Soul Singer Fontella Bass Dies at 72

4:12 PM PST 12/27/2012 by THR Staff
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Fontella Bass

Her song “Rescue Me” topped Billboard’s R&B chart in 1965.

Fontella Bass, a soul singer best known for her 1965 R&B chart-topper “Rescue Me,” has died. She was 72.

Bass died Wednesday at a St. Louis hospice from complications related to a heart attack she suffered three weeks ago, the Associated Press reports. She'd also had several strokes since 2005.

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The singer was born in St. Louis and achieved national success when “Rescue Me” climbed to No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and reached No. 1 on the R&B chart (called the Top Selling Rhythm & Blues Singles at the time).

Bass was born into a family of musicians, including her mother, Martha Bass, who was one of the Clara Ward Singers, and her brother, David Peaston, who found success with R&B hits in the 1980s and 1990s. He died in February at 54.

Bass is survived by four children. She was married to jazz trumpeter Lester Bowie, who died in 1999.

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