When people think of Betty Wright, they automatically think of the 70's. That era of old school Funk and Disco that brought "The Clean Up Woman" onto the scene in a big way. But Ms. B's song didn't end there … it was only just beginning.
She ushered in the 80's with a controversial smash duet, "She's Got Papers On Me," with Richard "Dimples" Fields and a new contract with Epic Records. The first Epic single, "What Are You Gonna Do With It," was produced and co-written by Stevie Wonder who asked Betty to contribute vocals to his "Hotter Than July" album. The result: Betty is distinctively heard singing along side Michael Jackson on "All I Do" and as a part of Stevie's wonderful tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr., "Happy Birthday."
And speaking of the Jacksons, much of Betty's second Epic album, "Wright Back At You," was produced by Marlon. Unfortunately, it had the misfortune of being released on the same day as Michael's "Thriller." It's not too hard to figure out which one got the push. Still, Betty, a licensed and ordained minister, believed that "all things work together for the good of them who love the Lord," and kept right on goin'.
1986 saw the release of the "Sevens" album on First String, but it was in 1987 that things really started movin' on the fast track again. Betty went about the business of taking business into her own hands and established her own production, music publishing and record companies. This shrewd little move gave Betty "No Pain, No Gain," and the distinction of being the first African American female to have a gold record on her own record label. And it was still no indication of what was to come.
Betty ushered in the 90's with her third album on Ms. B Records but had precious little time to promote it. Affectionately known as the "Queen of the Miami Sound," in 1991, Betty was called upon to help new Miami royalty Gloria Estefan get her voice back in shape after her tragic bus accident. During this time, Betty contributed vocals to nine of the tracks for the "Coming Out of the Dark" album and is seen in the video for the song, both the English and Spanish versions, directing the choir.
In addition, Betty did a stint backing Gloria on the road during her European tour to support the album. In 92, Betty found herself on the adult contemporary charts with a remake of the old Champaign song, "How Bout Us" with Grayson Hugh which was featured in the soundtrack to the movie "True Love."
At about the same time, Betty ended up in court! Well, sort of. You see, Color Me Badd was just reaching the top of the pop charts with a little ditty called "I Wanna Sex You Up." In addition to stealing the theme and bass line of Betty's classic "Tonight is the Night," they had even stolen her voice as featured on her 1978 platinum selling "Live" album.
After a very nasty court battle, Betty walked away with 35% of the writer royalties for the song. This sparked a renewed interest in Betty and her music, as her 70's classics began popping up on Greatest Hits albums and compilations everywhere. To date, "Tonight is the Night" has been sampled by not just Color Me Badd, but Candyman, Tupac Shakur, Snoop Doggy Dogg, Kriss Kross and countless others, while the original version is currently available on more than a dozen CDs in stores now.
And it's not just about what Betty's done … it's what she's still doing. Her fourth Ms. Records album, "B-Attitudes" was released in 1994 to critical acclaim and she appeared just last year on "Regatta Mondatta - A Reggae Tribute to the Police" as well as the soundtrack to "Speed 2" with a remake of "Every Breath You Take." She continues to record and perform live all across the world, including with buddy Bruce Willis as part of the Planet Hollywood Grand Opening Revue which has taken her as far as Amsterdam, Paris and Berlin.
Finally, when she can find time, she's still in her home away from home, the recording studio, working on tracks not just for herself, but for others. She's recently produced fellow old schoolers Millie Jackson and Ronnie Laws and contributed vocal production to the likes of Jon Secada, Enrique Iglesius and Jennifer Lopez.
Yes, no doubt about it, Ms. B is still 'cleanin' up!
© 1998 - Jason Michael
A consistently strong presence on the Miami music scene throughout the '70s and '80s, Betty Wright was just 15 when she cut the Top 40 "Girls Can't Do What the Guys Do". A child gospel star who switched to R&B at age 13, she put the Miami scene on the map in 1971 with the #6 hit "Clean Up Woman", notable for its prominent guitar riff and Wright's swaggering lead vocal. She won a Grammy in 1974 for "Where Is the Love?" (not to be confused with the Roberta Flack/Donny Hathaway tune of the same name). She collaborated with Stevie Wonder in 1981 on the Epic hit "What Are You Gonna Do with It?".
A little Miami Soul for ya !!
I know that we have talked about Betty Wright before.....butI just recently picked up on this one & its da BOMB !!!
It was first released in 1978, this is one of the great "lost" albums of '70s soul!
Betty Wright: Live
1. Lovin' Is Really My Game
2. Tonight Is The Night
3. A Song For You
4. Clean Up Woman Medley: Clean Up Woman; Pillow Talk; You
Got The Love; Mr. Melody; Midnight At The Oasis; Me And Mrs.
Jones; You Are My Sunshine; Let's Get Married Today
5. You Can't See For Lookin'
6. Where Is The Love
"I'm nervous & I'm trembling waiting for you....."
"Tonight is the Night" brings back a lot of memories...not to be divulged here......LOL
"I'm nervous, I'm trembling. Waiting for you to walk in I'm trying hard to relax, but I just can't keep still".
But your right..It is the Bomb !! Tonight is the night is the jam...but I really like the live version of clean up woman as well...Do you know if Betty Wright is still recording ??
I want to thank you love......Ive got to thank you...
