Fontella Bass, singer of ‘Rescue Me,’ dies at age 72

By Daniel Levine,

Fontella Bass, the soul singer best known for the 1965 hit “Rescue Me,” has died. She was 72.

Her daughter broke the news to the Associated Press, noting that she passed away at a St. Louis hospital Wednesday due to complications of a heart attack she had three weeks ago. She had also suffered several strokes after 2005.

Bass’ mother was a Martha Bass, who was a member of the Clara Ward Singers and her younger brother, David Peaston, had a string of his own hits in the 1980s and 1990s. He died in February at age 54.

According to Rolling Stone, the St. Louis-born Bass had a hit with “Don’t Mess With A Good Thing” before finding success with “Rescue Me.” The track topped the R&B chart and reached the top 5 on the pop chart. That was followed by The New Look in 1966.

She never found success like “Rescue Me” again, but kept recording. Her last album came out in 2001 and was titled Travellin'.

Bass’ husband, trumpeter Lester Bowie, died in 1999. She is survived by four children.

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