Fontella Bass Dies

Fontella Bass (July 3, 1940 – December 26, 2012)

Fontella Bass the iconic singer of probably the greatest ‘call and response’ pop records ever made. The fact that the moans on ‘Rescue Me’ of ”ummmmm mmmmm” was due to Fontella forgetting the original words makes it that much more special since those moans and groans really made the recording. 

The record itself crossed the false boundary of musical taste by being popular with the pop and soul crowed having been covered by a multitude of artist and musicians down the years.

The record itself was important because the legal rights to the record was up for dispute between Fontella Bass and Chess records. For 20 years Fontella Bass wanted accreditation for her  part in creating the record. Every time she questioned why she wasn’t credited Fontella Bass was given some story which didn’t amount too much. In the end it went to court and she won the honour of being one of the writers to a very important dance tune.

Sadly, ‘Rescue Me’ was her only major hit, but, if you’re going to have major hit it might as well be a record which is constantly played in clubs especially ‘Northern Soul’ clubs and forever featured in films and adverts when the producers/directors of those films want to convey a sense of longing and salvation.

Obviously Fontella Bass had other musical achievements but these pale into insignificant when compared to the monster tune that is ‘Rescue Me’. Fontella Bass died in a hospital due to a heart attack.


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