Fontella Bass, singer

Fontella Bass

July 3, 1940, St. Louis, MO ~ December 26, 2012, St Louis, MO

The 1965 classic Rescue Me is widely regarded as the greatest record Aretha Franklin never made. The song in question was instead cut by singer Fontella Bass, who like Franklin channeled the power and passion of her gospel roots to create some of the finest music of soul's golden age. ~ Allmusic: Fontella Bass ~ retrieved December 23, 2013 © Allmusic

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July 3, 1976 ~ Billboard Hot 100 ~ #3 (3) Dorothy Moore, Misty Blue ~ #2 (7) Starland Vocal Band, Afternoon Delight ~ #1 (1) Wings, Silly Love Songs


I had the first million seller for Chess since Chuck Berry about 10 years before,” recalls Bass. “Things were riding high for them, but when it came time to collect my first royalty check, I looked at it, saw how little it was, tore it up and threw it back across the desk.” Her royalties never amounted to what she deserved, particularly because she had co-written the song. Fontella demanded a better royalty rate and artistic control. “At the time, these were things women singers rarely asked for but I really thought I could change that as part of a new breed. What happened really snatched my heart out.” Fontella tried to take care of the business side of things. She approached her manager, Billy Davis, about signing the papers for Rescue Me only to be told not to worry about it. Even after the record came out and her name was still not on it she was told it would be on the legal documents. This, of course, never happened either. ~ fanpage: Fontella Bass

Fontella Bass ~ Rescue Me (Smith/Miner) ~ Ranked #111 NME 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time in 2014 ~ The definitive slice of rhythm and blues ardour that set the tone for late-60s Motown and R&B at “pained elation.” ~ 2014 © NME

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