Saturday, March 8, 2008

Flash Back - Minnie Ripperton And Steve Wonder Tribute

Aside from her various hits, Minnie Riperton is perhaps best remembered today for her ability to sing in the whistle register, in which she had rare facility (imitated today by Mariah Carey, Christine Aguilera and others).

Riperton possessed a five-octave vocal range talent (the liner notes to her Petals legacy album ascribe to her a five and a half octave range). What set Riperton apart from most other whistle register singers was her ability to enunciate in the high registers. This feature is most notably heard in the song "Here We Go," where she sings "here we go" in the high register.

In 1976, Riperton revealed to Flip Wilson, who was guest-hosting for Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show, that she had undergone a mastectomy due to breast cancer. At the time of her diagnosis, Minnie found out that her cancer had already spread to the lymphatic system. Despite such a grim prognosis, Minnie continued touring in 1977 and 1978, and became the National spokesperson for the American Cancer Society 78-79 campaign.

Eventually the cancer would take its toll, and by June 1979, Minnie was confined to bed. She entered Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California for the last time on July 10. On Thursday July 12, 1979, Minnie Riperton died peacefully in her husband's arms. According to Jet magazine's August 3, 1979 issue, Minnie and her husband were listening to a recording of a song Stevie Wonder had written for her when she died. Her family inscribed her headstone with a lyric of her most famous song, "Lovin' you is easy cause you're beautiful."

Minnie Ripperton Video - Lovin You

Stevie Wonder's Tribute To Minnie Ripperton After Her Passing On Soul Train.

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