Born in Memphis, Tennessee Anita Ward is best known for her 1979 million selling chart-topper, "Ring My Bell."
Anita developed an interest in music at an early age, although it was gospel and not the up-tempo dance style she'd excel at later on. Ward sang with the Rust College A Cappella Choir - which included renowned Metropolitan Opera vocalist Leontyne Price - as well as issuing an obscure album recorded by her own gospel quartet. After graduating with a degree in psychology from Rust College in Holly Springs, Mississippi, Ward became a substitute teacher in the Memphis elementary school system.
It wasn't long before Ward realized music still tugged at her, and her manager introduced her to singer/songwriter Frederick Knight. Knight agreed to help her produce a three-song demo session but became so taken by Ward's singing ability that the sessions soon produced an album's worth of material.
Upon listening back to their work, both agreed that they were still one song short, which resulted in Knight digging up an old track titled "Ring My Bell" that he had originally penned for a young teenybopper singer, Stacy Lattisaw (who would later score several hits in the early '80s).
The song's original lyrics dealt with teens chatting away on the phone and even though Knight gave the track a quick lyrical overhaul, Ward was less than enthusiastic about the song. Still, she agreed to record it (with Knight providing most of the musical accompaniment himself. The song only took two days to record.
"Ring My Bell" turned out to be the best song, resulting in a recording contract with the TK label, and the release of Ward's debut album in 1979, Songs of Love.
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"Ring My Bell" climbed the charts peaking at number one during the summer - topping Donna Summer's "Hot Stuff" and "Bad Girls," and Sister Sledge's "We Are Family." It remained on the charts for five months solid.
None of the other songs on the album gained steam, and the album disappeared from the charts quickly. A follow-up single, "Don't Drop My Love," could only make it as far as number 87 on the charts in December of the same year. A 12-track best-of was released in 1998, titled Ring My Bell; a remix of the track, "Ring My Bell 2000," was issued shortly thereafter.
The 1970s disco era had a number of one-hit wonders, including Anita Ward.