Fontella Bass was a child prodigy who sang and played the piano at an early age. She was blessed with a powerful voice and already working professionally when she moved to Chicago in the 60s and became part of the Chess records organization. In 1965, she had success with the song “Don’t Mess Up a Good Thing” but really broke through with “Rescue Me” which cracked the top 5 of the pop charts and became one of the all time soul classics. Despite the track’s success, a long dispute over the songwriting credits took a lot of the momentum out of her career. She also worked with her husband Lester Bowie, founder of the very influential combo the Art Ensemble of Chicago. Fontella Bass died on Wednesday, she was 72.


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