Evelyn “Champagne” King is a vocalist and songwriter from the Bronx, New York. She is known for her hits during the disco era, such as “Shame” (1977), and her early 1980’s hits “I’m In Love” (1981) and “Love Come Down” (1982).
King was born into a musical family. Her uncle was broadway performer, Avon Long, who was in the first broadway revival of Progy & Bess (1942) as well as working with Lena Horn. Her father sang at the Apollo Theater, and her mother was a manager of various musical groups and worked at Philadelphia International Records.
Evelyn King was working with her mother at Philadelphia International Records as an office cleaner. One day cleaning, producer Theodore T. Life heard her singing while working and decided to produce and record her, which lead to her getting a contract with RCA Records.
The song “I’m In Love” was recorded in 1981 and became a hit on the Soul and Dance charts, and reached #40 on the Billboard Hot 100. Kashif, an important gammy winning producer of the 1980’s who is highly influential in 80’s dance music and it’s use of synthesizer programming, wrote the song for King. Kashif went on to work with artists like Whitney Huston, Al Jarreau, Dionne Warwick, Melba More, Freda Payne, and many others. Reggae artist, Jennifer Lara, recorded the song in Jamaica and also released in in 1981.
Sam’s Jams is the weekly song selection of WDET’s creative producer Sam Beaubien, a longtime Detroit musician who also helms the soul-funk band Will Sessions.
From 70 years ago to contemporary releases today, Sam’s Jams is the musical equivalent of digging for hours in dusty record store bins to find forgotten-but-should-be-remembered deep cuts pulled from the genres of funk, jazz and soul genres.