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Betty Willis murdered New Year’s Day 2018

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How do we know it is Betty Willis the singer who is of interest to us?  

It is a shame whoever it is.. R.I.P.

Edited by chalky

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New to me but RIP and yes it's outrageous artists or anybody should be rough sleeping as the article suggests in the richest country in the world.


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This is a truly tragic and horrific incident.

I’ve been in 15 States and you don’t have to travel far to find extreme poverty.

When I was young we were fed Hollywood movies and sitcom which portrayed a different America. 

Betty Willis RIP.

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thanks for passing on Mike

have upped this forum post to a news item

Found some interesting info via Anthony Reichardt on this youtube clip

In the early 1960's Betty began singing at various clubs in Santa Ana, California and throughout Orange County. In 1962, she recorded a duet with Ray Lockhart as Betty & Ray on Rendezvous Records entitled 'You're Too Much' and followed it up with a solo single entitled, 'Take Your Heart' also in 1962 and also two singles with the label as the lead vocalist of a studio group of singers credited as the INSTANTS. She occasionally sang with Santa Ana, neighbor, Bill Medley (who eventually became the lower voice of The Righteous Brothers) at various local clubs.  While The Righteous Brothers were signed to Moonglow records, Betty and Bill Medley recorded a duet with one of Bill's songs entitled, 'My Tears Will Go Away' which was never released. Betty eventually hooked up with Wrecking Crew pianist, Leon Russell who would produce her next record on the Philles Records subsidiary, Phi-Dan.

Betty remembered rehearsing two songs with Leon at his home before they were recorded in 1965 at Hollywood's Gold Star Studio. The tunes were a song written by country & western artist, Buck Owens entitled 'Act Naturally' which would be issued as Betty's debut Phi-Dan single release and the often recorded, 'If I Had A Hammer' which was planned as a follow-up but ultimately was never released as a single. Betty remembered arriving at the recording date and being in awe at seeing all of the musicians including a french horn. She couldn't believe that The Blossoms were singing background for her and commented on how beautiful and bright Darlene Love's smile was. Just as Spector was known to do, Leon included an uninspiring two minute jam session by 'The Wrecking Crew' on the B-side to 'Act Naturally' in order to discourage DJ's from splitting the airtime away from the intended plug side. While 'Act Naturally' may have been a country & western song, Betty Willis tore it apart left, right, up and down and turned it into something much more exciting. Unfortunately for Betty, The Beatles had recorded a version as well and DJ's were going to play anything by The Beatles before they played a record by some unknown singer by the name of Betty Willis. 

Betty recorded one final single on the Mojo label in 1967 entitled, 'Aint Gonna Do You No Good' b/w 'Gone With The Wind (Is My Love)' which had been also recorded in 1966 by Rita & The Tiaras on Dore records.  The A-side of the disc was written and produced by Jackie Avery & John Farris.  Both original 45's of Betty's and Rita & The Tiaras versions of the tune have exchanged hands for handsome sums of cash on internet auction sites.

It has been written that Betty Willis was the voice of Rachel & the Revolvers on the rare Dot single produced by Brian Wilson which is NOT true. Betty Willis and Brian Wilson never crossed paths. It has also been claimed that Alonzo Willis of The Alley Cats and session singer and later a member of The Honey Cone, Carolyn Willis were related to Betty which are both also NOT true.

Betty Willis eventually left the music business and worked many years at the U.S. Postal Service in Santa Ana California as a mail clerk before retiring. She currently lives in southern California with her daughter and grandchild.

The color photo of Betty Willis was taken at Bill Medley's restaurant and club in Fountain Valley, California on June 2, 1981.

link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMa3clhYYaI


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Very sad to hear-and so tragic that Betty ended up homeless,let alone a murder victim -an horrific and unjust end  for a  talented lady with  an amazing voice who made too few records;'Someday You'll Need My Love'/'Take My Heart' (Rendezvous 1960) is a terrific early Deep Soul/Dancer double- sider and  'Ain't Gonna Do You No Good' (Mojo 1968) another Deep classic.

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Only just seen this and really am gutted. been trying to snag her gone with the wind since I saw it on a JM auction a couple of years ago and played the clip, just love her piercing soulful voice. Don't know how I'd feel now paying the prices we pay knowing the circumstances she tragically finished up in. 

Impossible to deliver but feel like starting a bid for a door tax / vinyl tax to contribute to the lives of artists who have entertained our record collections and events who find themselves on the fringes later in life. 

Absolutely gutted.

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