintage Video Series, we present these exclusive video clips from their reunion concert.