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MR. EXCITEMENT + PERFECT ANGEL
Philadelphia: Jackie Wilson & Minnie Riperton Tribute 4/25 @ Chateau Caterers
Just in case you need a reminder about just who we are talking about, here are a few quick (ok they aren't quick, they are rather lengthy and taken from Wikipedia) bio's of two of my favorite artists! By the way, this whole series of tribute shows have been simply magnificent. If you are a fan of either Jackie Wilson or Minnie Riperton (or both like I am) then you owe it to yourself to take some time out of your busy schedule and be a part of this tribute show. Many of you write into Soul-Patrol and ask how you can keep this great music alive. IMHO Tribute Shows like this one and like the Barry White, Teena Marie and Teddy P, Etta James shows is a GREAT way to do it. All of these shows have been off the hook and I am quite proud to be associated with them.
RUN DON'T WALK TO SEE THIS SOW IF YOU ARE WITHIN DRIVING RANGE OF PHILADELPHIA!!!
Jack Leroy "Jackie" Wilson, Jr. (June 9, 1934 - January 21, 1984) was an American singer and performer. Known as "Mr. Excitement", Wilson was important in the transition of rhythm and blues into soul. He was considered a master showman, and one of the most dynamic and influential singers and performers in R&B and rock n' roll history. Gaining fame in his early years as a member of the R&B vocal group Billy Ward and His Dominoes, he went solo in 1957 and recorded over 50 hit singles that spanned R&B, pop, soul, doo-wop and easy listening. During a 1975 benefit concert, he collapsed on stage from a heart attack and subsequently fell into a coma that persisted for nearly nine years until his death in 1984, at the age of 49. By this time, he had become one of the most influential artists of his generation.
A two-time Grammy Hall of Fame Inductee, Jackie Wilson was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Jackie Wilson #69 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.
Jack Leroy Wilson, Jr. was born on June 9, 1934, in Detroit, Michigan, the only son of Jack Sr. and Eliza Mae Wilson, as she lost two previous children. Eliza Mae was born on The Billups-Whitfield Place in Columbus, Mississippi. Her parents were Tom and Virginia Ransom. Jackie often visited his family in Columbus and was greatly influenced by the choir at Billups Chapel. Growing up in the rough Detroit area of Highland Park, Wilson joined a gang called the Shakers and often found himself in trouble. Wilson's father was frequently absent, as he was alcoholic and usually out of work. Wilson began singing at an early age, accompanying his mother, once a choir singer, to church. In his early teens Jackie joined a quartet, the Ever Ready Gospel Singers, which became a popular feature of churches in the area. Jackie was not very religious, he just loved to sing and the cash he and his group earned came in handy for the cheap wine which he drank since the age of nine. Jack Sr. and Eliza separated shortly after Jackie turned nine.
Wilson dropped out of high school at the age of 15, having already been sentenced to detention in the Lansing Corrections system for juveniles twice. During his second stint in detention, he learned boxing and started performing in the amateur circuit in the Detroit area at the age of 16. His record in the Golden Gloves was 2 and 8. After his mother forced him to quit, Wilson got married to Freda Hood and became a father at 17. It is rumored that he fathered at least 10 other children prior to getting married and was forced to marry Hood by her father. He gave up boxing for music, first working at Lee's Sensation club as a solo singer, then forming a group called the Falcons (not to be confused with The Falcons Wilson Pickett was part of), that included cousin Levi Stubbs, who later went on to lead the Four Tops (two more of Wilson's cousins, Hubert Johnson and Levi's brother Joe, later became members of The Contours). The other members joined Hank Ballard as part of The Midnighters. including Alonzo Tucker, who would work with Wilson several years later as a solo artist.
Jackie Wilson was soon discovered by talent agent Johnny Otis, who assigned him to join a group called the Thrillers. That group would later be known as The Royals (who would later evolve into R&B group, The Midnighters, but Wilson wasn't part of the group when they changed their name and signed with King Records). LaVern Baker, Little Willie John, Johnnie Ray and Della Reese were acts managed by Al Green (not to be confused with R&B singer Al Green, nor Albert "Al" Green of the now defunct National Records). Al Green owned two music publishing companies, Pearl Music and Merrimac Music, and Detroit's Flame Show Bar where Wilson met Baker.
