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Sunday, November 23, 2008
Minnie Ripperton, we still miss you
Minnie Julia Riperton (November 8, 1947 – July 12, 1979) was an American singer and songwriter noted for her five-and-a-half octave vocal range, with her 1975 single "Lovin' You."
As a child, Riperton studied music, drama, and dance at Chicago's Lincoln Center. As a teen, Riperton sang lead vocals for the Chicago-based girl group the Gems. Her early affiliation with the legendary Chess record label afforded her the opportunity to sing backup for such acts as Etta James, Fontella Bass, Ramsey Lewis, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters.
While with Chess, Riperton also sang for the experimental rock/soul group Rotary Connection from 1967 to 1971. In 1969 Riperton and the Rotary Connection played in the first Catholic Rock Mass at the Liturgical Conference National Convention, Milwaukee Arena, Milwaukee, WI. produced by James F. Colaianni. Riperton reached the apex of her short career with her number one single, "Lovin' You," in the spring of 1975. The single was the last release from her 1974 gold album "Perfect Angel."
In 1976, Riperton was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a radical mastectomy. In 1977 Riperton became the first black female to serve as spokesperson for the American Cancer Society and to receive the Society's Courage Award from President Jimmy Carter. On July 12, 1979, Riperton died from the cancer while in her husband's arms, listening to a recording of a song Stevie Wonder had written for her.
Courtesy of Wikipedia