Minnie Julia Riperton Rudolph was an American singer-songwriter. She is known for her five-octave coloratura soprano range. She sang with Etta James, Fontella Bass, Ramsey Lewis, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters. She was one of the first celebrities to go public with a breast cancer diagnosis.
About Minnie Riperton in brief
Minnie Julia Riperton Rudolph was an American singer-songwriter. She is known for her five-octave coloratura soprano range. She was one of the first celebrities to go public with a breast cancer diagnosis. In 1978, she received the American Cancer Society’s Courage Award. She died of cancer on July 12, 1979, at the age of 31. Her last single, “Lovin’ You,” was the last release from her 1974 gold album titled Perfect Angel. Her mentor, Billy Davis, wrote her first local hit, “You Gave Me Soul”, as well as her first hit with the Rotary Connection, “Watered Down,” in 1966. She also sang with Etta James, Fontella Bass, Ramsey Lewis, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters. She sang lead vocals for the Chicago-based girl group the Gems in the 1960s and ’70s. Her first professional singing engagement was with The Gems, when she was 15. She later joined the experimental rocksoul group Rotary connection, from 1967 to 1971. In 1966, she used the pseudonym Andrea Davis for the release of her two singles, some months after her first radio hit, Andrea Davis, Gave me Soul. In 1968, Watered Down was released as a follow-up, under the name The Starlets. It was the final release under the former girl group’s former name, Tammi Terrell, under which she recorded several more hits. She has been referred to by the media as the \”queen of the whistle register.\’ She was diagnosed with breast cancer in January 1976, and in April, she underwent a radical mastectomy.
By the time of diagnosis, the cancer had metastasized and she was given about six months to live. She did not disclose that she was terminally ill to the public. In 1977, she became a spokesperson for theAmerican Cancer Society. She became a member of Zeta Phi Beta sorority. She dropped out of college to pursue her music career. She had a daughter, Thelma Inez, who was born in Chicago, the daughter of Thelm Inez and Daniel Webster Riperton, a Pullman porter. The Gems later 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. The gems had relatively limited commercial success, but proved to be a good outlet for Riperon’s talent. 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 Fontello Bass hit \”Rescue Me\”. In 1964, The Gems released aLocal hit, I Can’t Help Myself, and their lastSingle, He Makes Me Feel So Good, was released in 1965.