The ‘Queen of Funk’ singer passed away in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, where she lived, of what officials are calling “natural causes.” It’s unclear if the singer was ailing from any illness or suffered any issues before this week.
Davis was famous for her unique voice, and several hits including “It’s My Life,” “Get Ready For Betty,” and “If I’m In Luck I Might Get Picked Up.”
The singer was notably married to legendary musician Miles Davis. Betty was his second wife, in 1968, after he split from dancer Francis Davis. At the time, he was almost 20 years older than Davis, and the two began dating after she burst onto the modeling scene. The couple was only married for one year.
Interestingly, Betty released a self-titled album in 1973 under Woodstock founder — Michael Lang’s — company ‘Just Sunshine Records.’ Following the initial success, the singer dropped two more albums, ‘They Say I’m Different,” and “Nasty Gal.”
The funk singer opened up about leaving the music industry in 2018, telling the New York Times, “When I was told that it was over, I just accepted it. And nobody else was knocking at my door.” Davis walked away from the industry following the 3rd album and moved to Pittsburgh. She has lived in the area for the past 40 years.
The singer’s life was the subject of a 2017 documentary after decided to release her first song in over 40 years. ‘Betty: They Say I’m Different,’ focused on the singer’s interesting life and career — and featured the new song, “A Little Bit Hot Tonight.’
Interestingly, Betty’s music didn’t reach the height on the Billboard charts that would be expected. The singer’s music, and sexy look, was credited with opening the doors for acts like Prince, Madonna, and Janet Jackson. Many believe that by the time sexual liberation was burning up the charts, especially from a female’s perspective, Davis had long disappeared from public life.
Miles Davis credits his ex-wife for introducing him to influential music from Jimi Hendrix and Stone. Unfortunately, Davis divorced the singer, citing his “violent, jealous” temper as the cause of their split.
Back in 1991, Miles Davis died at the age of 65 years old. The incredible jazz musician died of pneumonia, respiratory failure, and a stroke.
Injuries and health issues plagued the singer for many years before his death. Miles underwent treatment for diabetes and had hip joint problems attributed to sickle cell anemia. Davis broke both legs in a 1972 car accident and overcame a nasty heroin addiction in the 1950s. According to reports, he dabbled in cocaine for a time too.
“To be and stay a great musician you’ve got to always be open to what’s new, what’s happening at the moment,” Miles said in his 1980’s biography. Adding, “I want to keep creating, changing, music isn’t about standing still and becoming safe.”