Fontella Bass had a massive hit in 1965 with ‘Rescue Me’. She died following a heart attack this week in her hometown of St Louis, Missouri.

Fontella Bass spent four weeks at number one on the Billboard chart with ‘Rescue Me’ in 1965.

Fontella was born on July 3, 1940 and died on December 26, 2012. Her mother was gospel singer Martha Bass, of the Clara Ward Singers.

She started her professional career at age 17 and soon after scored a gig with Little Milton as his piano player.

During this time she met and married trumpet player Lester Bowie, who also became her musical director.

Fontella signed with Chess Records and recorded several duets with Bobby McClure. Their ‘Don’t Mess Up A Good Thing’ became a no. 33 pop song and was covered in 1979 by Ry Cooder on his ‘Bop Til You Drop’ album.

Her big hit ‘Rescue Me’ gave Chess Records their first million seller since Chuck Berry a decade earlier. The song has been covered by Linda Ronstadt, Cher, Melissa Manchester, Bryan Ferry, Tom Jones and Diana Ross.

‘Rescue Me’ is often mistaken as an Aretha Franklin song. Franklin never recorded the original version of the song but did record an adaptation called ‘Deliver Me’ for a Pizza Hut ad in 1991.

Bass is survived by her four children.

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