Friday, 23 November 2012
Betty Everett born 23 November 1939
Betty Everett (November 23, 1939, Greenwood, Mississippi – August 19, 2001, Beloit, Wisconsin) was an African-American R&B singer and pianist. She is known for her biggest hit single "The Shoop Shoop Song (It's in His Kiss)."
At the age of nine, Everett began playing the piano and singing gospel music in church. She continued these activities while growing up until moving to Chicago in 1957 to pursue a career in secular music. She recorded for various small local labels and produced by such later luminaries as Ike Turner and Curtis Mayfield, before she was discovered in 1963 by A&R musical director Calvin Carter, from the then fast-growing independent label, Vee-Jay Records.
That same year, an initial single failed, but her next Vee-Jay release, a bluesy version of "You're No Good" (written by Clint Ballard, Jr. and later a #1 hit for Linda Ronstadt), just missed the U.S. top 50. Her third single, the catchy "The Shoop Shoop Song (It's in His Kiss)", was her biggest solo hit. It peaked at #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and made #1 on the Cashbox R&B chart.
Her other hits included "I Can't Hear You", "Getting Mighty Crowded" (covered by Elvis Costello in 1980), and several duets with Jerry Butler, including "Let It Be Me" which made the US Top 5 in 1964 and was another Cashbox R&B number 1. After Vee-Jay folded in 1966, she recorded for several other labels, including Uni, Fantasy, and ABC.
After an unsuccessful year with ABC, a move to Uni brought another major success in 1969 with "There'll Come A Time", co-written by producer and lead singer of The Chi-Lites, Eugene Record, this rose to #2 in the Billboard R&B listing (#26 on the Hot 100) and topped the Cashbox chart. However, most of her later work could not match the success she had with Vee-Jay, although there were other R&B hits with "It's Been A Long Time" and "I Got To Tell Somebody", which re-united her with Calvin Carter in 1970. Her final recording came out in 1980, again produced by Carter. Her awards include the BMI Pop Award (both for 1964 and 1991) and the BMI R&B Award (for 1964).
Living with her sister from the 1980s until her death, Everett resided in Beloit, Wisconsin, where she was involved in the Rhythm & Blues Foundation and the churches of the Fountain of Life and New Covenant. In 1989 a personal handler of Everett at the time, brought her to the attention of Worldwide TMA, a management consulting firm in Chicago under the direction of Steve Arvey and Scott Pollack, former Chairman of The Chicago Songwriters Association, and started to re-surge Everett onto the national scene.
After two years of effort Everett's fortunes were again on the rise. At that time a subsequent release of her signature hit, "The Shoop Shoop Song (It's in His Kiss)" had made it into the movie, Mermaids. It was recorded by Cher and used for the ending credits backtrack of the film. Cher charted well with the former hit in the United Kingdom (and elsewhere in Europe), and an article appeared in a British Sunday newspaper The Mail On Sunday with the headline reading; "Betty Everett Gets Her "Cher" Of A Hit". Fans (according to the article in The Mail On Sunday circa summer of 1990) were calling the London radio channels asking for the original to be played instead. Everett had secured an indie label deal (Trumpet Records-unreleased) and a new single "Don't Cry Now" had been recorded penned by Larry Weiss. In connection to the preceding events, Everett was booked and aired a twenty minute appearance on the then, hit TV show Current Affair. She was then booked to the star spot for the 1991 Chicago Blues Festival which aired live worldwide on over 400 PBS radio channels, marking Everett's last live appearance on radio.
Later that year, two concerts were booked for consecutive weekends in late October 1991; one at Trump's Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, the other at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. All had been arranged through management and Charles McMillan, Jerry Butler's longtime friend and personal manager. Everett declined to show for engagements citing stage fright. Despite exposure, she was unable to resurrect her career because of health issues.
In 2000, she made her last public appearance on the PBS special Doo Wop 51 along with her former singing partner, Jerry Butler, which, according to The Independent, a UK based newspaper (circa August 2001) was met with raves about the brief reunion where she "brought the house down" (quoted from The Independent.)
Everett died at her home in Beloit on August 19, 2001; she was 61 years old.(Info Wikipedia)