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Last Updated: Saturday, 18 November 2006, 10:54 GMT
Singer Ruth Brown dies at age 78
Ruth Brown
Brown fought for artists to get royalties from record companies
One of the pioneering rhythm and blues singers, Ruth Brown, has died aged 78.

Known as "the girl with a tear in her voice" for emotion-laden singing, Brown died on Friday after a stroke and heart attack in Las Vegas.

She was a best-selling black female artist of the early 1950s with songs including (Mama) He Treats Your Daughter Mean, So Long, and Mambo Lips.

Despite a career slump in the 1960s, she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.

Her hits for Atlantic Records were so huge that the record company became known as "The House that Ruth Built."

'Important and beloved'

But her work with Atlantic Records ended in 1961 as her gutsy, belting style fell out of favour.

When her career revived, she led a battle for artists to receive royalties from record companies.

Singer Bonnie Raitt said: "Ruth was one of the most important and beloved figures in modern music.

"You can hear her influence in everyone from Little Richard to Etta (James), Aretha (Franklin), Janis (Joplin) and divas like Christina Aguilera today."


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