Betty Wright, Grammy-Winning Soul Singer, Dies at 66
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Betty Wright, a soul and R&B singer best known for her ’70s hit “Clean Up Woman,” has died. She was 66.
Wright died at her Miami home on Sunday from cancer, according to Billboard.
Born Bessie Regina Norris, Wright adopted her stage name when she was just a kid. With her siblings, she began singing in a gospel group, called the Echoes of Joy, at just two years old. They released an album in 1956, when she was three.
Wright switched from gospel to R&B at 11 years old and began singing at local talent shows in Miami. She signed to Deep City Records when she was 12. Her first album, “My First Time Around,” released when she was 14 and included the Top 40 hit “Girls Can’t Do What the Guys Do.”
Wright’s breakthrough came with her single “Clean Up Woman” from her second album, “I Love the Way You Love,” released in 1971. The song reached No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, sold more than a million copies and came in as the No. 49 song of 1972, according to Billboard.
Years later, Wright co-wrote the disco-infused track “Where Is the Love” with Harry Wayne Casey and Richard Finch from KC & the Sunshine Band. She went on to win a Grammy for best R&B song for composing the record.
In the 2000s, Wright made a resurgence and appeared on the show “Making the Bank,” mentoring the young group Danity Kane. She also did vocal production for other artists, including Jennifer Lopez, Gloria Estefan and Joss Stone. In 2005, she was nominated for best pop album at the Grammys for co-producing Stone’s “Mind Body & Soul” album.
Wright and Questlove of the Roots produced “Betty Wright: The Movie,” in 2011, her first album in 10 years. The track “Surrender” got a Grammy nod for best traditional R&B performance.
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