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minnie riperton

Minnie Riperton

b. Minnie Julia Riperton, 8th November 1947, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.

d. 12th July 1979, Cedars Sinai Hospital, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.

Minnie Riperton hailed from Chicago, Illinois, originally.

Minnie was the youngest of eight children, born to Daniel and Thelma Riperton.

She studied classical music as a child and developed a five-octave vocal range and originally intended to become an opera singer.

She studied music, drama, and dance at Chicago's Lincoln Center received operatic vocal training from Marion Jeffery.

All Of ItI Can't Help MyselfGirls Can Do ItLonely Girl

all of it - 1964 / i can't help myself - 1964 / girls can do it - 1965 / lonely girl - 1967 (under the name of andrea davis)

The Gems

the gems in 1964 (minnie: second left)

Minnie was a former singer with the group the Gems whose debut recording 'That's What They Put Erasers On Pencils For' was released on Chess Records.

The group additionally worked as in-house backing vocalists for the Chess artists Ramsey Lewis, Etta James, The Dells and Fontella Bass.

Rotary Connection

rotary connection in 1970

Minnie recorded under the name of Andrea Davis prior to joining the group Rotary Connection (Minnie met her mentor, producer Billy Davis, whose name influenced her choice of pseudonym).

She remained with this Rotary Connection between 1967 and 1971, before embarking on a solo career.

Rotary Connection consisted of, drummer Kenny Venegas, bassist Mitch Aliotta, guitarist Bobby Simms, Sidney Barnes, Minnie Riperton, and Judy Hauf, releasing 7 albums between 1967 and 1973.

In 1967, Minnie met the songwriter Richard Rudolph, whom she married five years later.

Come To My GardenPerfect Angel

come to my garden - 1969 / perfect angel - 1974

Minnie recorded a solo album entitled 'Come To My Garden' in 1969, which was produced, arranged, and orchestrated by Charles Stepney, and was released on GRT Records.

For the following three years, Minnie spent her time bringing up two children in Gainesville, Florida, however, she was rediscovered by an Epic Records employee, and Minnie and the family relocated to Los Angeles.

Minnie Riperton

In 1973, Minnie began working with Wonderlove, Stevie Wonder's backing group.

Minnie Riperton

A year later he returned this compliment, producing her 'Perfect Angel' album, and contributing two original compositions on the set.

'Loving You', a song written by Minnie and her husband Richard Rudolph, brought her international success, reaching the U.S. number 1 spot and the U.K. number 2 chart position in 1975.

Adventures In ParadiseStay In Love

adventures in paradise - 1975 / stay in love - 1977

In 1975 she released the album 'Adventures In Paradise'.

Joe Sample of The Crusaders co-wrote the title song, 'Adventures in Paradise', and Crusaders' producer Stewart Levine, co-produced the album.

Minnie and Lion

During the cover sleeve photographic sessions, Minnie was attacked by an initial first lion (which wasn't the one that appears on the front of the album sleeve), with a more timid replacement, called Simba, brought in for the final session!

Minnie escaped any serious injury.

In 1976, Minnie sang backgrounds on Stevie Wonder's song 'Ordinary Pain' from his album 'Songs in the Key of Life'.

Her final Epic album was 'Stay In Love' in 1977, which included 'Can You Feel What I'm Saying?' and 'Young, Willing And Able'.

At this point she had realized she was suffering from malignant breast cancer and in 1978, Minnie became chairman of the American Cancer Society.

In 1978, she also received the American Cancer Society's Courage Award which was presented to her at the White House by President Jimmy Carter.

MinnieLove Lives Forever

minnie - 1979 / love lives forever - 1980

In April 1979, Minnie released her fifth and final album, 'Minnie'.

During the recording of the album, her cancer progressed to the point that she was in immense pain.

A cancerous tumor paralyzed her right arm in early 1979 leading to live performances with her arm held in a fixed position.

In the June of 1979 Minnie was confined to bed and she entered Cedars Sinai Hospital for the last time on Monday the 9th of July.

Minnie Riperton died from cancer on the 12th of July 1979 whilst listening to a recording Stevie Wonder had made for her.

Resting Place

She made her final journey to the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles.

It was reported that during her final days, Minnie had a bad reaction to the pain killing drugs administered to her, so she was allowed to use marijuana to alleviate the situation.

She was survived by her family members, her husband, Richard Rudolph, son, Marc, daughter, Maya Rudolph, and sister, Sandra Riperton.

Minnie also recorded with Deniece Williams, The Jackson 5, Stevie Wonder ('Fulfillingness First Finale' in 1974, and 'Ordinary Pain' in 1976) and Quincy Jones (lead on 'If I Ever Lose This Heaven' from 'Body Heat', in 1975).

The sleevenotes (from the likes of Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Roberta Flack etc) on the 1980 album 'Love Lives Forever', testify to the high regard Minnie was held in within the music scene.

Minnie Riperton

minnie in 1968

Real Player


Perfect Angel (Epic Records 1974)

Come To My Garden (GRT Records 1969)

Adventures In Paradise (Epic Records 1975)

Stay In Love (Epic Records 1977)

Minnie (Capitol Records 1979)

Love Lives Forever (Capitol Records 1980)

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