R&B And Soul Icon Betty Wright Biography: Wiki, Career, Cause Of Death

Betty Wright Biography

Bessie Regina Norris was born on December 21, 1953, on Miami, Florida. She better known by her stage name “Betty Wright”, was an American soul and R&B singer, songwriter and background vocalist who rose to fame in the seventies with hits like “Clean Up Woman” and “Tonight is the Night.” She also has prominence in the use of whistle registers. Wright contributed to vocals on the first album from the party, released in 1956. Wright performed along with her parents until the mid-1960’s.

Betty Wright Career

About a year later, when she was 17, Wright released her signature single, “Clean Up Woman” composed by Clarence Reid and Willie Clarke. On the R&B charts the record reached number two, where it stayed for eight weeks. It crossed to pop charts, peaking at number six, and remaining 14 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100. It ultimately sold over one million copies and earned gold certification on December 30th, 1971, nine days after the singer turned 18. Wright struggled with a positive follow-up until 1972, when the single “Baby Sitter” (one of the first compositions by Wright) hit the top 50 of the Hot 100 and peaked on the R&B charts at number six. Another hit that appeared during this early era was “Let Me Be Your Lovemaker” from 1973, which peaked at number 55 on the Hot 100 and number 10 on the R&B chart, it was also the first instance (after “Baby Sitter”) in which Wright showed off her powerful vocals in the whistle register. Another popular composition was the proto-disco number, “Where Is The Love” (co-written by Wright, with KC & The Sunshine Band producers Harry Wayne Casey and Richard Finch). It peaked on the R&B chart at number 15, number-two on the club charts and crossed over to the UK, peaking at # 25, prompting Wright to perform overseas. Wright later won the “Where is the Love” Best R&B Song Grammy Award for composing.

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In 1977, Wright discovered musician Peter Brown and sang background on Brown’s hits, “You Should Do It” and “Dance With Me” from the successful LP ‘A Fantasy Love Affair  (where her vocals were prominently featured alongside Brown’s).’ She performed a duet on the song “No Tricks” with shock rocker Alice Cooper in 1978 and opened for Bob Marley a year later on the Survival Tour of the reggae star.

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Hip hop, rock, and R&B musicians have sampled a number of Wright’s works over the years. Acts such as Afrika Bambaattaa, SWV, Mary J. Blige, Sublime, Willie D and Chance the Rapper have continuously sampled the riff from “Pick Up Lady.” For Beyoncé’s “Upgrade U,” Wright’s first single, “Girls Can’t Do What Guys Do” was sampled. In 1992, Wright sued the producers behind the breakthrough hit of Color Me Badd, “I Wanna Sex You Up,” after claiming that they used the sample of her live version without clearance and permission, and sued for royalties. Wright won her case, receiving 35% of the royalties to write the song.

Betty Wright Family & Children

Wright gave birth to five children during her lifetime, namely Aisha, Patrice, Patrick, Chaka and Asher. Wright’s family was hit by tragedy on Christmas Day 2005, when her son Patrick Parker was shot dead at a vacation party in South Florida’s Opa-Laka neighborhood. He was aged 21.

Betty Wright Cause Of Death

The soul and R&B icon Betty Wright died at the age of 66. The morning of 10th May, 2020 Wright passed away, the singer’s niece reported to Strong. The cause of Wright’s death has not been made public. It is mentioned in her official profile on the website of Universal Music that Wright, “influenced a generation of female singer-songwriters and continues to influence the world of hip hop.”

Soul legend Betty Wright has passed away at 66, her niece has confirmed. Wright was behind classic tracks like “Clean Up Woman,” “No Pain (No Gain,)” and “Tonight is the Night” and was known for her effortless whistle register notes. She will be missed. 🕊🌹 pic.twitter.com/xC3GrkJPPf

— Girls United (@EssenceGU) May 10, 2020

Some Quick Facts About Betty Wright

  • Her real name is Bessie Regina Norris.
  • Betty Wright Born in Miami, Florida as Bessie Regina Norris on December 21, 1953
  • Various artists have covered her tracks, including Beyoncé and Mary J. Blige.
  • Wright Wright have five children.

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