R.I.P. Betty Davis, funk singer and ex-wife of Miles Davis

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    (February 9, 2022) We are sad to inform SoulTrackers of the passing of funk singer Betty Davis, at age 76. Davis was a noted figure for her pioneering work in rock and funk music, as well as for her marriage to jazz great Miles Davis.

    The North Carolina born Betty Mabry moved to New York as a teenager, and soon was enmeshed in both the music and artistic community there, while making her living as a model. She wrote the hit single “Uptown (To Harlem)” for the Chambers Brothers and was soon recording her own music, working with boyfriend Hugh Masakela.

    (February 9, 2022) We are sad to inform SoulTrackers of the passing of funk singer Betty Davis, at age 76. Davis was a noted figure for her pioneering work in rock and funk music, as well as for her marriage to jazz great Miles Davis.

    The North Carolina born Betty Mabry moved to New York as a teenager, and soon was enmeshed in both the music and artistic community there, while making her living as a model. She wrote the hit single “Uptown (To Harlem)” for the Chambers Brothers and was soon recording her own music, working with boyfriend Hugh Masakela.

    Soon after breaking up with Masakela, she met Miles Davis, to whom she was married for a short period. Miles produced a series of songs for her in the mid-70s, with “If I’m in Luck I Might Get Picked Up” and “Shut Off The Lights” reaching the lower end of the charts. But while her songs were not getting airplay or mass success, Betty Davis was earning a small, loyal following enthralled by her frank, somewhat sexual lyrics and straightforward music.

    It was nearly two decades before Davis’s music was rediscovered, with several of her albums being reissued. In addition, a series of new compilations got into the hands of listeners who found her 1970s music to have the attitude of Neo Soul and hip-hop female artists of the next generation. And while most of these accolades came after Davis had retired from the music business, she briefly reengaged in 2019 to write the song “A Little Bit Hot Tonight” for Danielle Maggio.

     
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