Monday, November 08, 2010

Remembering... Minnie Riperton

The curse of a smash hit single is that it obscures whatever success came before, and often makes any future success impossible; it's a curse that Minnie Riperton knew all too well. Despite having had a number of singles on the R&B chart before she released Loving You, it's that song for which she's most often remembered today.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketBorn on this day in 1947, Riperton was possessed of a rare gift: a five-octave vocal range (which may even have been five-and-a-half), including the ability to sing and clearly enunciate in the whistle register. Additionally, she was a student of drama and dance, and briefly pondered a career in opera until she was discovered by Chess Records, where she worked as a secretary.

Married to composer Richard Rudolph, she is the mother of the talented comedian Maya Rudolph, whose own exotic beauty is an echo of her mother's, and whose abilities as a singer and impressionist prove there might be something to this DNA business after all.

In 1976 Riperton revealed that she had breast cancer. Having undergone a mastectomy in an effort to combat the disease, it was too late; the cancer had already spread to her lymphatic system. Refusing to give up, she became an advocate for cancer research and continued to tour until just weeks before her death, in July 1979, at the age of 31.
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Anonymous said...

Minnie Minnie Minnie MINNIE....MIN

God, what a talent! I was such a young impressionable teen when she was at her zenith.

I had it all...on 8 track, then cassette, then CD, and now MP3.
Now in my mid-40's I still love to listen to this incredible talent.

She went far too soon. What a joy to see her daughter Maya on SNL.

Everytime I see her I think of the tag at the end of "Loving You" where Minnie wails...."Maya...Maya, Mayamaya, Maymaya, maya, maya..doo doot 'n doot 'n doot n' de doooo...."

michael sean morris said...

Thanks for the comment, but why dincha leave your name? Huh?