After recording his first version of "Danny Boy" and a few other tracks on Dizzy Gillespie's record label Dee Gee Records under the name Sonny Wilson (his nickname), Wilson was eventually hired by Billy Ward in 1953 to join a group Ward formed in 1950 called The Dominoes, after a successful audition to replace the immensely popular Clyde McPhatter, who left the Dominoes and formed his own group, The Drifters. Wilson almost blew his chance that day, showing up calling himself "Shit" Wilson and bragging about being a better singer than McPhatter.
Billy Ward felt a stage name would fit The Dominoes' image, hence Jackie Wilson. Prior to leaving The Dominoes, McPhatter coached Wilson on the sound Billy Ward wanted for his group, influencing Wilson's singing style and stage presence. "I learned a lot from Clyde, that high-pitched choke he used and other things...Clyde McPhatter was my man. Clyde and Billy Ward." Forties blues singer Roy Brown was also a major influence on him, and Wilson grew up listening to The Mills Brothers, The Ink Spots, Louis Jordan and Al Jolson.
Wilson was the group's lead singer for three years, but the Dominoes lost some of their stride with the departure of McPhatter. They were able to make appearances riding on the strength of the group's earlier hits, until 1956 when the Dominoes recorded Wilson with an unlikely interpretation of the pop hit "St. Therese of the Roses", giving The Dominoes another brief moment in the spotlight. (Their only other post-McPhatter/Wilson successes were "Stardust", released July 15, 1957, and "Deep Purple", released October 7, 1957.) In 1957 Wilson set out to begin a solo career, leaving the Dominoes and collaborating with cousin Levi and got work at Detroit's Flame Show Bar. Later, Al Green worked out a deal with Decca Records, and Wilson was signed to their subsidiary label, Brunswick.
Shortly after Wilson signed a solo contract with Brunswick, Al Green suddenly died. Green's business partner, Nat Tarnopol, took over as Wilson's manager (and later rose to president of Brunswick). Wilson's first single was released, "Reet Petite" from the album He's So Fine, which became a modest R&B success (and many years later, a huge international smash). The song was written by another former boxer, Berry Gordy, Jr., who co-wrote it with partner Roquel "Billy" Davis (who also went by the pseudonym Tyran Carlo) and Gordy's sister Gwendolyn. The trio composed and produced six further singles for Wilson, which included "To Be Loved", "I'm Wanderin'", "We Have Love", "That's Why (I Love You So)", "I'll Be Satisfied" and his late-1958 signature song, "Lonely Teardrops", which peaked at No. 7 on the pop charts, No. 1 on the R&B charts, and established him as an R&B superstar known for his extraordinary, operatic multi-octave vocal range.
Due to his fervor when performing, with his dynamic dance moves, singing and impeccable dress, he was soon christened "Mr. Excitement", a title he would keep for the remainder of his career. His stagecraft in his live shows inspired James Brown, Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley, among a host of other artists. Presley was so impressed by Wilson that he made it a point to meet him, and the two instantly became good friends. In a photo of the two posing together, Presley's caption in the autograph reads "You got you a friend for life." Presley also dubbed Jackie "The Black Elvis".
Wilson's powerful, electrifying live performances rarely failed to bring audiences to a state of frenzy. His live performances consisted of knee-drops, splits, spins, one-footed across-the-floor slides, removing his tie and jacket on-stage and throwing it off-stage, a lot of basic boxing steps (advance and retreat shuffling) and one of his favorite routines, getting some of the less attractive girls in the audience to come up and kiss him. "If I kiss the ugliest girl in the audience, they'll all think they can have me and keep coming back and buying my records." Having women come up to kiss is one reason Wilson kept bottles of mouthwash in his dressing room. Another reason was probably his attempt to hide the alcohol on his breath. Wilson also said he was influenced by Presley too, saying "A lot of people have accused Elvis of stealing the black man's music, when in fact, almost every black solo entertainer copied his stage mannerisms from Elvis."
In 1958, Davis and Gordy left Wilson and Brunswick after royalty disputes escalated between them and Nat Tarnopol. Davis soon became a successful staff songwriter and producer for Chess Records, while Gordy borrowed $800 from his family and used money he earned from royalties writing for Wilson to start his own recording studio, Hitsville USA, the foundation of Motown Records in his native Detroit. Meanwhile, convinced that Wilson could venture out of R&B and rock and roll, Tarnopol had the singer record operatic ballads and easy listening material, pairing him with Decca Records' veteran arranger Dick Jacobs.
