Sunday, December 30, 2012

R.I.P. Fontella Bass

                                            1940- 2012
Many people have forgotten her name....but if you're a certain age and was around in the summer of 1965, you couldn't forget the bass line of her most famous hit..."Rescue Me."  Soul Singer ,Fontella Bass has died..
She was 72.  I was so busy celebrating with my family over the holidays that I had forgotten about her.

I guess you can tell that I've kind of been on vacay, because I haven't been posting on Escapades and Good Foodie at all and I've been micro-blogging on this blog....but I had to stop and remember a soul legend..

Fontella Bass died Wednesday night at a St. Louis hospice of complications from a heart attack suffered three weeks ago, her daughter, Neuka Mitchell, said. Bass had also suffered a series of strokes over the past seven years.

"She was an outgoing person," Mitchell said of her mother. "She had a very big personality. Any room she entered she just lit the room up, whether she was on stage or just going out to eat."
Bass was born into a family with deep musical roots. Her mother was gospel singer Martha Bass, one of the Clara Ward Singers. Her younger brother, David Peaston, had a string of R&B hits in the 1980s and 1990s. Peaston died in February at age 54.

Fontella began performing at a young age, singing in her church's choir at age 6. She was surrounded by music, often traveling on national tours with her mother and her gospel group.
Her interest turned from gospel to R&B when she was a teenager and she began her professional career at the Showboat Club in north St. Louis at age 17. She eventually auditioned for Chess Records and landed a recording contract, first as a duet artist. Her duet with Bobby McClure, "Don't Mess Up a Good Thing," reached No. 5 on the R&B charts and No. 33 on the Billboard Top 100 in 1965.

She co-wrote and later that year recorded "Rescue Me," reaching No. 1 on the R&B charts and No. 4 on the Billboard pop singles chart. Bass's powerful voice bore a striking resemblance to that of Aretha Franklin, who is often misidentified as the singer of that chart-topping hit.

Fontella had a few other modest hits but by her own accounts developed a reputation as a troublemaker because she demanded more artistic control, and more money for her songs. She haggled over royalty rights to "Rescue Me" for years before reaching a settlement in the late 1980s, Mitchell said. She sued American Express over the use of "Rescue Me" in a commercial, settling for an undisclosed amount in 1993.

"Rescue Me" has been covered by many top artists, including Linda Ronstadt, Cher, Melissa Manchester and Pat Benatar.Queen of soul , Aretha Franklin eventually sang a form of it too – as "Deliver Me" in a Pizza Hut TV ad in 1991.

Fontella Bass lived briefly in Europe before returning to St. Louis in the early 1970s, where she and husband Lester Bowie raised their family. She recorded occasionally, including a 1995 gospel album, "No Ways Tired," that earned a Grammy nomination.

Fontella Bass was inducted into the St. Louis Hall of Fame in 2000.
Funeral arrangements for Ms.Bass were incomplete. She is survived by four children. Bowie died in 1999.

1 comment:

George S. said...

Well thank you for getting off of your lazy butt and writing something..for a change...Great post!


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