Helen Scott, Valerie Holiday and Freddie Pool of The Three Degrees, Prince Charles’ favourite music group, tell us about the albums that changed their lives
Songs in the Key of Life by Stevie Wonder
I think it’s a magnificent album, filled with songs that are just incredible both musically and lyrically. There’s a track called “I am singing” on it, which Stevie also sings in Portuguese, and the lyrics go: “I am singing of tomorrow / I am singing of love / I am singing someday love will reign.” I think that was right after his car accident—you can see the scar on his face to his date— and that album was a living testimony of what happened to him.
I saw him live when he was touring with this album and he was incredible. Stevie Wonder is one of those rare artists who can write songs that never age. There was a point when all the winning artists at the Grammy Awards would thank him for not releasing an album that year because otherwise they’d never win. —Helen
What’s Going On by Marvin Gaye
I think each song on this album has a completely different feel but they’re all relevant to the kind of world we live in today and how we relate to it. It was released a long time ago but the lyrics are still so relevant today; they make you realise that we haven’t changed as human beings at all. We’re not trying to look at the world critically and make it better and we’ve become even more unfeeling. Every time you open up the newspaper. You learn that someone’s been killed and you wonder why would an innocent person have forfeit their life just because someone else was going through a rough time that pushed them to murder. We have a big problem with the school system here in the US—people go into schools with guns. What’s Going On was released all the way back in 1971 and yet we’re still dealing with the same issues now. Marvin Gaye was a musical genius. —Valerie
Where Is Your Faith by James Cleveland
I started listening to this album quite recently. I love it because I’m a Christian and so I believe in having faith. The album is about God and your beliefs. It’s a testimony that there’s a living God. I’ve always been a believer as long as I can remember, and I listen to this song every single morning even now. It’s very encouraging and no matter what my experiences in this lifetime are, I know that I must have faith.
I also sung with James Cleveland in his choir performing those songs live and was already singing with the choir before I started listening to this particular album, so it’s very close to me. He’s one of our legendary gospel artists. Gospel music is my foundation, I love singing it. You have to have faith. —Freddie
40 Years Of Disco 2 tour 2019 featuring Village People, The Trammps, Imagination feat. Leee John, The Gibson Brothers, The Three Degrees, The Real Thing and Odyssey takes place on four arena dates starting March 21, 2019. Buy tickets here