Wilson scored hits as he entered the 1960s with the No. 15 "Doggin' Around", the No. 1 pop ballad "Night", and "Baby Workout", another Top 10 hit (No. 5), which he composed with Midnighters member Alonzo Tucker. His songwriting alliance with Tucker also turned out other songs, including "No Pity (In The Naked City)" and "I'm So Lonely." Top 10 hits continued with "Alone At Last" (No. 8 in 1960) and "My Empty Arms" (No. 9 in 1961).
Also in 1961, Wilson recorded a tribute album to Al Jolson, Nowstalgia...You Ain't Heard Nothin' Yet, which included the only album liner notes he ever wrote: "...to the greatest entertainer of this or any other era...I guess I have just about every recording he's ever made, and I rarely missed listening to him on the radio...During the three years I've been making records, I've had the ambition to do an album of songs, which, to me, represent the great Jolson heritage...This is simply my humble tribute to the one man I admire most in this business...to keep the heritage of Jolson alive." The album was a commercial failure.
Following the success of "Baby Workout", Wilson experienced a lull in his career between 1964 and 1966 as Tarnopol and Brunswick Records released a succession of unsuccessful albums and singles. Despite the lack of sales success, he still made artistic gains as he recorded an album with Count Basie, as well as a series of duets with rhythm and blues legend Lavern Baker and gospel singer Linda Hopkins.
In 1966, he scored the first of two big comeback singles with established Chicago soul producer Carl Davis with "Whispers (Gettin' Louder)" and "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher", a No. 6 Pop smash in 1967, which became one of his final pop hits. This was followed by "I Get the Sweetest Feeling", which, despite its modest initial chart success in the US (Billboard Pop #34), has since become one of his biggest international chart successes, becoming a Top 10 hit in the UK twice, in 1972 and in 1987, and a Top 20 hit in the Dutch Top 40, and has spawned numerous cover versions by other artists such as Edwin Starr, Will Young, Erma Franklin (Aretha's sister) and Liz McClarnon.
A key to his musical rebirth was that Davis insisted that Wilson no longer record with Brunswick's musicians in New York; instead, he would record with legendary Detroit musicians normally employed by Motown Records and also Davis' own Chicago-based session players. The Detroit musicians, known as The Funk Brothers, participated on Wilson's recordings due to their respect for Davis and Wilson.
By 1975, Wilson and The Chi-Lites were Brunswick's only significant artists left on the aging label's roster. Until then, Wilson continued to record singles that found success on the R&B chart, but found no significant pop chart success. His final hit, "You Got Me Walkin' ", written by Eugene Record of the Chi-Lites, was released in 1972 with the Chi-Lites backing him on vocals and instruments.
Wilson's personal life was full of tragedy. In 1960 in New Orleans, he was arrested and charged with assaulting a police officer when fans tried to climb on stage. He assaulted a policeman who had shoved one of the fans. Wilson had a reputation of being rather quick-tempered.
On February 15, 1961, in Manhattan, Wilson was injured in a shooting. It is said the real story behind this incident is that one of his girlfriends, Juanita Jones, shot and wounded him in a jealous rage when he returned to his Manhattan apartment with another woman, fashion model Harlean Harris, an ex-girlfriend of Sam Cooke's. Supposedly, his management concocted a story to protect Wilson's reputation; that Jones was an obsessed fan who had threatened to shoot herself, and that Wilson's intervention resulted in him being shot. Wilson was shot in the stomach: The bullet would result in the loss of a kidney, and lodged too close to his spine to be operated on. However, in early 1975, in an interview with author Arnold Shaw, Wilson maintained it actually was a zealous fan whom he didn't know that shot him. "We also had some trouble in 1961. That was when some crazy chick took a shot at me and nearly put me away for good..." Nonetheless, the story of the zealous fan was accepted, and no charges were brought against Jones. A month and a half later after the shooting incident, Jackie was discharged from the hospital and apart from a limp and discomfort for a while, he was quickly on the mend.
