‘Rescue Me’ Singer Fontella Bass Dies From Heart Attack Complications


Fontella Bass, the voice behind the bold and sultry track “Rescue Me,” has passed away from complications of a heart attack three weeks ago. She was 72.

The St. Louis Hall of Fame inductee died Wednesday night at a local hospice, her daughter, Neuka Mitchell, said. She has suffered a series of strokes over the past seven years, according to the Associated Press.

“She was an outgoing person,” Mitchell said. “She had a very big personality. Any room she entered she just lit the room up, whether she was on stage or just going out to eat.”

Bass began singing in church choirs at the age of 6, molded by a musical family where her mother Martha Bass was one of the Clara Ward singers and her brother David Peaston crafted several R&B hits throughout the ’80s and ’90s.

Her big break came when she auditioned for Chess Records and landed a contract as a duet artist with Bobby McClure, releasing the 1965 collaboration “Don’t Mess Up a Good Thing.” She made her bones by co-writing and singing the classic “Rescue Me” that shot to the top of the charts later that year. Her soulful prowess mirrors that of legendary diva Aretha Franklin, who is often mistaken as the song’s maker.

Funeral arrangements for Bass are still being finalized. She is survived by four children.

VIBE sends out our condolences to her family and loved ones.

Photo Credit: Louis Lanzano/ AP