First Choice

First Choice

Profile:
Female vocal trio originating from Philadelphia.

Their first big breakthrough was the infectious "Armed and Extremely Dangerous". Rochelle Fleming, Joyce Jones, and Chester, PA, native Annette Guest were originally known as the Debonettes and performed around Philadelphia.

Lead singer Rochelle Fleming and Annette Guest were part of a vocal quintet when both were students at Overbrook High School in Philadelphia. Rehearsing in Guest's mother's house, the group began making the rounds of talent shows and public events. After contacting WDAS Radio DJ Georgie Woods, introduced them to Philly soul guitarist, songwriter, producer and The Delfonics' manager Norman Harris. By the time the group went into the recording studio, the lineup was Fleming, Guest, Wardell Piper, and Mulaney Star. The group's first release was a song written by Harris and Allan Felder, the pumping "This Is the House Where Love Died," which was leased to New York's Sceptor Records and issued on their Wand imprint in 1972, but failed to chart nationally. Soon after Mulaney Star left the group.

In 1973, the group signed to the Philly Groove label which was distributed by Bell Records. Their next single "Armed and Extremely Dangerous," was their first big hit, going to number 11 R&B on Billboard's charts in early 1973. The track was also a Top 20 U.K. hit. Around this time, Wardell Piper exited the group and was replaced by Joyce Jones.

Armed and Extremely Dangerous was released in fall 1973. The single "Smarty Pants," a cautionary tale about unwanted pregnancy, reached number 25 on the R&B charts. The album included a cover of the Al Green classic "Love and Happiness." The trio's next single, the pumping "Newsy Neighbors," peaked at number 35 R&B in early 1974.

Around 1977, Joyce Jones left the group and was replaced by Ursula Herring. Delusions, released in fall 1977 is generally regarded as the trio's best LP, it featured lyrically rich dance tunes as well as luscious ballads and gave Philadelphia native Fleming her best showcase, displaying one of the most distinctive lead vocalists in soul/dance/pop music. Fleming's vocals are also one of the most sampled, heard on countless dance records from around the world. Their next Gold Mind LP, Hold Your Horses, was released in March 1979, with the title track becoming a disco classic. That same year, Debbie Martin replaced Ursula Herring. Around 1983 the trio split.

In the 80s, the disco influenced house music genre emerged new life was breathed into disco-soul groups like First Choice. "Love Thang" and "Let No Man Put Asunder" began to surface in club DJs' dance-floor mixes, and were met with loud enthusiasm from the crowd. Possibly bolstered by countless bootlegs, Salsoul issued a 12'' single remix of "Let No Man Put Asunder" by DJ Frankie Knuckles. He helped popularize the record by including it in his turntable mixes during his stints at Chicago night club The Warehouse and on his lunchtime "hot mixes" on local radio station WBMX-FM. Delusions was reissued on CD by U.K. label Charly in December 1994.

In 1987, Fleming reformed a version of First Choice with her cousin Laconya Fleming and Lawrence Cottel, who recorded a single for Prelude Records, "Love Itch." In the '90s, Rochelle Fleming continued to record in the U.S. and Europe.
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First Choice Discography

Albums

PG-1400 First Choice Armed And Extremely Dangerous (Album) Philly Groove Records PG-1400 US 1973 Sell This Version
PG 1502 First Choice The Player (Album) Philly Groove Records PG 1502 US 1974 Sell This Version
W 56226 First Choice So Let Us Entertain You (Album) Warner Bros. Records, Philly Groove Records W 56226 Italy 1976 Sell This Version
RJ-7324 First Choice Delusions (Album) Gold Mind Records RJ-7324 Japan 1977 Sell This Version
none First Choice Hold Your Horses (Album) Gold Mind Records none US 1978 Sell This Version
GA 9505 DJ First Choice Breakaway (Album) Gold Mind Records, Salsoul Records GA 9505 DJ US 1980 Sell This Version

Singles & EPs

SCE 12347 First Choice This Is The House (Where Love Died) Scepter Records SCE 12347 US 1972 Sell This Version
179 First Choice Smarty Pants / One Step Away (Single) Philly Groove Records 179 US 1973 Sell This Version
175 First Choice Armed And Extremely Dangerous (Single, Maxi) Philly Groove Records 175 US 1973 Sell This Version
183X First Choice Newsy Neighbors (Maxi, Single) Philly Groove Records 183X Canada 1974 Sell This Version
PG 202 First Choice Guilty / Wake Up To Me (Single) Philly Groove Records PG 202 US 1974 Sell This Version
2008 224 First Choice Love And Happiness (Single) Bell Records 2008 224 France 1974 Sell This Version
PG 200 First Choice The Player (Single, Maxi) Philly Groove Records PG 200 US 1974 Sell This Version
PS 204 First Choice Love Freeze / A Boy Named Junior Philly Groove Records PS 204 US 1975 Sell This Version
WBS 8214 First Choice Gotta Get Away (From You Baby) / Yes, Maybe No (Single) Warner Bros. Records WBS 8214 US 1976 Sell This Version
WBS 8251 First Choice Let Him Go / First Choice Theme (Single) Warner Bros. Records WBS 8251 US 1976 Sell This Version
PRO 629 First Choice First Choice Theme / Ain't He Bad(12", Promo) Warner Bros. Records PRO 629 US 1976 Sell This Version
GM-4004 First Choice Doctor Love (Maxi, Single) Gold Mind Records GM-4004 Canada 1977 Sell This Version
GM 4009 First Choice Love Having You Around (Single) Gold Mind Records GM 4009 US 1977 Sell This Version
GM 4009 First Choice Indian Giver(7", Promo) Gold Mind Records GM 4009 US 1977 Sell This Version
G7 4017 First Choice Hold Your Horses (Single) Gold Mind Records G7 4017 Canada 1978 Sell This Version
FLB 88 First Choice Smarty Pants / Armed And Extremely Dangerous (Single) Flashback Records (4) FLB 88 Canada 1978 Sell This Version
XB 9409 First Choice Great Expectations / Double Cross(7") Salsoul Records, RCA Schallplatten GmbH XB 9409 Germany 1979 Sell This Version
G7 4019 First Choice Double Cross (Single, Maxi) Gold Mind Records G7 4019 Canada 1979 Sell This Version
G7 4022 DJ First Choice Love Thang (Maxi, Single) Gold Mind Records G7 4022 DJ US 1979 Sell This Version

Reviews

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mocha6ft3

mocha6ft3

August 15, 2011
edited over 4 years ago
Good Morning. I've just became a member of Discogs.com. I have been searching for information about one of my favorite female groups FIRST CHOICE. This site has provided information on one of the top dance groups i have heard of since i was a teenager living in Brooklyn,N.Y. I first remember hearing "ARMED AND EXTREMELY DANGEROUS at a friend's house. I immediately feel in love with their sound. However, it wasn't until i heard "LET NO MAN PUT ASUNDER" and "THE PLAYER" that made me say YES!!!!There was one song i was unaware of that they made when i purchased their greatest hit collection by SALSOUL RECORDS called "DOUBLE CROSS". This was another classic that had me flying on the skating floor at ROXY'S in the 80's. Newsy Neighbors,Smart Pants,Dr.Love,Love Thang and Love and Happiness are just the cream of the crop in dancing music these women have recorded.Although i never seen them in concert, i would love to find some concert footage that they may have on this site. I'll be looking forward to looking at this site for more groups that make me SHAKE MY GROOVE THING!!! Thank you.

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