At the time Jackie had declared annual earnings of $263,000, while the average salary a man earned then was just $5,000 a year, but he discovered that, despite being at the peak of success, he was broke. Around this time the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) seized Jackie's Detroit family home. Tarnopol and his accountants were supposed to take care of such matters. Fortunately, Jackie made arrangements with the IRS to make restitution on the unpaid taxes and to re-purchase the family home at auction. As far as money troubles went, this was not even the beginning for Wilson. Nat Tarnopol had taken advantage of Jackie, mis-managing Wilson's money ever since he took the role of Wilson's manager. He even had power-of-attorney over Wilson's finances, giving him complete control over Jackie's money. Shortly before Wilson suffered a heart attack in 1975, Tarnopol and 18 other Brunswick executives were indicted on charges of mail fraud and tax evasion stemming from bribery and payola scandals. Also in the indictment was the charge that Tarnopol owed at least $1 million in royalties to Wilson. In 1976 Tarnopol and the others were found guilty; an appeals court overturned their conviction 18 months later. Although the conviction was overturned, judges went into detail, outlining that Tarnopol and Brunswick Records did defraud their artists of royalties, and that there was sufficient evidence for Wilson to file a lawsuit. However, a trial to sue Tarnopol for royalties never took place, as Wilson lay in a nursing home comatose. Sadly, Wilson died riddled with debt to the IRS and Brunswick Records.
In March 1967, Wilson and friend/drummer Jimmy Smith were arrested in South Carolina on "morals charges"; the two were entertaining two 24-year-old white women in their motel room.
Freda Hood, Wilson's first wife, with whom he had four children, divorced him in 1965 after 14 years of marriage, frustrated with his notorious womanizing. Although the divorce was amicable, Freda would regret her decision. She never stopped loving him, and Jackie treated her as though she were still his wife. His 16-year-old son, Jackie Jr, was shot and killed on a neighbor's porch in 1970. The death of Jackie Jr. devastated Wilson. He sank into a period of depression, and for the next couple of years he remained mostly a recluse, drinking and using marijuana and cocaine.
More tragedy hit, when two of Wilson's daughters died at a young age. His daughter Sandra died in 1977 at the age of 24 of an apparent heart attack. Jacqueline Wilson was killed in 1988 in a drug related incident in Highland Park, Michigan. Wilson's second marriage was to model Harlean Harris in 1967 with whom he had three children, but they separated soon after. Wilson later met and lived with Lynn Crochet. He was with Crochet until his heart attack in 1975. However, as he and Harris never officially divorced, Harris took the role of Wilson's caregiver for the singer's remaining nine years.
Wilson converted to Judaism as an adult.
Patti LaBelle wrote in her biography that Wilson once tried to force himself on her in her teenage years, as she waited backstage to meet him after one of his performances. Wilson is also said to be the father of author and speaker Alexyss K. Tylor, who claims that her mother was raped and impregnated by the entertainer.
On September 29, 1975, Wilson was one of the featured acts in Dick Clark's Good Ol' Rock and Roll Revue, hosted by the Latin Casino in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. He was in the middle of singing "Lonely Teardrops" when he suffered a heart attack, reportedly during the middle of the line "My heart is crying." When he collapsed on stage, audience members initially thought it was part of the act. Clark felt something was wrong, then ordered the musicians to stop the music. Cornell Gunter of the Coasters, who was backstage, noticed Wilson was not breathing. Gunter was able to resuscitate him and Wilson was then rushed to a nearby hospital.
Medical personnel worked nearly 30 minutes to stabilize his vitals, but the lack of oxygen to his brain caused him to slip into a coma. He briefly emerged in early 1976, and was even able to take a few wobbly steps but slipped back into a semi-comatose state. He was a resident of the Medford Leas Retirement Center in Mount Holly, New Jersey, when he was admitted into Memorial Hospital of Burlington County in Mount Holly due to having trouble taking nourishment, according to Wilson's attorney John Mulkerin.
Jackie Wilson died on January 21, 1984, at the age of 49 from complications of pneumonia. Initially, he was buried in an unmarked grave at Westlawn Cemetery near Detroit. In 1987, a fundraiser collected enough money to purchase a headstone.
On November 18, 2011, the Black Ensemble Theater of Chicago produced a musical about Wilson's life.
Minnie Julia Riperton Rudolph (November 8, 1947 - July 12, 1979), known professionally as Minnie Riperton, was an American singer-songwriter best known for her 1975 single "Lovin' You". She was married to songwriter and music producer Richard Rudolph from 1972 until her death in 1979. They had two children: music engineer Marc Rudolph and actress/comedienne Maya Rudolph.
