Ann Peebles (born April 27, 1947) is an African American singer-songwriter who gained celebrity for her Memphis soul albums of the 1970s on the Hi Records label. Easily the best female singer in the Hi stable, Peebles ranked among the finest deep Southern soul singers of the decade, notching an instant classic with her 1973 hit "I Can't Stand the Rain." She co-wrote a generous share of her own material with husband Don Bryant, and while she cut plenty of love and heartbreak tunes, her persona was built on the grit and resilient strength she displayed on songs like "I'm Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down." Peebles wasn't always as appreciated on the charts as her work often merited, especially among pop listeners, but her best recordings hold up among the best of their era.
Peebles was born April 27, 1947, in East St. Louis, Missouri, the seventh of 11 children. Her father was a minister and her mother a singer, and naturally Peebles began singing at a young age in her father's church choir. She also sang with the family group, the Peebles Choir, which had been touring the gospel circuit since Peebles' grandfather founded it a generation earlier. As a teenager, she sang secular music on the St. Louis club circuit, supported and accompanied by her father. There she met blues bandleader Oliver Sain, a local legend, and eventually joined his revue.
Peebles caught her big break in 1968 on a trip to Memphis, where she asked to sit in on a club set by trumpeter Gene "Bowlegs" Miller. Miller was already signed to Hi Records at the time, and duly impressed with Peebles' voice, he brought her to Hi house producer Willie Mitchell for a tryout. Mitchell, who was still in the process of shifting the label from country to R&B (and had not yet discovered Al Green), immediately offered Peebles a contract; she was still shy of her 21st birthday.
Mitchell teamed Peebles with singer and house songwriter Don Bryant, seeking a bit more seasoning in her R&B phrasing. Peebles and Bryant soon began writing together (and would also end up dating). In the meantime, Peebles recorded her debut single, "Walk Away," a song written by Sain that just missed the Top 20 on the R&B chart in 1969. The follow-up, "Give Me Some Credit," was also a minor hit. Both songs were featured on the singer's debut album, This Is Ann Peebles. Her fourth single, 1970's "Part Time Love," was her first R&B Top Ten.
Her hot streak continued with 1973's I Can't Stand the Rain, which many critics still regard as her finest work. "I'm Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down" was a decent-sized hit, and the brilliant title cut -- written by Peebles, Bryant, and disc jockey Bernard Miller -- became her biggest hit, peaking at number six R&B and famously becoming a favorite of John Lennon. She also charted with "(You Keep Me) Hangin' On" and "Do I Need You," but more importantly, married Bryant in 1974.
By the late 70's with Mitchell and most of the Hi house band gone, Peebles took a hiatus from the music business to concentrate on her family. She reunited with Mitchell in 1989 to produce her comeback album, Call Me. Peebles then signed with roots label Rounder's Bullseye Blues subsidiary from 1992 - 1998.
1997 brought us Ann Peebles' second release on written and produced by Ann herself, Donald Bryant, and music director, arranger; Paul Brown titled Fill This World with Love. That album like her last earned much praise from her critics as well as a Handy Nomination, but it also spawned a worldwide tour that featured Ann Peebles in the most captivating live shows of her career. After Ann Peebles left Bullseye in 1998, she embarked on a series of album appearances including duets with soul legends, Don Covay, Carl Weathersby, European superstar Billie Ray Martin and most recently her husband Don Bryant on his brand new release titled It's All In The Word. Meanwhile, "I Can't Stand the Rain" was covered by numerous artists, including Tina Turner, and revived by Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott via sampling on her 1997 smash "The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)."
In 2006 she released the album Brand New Classics, which consisted of re-recordings of some of her songs in an acoustic style. Her last concert appearance was at the Beale Street Music Festival in 2007. (see above photo) She and husband Don Bryant continue finding rewards in their involvement with a local therapeutic foster care agency called Omni Vision, Inc.
(Info various sources but mainly edited from All Music Guide)
I usually post one video but had to add this live later version of "I Can't Stand the Rain"