The Complete Disco Guide to...

Stephanie Mills

R&B singer Stephanie Mills was born on March 22, 1959 in Brooklyn, New York. Her first album was 1974's "Movin' in the Right Direction". Her second album, "For the First Time", was released in 1976 and included a heavily-criticized disco song "This Empty Place" (released as a 7" single the year before) which is not representative of her work. In 1979 and 1980 she sang on many exquisite ballads, such as the lovely "Deeper Inside Your Love", plus several funk and disco songs, most memorably "Never Knew Love Like This Before". The closing credits of 1979's comedic film Starting Over starring Burt Reynolds feature Stephanie Mills singing the excellent, energetic disco track "Better Than Ever", written by Carole Bayer Sager and Marvin Hamlisch. "Better Than Ever" was released as a single in 1979 but not included on her albums. After 1980, she released many songs of varying quality, tending to have a over-emphasis on synthesizers. Her '80s albums included "Sweet Sensation" (1980), "Stephanie" (1981), "Tantalizingly Hot" (1982), "Merciless" (1983), "I've Got the Cure" (1984), "Stephanie Mills" (1985), "If I Were Your Woman" (1987), and "Home" (1989). Her 1982 funk-dance song "Last Night" reached #14 on Billboard's R&B Singles chart in September 1982, and some releases of that single had her electro-disco-soul song "Wailin'" on the B-side. She scored a top 20 hit with 1983's "How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore?" Towards the end of the decade, she released three number one R&B singles: "I Feel Good All Over" (1987), "If I Were Your Woman" (1987), and "Something in the Way (You Make Me Feel)" (1989). She also had reasonable R&B success with her songs "(I Have Learned to Respect) the Power of Love" and "Home".

During the 1990s, she continued to release albums, including "Christmas" (1991), "Something Real" (1992), and the gospel album "Personal Inspirations" (1994). In 2000, MAW (Masters At Work) Records released Stephanie Mills's single "Latin Lover", which is a deep house track produced by Louie Vega. She was also one of the singers on the 2001 "We Are Family" remake, produced by Nile Rodgers.

In 2001, Mills started touring again. She also recorded songs for a new album, "Born for This!", that was released in August 2004. The first single from that album was the slow soul song "Can't Let Him Go", released in September 2003. One of her live renditions of the song "Born for This" appeared on BeBe Winans' 2002 album "BeBe Live and Up Close". On her "Born for This!" is a song named "Never Knew Love" with a lyric "never knew love like this before" but it has a totally different sound than her similarly-named 1980 hit and many of the words are different.


DISCOGRAPHY

Classic Songs:
1979: What Cha Gonna Do With My Lovin', Deeper Inside Your Love, Put Your Body In It, You Can Get Over, Better Than Ever
1980: Never Knew Love Like This Before, Sweet Sensation, Try My Love
1981: Two Hearts (with Teddy Pendergrass)
1982: Keep Away Girls, You Can't Run From My Love, Feel the Fire (remake with Teddy Pendergrass)
1983: How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore?
1985: (I Have Learned to Respect) the Power of Love
1987: I Feel Good All Over, If I Were Your Woman, (You're Puttin') A Rush on Me
1988: Where is the Love? (with Robert Brookins)
1989: Something in the Way (You Make Me Feel)
1992: All Day, All Night
2000: Latin Lover
2003: Can't Let Him Go

Albums:


What Cha Gonna Do With My Lovin' (1979)
TRACKS:   What 'Cha Gonna Do With My Lovin'      You Can Get Over      Deeper Inside Your Love      Feel the Fire      Put Your Body in It      Starlight      You and I      Don't Stop Dancin'
This popular gold album was produced by James Mtume and Reggie Lucas. It reached #12 R&B and #22 Pop in the United States in the summer of 1979. The funky disco songs are "Don't Stop Dancin'", "You Can Get Over", "Put Your Body in It" (released as a single), and the title track "What Cha Gonna Do With My Lovin'" (released as a single). I find that "What Cha Gonna Do With My Lovin'", which reached #8 R&B and #22 Pop in the USA, is astonishingly beautiful and enjoyable while "Put Your Body in It" is rather dull. "You Can Get Over" is a decent dance track that reached #55 R&B and #101 Pop in the USA. "Starlight", "Deeper Inside Your Love", "Feel the Fire", and "You and I" are outstanding romantic slow songs that round out the album.
Sweet Sensation (1980)
TRACKS:   Sweet Sensation      Try My Love      I Just Wanna Say      Wish That You Were Mine      D-a-n-c-i-n'      Still Mine      Never Knew Love Like This Before      Mixture of Love
This gold record reached #3 R&B and #16 Pop in the spring of 1980 in the United States. The song that got the most exposure, and deservedly so, was the awesome romantic and upbeat disco song "Never Knew Love Like This Before", produced and written by Mtume and Lucas. This single sold over a million copies and reached #6 Pop and #12 R&B in the USA in 1980. The intro features bell-sounding keyboards. It remained on playlists of some adult-contemporary radio stations for more than 20 years afterwards. "Sweet Sensation" is a funky disco track that reached #3 R&B and #52 Pop in the USA, but it's nothing extraordinary. "Wish That You Were Mine" is a decent R&B dance song with a romantic theme. The dance song "D a n c i n'" is mediocre, with extremely dull instrumentation and numerous repetitions of the lyrics "D A N C I N, boogie woogie boogie woogie with me, baby".

