Legendary funk singer, model and muse of Miles Davis dies at 77.
With her controversial lyrics, exploring themes of sex and disobedience, Betty Davis was a personification of funk. “Young and wild”, as former husband and collaborator Miles Davis remembered the singer in his autobiography, Betty wasn’t afraid to express irrepressible energy of hers. It was due to this quality that she was put on a pedestal alongside uncontrollable mavericks such as Jimi Hendrix and Sly Stone.
In the wake of the funk explosion, Betty Davis dived in, contributing a kind of music that Rolling Stone’s Joe McEwen described as kinky and tongue-in-cheek. “Funk that garnered her a cult following in Philadelphia and a lot of hostility elsewhere”.
Born Betty Mabry, the future singer left her home town in North Carolina for New York, where she met kindred spirits, including Hendrix and Sly Stone. As Betty Mabry, she recorded a wall-of-sound-esque Get Ready For Betty. The single was, indeed, a precursor of her impressive future career. Following her marriage with Miles Davis, Betty released the first album which is considered a classic funk record. Later she stepped in as a producer on her next records – They Say I’m Different and Nasty Gal.
Betty Davis’ friend Connie Portis said in a statement yesterday: “It is with great sadness that I share the news of the passing of Betty Davis, a multi-talented music influencer and pioneer rock star, singer, songwriter, and fashion icon.”