Fontella Bass

Born in St. Louis in 1940, Fontella Bass is best-known for her massive hit single 'Rescue Me' which remains a radio staple to this day. The daughter of gospel singer Martha Bass, Fontella began singing in the church choir at the age of five but soon rebelled by sneaking out of the house and performing at local fairs and nightclubs. She joined forces with Little Milton Campbell and earned her first recording credit, providing the vocal on Campbell's 1962 single 'So Mean to Me'. Her first single, 'I Don't Hurt Anymore', was released later that year. Bass then worked with Ike Turner on her second single 'I Love the Man', and collaborated with his then-wife Tina on 'Poor Little Fool' in 1993. Her biggest hit to date came in the form of 'Rescue Me' in 1965 which was released on Chess Records' imprint Checkers. The record topped the R&B charts and crossed over into mainstream consciousness with massive success which has continued to this day and is played in places ranging from cafes and bars to club dancefloors. Unable to replicate the success of 'Rescue Me' in the years that followed, only briefly gaining success with 'Recovery' and 'Sweet Lovin' Daddy', she seldom entered the charts again. Bass spent much of the 1970s and 1980s out of the public eye, with spontaneous solo releases and collaborations with her husband Lester Bowie who performed with the Art Ensemble of Chicago. In the late 1990s, Fontella Bass returned to the fore with an album which harked back to her gospel roots in the form of 'No Ways Tired'. On 26th December 2012 Fontella Bass passed away following a heart attack, after a number of years of ill health.

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