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Fontella Bass' memorial service

10:43 PM, Jan 4, 2013   |    comments
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By Alex Fees

FLORISSANT, Mo. (KSDK) - A memorial service was held for R&B singer and St. Louisan Fontella Bass Friday night at Shalom Church City of Peace.

In 1965, Bass co-wrote the hit "Rescue Me." Dr. Freddy J. Clark, pastor of Shalom Church, referenced it in his remarks.

"And she had a number one hit," said Clark. "Number one on the R&B chart, number four on the pop chart."

Nearly four decades later in 2004, Bass told NewsChannel 5 what made that tune she co-wrote so relatable.

"It's the everyday living that I like about 'Rescue Me' because everybody needs to be rescued. Everybody needs to be loved," she said at the time.

But Fontella Bass didn't rest on "Rescue Me." She continued a long career after that 1965 hit, including tours in Europe, performances with the likes of BB King and James Brown and a 1995 Grammy nomination for a gospel album.

Her efforts earned her a star on the Walk of Fame in her beloved hometown of St. Louis, not far from Blueberry Hill where she would often eat and once played for our camera.

"And it was just marvelous. She was a great piano player," recalled Joe Edwards, owner of Blueberry Hill.

He says Bass was supportive of other local musicians.

"Here's this quiet, very religious person who, when it comes to my rights, I'm going to help out here other musicians too get their rights," Edwards said.

Music seemed to be in Bass' DNA. Her mother was gospel singer Martha Bass. Her younger brother was R&B singer David Peaston, who also passed away this year.

Her grandchildren performed at the memorial service.


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