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Bettye Lavette

A perennial cult favorite in Northern soul circles, singer Bettye LaVette was born in Muskegon, Michigan, on January 29, 1946. Raised primarily across the state in Detroit, at 16 she cut her first sides for the local Lupine label, with a test pressing of the disc making its way to Atlantic Records. After signing with Atlantic, she scored an R&B Top Ten hit out of the box with her debut single, "My Man -- He's a Loving Man," only to fail to reach the same commercial heights again. After one more Atlantic release, 1963's "You'll Never Change," LaVette moved back to Lupine for her third record, "Witchcraft in the Air." After a stint as a featured vocalist with the Don Gardner & Dee Dee Ford Revue, she recorded the long-unreleased "One Thin Dime" for Scepter before resurfacing on Calla with the 1965 lost classic "Let Me Down Easy," her only other record to crack the R&B Top 20. Two more Calla efforts -- the fine "Only Your Love Can Save Me" and "I'm Just a Fool for You" -- preceded a shift to Big Wheel, where after just one single, "I'm Holding On," LaVette again moved along, this time to the Karen imprint for "Hey Love."

Following stays at Silver Fox ("He Made a Woman Out of Me," "Do Your Duty"), SSS International ("Take Another Piece of My Heart"), and her own TCA imprint ("Never My Love"), LaVette returned to Atlantic, signing to their Atco division for 1972's Neil Young cover "Heart of Gold." An LP, Child of the Seventies, was also recorded at Muscle Shoals Studios, but Atco opted against its release after the failure of the single "Your Turn to Cry" (the album was reissued, complete with bonus tracks, in limited copies by Rhino in 2006). After joining the touring company of the Broadway musical Bubbling Brown Sugar, LaVette briefly signed to West End for a disco effort, 1978's "Doin' the Best I Can."

She did not record again until 1982, landing at Motown and rechristening herself "Bettye." However, despite a heavy promotional push, neither the LP Tell Me a Lie nor the single "Right in the Middle (Of Falling in Love)" proved her long-awaited chart breakthrough, and outside of a handful of recordings for Motor City during the '90s, she focused primarily on live appearances in the years to follow. The 2000s found her in the recording studio more frequently with new albums A Woman Like Me being released by the Blues Express label in 2003 followed by I've Got My Own Hell to Raise in 2005 on the Anti label. In 2006, Take Another Little Piece of My Heart, a collection of Silver Fox singles as well as other material, all of which had been recorded in Memphis between 1969 and 1970, came out on Varèse Sarabande. The Scene of the Crime appeared on Anti in 2007. LaVette next tackled classic songs by the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, and the Who, among others, on 2010's Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook, which she co-produced with Rob Mathes and Michael Stevens. LaVette celebrated her 50th year as a performer in 2012 by releasing Thankful 'n' Thoughtful, covering songs by the Black Keys, Sly Stone, Tom Waits, Neil Young, and Bob Dylan, among others, and also issued her autobiography, A Woman Like Me. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

Oh I like see u, have no car, are u on PBS
Love the soulful sound I see the tears in my heart as my eyes beat luv ya Bettye
can't get enough of wonderful Bettye
Stone-Cold Super-Badd Super-Star Soul-Sissta
Bettye Lavette H-Town~Groov i n
*978*~ 5m14y~
<3 this woman
bettye, sure do love your cover of Eric Burdon and the Animals, Don't Let me be Misunderstoo d . how great to hear that song with your incredible voice. bless you.
diggin her tune little sparrow. its really fine thanks bettye
awesome...Sa w Ms Lavette at the Crescent City Blues and Barbecue Fest last weekend
you can hear it in her voice... straight from the heart, through the pipes, and out for everyone to be awestruck!!! Amazing artist! I only wish I'd heard of her sooner!!!
Her cover of the Who's, "Love Reign O'er Me", is fantastic
This lady is the most talented , overlooked artist of our time.
A total performer... . . . s e a s o n e d by life itself.
Creativity and soul in a beautiful , powerful package.
Bettye Lavette is truly the Queen of Real........
courtchilton s
as much power as aretha, mavis, and tina without the gospel roots or the cross-over polish -- bettye lavette KILLS!
noelalumit
Jamie, I was THERE also. She rocked the Bowl!
j.dorfman
She did some KILLER Beatles covers at the Hollywood Bowl last Friday.
so much soul
pvinson5
I LIKE HER!
This soul sister is an amazing performer! She electrifies everything in the room! I used to wait tables at the Dakota Jazz club and saw her perform several times in Minneapolis and St Paul, she is definately one of my favorites.
funkadelicly delicious
devkenn
I was stunned, a sat slack jawed at the Kennedy Ctr. Honors. She blew me away. I'm embarrassed I wasn't aware of her artistry, but I'm sure glad I saw her that night. I think Townsend was VERY impressed! How do you not love that rendition of "Reign..." Now if it were only available...
I was blown away by her Inauguration duet with Jon Bon Jovi
her voice sings life...kenne d y center honors...lov e reign o'er me..I am so very happy she's FINALLY getting the recognition she deserves...
amazing, amazing talent
did you see her on the Kennedy Center Honors singing The WHO
This womans voice is great.

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