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Sunday, May 10, 2020

RIP Betty Wright (1953 - 2020)


On Sunday May 10, Betty Wright’s niece announced Miami-born Betty’s passing with no cause of death declared. At the end of last week Chaka Kahn had posted on Twitter asking fans to pray for her “sister” Betty Wright.

Betty started singing at the age of two with her siblings in family gospel group The Echoes of Joy which broke up when Betty was 11.  She released her first solo album at age 16 and her biggest hit, Clean Up Woman reached number 6 in the US charts (#2 R&B) in 1971 at the tender age of 18. Other hits followed including Babysitter in 1972 reaching #46 in the US.


Betty hopped on board the disco boom in 1974 with Shoorah! Shoorah! which reached number 27 in the UK and followed up with her biggest hit here Where is the Love which reached number 25 in 1975. By the end of the 1970s the hits had dried up and Henry Stone’s TK label was in trouble. Betty moved to Epic Records before forming her own label Miss B Records in 1986.

In addition to her own solo career Betty had also been instrumental in discovering George and Gwen McCrae and taking them to Henry Stone’s Alston Records, part of the Miami-based TK set up.  Betty was also cited as a massive influence on Mary J Blige and in 2003 Betty co-produced Joss Stone’s debut smash hit album The Soul Sessions, bringing along musicians Timmy Thomas, Benny Latimore and Little Beaver with Betty herself providing background vocals.

Over a close to 50 year recording career Betty Wright released 20 solo albums, contributed to the work of a great many artists and was a leading light amongst 1970s/80s female soul vocalists.

Betty died at the age of 66, Rest In Peace.
John Charles

1 comment :

Steve T said...

If you only play one great Betty Wright record today - and there are many - make it One Bad Habit, but don't give up on it; the climax is a thing of real beauty and good luck trying to keep it together on a very sad day for anyone who appreciates great soul music.

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