Wednesday, October 15, 2008

badass


Betty Davis was born Betty Mabry July 26, 1945. In the early sixties she worked as a model in New York appearing in Seventeen, Ebony and Glamour. She met Miles Davis in 1966 and they were married by September 1968. In a short span Betty made a huge impact on Miles' life & music. The song "Mademoiselle Mabry" on the his album Filles de Kilimanjaro is named after her and her image graces the cover. It is said she planted the seeds for his more experimental work by introducing him to Jimi Hendrix and Sly Stone. She also is said to have come up with the title for Bitches' Brew.
By the early 70's Betty was single again, keeping the Davis name and living in London pursuing modeling and working on a music career. In 1974 she released the first of three fabulously funky albums that today are largely overlooked or forgotten. This woman was seriously ahead of her time. She took to the stage with a raw energy, dressed in wild outfits that rivaled Tina Turner or Bowie even with their out-of-this-world camp. Her music and lyrics were uncensored and explicit even for this day and age. Her performances and influence would pave the way for artists such as Madonna, Lil Kim, Kelis, Outkast, Prince, Erykah Badu, Rick James, and The Roots. She was a genre-busting, take-no-prisoners, do-it-yourself-er. Not only did she turn down Motown when they came calling, she also said no to Eric Clapton producing her album and did it herself.
Unfortunately, in the late 70's she fell off the radar and was supposedly broke and living in Pittsburgh, PA. There has been a very recent re-mastering and re-release of two of her albums. These reissues mark the first time that Betty will receive proper royalties for her music on CD. It is hard to find a lot of information or images of this amazing woman and performance artist. Here is a collection that I have gathered following one of my favorite tracks by Betty-F.U.N.K. which I feel captures her perfectly.
F.u.n.k. - Betty Davis

















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