Lani Hall sang all the female vocals on 'Herb Alpert Presents Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66 except "Aquade Beber" performed by Janis Hansen. Hall stayed with Brasil '66 until the fall of 1970 when she signed as a solo artist with A&M Records. She had stopped touring with the group before Mendes formally announced Lani's departure in November.
Hall's first solo recording for A&M was as a guest artist on Michel Colombier's Wings album in 1971.
Her first A&M album Sun Down Lady received positive reviews. Billboard said it was "persuasively crafted and quietly enjoyable....The material encompasses a wide range of what is best in today's music. Her interpretations of "Tiny Dancer," "Vincent," and Paul Simon's "Wherever I May Find Him" are really superb." Stereo Review named Sun Down Lady a recording of special merit.
Sun Down Lady also generated radio interest. It was a regional breakout album in Chicago and a Picks and Plays selection at Eastern Kentucky University's radio station in November 1972), and at Lane Community College in Oregon in October.
Sun Down Lady peaked at #203 on Billboard's Bubbling Under the Top LPs on December 2, 1972. The single "How Can I Tell You" was a Billboard recommended pop single November 16, 1974.
The album generated interest for nearly two years becoming a Billboard FM Action Pick in Santa Barbara, CA and Houston, TX in May 1974. Sun Down Lady again hit Billboard's Bubbling Under the Top LP's include dat #204 on July 6, 1974.
In 1973, "Banquet/Vincent" was released in advance of the Hello, It's Me album. The single became a Picks and Plays at Kalamazoo (Michigan) College May 12, 1973.
Hello, It's Me was released in 1974. It met with positive reviews. The New Leader wrote, "From a purely musical standpoint, Lani Hall puts a stamp of ownership on all the songs she sings." Billboard said, "Lady who came up with a beautiful LP the first time out follows suit here with a fine et of lush ballads."
A&M Records expected to release a new Lani Hall album in the first quarter of 1975 but did not.
Hall told Billboard, "I cut 'Sundown Lady' and 'Hello It's Me' without any real intention of following through. I didn't promote the albums at all. There were no personal appearances, no interviews, no nothing."
In 1976 Hall released the single "Too Many Mornings/That's When Miracles Occur." It became a Billboard Recommended Pop Single February 12, 1977.
On November 29, 1976, Hall headlined a solo concert at the Ivanhoe Theatre, Chicago, IL. The 15 songs featured many of the songs that would appear on the Sweet Bird album.
Sweet Bird was promoted with interviews and television guest appearances. Ed Harrison in Billboard said Hall was among several A&M female artists who "lack the commercial hooks needed to mass appeal and radio play."
In 1979, Lani released the single "Double or Nothing" which was named one of Billboard's Recommended Soul Singles.
1980's Blush album brought four singles. "Where's Your Angel/Only You" peaked at #88 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart.
Lani Hall with Allee Willis during the recording of the Blush album at A&M Studios in 1980.
Photo from Allee Willis personal archive.
1981 brought Lani's first Spanish/Portuguese album A Brazilieria.
Albany Park was released in April 1982. The working title had been Secret Dreams. Three singles were culled from the album. Billboard made Albany Park a Top Album Pick and said, "Songstress Hall turns in one of her most satisfying and easily more commercial recent packages, tapping both up tempo, melodic pop and more atmospheric love songs that allow her to flex her earliest roots in jazz phrasing."
The second Spanish language album Lani was released around July 1982. It contained the hit duet "Te Quiero Asi" duet with Jose Jose. This album peaked at #13 in Florida on Billboard's Hot Latin LPs chart on November 27, 1982.
"Never Say Never Again." Lyricists Marilyn and Alan Bergman wanted Lani Hall to sing this James Bond film theme song. Alan Bergman told Jon Burlingame, "She's really a great singer and it was another way of making it different than what had preceded." Marilyn Bergman added she liked "the contrast between Lani and Shirley Bassey, who had been associated with these Bond movies." The song was recorded at A&M Records on August 19 and 23. Hall attended the film's premiere in Monte Carlo on November 17, 1983 and sang the song live at the dinner after the screening. The single peaked at #103 on Billboard's Top 100 single chart on October 22, 1983, two weeks after the film premiered in Los Angeles. Lani did a music video of the song created by Jerry Kramer &Associates.
In 1984, the third Spanish language album arrived. Lani Hall brought wider success on Billboard's Top Latin Album Chart. It was #1 in California, #2 in Texas, #4 in New York and Florida and #7 in Puerto Rico.
Released in 1985, Es Facil Amar sold 20,000 copies in its first month of release. Album peaked at #3 on the Billboard Latin Pop Albums chart. Lani won the Grammy for Best Latin Pop Vocal Performance for this album. She recorded some songs from Es Facil Amar in Italian and French. These recordings were never released. "De Repente el Amor" was also recorded in Portuguese, intended as a single, but was never released. The album peaked at #17 on the Billboard Top Latin Album Chart.
Lo Mejor de Lani was released November 24, 1986. It included a new single "Lo Que Siento Hoy Por Ti"
Billboard also reported that Hall had a trio and performed at the Vine Street Bar & Grill in Los Angeles in the 1980s. Most of her 1970s and 1980s concert appearances were with Herb Alpert.
Lani Hall's guest appearances on other artists recordings were mainly contributions to Herb Alpert's works beginning in 1971 with "Summertime." She appeared on at least one track on most of his albums until they teamed on recordings in 2009.
- Billboard Album Reviews, August 26, 1972
- Billboard, October 14, 1972
- Billboard, November 25, 1972
- What's Happening. Billboard May 12, 1973
- Stereo Review, Volume 30, 1973
- Billboard May 11, 1974
- Billboard, June 15, 1974
- Billboard Pop Single Reviews November 16, 1974
- The New Leader, Volume 58, 1975
- Billboard's Recommended LPs, February 22, 1975
- Lani Hall Coming Out of Retirement. Ed Harrison. Billboard, November 20, 1976.
- Talent in Action. Alan Penchansky. Billboard December 11, 1976
- Billboard Recommended Pop Single February 12, 1977
- Closeup. Billboard May 14, 1977
- Billboard June 2, 1979
- Billboard March 27, 1982
- Billboard Top Album Picks, October 9, 1982
- Billboard's Hot Latin LPs November 27, 1982
- The Music of James Bond. Jon Burlingame. Oxford University Press, 169, 171-172.
- Billboard Top Latin Album Chart July 14, 1984
- Billboard Top Latin Album Chart July 21, 1984
- Billboard Top Latin Album Chart October 27, 1984
- Latin Notas. Enrique Fernandez. Billboard, October 26, 1985.
- Billboard Top Latin Album Chart April 25, 1986