Throwback Thursday: Betty Wright – “No Pain, (No Gain)” (Live)
This past Sunday, the world lost R&B singer Bessie Regina Norris, better known as Betty Wright. If you’re not familiar with the name, I understand. And if you are, take this crown, king/queen.
Betty Wright wasn’t a big star, so even though she’d been in the industry since 1966 (at just 12 years old) and even achieved a top 10 hit in 1972, her fan base was generally limited to true R&B heads. However, so many of her recordings have been sampled in songs that went on to become major hits, including Color Me Badd’s “I Wanna Sex You Up.”
If there ever was an argument for sampling songs, it is that it sometimes allows for the discovery of good music that had otherwise been forgotten. At any given time, there is good music being ignored for whatever reason, but for black artists, especially black artists of a certain era, the marginalization of their work was protocol. And that marginalization is why artists as gifted as Betty Wright are denied the superstardom they so deserve.
I urge you all to take a deep dive into Betty Wright’s discography. No one did a spoken verse quite like she did, and as far as whistle notes are concerned, she was one of the best to ever do it. Word to Minnie and Mariah.
Our TBT pick is a live performance of “No Pain, (No Gain),” the first single from Betty Wright’s 12th album, Mother Wit (1988). Click play and thank me later.