MIAMI (AP) — Betty Wright, the Grammy-winning soul singer and songwriter whose influential 1970s hits included “Clean Up Woman” and “Where is the Love,” has died at age 66.
Wright had her breakthrough with 1971′s “Clean Up Woman,” which combined elements of funk, soul and R&B.
Recorded when Wright was just 17, the song would be a top 10 hit on both the Billboard R&B and pop charts, and its familiar grooves would be used and reused in the sampling era of future decades.
The youngest of seven children, Wright was born Bessie Regina Norris in 1953 in Miami, the city whose funk and soul sounds her music would always be identified with.
A career lull in the late 1970s and early 1980s prompted Wright to start her own label in 1985, leading to a gold album, “Mother Wit,” in 1987 and the comeback hit “No Pain (No Gain)”
She spent much of the rest of her life as a producer and mentor to younger artists, many of whom were singing her praises after her death.