Vandalia’s Charles Overton reunited with members of the group “Brainstorm” to pay tribute to the late Belita Woods at a special Memorial Service May 26 in Detroit, Mich. Woods passed away after a heart attack
The service was held at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.
Overton and four other members of “Brainstorm” performed “Lovin’ is Really My Game,” “This Must Be Heaven,” and “Journey to the Light” during the service.
Overton concluded the evening with a saxophone solo to “My Funny Valentine.”
“She was one of the only entertainers I know that everybody genuinely liked,” Overton said of Woods.
He was excited to reunite with his fellow “Brainstorm” members after not being able to join them last Spring for a tribute event. Woods met Overton in 1972 and the two performed commercial jingles together before forming the band out of the club London Bridge.
She was the lead female vocalist and songwriter of the group, helping the band to become a staple in the Detroit, Mich. community.
“It was great to get together because of the impact the group had on Detroit,” Overton said.
Among a large crowd of those attending the celebration included famous singer Anita Baker, legendary song writer Barrett Strong, members of “The Temptations,” members of the “Dramatics,” George Clinton, and several major producers in the industry. Strong is known for writing several top songs including “I Heard It Through the Grapevine.”
During her career, Woods performed on “Soul Train” and later wrote the triple platinum song “Getting It While The Getting Is Good.”
She toured with the Parliament-Funkadelic P-Funk All-Stars for two decades and recently recorded on George Clinton’s latest album and was presented a Lifetime Achievement Award during the 2009 Detroit Black Music Awards.
Overton said he’s go-ing to miss Woods, with whom he’s had a close relationship with for nearly 40 years.
“I could call her at 3 a.m. and said I’ve got an idea,” he noted. “She’d always inspire you, whether it was good or not.”
Her passing comes just three months after the passing of superstar Whitney Houston. Within the last year, Houston was recorded on YouTube singing “Lovin’ is Really My Game,” in a hotel room as she had plans to cut her own version of the hit song before her sudden death.
“When Whitney Houston passed, it was a sad experience,” Overton said. “When Belita passed it was like she was present with me for a few days. I can feel her inspiring me to continue…For me, it’s been really emotional.”
Overton is also thankful for the Vandalia community and their encouragement during his career.
“I have a group of people urging me and pushing me to continue writing and play music,” he added.
One of the next projects for Overton is to fulfill a request to write a book that includes the life of Woods and the “Brainstorm” experience.