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Jan Bradley


(Curtis Mayfield)

Chess 1845

No. 14   March 9, 1963




When she was about four years of age, Addie Bradley (b. July  06, 1943, Byhalia, Miss.) and her family

moved to Robbins, a suburb of Chicago.   Early on, her mother and father noticed she had a talent for

singing.   In 1961, Don Talty, manager of R & B guitarist PHIL UPCHURCH and owner of Formal Records,

discovered Jan at a high school talent show.   He had to wait two years, until Jan graduated, to get her

parents’ consent to become her manager and launch her recording career.


Through Upchurch, Talty got the Impressions’ Curtis Mayfield to write some songs for her.  “We Girls,”

Jan’s debut disk and a Mayfield composition, sold well in Chicago, and garnered heavy airplay in the

Midwest.    There was something special to Jan’s soft soul sound.    “Sometimes as a singer  it’s not how well

you sing,” Mayfield told Goldmine’s Bob Pruter, “it’s just that innocence or that certain something about the

artist that makes a song appealing.   Jan had that innocence in her voice.”


After a few unsuccessful 45s, Jan recorded Mayfield’s “Mama Didn’t Lie,” her big moment in top 40-land.

Perhaps if Mayfield had come up with more material for Jan to do, her career could have picked up some

momentum.   But as Bradley told Goldmine, Mayfield and Chess Records parted ways over a dispute concer-

ning publishing rights.


Aside from the minor success of  “I’m Over You” (#93, 1965), Jan Bradley was then absent from the nation’s

top charts.   Taity produced a dozen more singles for Chess and for the small Adanti, Doylen, and Spectra

Sound labels.   But despite some fine Bradley-penned songs, guitar licks by Upchurch, and the occasional

production wizardry of Billy Davis, nothing further clicked.


In 1970, Jan Bradley called it quits.   She married, raised a family, returned to school, and earned an MA

degree.     She has become known as Janice Johnson, social worker.