Fontella Bass - Singer Dec 29, 2012 9:37:21 GMT 1
Post by Laurence on Dec 29, 2012 9:37:21 GMT 1
The American soul singer, Fontella Bass, best remembered for the hit single Rescue Me, has died of complications following a heart attack. She was 72.
She had been in poor health for much of the past seven years.
Rescue Me reached the top of the US R&B chart in 1965 and is one of the best known soul songs. It has been covered by many artists.
Fontella Bass was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on 3 July, 1940 the daughter of gospel singer Martha Bass. From an early age, Fontella showed great musical talent – at five years old she was providing the piano accompaniment for her grandmother's singing at funeral services, she was singing in her church's choir at six years old and by the time she was nine she was accompanying her mother on tours throughout the American South and Southwest. She began singing R&B songs at local contests and fairs while attending Soldan High School where she graduated from in 1958. With the support of Bob Lyons, the manager of St. Louis station KATZ, Bass recorded several songs released through Bobbin Records and produced by Ike Turner. She auditioned for Chess Records, who immediately signed her as a recording artist.
The song, "Rescue Me", shot up the charts in the fall and winter of 1965. After a month-long run at the top of the R&B charts, the song reached #4 on the US pop charts and #11 in the UK, and gave Chess its first million-selling single since Chuck Berry a decade earlier. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc.
The original version of "Rescue Me" was utilized in a TV advertising campaign by American Express: Fontella Bass has stated that she was at a low point in her life when on New Year's Day 1990 she was astonished to hear her own voice singing "Rescue Me" on the American Express television ad. The experience gave Bass the inspiration to set her life in order: it also motivated her to make queries over the commercial use of her recording of "Rescue Me" with the ultimate result a 1993 settlement with American Express and its advertising agency awarding Bass $50,000 plus punitive damages.
Her health started fading after a series of strokes beginning in 2005. On 26 December 2012, she died at a St. Louis hospice from complications of a heart attack suffered earlier in the month of December 2012; she was 72.