Riperton grew up on Chicago's South Side. As a child, she studied music, drama, and dance at Chicago's Lincoln Center. In her teen years, she sang lead vocals for the Chicago-based girl group, The Gems. Her early affiliation with the legendary Chicago-based Chess Records afforded her the opportunity to sing backup for various established artists such as Etta James, Fontella Bass, Ramsey Lewis, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, and Muddy Waters. While at Chess, Riperton also sang lead for the experimental rock/soul group Rotary Connection, from 1967 to 1971. In 1969 Riperton, along with Rotary Connection, played in the first Catholic Rock Mass at the Liturgical Conference National Convention, Milwaukee Arena, Milwaukee, WI, produced by James F. Colaianni. On April 4, 1975, Riperton reached the apex of her career with her #1 single, "Lovin' You". The single was the last release from her 1974 gold album entitled Perfect Angel.
In January 1976, Riperton was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a radical mastectomy. By the time of diagnosis, the cancer had metastasized and she was given about six months to live. Despite the grim prognosis, she continued recording and touring. She was one of the first celebrities to go public with her breast cancer diagnosis, but did not disclose she was terminally ill. In 1977, she became a spokesperson for the American Cancer Society. In 1978, she received the American Cancer Society's Courage Award which was presented to her at the White House by President Jimmy Carter. She died at age 31 on July 12, 1979.
Riperton was born in Chicago to Thelma and Daniel Riperton, a Pullman porter. The youngest of eight children in a musical family, she embraced the arts early. Although she began with ballet and modern dance, her parents recognized her vocal and musical abilities and encouraged her to pursue music and voice.
At Chicago's Lincoln Center, she received operatic vocal training from Marion Jeffery. She practiced breathing and phrasing, with particular emphasis on diction. Jeffery also trained Riperton to use her full range.
While studying under Jeffery, she sang operettas and show tunes, in preparation for a career in opera. Jeffery was so convinced of her pupil's abilities that she strongly pushed her to further study the classics at Chicago's Junior Lyric Opera. The young Riperton was, however, becoming very interested in soul, rhythm and blues, and rock. After graduating from Hyde Park High School, now Hyde Park Career Academy, she enrolled at Loop College and became a member of prestigious Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated. She dropped out of college to pursue her music career. In 1967, Riperton met songwriter Richard Rudolph, whom she married five years later. They have a son named Marc, and their daughter is Maya Rudolph, a successful television and film actress/comedienne.
Riperton's first professional singing engagement was with The Gems, when she was 15. Raynard Miner, a blind pianist, heard her singing during her stint with Hyde Park's A Cappella Choir and became her musical patron. The Gems had relatively limited commercial success, but proved to be a good outlet for Riperton's talent. Eventually the group became a session group known as Studio Three and it was during this period that they provided the backing vocals on the classic 1965 Fontella Bass hit "Rescue Me".
In 1964, The Gems released a local hit, I Can't Help Myself, and their last single, He Makes Me Feel So Good, was released in 1965. Then The Gems released records under numerous names-most notably 1966's Baby I Want You by the Girls Three and 1967's My Baby's Real by the Starlets. The latter has achieved cult status with northern soul fans and remains a favorite. It also was a Motown-style song reminiscent of Tammi Terrell. In 1968, Watered Down was released as a follow-up, under the name The Starlets. It was the last release of Riperton's former girl group.
While a part of Studio Three, Riperton met her mentor, producer Billy Davis. He would write her first local hit, "Lonely Girl", and also "You Gave Me Soul". In honor of Davis, she used the pseudonym Andrea Davis for the release of those two singles.
Some months after her Andrea Davis singles hit radio, Riperton joined Rotary Connection, a funky rock-soul group creation of Marshall Chess, the son of Chess Records founder Leonard Chess. Rotary Connection consisted of Riperton, Chess, Judy Hauff, Sidney Barnes, and Charles Stepney. They released their debut in 1967 and, eventually, five more albums: 1968's Aladdin; the Christmas album Peace; Songs; and finally 1970's Dinner Music and Hey Love.
Come to My Garden
Riperton's first solo album, Come to My Garden, produced, arranged, and orchestrated by Charles Stepney, was released in 1970 by GRT Records. She was presented as a solo artist by Ramsey Lewis on Saturday, December 26, 1970 at Chicago's famed London House. She performed several numbers from the album accompanied by Charles Stepney, the album's producer. Although commercially unsuccessful, Come to My Garden is now considered a masterpiece by music critics and many others in the music industry.
