Soul Singer Betty Wright Dies At 66, Celebrity Fans Pay Tribute
Soul singer Betty Wright has died of cancer at her home at 66.
Wright is best known for hits including “Tonight Is The Night” from 1974 and “Clean Up Woman” from 1972, which was sampled by Mary J. Blige in her “Real Love” remix.
Wright had been diagnosed with endometrial cancer in the fall, president of S-curve records, Steve Greenberg told the New York Times. On May 2, Chaka Khan asked for prayers for Wright in a tweet.
“My beloved sister, Betty Wright, is now in need of all your prays,” she wrote in the tweet. “In Jesus Name We Pray for Sister Betty.”
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
Wright, who was born Bessie Regina Norris, began her career singing with her family’s gospel group, The Echoes of Joy. By the time she was 15, she already had her own solo album with a Top 40 hit, “Girls Can’t Do What Guys Do.” At 17 she released her song “Clean Up Woman,” and at 21 she won a Grammy award for Best R&B song, “Where Is the Love?”
Her last big hit came in 1988, after she created her own record label. The song was called “No Pain (No Gain),” and it made her the first woman to have a gold album on her own label. Wright was also one of the first pop singers to use the whistle register, which has been more recently been popularized by Mariah Carey and Ariana Grande. Since creating her own label, she had continued performing and writing music, even collaborating with DJ Khaled and Rick Ross.
Friends, fans and musicians remembered the soul singer on social media:
Rest in power to a legend, Betty Wright. Our beloved aunty, mentor, and vocal coach ❤️🙏🏽She stood by me every step of the way. Taught us so much. She will be missed. pic.twitter.com/QTcZYh7N0M
— Skip Marley (@SkipMarley) May 10, 2020
I once asked Betty Wright if singing in the whistle register was something she had to work at, or something she just did. She answered my question IN THE WHISTLE REGISTER. What a phenomenal woman. RIP to the Queen of Miami. pic.twitter.com/WnnLdAEQg5
— Jesse Serwer (@JesseSerwer) May 11, 2020
Betty Wright was a LEGEND. I grew up off her songs.. May she Rest In Peace ❤️
— Butterflies Part 2 Out Now (@queennaija) May 11, 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
#BettyWright was one of the very best to ever do this thing called music! A beautiful spirit who will truly be missed! Sending my love and prayers to all of her family, friends and fans! ♥️ pic.twitter.com/fdy0qnixqj
— Patti LaBelle (@MsPattiPatti) May 11, 2020