Klymaxx was formed in 1979 by drummer Bernadette Cooper in Los Angeles. Cheryl Cooley (guitar), Lynn Malsby (piano), and Lorena Hardimon (lead vocals), now Lorena Stewart were all original members. Joyce Irby (bass & lead vocals) joined from the east coast and Robbin Grider rounded out the six original members who were still in the group when Klymaxx had success. There were, however, 4 other members you may know little about. Initially sisters Denise and Cheryl Walk signed as members of Klymaxx but left before the first album release. And guitarist Ann Williams and percussionist, Judith Takeuchi were with Klymaxx as an 8 member combo for their first two albums.
The girls were noticed by Solar Records executive Margaret "Cissy" Nash, (former wife of singer Johnny Nash), and Dick Griffey, president of the label gave them a record deal. The girls recorded with Otis Stokes and Steve Shockley on their first album "Never Underestimate the Power of a Woman". On the girls 2nd album "Girls Will Be Girls", the production expanded to include Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, who produced the single "Wild Girls". Neither of the first two albums were commercially successful, but Jimmy and Terry encouraged the girls to write and produce more of their own music. On the third album "Meeting In The Ladies Room" the girls struck gold...actually platinum.
In 1984 Klymaxx finally came into the spotlight. The "Meeting In The Ladies Room" album's first single was "The Men All Pause", written and co-produced by Joyce Irby & Bernadette Coooper. Meeting In The Ladies Room was the 2nd single, written by Irby, Coooper and Midnight Star members and Lynn Malsby delivered Klymaxx's biggest record, "I Miss You"
The girl's 4th self-titled "Klymaxx" album had 4 charted singles, including Rod Temperton's "Man Size Love" from the Running Scared movie soundtrack. Shalamar's Howard Hewett teamed up with Irby for the Babyface-inspired ballad "I'd Still Say Yes" and Cooper contributed 2 more singles, "Sexy" co-produced by George Clinton, and "Diva's Need Love Too' with New Edition producers Vincent Brantly and Rick Timas.
In 1987 shortly after the release of the "Klymaxx" album, Cooper went solo and released "Drama according to Bernadette Cooper" and produced her own risque group "Madam X. Motown records offered Irby a solo deal with the intention of her remaining a member of Klymaxx as well. But Irby's solo deal did not sit well with the remaining members and they kicked her out of the group. Irby had a top hip-hop record with Doug E Fresh called Mr. DJ.
In 2004 the VH1 Series "Bands Reunited" featured all 6 original members of Klymaxx (except Robbin Grider) for a reunion concert. All but the guitarist Cooley were allowed to perform. Cooley started another group calling it Klymaxx and tried to trademark the name for her exclusive use, therefore the other originals refused to perform with her.
Between 2004 and 2012 Lorena, Bernadette, Joyce and sometimes Lynn, performed as Klymaxx. Within the last few years Cooper withdrew to do her solo "Diva & a Turntable" tour. Then she decided to perform as "Klymaxx featuring Bernadette Cooper, with her being the only original, like Cooley. Irby and Stewart did a few shows together as Klymaxx until Stewart semi-retired. Now just like the other versions, Joyce Irby & Klymaxx has only one original member. However, 2 of the musicians who played live performances with the originals, are part of Irby's ensemble.