Delia Mae Warrick, known as Dee Dee Warwick (September 25, 1942 – October 18, 2008) was an American soul singer. Born in Newark, New Jersey, she was the sister of Dionne Warwick, niece of Cissy Houston and the cousin of Whitney Houston. Celebrated in the 1960s and early 1970s for the beauty of her voice and appearance, her career was overshadowed by record-company mismanagement and the fame of her sibling, older by five years.
Born Delia Mae Warrick in East Orange, New Jersey, Dee Dee came from a family who were prominent members of the East Coast gospel community. Her father was the director of gospel promotion for the Chicago black-music powerhouse Chess Records, while her mother managed the Drinkard Singers, a gospel group that recorded for Savoy, Verve and RCA Victor during the 1950s.
The Drinkard Singers were led by Dee Dee's aunt, Cissy Houston (the mother of Whitney Houston), and both Dee Dee and Dionne sang with the group as teenagers. The sisters then formed a trio called the Gospelaires that sang both in church and on secular recording sessions in the late 1950s. Dee Dee's dulcet tones graced hundreds of soul and pop recordings over the next decade and she can be heard on hits cut by Garnet Mimms, the Drifters, Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin and Nina Simone.
Dionne Warwick was discovered by the songwriters Burt Bacharach and Hal David in early 1963. Dee Dee was signed later that year by the celebrated song writing-production team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller and, following her sister's lead, changed her surname from Warrick to Warwick.
Leiber & Stoller produced her first single, You're No Good. Although not a hit when it was released, the song became a US hit for Betty Everett in 1964 (and a UK No 3 when covered by the Swinging Blue Jeans) and topped the US charts in 1975 when sung by Linda Ronstadt. Leiber & Stoller tried again with Standing By (1964), but the single failed and Warwick signed with Blue Rock, a black-music subsidiary of Mercury Records and, with Ed Townsend as the producer, scored R&B top 30 hits with We're Doing Fine and I Want To Be With You.
Dee Dee's 1966 hit I'm Gonna Make You Love Me was remade into a huge pop hit the following year by Madeline Bell and then reached No 2 in the US pop charts (No 3 in the UK) when recorded as a duet between the Supremes and the Temptations. Warwick continued to issue high-quality soul music, her records possessing stronger rhythmic and gospel vocals than those of her sister, and in 1969 she scored an R&B and pop hit with Foolish Fool. The song won Warwick a Grammy nomination and a guest spot singing on Dick Cavett's popular talk show.
She then signed with Atco, a subsidiary of Atlantic, and was sent to Miami to record with top session band the Dixie Flyers, immediately enjoying a top 10 R&B hit with She Didn't Know (She Kept on Talking). This won Warwick her second Grammy nomination. Her 1970 album Turning Around was well received, yet her career stalled, with the singles Suspicious Minds and Cold Night in Georgia being minor R&B chart hits.
Dee Dee returned to Mercury in 1973, claiming that Atlantic concentrated its energies on Aretha Franklin and Roberta Flack to the detriment of her career. In 1975 she enjoyed an R&B hit with Get Out of My Life. It was her last chart placing. Thereafter, she recorded for a variety of small labels before concentrating on providing backing vocals for commercial sessions.
After several years away from the recording studio, Dee Dee Warwick made her final recordings in the mid-80s: in 1984 her album Dee Dee Warwick, Call Me was released on Sutra Records and she subsequently recorded for Heritage. After living in Los Angeles for a number of years, Warwick became a resident of Georgia in 1994. Dee Dee received a Pioneer Award from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation in 1999.
In January 2008, Dee Dee was featured in the title song from Dionne's gospel album, Why We Sing. In February 2008, she continued her background vocals for Dionne's one-woman show My Music and Me in Europe.
Dee Dee struggled with narcotics addiction for many years and was in failing health for some time. Her sister was with her when she died on October 18, 2008 in a nursing home in Essex County, New Jersey, aged 66. (Info edited mainly from The Guardian obit)
Here's Dee Dee singing I WANT TO BE WITH YOU Taken from SHIVAREE (JULY 17TH YEAR 1965) SEASON 1 EPISODE 25