R.I.P. legendary Philly soul singer and "Sweeties" member Evette Benton

Photo courtesy of Evette Benton Facebook

(November 7, 2021) If, like many of us, you were enraptured by the Sound of Philadelphia in the 1970s and 80s, then you’re a fan of the great Evette Benton, even if you didn’t know her name. Benton, along with Carla Benson and Barbara Ingram, formed the Sweethearts of Sigma aka "the Sweeties," the incredible vocal trio that sweetened the sound of a generation of hits produced by Thom Bell, Gamble & Huff and more. We are sad today to report the passing of Evette Benton, one of our all-time favorite singers.

Ingram brought the trio together in the early 70s, and, upon meeting Thom Bell, the group became his preferred background singers. They expanded to work with even more producers and ultimately also toured with several artists.

(November 7, 2021) If, like many of us, you were enraptured by the Sound of Philadelphia in the 1970s and 80s, then you’re a fan of the great Evette Benton, even if you didn’t know her name. Benton, along with Carla Benson and Barbara Ingram, formed the Sweethearts of Sigma aka "the Sweeties," the incredible vocal trio that sweetened the sound of a generation of hits produced by Thom Bell, Gamble & Huff and more. We are sad today to report the passing of Evette Benton, one of our all-time favorite singers.

Ingram brought the trio together in the early 70s, and, upon meeting Thom Bell, the group became his preferred background singers. They expanded to work with even more producers and ultimately also toured with several artists.

The Sweethearts’ catalog included virtually all of the hits by The Spinners, where they particularly shone, as well as countless hits by literally dozens of stars, including such #1 smashes as Billy Paul's "Me and Mrs. Jones", McFadden & Whitehead's "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now," and Patti LaBelle's and Michael McDonald’s "On My Own." They also toured Patti LaBelle in the 80s as part of her expansive band.

Evette Leontine Benton was a native of Camden, New Jersey, and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Special Education/certification from Glassboro State College, now known as Rowan University. But she also had a love for music, singing in church her entire life, and also becoming adept at the saxophone, which she performed in college. College was also where Benton and friends Carla Benson and Barbara Ingram began a musical collaboration that would help change the musical world.

Even as she was regularly performing on hundreds of records, Benton was following her calling to be a special education teacher in Camden. She was also quite involved in local Head Start programs, and eventually became the Director of the Camden County Head Start program. Incredibly, she balanced these two vocations of music and education the rest of her life, impacting countless people in the process.

I had the honor of conversing with Evette on a few occasions, and will cherish that she enjoyed reading our work and shared with us so much of hers. We will mourn Evette Benton’s passing, even as we celebrate her incredible legacy.

By Chris Rizik

Thanks to SoulTracker Gavin for letting us know

 

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