Posted by themusicsover on July 12, 2010
November 8, 1947 – July 12, 1979
Minnie Riperton was the five-octave voice behind one of soul music’s greatest ballads, “Loving You.” After studying music as a child, Riperton began her career while still in high school when she joined a Chicago group, the Gems, who then signed to Chess and released a few records. At around this time, Riperton was also singing back up on recordings by the likes of Etta James and Fontella Bass. After graduating, Riperton got a job as a receptionist at Chess who subsequently signed her to a solo contract, but under the name, Andrea Davis. Later fronting a soul band called the Rotary Connection, Riperton met her future husband, composer Richard Rudolph. They would later have a daughter, Maya Rudolph, a future actress and cast member of Saturday Night Live. After a few years fronting Rotary Connection, Riperton and Rudolph took some time off and later moved to Los Angeles where they hooked up with Stevie Wonder who co-produced Riperton’s breakthrough album, 1974’s Perfect Angel which included the world wide smash hit, “Loving You.” But within two years, Riperton was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a mastectomy which couldn’t stop the spread of the disease. Even with her health failing, Riperton continued to work up until recording what would be her final album, 1979’s Minnie. She died of cancer later that year at the age of 31.
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