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Betty Wright, Iconic Soul and R&B Singer, Dies at 66

Betty Wright, Iconic Soul and R&B Singer, Dies at 66
Betty Wright

Legendary soul and R&B singer Betty Wright, known for classics like "Tonight Is the Night," “No Pain, (No Gain)" and "Clean Up Woman," has died. She was 66.

Wright died from cancer at her home in Miami, Billboard has confirmed.

In early May, Chaka Khan wrote on Twitter that Wright was "now in need of all your prays."

"Calling all my #PrayWarriors," Khan tweeted. "My beloved sister, Betty Wright @MsBettyWright, is now in need of all your prays."

Calling all my #PrayWarriors | My beloved sister, Betty Wright @MsBettyWright, is now in need of all your prays.

“Que Sera, Sera | Whatever Will Be, Will Be”

In Jesus Name We Pray for Sister Betty

All My Love Chaka pic.twitter.com/krQcfWFl5r

— (@ChakaKhan) May 2, 2020

Born Bessie Regina Norris in 1953, Wright started her music career singing with Echoes of Joy, her family's gospel group in Miami. In 1968, at age 15, she released her debut album, My First Time Around, giving her a top 40 song with "Girls Can't Do What the Guys Do."

Wright earned her first top 10 single in 1971 with "Clean Up Woman," which would go on to be sampled by numerous artists, including Mary J. Blige, Afrika Bambaataa and Sublime. By the mid-'70s, Wright had scored big with songs "Tonight is the Night" and "Where is the Love," which earned her a Grammy Award for for best R&B song in 1975.

In the 1980s, Wright founded her own record label, Ms. B Records, and released the album Mother Wit, featuring the popular song "No Pain (No Gain)." The album also marked the first gold record by a woman on her own label.

Wright was introduced to a younger generation of fans in 2006 after being appointed a vocal coach by Sean “P Diddy” Combs on his television show Making the Band.

In 2011, she teamed up with The Roots for the collaborative album, Betty Wright: The Movie, which featured guest appearances by Lil Wayne, Snoop Dogg and Joss Stone.