Betty Harris

Betty Harris



Betty Harris was an American soul singer and songwriter who had a brief but influential career in the 1960s. She was born in New Orleans, Louisiana on March 9, 1934. Her family moved to Los Angeles, California when she was a child. She began singing gospel music in her church choir, where she first learned to harmonize. At age 14, she began performing professionally in local clubs.

In 1963, Harris signed with the New York-based label, Scepter Records. Her first single, "Cry To Me," was an instant success, reaching the Top 20 on the R&B charts. She followed up with the equally successful "Mean Man," a song that showcased her raw, gritty vocal delivery.

In 1964, Harris released her debut album, "Betty Harris: Soul Perfection Plus," which featured her signature hits as well as covers of popular soul songs. In 1965, she released her second album, "12 Hits From Betty Harris," which included the single "Sugarplum," which became her biggest hit, reaching number 11 on the R&B charts.

Harris’s career stalled in the late 1960s due to changes in the music business. She continued to record and perform, but she was never able to recapture the success she had experienced in the mid-1960s. She retired from the music industry in the 1970s and moved back to her hometown of New Orleans.

In the 2000s, Harris’s music began to be rediscovered and re-appreciated by a new generation of fans. She was the subject of a feature-length documentary, "The Soul of Betty Harris," and her music was featured on a number of compilations.

Betty Harris passed away in New Orleans in 2016. She was 82 years old. Her legacy lives on through her music, which continues to influence generations of soul and R&B singers. Betty Harris was a pioneering artist who paved the way for many of today’s soul singers.

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