‘Rescue Me’ singer Fontella Bass dies aged 72

Singer dies of complications following heart attack

Fontella Bass, famous for her hit single ‘Rescue Me’ has passed away aged 72.

Bass died of a heart attack yesterday (Dec 27) in a hospice in St Louis, Missouri. According to her daughter, Neuka Mitchell, Bass suffered the heart attack three weeks ago. Bass is also believed to have suffered a series of strokes before her death. She leaves behind four children.

BBC News quotes Mitchell as saying: “She had a very big personality. Any room she entered, she just lit the room up, whether she was on stage or just going out to eat,” about her mother.

Bass is perhaps best known for her hit single ‘Rescue Me’, a 1965 performance of the song can be seen in the video at the bottom of the page. Her mother was gospel singer Martha Bass, one of the Clara Ward Singers. Fontella married her musical director Lester Bowie and was the sister of R&B singer David Peaston.

‘Rescue Me’ has been covered by Elkie Brooks, Shirley Eikhard, Bryan Ferry, Guys ‘n’ Dolls, Tom Jones, Gayle McCormick, Ann Peebles, and Diana Ross since Bass’s 1965 original.