By Sean Yoes
AFRO Baltimore Editor
syoes@afro.com

Some believe death comes in threes. And that belief was affirmed over the weekend with the death of another music legend, Betty Wright on May 10. She was 66.

Music legend Betty Wright died on May 10. She was 66. (Photo: Twitter)

After the death of Hip Hop super producer and record executive Andre Harrell on May 7, and Rock and Roll pioneer and pop culture icon Little Richard on May 9, Wright was the third American music star to die in less than a week. Wright stood out even during the transcendent musical era of the 1970’s as a sultry R&B and Soul singer. She crafted three classics, “Clean Up Woman” (1972), “Tonight is the Night” and “Where is the Love” (both in 1975) during the decade. “Where is the Love,” won her a Grammy in 1975 (she was nominated for six Grammys during her career). She came back in 1980 with another big hit, “No Pain, No Gain,” under her own record label, Ms. B Records. Wright died from cancer at her home in Miami according to Billboard magazine.

Born Bessie Regina Norris in 1953, Wright began singing  with her family’s gospel group in Miami. In 1968, she released her debut album at age 15, My First Time Around, which garnered her a top 40 hit, “Girls Can’t Do What the Guys Do.”

Her discography has been sampled by some of the biggest names in the music industry including Mary J. Blige and R&B supergroup SWV. In 2003, Wright co-produced Joss Stone’s The Soul Sessions, a collection of R&B songs from the 1960’s and 1970’s. She also produced Stone’s 2005 offering, Mind, Body and Soul, which was nominated for a Grammy. Wright also appeared on television in 2006 as a vocal coach for Sean “Diddy” Combs, “Making the Band.”

 

Sean Yoes

AFRO Baltimore Editor