There's more to Carol Douglas than what meets the eye. On the surface she seems like your typical one-hit wonder disco star, but dig deeper and you'll find a beautiful diva with show business in her blood. Douglas was born April 4, 1948, in Brooklyn, New York. Her mother, Minnie Newsome, sang in some of the many jazz clubs in the Apollo theater area -- she was the inspiration for Cab Calloway's "Minnie the Moocher" -- and the late, great R&B singer Sam Cooke was a cousin. "Doctor's Orders" remains Douglas' biggest hit to date: it charted at number 11 pop in February 1975 and established her as a beautiful ambassador of disco.
Douglas' show business career began in her teens via TV commercials and small film and TV roles. She appeared in the off-Broadway play Moon on a Rainbow with James Earl Jones and Cicely Tyson. In the early '70s, she sang with the regrouped Chantels ("Maybe") before beginning a solo career in 1974. Her big hit came almost immediately -- "Doctor's Orders" had been a U.K. hit for Sunny Leslie. Midland International Records plucked it from her debut album; the song came courtesy of songwriters Roger Cook, Roger Greenaway, and Geoff Stephens. Producer Ed O'Loughin worked with Douglas on her first four albums.
Unfortunately, the follow-ups didn't fare as well. "A Hurricane Is Coming Tonight" ran out of gas at number 81 pop in 1975. Burnin', which many consider her best record, did well in clubs and discos but didn't chart as well as Hurricane; critically acclaimed, the latter was nominated for a Grammy in 1978. She sang "You Make Me Feel the Music" for the motion picture Haunted in 1977. Douglas doesn't appear in Saturday Night Fever but her name does: it's displayed on the marquee outside the famous disco 2001 Odyssey. Douglas spent the rest of the '70s and '80s re-recording popular songs like "Dancing Queen," "Night Fever," and "My Simple Heart." She also recorded some good songs ("Who, What, When, Where, Why" and "I Got the Answer") that went unnoticed by all but die-hard fans. In the early '80s, "You're Not So Hot" received a few spins but failed to chart.
Douglas continued to record and perform. She sang several of her hits at the Annual Martin Luther King Summer Concert Series in Brooklyn in the summer of 1997; she sang at Beatstock '97; and in January 1998, she performed at the Saturday Night Fever 20th anniversary reunion. In 2017, her entire solo catalog was re-released by Essential Music. ~ Andrew Hamilton