Perfect Angel and "Lovin' You"
In 1973, a college intern for Epic Records found Riperton in semiretirement. She had become a housewife and a mother of two in Gainesville, Florida. After he heard a demo of the song "Seeing You This Way", the rep took the tape to Don Ellis, VP of A&R for Epic. Riperton signed with Epic Records, and the family moved to Los Angeles, California. The subsequent record, Perfect Angel, turned out to be one of Riperton's best-selling albums. Included were the rock-soul anthem "Reasons"; the second single, "Take a Little Trip" (written by Stevie Wonder, who also coproduced the album); and the third single, "Seeing You This Way". Sales of the album started out slow. Epic was ready to move on to the next record, but Rudolph convinced them to release another single. With the fourth single, "Lovin' You", the album caught on, and in April 1975, the song went to the top of the charts in the U.S. and 24 other countries. The song reached #2 in the UK, and number three on the U.S. R&B charts. It sold more than one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc by the RIAA in April 1975. Perfect Angel went gold and Riperton was finally revered as the "lady with the high voice and flowers in her hair." The album also featured the song "Every Time He Comes Around", with Deniece Williams singing the background vocals. Riperton's daughter, Saturday Night Live actress Maya Rudolph, was a child when "Lovin' You" was recorded. According to the liner notes from Riperton's Petals compilation CD, the melody to "Lovin' You" was created as a distraction for Maya when she was a baby, so Riperton and Richard Rudolph could spend time together. Near the end of the unedited "Lovin' You", Riperton sings "Maya, Maya, Maya"; in concert, near her death, she changed this to "Maya, Maya, Ringo, Maya." Ringo was her nickname for her son, Marc.
After Perfect Angel, Riperton and Richard Rudolph started on Riperton's third album, Adventures in Paradise (1975). Joe Sample of The Crusaders cowrote the title song, "Adventures in Paradise", and Crusaders producer Stewart Levine co-produced the album. While shooting a promotional clip for the album, she was attacked by a lion, but was not seriously injured. During an appearance on The Sammy Davis, Jr. Show, she played the footage of the incident for Sammy and her fellow guests, including Richard Pryor. The album was a modest success. Despite the R&B hit "Inside My Love" (a #5 U.S. R&B hit, later covered by Trina Broussard, Chanté Moore, and Delilah (musician) ), the album did not match the success of Perfect Angel. Some radio stations refused to play "Inside My Love" due to the lyrics: "Will you come inside me?" Her fourth album for Epic Records entitled Stay in Love featured another collaboration with Stevie Wonder in the funky disco tune "Stick Together". She also sang backup on Wonder's songs "Creepin'" from 1974's "Fullfillingness' First Finale" and "Ordinary Pain" from 1976's Songs in the Key of Life and was mentioned prominently in his song "Positivity" on A Time to Love.
In 1977, Riperton lent her vocal abilities to a track named, "Yesterday and Karma", on Osamu Kitajima's album, "Osamu".
In 1978, Riperton's attorney Mike Rosenfeld and her husband, Richard Rudolph, orchestrated a move to Capitol Records for Riperton and her CBS Records catalog. In April 1979, Riperton released her fifth and final album, Minnie. During the recording of the album, her cancer progressed to the point that she was in a great deal of pain. "Memory Lane" was a hit from the album, and was arguably Riperton's greatest work. Riperton incorporated the sadness of the ending of a relationship while suddenly shifting to cries of "I don't want to go," "save me," "now I'm slippin' fast," "thought it was over; here I go again," and "travelin' down, faster than the speed of sound." It is thought that "Memory Lane" was her farewell to her family and to the world. Her last televised performance was on an episode of The Merv Griffin Show (aired July 6, 1979), during which she performed Memory Lane and Lover and Friend.
Illness and death
Riperton revealed on the The Tonight Show on August 24, 1976, that she had undergone a mastectomy due to breast cancer. At the time of her diagnosis, Riperton found out her cancer had already spread to the lymphatic system, and was given about six months to live. She continued touring in 1977 and 1978, and became the national spokeswoman for the American Cancer Society's 1978-79 campaign.
Extreme lymphedema immobilized her right arm in early 1979. In her final singing appearances on television (most notably on the Mike Douglas Show), her right arm would remain in a fixed position during her performances. By mid-June, she was confined to bed. She entered Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on July 10. On Thursday, July 12 at 10 am, while lying in her husband's arms, Riperton died while listening to a recording Stevie Wonder had made for her. That Sunday, following a funeral service attended by more than five hundred mourners, Riperton was interred in the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles. Her epitaph is the opening line of her most famous song: "Lovin' you is easy cause you're beautiful.
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