Marva Whitney (born Marva Ann Manning), a funk singer whose career spanned more than four decades, has died at age 68 from complications of pneumonia.
Whitney's performing career started as early as three years old while touring with her family's gospel group, the Manning Gospel Singers. Singing with James Brown in the late 1960s, she was able to make a name for herself with powerful songs like "I'm Tired, I'm Tired, I'm Tired (Things Better Change Before Its Too Late)" and "If You Don't Work (You Can't Eat)." Her recording of "It's My Thing (You Can't Tell Me Who to Sock It To)" reached the R&B Top 20. Her song "Unwind Yourself" has been sampled numerous times, most recognisably by DJ Mark the 45 King on his 1987 track "The 900 Number", which was then sampled by DJ Chad Jackson on his 1990 hit single "Hear the Drummer (Get Wicked)" (UK #3 in July 1990), by DJ Kool on his 1996 hit "Let Me Clear My Throat" (UK #6 in March 1997), Sway on his 2009 track "Mercedes Benz" and Mac Miller on his 2011 track "Party on Fifth Ave."
In 2006, Whitney collaborated with German born DJ/collector/manager DJ Pari and Japanese funk orchestra Osaka Monaurail to produce a new single, "I Am What I Am". Osaka Monaurail style themselves on the James Brown sound and the single was produced in the fashion of an authentic release of the recordings she produced with Brown in 1969. Two successful tours of Japan and a full length album release followed, also entitled "I Am What I Am". In 2007, 2008 and 2009, the tour was also brought to Europe.
In December 2009, Whitney collapsed on stage in front of thousands of fans in Lorne, Australia, while performing with The Transatlantics at Falls Festival. She was immediately rushed to Geelong Hospital, where doctors diagnosed a stroke. The remaining dates of her tour had to be canceled, but Whitney made a recovery and performed again in 2010.
She will be missed.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Marva Whitney