Betty Davis, Iconic Singer, and Trendsetter Dies at Age 77

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Betty Davis, the ex-wife of Miles Davis and a funk singer, died Wednesday at 77. Danielle Maggio, a friend of Davis, confirmed her death to Rolling Stone

NEW YORK – 1st FEBRUARY: American singer Betty Davis posed in New York in February 1976. (Photo by Fin Costello/Redferns)

According to Amie Downs, communications director for Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, where Davis lived, the cause of death was natural causes. 

“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,” Davis’ longtime friend Connie Portis said in a statement Wednesday. “Most of all, Betty was a friend, aunt, niece, and beloved member of her community of Homestead, Pennsylvania, and of the worldwide community of friends and fans. At a time to be announced, we will pay tribute to her beautiful, bold, and brash persona. Today we cherish her memory as the sweet, thoughtful, and reflective person she was…There is no other.”

Davis was known for her funky vocals on hit records such as “Get Ready For Betty,” “It’s My Life,” “If I’m in Luck I Might Get Picked Up,” and others. The Chambers Brothers song “Uptown (to Harlem) was also written by Davis. 

Most of Davis’ music was recorded between 1964 and 1975. 

Davis became the second wife to Miles in 1968 after his split from dancer Francis Davis. The two began their relationship when Davis started her career as a model. Miles was 19 years older than Davis. The couple was only married a year. 

In 1973 the queen of funk dropped her self-titled debut album for Woodstock promoter Michael Lang’s just Sunshine Records. Two more records followed after that. “They Say I’m Different” was released in 1974, and a year later, she recorded the album “Nasty Gal.”

Following her album releases, Davis left the music industry and moved to Pittsburg, where she lived for four decades. 

In 2018 Davis shared her music industry experience with the New York Times, saying, “When I was told that it was over, I just accepted it. And nobody else was knocking at my door.”

The 2017 Documentary “Betty: They Say I’m Different” was about the life of Davis. Later, she released her first song in 40 years titled “A Little Bit Hot Tonight.” 



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