Judy Street, an American vocalist born around 1949, gained fame primarily for her widely recognised northern soul single titled “What”.

Hailing from Indiana, Judy Street was raised in a musically inclined household. Her father, a concert pianist, and her mother, a flute player in a marching band, instilled a deep appreciation for music within her from an early age. It was during a performance at a bar in Phoenix, Arizona that Street’s talent was discovered, leading to a promising recording opportunity. In 1968, she ventured to Hollywood, California, where she recorded the song “You Turn Me On,” penned by H.B. Barnum and Ben Raleigh, alongside H.B. Barnum’s composition “What” as the B-side. The record found its way to England and swiftly caught the attention of DJs at Wigan Casino, a renowned nightclub within the northern soul music scene. Before long, “What” emerged as the most frequently played track, eventually becoming a sensation on the northern soul nightclub circuit and securing the impressive rank of 23 out of 500 northern soul singles.

With the resurgence of northern soul music’s popularity in England in 1977, “What” was re-released, and it experienced another wave of success in 1982 with an accompanying B-side by Hi-Fly. Soft Cell, a British synth pop group, even covered the song, propelling their rendition to Number 3 on the UK charts and Number 6 in Ireland in 1982. Surprisingly, Street herself remained unaware of the song’s widespread acclaim and never had the chance to tour the UK. From 1970 to 1990, she embarked on tours across the United States with her own bands, including The Swinging Society, showcasing her skills as both a vocalist and drummer. Finally, in 2005, the popularity of “What” was duly recognised when Street participated in several interviews for radio, magazines, and books.

In addition to her musical pursuits, Street ventured into teaching drums and piano in Nashville, Tennessee. She also joined her husband’s band and frequently performed in downtown Nashville, further displaying her musical prowess. In 2014, Street recorded a captivating 10-song CD titled “Cover Girl,” which featured her unique renditions of various Northern Soul songs.