b. Irma Lee, 18th February 1941, Ponchatoula, Louisiana, U.S.A.
Irma Thomas was born in Ponchatoula, Louisiana, and was known as the 'Soul Queen Of New Orleans'.
She was discovered in 1959 by bandleader Tommy Ridgley.
Irma was working at a Crescent City nightery as a waitress in 1959, she sat in one night with Tommy's band and made a big impression with the group.
Irma had an early R & B hit in 1960, on the Ron label, with '(You Can Have My Husband But Please) Don't Mess With My Man'.
The following year Thomas rejoined producer / writer Allen Toussaint, with whom she had worked with on her early recordings.
This reunion resulted in three of Thomas's highly regarded recordings including, 'It's Raining', 'Cry On' and 'Ruler Of My Heart' (in 1962), the latter a template for Otis Redding's 'Pain In My Heart'.
After signing with the Imperial label in 1963 she recorded 'Wish Someone Would Care' (in 1964), which reached the U.S. Top 20.
The follow-up, 'Anyone Who Knows What Love Is (Will Understand)', also entered the national chart.
This single is better recalled for its flip, 'Time Is On My Side', which was also covered by the Rolling Stones.
Her final hit was an interpretation of 'Good To Me' (in 1968), recorded at Muscle Shoals and issued on Chess.
She then moved to Canyon, Roker and Cotillion, before appearing on Swamp Dogg's Fungus label with 'In Between Tears' (1973).
Irma acheived a lifelong ambition in 1993 by recording her first gospel release.
That outing, 'Walk Around Heaven', was followed by the 1997 outing, 'The Story of My Life', which featured several songs written by Dan Penn.
She continued this theme with 2000's 'My Heart's in Memphis: The Songs of Dan Penn'.
Wish Someone Would Care (Imperial 1964)
Take A Look (Imperial 1968)
In Between Tears (Fungus 1973)
Irma Thomas Live (Island 1977)
The Soul Queen Of New Orleans (Maison De Soul 1978)
Safe with Me (1979)
Hip Shakin' Mama (Charly 1981)
The New Rules (Rounder 1986)
The Way I Feel (Rounder 1988)
'Live: Simply The Best' (Rounder 199l)
True Believer (Rounder 1992)
Walk Around Heaven: New Orleans Gospel Soul (Rounder 1993)
The Story Of My Life (Rounder 1997)
My Heart's in Memphis: The Songs of Dan Penn (Rounder 2000)