Mills hosted the November 7, 1980 broadcast of The Midnight Special in the USA and sang four songs from this album: "Never Knew Love Like This Before", "Sweet Sensation", "Try My Love", and "I Just Wanna Say". She also appeared as a guest on American Bandstand and Soul Train that year.


Stephanie (1981)
TRACKS:   Winner      Two Hearts      Don't Stop Doin' What 'Cha Do      Top of My List      I Believe in Love Songs      Night Games      My Love's Been Good to You      Magic
The "Stephanie" record was released in the spring of 1981 and reached #3 R&B and #30 Pop in the United States. Like its two predecessors, it went gold. "I Believe in Love Songs" is a good, if ordinary, disco song. "Two Hearts" was written by Tawatha Agee, Mtume, and Lucas, and reached #3 R&B and #40 Pop in the USA.

Stephanie Mills Compilations:

  • In My Life: Greatest Hits
  • Heart and Soul of Stephanie Mills
  • The Collection
  • Funk Essentials: The Best of Stephanie Mills
  • Best of Stephanie Mills
  • Greatest Hits: 1985 to 1993
  • Ultimate Collection
  • Power of Love: A Ballads Collection
  • Love is to Listen: A Retrospective
  • 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Stephanie Mills
  • Stephanie Mills - Feel The Fire: The 20th Century Collection
  • Gold

    Covers of Stephanie Mills Songs:

  • "Never Knew Love Like This Before" by Greyhound Band (1980) - electro-disco
  • "Never Knew Love Like This Before" by Bob Prais and His Orchestra (1981)
  • "Never Knew Love Like This Before" by The Diamond Orchestra (1981)
  • "Never Knew Love Like This Before" by Disco Club (1981)
  • "Never Knew Love Like This Before" by Springbok Kunstenaars (1981) - electro-disco
  • "Never Knew Love Like This Before" by Charles Earland (1982)
  • "What Cha Gonna Do With My Lovin'" by Inner City (1989) - techno version
  • "Never Knew Love Like This Before" by Gwen Guthrie (1990)
  • "Never Knew Love Like This Before" by The Right Attitude (1993) - electro-dance version
  • "Never Knew Love Like This Before" by Thomas Anders (1995)
  • "Never Knew Love Like This Before" by Tory Beatty (1997)
  • "Something in the Way (You Make Me Feel)" by Yvette Michele (1997)
  • "Sous ton soleil" by Foxies (1998) - part-French electrodance version of "Never Knew Love Like This Before"
  • "Never Knew Love Like This Before" by Jody Russell (1999) - electro-dance version
  • "Never Knew Love Like This Before" by Priscilla Almeda (2001)
  • "You Can Get Over" by Shauna Solomon (2002) - house version
  • "Whatcha Gonna Do With My Lovin'" by Gil Bonden (2003) - euro house version
  • "Never Knew Love Like This Before" by Viola Wills (2004) - house/electro-dance version
  • "Something in the Way" by Lord Finesse featuring Thelma Gyton (2006)
  • "Never Knew Love Like This Before" by Deep Blue Organ Trio (2007) - instrumental version
  • "Never Knew Love Like This Before" by Juliana Aquino (2008)
  • "Never Knew Love Like This Before" by Marcia Hines (2015) - electro-disco
  • "What Cha Gonna Do with My Lovin'" by ILP featuring Denise Miller (2017) - R&B/soul version
  • "Never Knew Love Like This Before" by Organissimo (2017) - instrumental jazz version
  • "Never Knew Love Like This Before" by Papik featuring Ronnie Jones (2018) - mid-tempo version

    Mills-Influenced Songs:

  • "Never Knew Love" by John Samuel Solomon a.k.a. "J"-on and Mark Shihadeh (1991) - based on "Never Knew Love Like This Before"
  • "Black Girl Lost" by NAS (1996) - samples the beat from "Starlight"
  • "Dancin'" by Chicago Connection (1997) - house song that samples "Put Your Body In It"
  • "Susanne Zur Freiheit" by Fischmob Allstars (1998) - German rap song that samples "What 'Cha Gonna Do With My Lovin'"
  • "It's Gonna Be Alright" by Cassioware (2000) - house song that samples "You Can't Run from My Love"
  • "When I'm Nothing" by DMX (2001) - rap song that includes a sample and modified lyrics of "What 'Cha Gonna Do With My Lovin'"
    HOW TO ORDER YOUR FAVORITE STEPHANIE MILLS SONGS

    CD TITLEMerchant 1Merchant 2Merchant 3Merchant 4
    What Cha Gonna Do With My Lovin'
    Funk Essentials: The Best of Stephanie Mills
    Ultimate Collection
    Feel the Fire: The 20th Century Collection Juno Download
    The Collection

    Related links:

  • Stephanie Mills - Official Site
  • Wenig-LaMonica Associates: Stephanie Mills
  • Wilson and Alroy's Record Reviews: Stephanie Mills
  • Soul Legends: Stephanie Mills
  • Disco-Funk: Stephanie Mills
  • Disco Museum: Stephanie Mills
  • SoulTracks: Stephanie Mills
  • ArtistDirect: Stephanie Mills
  • AllMusic: Stephanie Mills Biography by Ed Hogan
  • Discogs: Stephanie Mills Discography
  • Disco Savvy Homepage