I LOVE YOU and I know it.......and I.....aint too proud to
Cause I LOVE YOU......baby....and I NEED you....baby
I want you my LOVE....my LOVE my....my...my .....baby
Ill never forget tonight....no..... Ill never forget tonight
Cause YOU make me feel so good & I LOVE ya ...baby
You make me feel........REAL GOOD !!....and I LOVE ya
Cause ya gave me.....(2 sticks on drum) UH UH.....PURE LOVE
.....yeah ................... (3sticks on drum) UH UH
I LIKE THAT BABY.... (2 sticks on drum) UH UH.....PURE LOVE
I LIKE THAT SUGA.... (3 sticks on drum) UH UH UH.....PURE
THERES NOTHING PHONY BOUT IT..... .... (3 sticks on drum) UH
UH UH.....PURE LOVE
YOUR LOVE.....I CANT DO WITHOUT IT..... .... (3 sticks on
drum) UH UH UH.....PURE LOVE
---Betty Wright (1974)
Wasn't Betty hooked up with Clarence "Blofly" Reid ??
Are there any other groups that Betty is producing ??
Based on what you are saying, Betty Wright sounds like a pretty diverse & talented lady !!
Knowing the style of music Betty sang and the sound of the music you decide. She is a carbon of her mother. Same style and sound. Betty is a lady of many talents. Like I said if you ever hear her sing Gospel you would realize that she possess a lot of talents. Who know what she may do in the future. I would personally love to hear Betty sing Gospel if just for one album.
in the late 1800's and they helped to build a large portion of Miami along with settlers from the Carolinas and Georgia. They brought many of their cultures to this area. My maternal family settled here from the Bahamas. Maybe next year we can have a Prodigy Chat Party here the same time as the festival. Just an idea.
Sounds like a wonderful idea to me !!!! Maybe we can get together and chat about this some more.. Im sure Ill be needing a vacation by then !! lol Hey and maybe you can even talk Nightrain into being your DJ..I hear he has an awesome music collection...hmmmm just a thought I think that these types of festivals are important.. its always important to carry on traditions. .especially to our children. .make them aware and proud of their heritage and culture. Much props to the Bahamian community in Miami !!!
Hey....did they GRIND off of that record down south ???
Woman" and "No Pain No Gain" have to be her two finest works.
In addition to all the songs mentioned earlier in this thread, she had a couple of million selling disco duets n 1978 with Peter Brown ("Dance With Me" and "You Should Do It") and another big duet with Grayson Hugh in 1990 ("How 'Bout Us") from the "True Love" movie soundtrack.
"No Pain, No Gain" in 1988 was the first hit from her own Ms. B Record label, and even today she is still recording new materials. Billboard Magazine ranked her last year as the 74th biggest R&B act of all time (1942-1995), one notch above Millie Jackson, a woman she is often compared to, and ahead of such legends as the Pointer Sisters (#79), the Ohio Players (#80) and Chaka Khan (#81).
Even though she's been a professional singer for over 40 years, its hard to believe that Betty Wright is only 42 years old (born: 12/21/53). That means she probably still has plenty of music left to give us.
Not just Tonight being the night that you'll make someone your woman. Tonight may be the night that I make someone my man. That was a great song.I still remember the words. I would love to be the object of that song. To continue Tonight being the night that someone will make me their woman.
Not many........& go for the "grind" whenever I get the chance !!
You know something I was at a party in Queens about a year ago & they played the song.......I could hardly believe it. Naturally I went over and talked to the DJ who was all of about 18 or 19 yrs. old and asked him why he picked that particular song.
He told me that he put it on because he thought it was badd. Maybe there is hope yet ?
Well as long as the hips still move and you can still try it then go for it. Slow jams are the best whether you are dancing close or just listening to t hem.
Also there is nothing wrong with holding up walls at parties I did it and I'm not complaining.
One reason we are hearing that song alot more these days is because I heard a song...not sure if it was a rap or R&B...that took samples from it. I am not sure what the title was...but I know I was not all that impressed with it. If your gonna borrow from other records at least make it sound good. .LOL. But it did bring the original out the closet. Its amazing how many songs we have forgotten, but I see this BB is bringing them all out again, I hope you continue doing this BB for a long time. Thanks for all the info you've giving me so far and the music stores will thank you too for all the money I spent. .LOL!!
If your already singing in the choir then I am sure you will get that lead spot sooner or later. Keep hope alive and I will be sitting in the back wavin at you like a madman screaming "You Go Girl"
Our ushers don't drag them out. We let them enjoy themselves. You should hear Betty Wright sing gospel. I'm telling you she is bad. I've heard her sing gospel more than once and the girl got it going on. She was totally awesome. I watched the group she was singing to really
enjoy themselves. It was a group of elderly people and they were really enjoying themselves about as much as I was.
Anytime you wanna hear me sing lead I wll learn a song and sing it just for you.
I have a lot of her old songs so anyone would do me good especially now.
Tonight is The Night would be the one I choose since that particular song I remembered the best by her.
I'm glad that we have a place like this to discuss music on this level.
Betty Wright is obscure to most of the younger generation but surprisingly a lot of them do listen to the music, thanks a lot in part to the radio stations playing them as well as all the music artist who help bring those same songs back. lthough I have a problem with my godson never seeing a actual record player before .lol. But yeah...its all good!!!!!! And the information superhighway which brings everyone just a lil closer together to see how the other half live..........errrr...what was we talkin about???...Oh well....just keep the Urban Sounds BB going
and maybe we all will just spend a little more money at the music shops