R&B singer Betty Wright, who was responsible for songs such as ‘Where Is the Love?’ and ‘Clean Up Woman’, has died aged 66.
Read more: Best albums and tracks of 1986
The singer’s niece confirmed her passing to TMZ folowing Chaka Khan‘s plea earlier in the week, when she tweeted: “Calling all my #PrayWarriors | My beloved sister, Betty Wright is now in need of all your prays.”
Calling all my #PrayWarriors | My beloved sister, Betty Wright @MsBettyWright, is now in need of all your prays.
“Que Sera, Sera | Whatever Will Be, Will Be”
In Jesus Name We Pray for Sister Betty
All My Love Chaka pic.twitter.com/krQcfWFl5r
— 🎼 𝕮𝖍𝖆𝖐𝖆 𝕶𝖍𝖆𝖓 💜 (@ChakaKhan) May 2, 2020
Growing up singing in her family’s gospel group the Echoes of Joy, Wright began her career as a backing singer on songs by other artists, including David Byrne, Peter Tosh, Gloria Estefan, Jimmy Cliff, Stephen Stills, Alice Cooper, and many others.
She released her debut album, ‘My First Time Around’, in 1968, and it featured her first Top 40 single, ‘Girls Can’t Do What the Guys Do’. Her last album was 2011’s ‘Betty Wright: The Movie’, which was collaboration with The Roots.
Probably best known for her 1972 song ‘Clean Up Woman’, which was sampled by Mary J. Blige on her hit single ‘Real Love’, Wright’s other big songs included the Grammy-winning ‘Where Is the Love?’ in 1974, and her Stevie Wonder-produced 1981 single ‘What Are You Going to Do With It’.
A favourite in the hip-hop world, Wright has featured on tracks with the likes of Diddy, Nas, Rick Ross, and The Game.
In 2008, she appeared on Lil Wayne’s record-breaking ‘Tha Carter III’ album. She sang the chorus of ‘Playing With Fire’, which is a reworking of Ruth Copeland’s ‘Play With Fire’, which itself is a cover of the Rolling Stones song of the same name.
Wright collaborated with DJ Khaled, Kendrick Lamar, and Big Sean on the song ‘Holy Key’ in 2016. She also featured on Erykah Badu’s 2000 album ‘Mama’s Gun’.
See tributes to the singer below.
Betty Wright or Ms. B to us was the funniest, realest, kindest spirit. She was one of our vocal trainers during the beginnings of DK. I loved that she was unafraid to add grit to any lyric. she helped us emote and find our voices as women in the industry. Thank you Ms. B. RIP.
— DAWN (@DawnRichard) May 10, 2020
rest in peace betty wright. this is a savage weekend
— Open Mike Eagle (@Mike_Eagle) May 10, 2020
— Cerys Matthews (@cerysmatthews) May 10, 2020
— Kojo Ebro (@oldmanebro) May 10, 2020
#bettywright thank you for treating me like your own! Showing me and teaching me! You are truly a Diva and Icon to us! Bonnie’Bella loves your daughters and I love you! I’m glad we got to spend your Route 66 celebration together! She carried too many people!! I know she’s resting pic.twitter.com/oqLt4JZamM
— Joseline Hernandez (@MsJoseline) May 10, 2020
— G O L D I E. (@goldietaylor) May 10, 2020
— FREE (@missfree) May 10, 2020
Wow! Didn’t expect to wake up to news that the legendary soul singer Betty Wright passed away. 2020 has been such a year to remember. I was just watching her #Unsung special a few weeks ago! Rest In Power! 👑 pic.twitter.com/b5SOwlZoOM
— Eric West (@EricXWest) May 10, 2020