Fontella Bass, the soul singer who topped the R&B charts with the 1965 hit "Rescue Me," has died, The Associated Press reports. She was 72.
Bass died Wednesday night at a St. Louis hospice from complications from a heart attack she suffered three weeks earlier, according to her daughter. Bass had also suffered a series of strokes over the past seven years.
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"She was an outgoing person," her daughter, Neuka Mitchell, said of her mother. "She had a very big personality. Any room she entered she just lit the room up, whether she was on stage or just going out to eat."
Bass was the daughter of gospel singer Martha Bass, one of the Clara Ward singers, and her younger brother David Peaston had several R&B hits in the 1980s and 1990s. Bass began performing in her church choir at age 6. She eventually auditioned for Chess Records and landed a recording contract, at first singing duets. "Don't Mess Up A Good Thing", which she sang with Bobby McClure, reached No. 33 on the Billboard Hot 100. She co-wrote and recorded "Rescue Me" later that year and it reached No. 4 on the singles chart.
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"Rescue Me" was later covered by Linda Ronstadt, Cher and Pat Benatar, among others. Bass eventually married Lester Bowie and had four children.
She later recorded a gospel album, No Ways Tired, in 1995 — an effort that earned her a Grammy nomination.
She is survived by four children.