Minnie Riperton was one of soul music's unforgettable voices
or all time. Her biggest hit was "Lovin' You", which hit big
in 1975. She first started as a singer in a group called the Gems for Chess Records in the 1960s, then moved on to Rotary Connection. It was in this group that she met and married Richard Rudolph, and had two children, Marc Rudolph and Maya Rudolph (who is now featured on "Saturday Night Live"). She began a solo career with the album "Come to My Garden" in 1970, which was a beautifully mastered album that somewhat got lost, but can be heard again now when it was reissued as a CD in 2002.
With that, Minnie Riperton toured and sang with Stevie Wonder with his Wonderlove group (which featured another soulful diva, Deniece Williams). This partnership with Wonder netted her a million-selling album with "Perfect Angel" in late 1974 on Epic Records. This album was a success due to the number-one hit "Lovin' You." She followed this album with "Adventures in Paradise" in 1975, which featured "Inside My Love," another million selling hit.
After the release of this album, Minnie Riperton discovered that she had breast cancer and underwent a modified mastectomy. She then became a spokeperson for the American Cancer Society, where she prompted many women to do mammograms and tests for breast cancer. Minnie continued to record and perform despite her condition. She released her final Epic album "Stay in Love" in 1977, but that album did not do very well sales-wise or radio-wise except for two songs "Young, Willing & Able" and "Stick Together."
After the unsuccessful release, Minnie moved on to Capitol Records wher she recorded her first (and sadly her last) album "Minnie," which featured the songs "Memory Lane" and "Lover and Friend." This was the final album that was released during her lifetime as she passed away on July 12, 1979.
A year after her death, Capitol released a posthumous album "Love Lives Forever" featuring her recorded vocals with various singers like Peabo Bryson, Michael Jackson and even Stevie Wonder. It was a fitting tribute to the lady with the high octave voice.