High Inergy was an American R&B and soul girl group who found fame on Motown Records in the late 1970s. They are best known for their hit, “You Can’t Turn Me Off (In the Middle of Turning Me On)”.
Based in Pasadena, California, the four ladies that would become known as High Inergy were discovered during a Bicentennial show in their hometown by Gwen Gordy Fuqua. The members of the group included lead singer Vernessa Mitchell, her sister Barbara Mitchell, Linda Howard and Michelle Martin (or Rumph). The Mitchell sisters were singers, while the remaining members were known primarily for their dancing.
Fashioned after Martha and the Vandellas and The Supremes (they were actually named after the 1976 Supremes High Energy album with just the ‘e’ changed to an ‘i’ in “energy”), the group was signed to Motown’s Gordy subsidiary in 1977. They quickly found success with the R&B/pop hit, “You Can’t Turn Me Off (In the Middle of Turning Me On),” which reached R&B #2 and U.S. #12.
The group became a trio when Vernessa left after the second album to pursue a career in gospel music. Barbara Mitchell replaced her sister as lead singer.
The group would score a total of nine R&B hits before disbanding for solo careers in 1984.
Group member Linda Howard died on December 17, 2012 from unknown causes.
On their 1980 album, Hold On, the group collaborated with labelmates Switch on the track, “Hold On to My Love.” The song features Switch member Bobby DeBarge as the male lead vocalist. He also produced and co-wrote the song.
Smokey Robinson performed two duets with Barbara Mitchell on Groove Patrol, High Inergy’s last album, which was released in 1983.