Another one... Betty Wright passes


Another one... Betty Wright passes

Monday, May 11, 2020

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For a generation of Jamaicans who savoured American soul music during the 1970s and 1980s, Betty Wright's songs kept many a dance floor busy.

The singer died from cancer yesterday in her native Miami, Florida, at age 66.

Wright was best known for songs like Clean Up Woman, which announced her as a 15-year-old in 1968; Girls Can't Do What The Guys Do, and the saucy Tonight is The Night.

Some of her initial songs were done for Alston Records, owned by Henry Stone, a savvy businessman who was a close friend of Noel “King Sporty” Williams — Wright's Jamaican husband.

Williams, who co-wrote Buffalo Soldier with Bob Marley, died in 2015.

Wright was opening act for several dates on Marley's 1979 Survival Tour of the United States.

She also did backup vocals on albums by Peter Tosh, Jimmy Cliff, and Barrington Levy.

Wright performed in Jamaica many times, the last being December 2010 at the Lime Golf Academy in Kingston.

Her work was most popular in Jamaica during the 1980s. Songs like Thank You for The Many Things You've Done; No Pain, No Gain; After The Pain; and She's Got Papers on Me (with Richard “Dimples” Fields) were widely played on local radio.

In recent years Betty Wright was a mentor to many up-and-coming acts, including Marley's grandson Skip Marley.

Reggae veteran Freddie McGregor paid tribute to Wright during his online performance yesterday as part of the Digicel Unplugged series.

“Got the news this morning that Sister Betty Wright left us today. I spoke to her up to late last year. She was a wonderful person who left a great catalogue of music for us to enjoy. We'll forever love you,” McGregor said during his set.

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