Born Bessie Regina Norris in 1953, Wright started her music career singing with Echoes of Joy, her family’s gospel group in Miami. In 1968, at age 15, she released her debut album, My First Time Around, giving her a top 40 song on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Girls Can’t Do What the Guys Do.”
Wright earned a top 10 single in 1972 with “Clean Up Woman,” which peaked at No. 6 on the Hot 100, and would go on to be sampled by numerous artists, including Mary J. Blige, Afrika Bambaataa and Sublime. By the mid-’70s, Wright had scored big with songs “Tonight Is the Night” and “Where Is the Love,” which earned her a Grammy for best R&B song in 1975.
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