C+C Music Factory

  • Dance music group formed in 1989 from New York New York. The founders of the group were David Cole (keyboards, backing vocals, songwriting) and Robert Clivillés (keyboards, programming, backing vocals, songwriting). Other members during their early years were rapper Freedom Williams and vocalist Zelma Davis.
  • Clivillés and Cole worked at a night club in New York City – Clivillés was the resident DJ, and he and Cole became friends when Cole was hired to perform live keyboards while the DJ was spinning dance records. In 1987, along with another club DJ and a friend, they formed a house music group named 2 Puerto Ricans, a Blackman and a Dominican. Over the next two years, they released three dance single that were minor hits, and then they disbanded. Clivillés and Cole continued to record together, using the name The 28th Street Crew. An album was released in 1989, with the title track I Need a Rhythm peaking at #3 on the Billboard Dance chart.
  • Later in 1989, Clivillés and Cole formed a new group name C+C Music Factory. Included in the group were rapper Williams and a model from Liberia named Zelma Davis. Davis was promoted as the main vocalist for the group. However, when the group recorded their debut album, they hired several other women to provide vocals to various tracks. In December 1990, their album Gonna Make You Sweat was released. The album was a smash – it peaked at #2 on the Billboard 200 album chart and it was certified 5x platinum.
  • The title track to the album, Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now) reached #1 on ten charts throughout the world, including the US Hot 100 and three other Billboard charts. At the end of 1990 it was ranked by Billboard as the #3 song for the entire year. The song became an anthem at sporting events and weddings and is still heard today at stadiums. Controversially, the lead female vocal on the track was provided by Martha Wash, who was not credited on the album for her contribution. The music video for the song shows Davis lip syncing Wash’s vocal. Wash had earlier recorded the vocals for an unrelated demo tape, and Clivillés and Cole used the demos in their hit single. Wash ultimately sued Clivillés and Cole and in 1994 the court found in her favor.
  • Three other singles from the album charted. Here We Go (Let’s Rock and Roll), Things That Make You Go Hmmm… and Just a Touch of Love all topped the Dance Club songs chart, and the first two also were top five hits on the Hot 100 chart. For these songs, Davis was the female vocalist. In 1992, they contributed a song to the film Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Keep It Comin’ (Dance Till You Can’t Dance No More) became their fifth consecutive single to top the Dance Club songs chart.
  • In 1994, Williams left the group to pursue a solo career – he was replaced by a hip hop vocal trio called Trilogy. Wash, fresh from her legal victory, was asked to join the group full time as a vocalist. In August 1994, C+C Music Factory released their second album – Anything Goes! The first single from the album was Do You Wanna Get Funky. It continued their string of dance hits, topping the Dance Club songs chart and peaking at #40 on the Hot 100 chart.
  • While recording Anything Goes!, Cole battled the effects of an illness, and five months after the release of the album, Cole died of spinal meningitis. Despite the death of Cole, the group went on tour in 1995, and late that year they released a self-titled third studio album. The first single from the album, I’ll Always Be Around, was their seventh single to top the Dance Club songs chart. But it was the beginning of the end – the group disbanded soon after the release of the album. A brief attempt at a comeback occurred in 2010 when Clivillés joined with Eric Kupper to release a single using the C+C Music Factory name. The single went nowhere, and there were no more releases.
  • In 2003, ex-member Freedom Williams acquired the rights to a similar name – “C and C Music Factory.” It was later renewed to “C & C Music Factory.” Clivillés labeled this “the biggest insult in the world.”
  • C+C Music Factory had quite the run, winning five Billboard Music Awards, five American Music Awards and two MTV Video Music Awards. And…I guarantee you that you’ve danced to Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now). Here’s the video.

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