I’ve been thinking a lot about Aretha. Previously I posted a video of her sister Erma singing Piece of My Heart. Today I feature Fontella Bass. Many people wrongly associate the song “Rescue Me” with Aretha, but Fontella Bass sang the song.
“Rescue Me” was released in 1965, two years before Aretha joined Atlantic Records and cut loose from the artistic constraints that Columbia Records put upon her. Fontella Bass recorded the song at Chess Studios in Chicago. Backing musicians on the track included drummer Maurice White (later leader of Earth, Wind, & Fire) and Minnie Riperton as a background singer.
This video captures Fontella Bass’s appearance on Shindig!
“Rescue Me” gave Chess its first million-selling single in 10 years. Bass recalled:
I had the first million seller for Chess since Chuck Berry about 10 years before. Things were riding high for them, but when it came time to collect my first royalty check, I looked at it, saw how little it was, tore it up and threw it back across the desk.
The original versions of the record and BMI credited Raynard Miner and Carl William Smith. Bass approached her manager Billy Davis about securing her writing credit, but when the record came out, her name was still not on it.
Fontella Bass. (2018, August 17). Retrieved September 9, 2018, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fontella_Bass
Fontella Bass – Rescue Me (Shindig – 1965). (2015, January 27). Retrieved September 9, 2018, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4__kPN77DAU