'Rescue Me' singer Fontella Bass dead at 72
From the AP:
Fontella Bass, a St. Louis-born soul singer who hit the top of the R&B charts with Rescue Me in 1965, has died. She was 72.
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.
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.
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.
Bass was inducted into the St. Louis Hall of Fame in 2000. She is survived by four children. Bowie died in 1999.