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Fontella Bass Facts

Fontella Bass: The Life and Legacy of the Iconic Singer

Fontella Bass was an American singer with an impressive career spanning several decades. She was best known for her smash hit ‘Rescue Me’ and her rich alto voice that left an indelible mark on the music industry. In this article, we will delve into Fontella Bass’s bio, relationships, children, height, career, top songs, net worth, and more. We will also answer some frequently asked questions about this iconic artist.


Born on July 3, 1940, in St. Louis, Missouri, Fontella Bass was an American singer and songwriter. She was born to gospel singer Martha Bass and jazz musician David Peaston. Bass grew up in a musical family; her mother was part of a gospel group called The Ward Singers, and her brother, David Peaston, was also a successful R&B singer. Bass started singing when she was just six years old and later went on to sing with her mother’s group.


Fontella Bass passed away on December 26, 2012, aged 72 years.


Bass was married to jazz trumpeter Lester Bowie from 1967 until their divorce in 1978. The couple had four children together.


Fontella Bass had four children with Lester Bowie: Neuka Mitchell, Keisha Bass, Bahnamous Bowie, and Jomo Bowie.


There is no available information on Fontella Bass’s height.


Fontella Bass signed with Chess Records in 1965, and her very first single with them was the hit song ‘Rescue Me,’ which topped the R&B charts and reached number four on the pop charts. The song was so successful that it went on to become a classic that has been covered by various artists over the years.

Over the years, Bass went on to release several other R&B hits, including ‘Sweet Baby of Mine,’ ‘Recovery,’ ‘I Can’t Rest,’ and ‘You’ll Never Know.’ She also had an album that featured her singing jazz standards called ‘Travellin.”

Bass also dabbled in acting. She made appearances in films such as ‘All the Fine Young Cannibals” and the Blaxploitation flick ‘Naughty Nurse,’ in which she sang the theme song.

Top Songs

Fontella Bass’s top songs include:

  • ‘Rescue Me,’
  • ‘Don’t Mess Up A Good Thing’,
  • ‘Recovery,’
  • ‘I Can’t Rest,’
  • ‘Oh No Not My Baby,’
  • ‘Leave It In The Hands Of Love,’
  • ‘Safe And Sound,’
  • ‘Our Day Will Come,’
  • ‘If You Need Me,’
  • ‘Sweet Baby Of Mine.’

Net Worth

Fontella Bass’s net worth is estimated to be around $1 million.


1. How successful was “Rescue Me”?

‘Rescue Me’ was Fontella Bass’s biggest hit, and it reached number four on the Pop charts and number one on the R&B charts. The song was such a massive success that it went on to become a classic that has been covered by various artists over the years.

2. Did Bass write all of her songs?

While Fontella Bass wrote some of her songs, many of her hits were written by other artists. For example, ‘Rescue Me’ was written by Raynard Miner and Carl Smith.

3. What was Bass’s most successful album?

Bass’s most successful album was ‘Rescue Me,’ which was released in 1965. The album featured the hit song of the same name, as well as several other successful R&B tracks.

4. Did Bass collaborate with other artists?

Yes, Bass collaborated with several other artists over the years, including jazz saxophonist Oliver Lake, soul singer Bobby McClure, and jazz organist Brother Jack McDuff.

5. What inspired Bass’s music?

Bass was inspired by a variety of musical genres, including jazz, blues, gospel, and R&B. She often incorporated elements of each of these genres into her music.

6. How did Bass break into the music industry?

Bass was discovered by renowned producer Billy Davis, who heard her singing one day and was immediately impressed by her talent. Davis introduced Bass to Chess Records, where she signed a contract and released her first hit song, ‘Rescue Me.’

7. Did Bass receive any awards or nominations?

Bass was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1966 for Best R&B Solo Vocal Performance, Female, for her hit song ‘Rescue Me.’

8. Was Bass involved in any philanthropic work?

Yes, Bass was actively involved in charity work throughout her life. She was a member of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and often performed at fundraisers and charity events for various organizations.

9. What were some of Bass’s other career highlights?

Bass had several other career highlights in addition to ‘Rescue Me.’ For example, she performed with the Art Ensemble of Chicago and sang backup for artists like Little Milton, Chuck Berry, and Muddy Waters.

10. How did Bass’s music change over time?

Bass’s music evolved over time as she experimented with different genres and styles. While she started out primarily singing R&B, she later branched out into jazz and even recorded a few gospel albums.

11. How did Bass’s music influence others in the industry?

Bass’s music was often cited as an influential force in the development of soul music. Her rich, soulful voice and the emotional depth of her lyrics were admired and emulated by many artists in the industry.

12. Was Bass ever involved in any controversies?

There is no evidence to suggest that Bass was ever involved in any major controversies throughout her career.

13. What was Bass’s legacy in the music industry?

Bass’s legacy in the music industry is that of a talented vocalist who helped shape the sound of R&B and soul music. Her powerful voice and emotional lyrics continue to inspire and influence artists today.

14. What was the cause of Bass’s death?

Bass passed away on December 26, 2012, due to complications from a heart attack.

15. How is Bass remembered today?

Today, Bass is remembered as an iconic figure in the music industry and a trailblazer for women in music. Her music continues to be celebrated and appreciated by fans around the world.

In conclusion, Fontella Bass was an iconic artist whose music continues to inspire and influence generations. From her breakthrough hit ‘Rescue Me’ to her collaborations with some of the biggest names in music, Bass’s impact on the industry is undeniable. Her legacy lives on through her music, and her contributions to the history of R&B and soul music will continue to be celebrated for years to come.

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