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Barbara Acklin


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Barbara Acklin (28 February 1943, Oakland, California — 27 November 1998, Nebraska) was a soul singer of the 1960s and 1970s. Her biggest hit was “Love Makes a Woman” in 1968 which reached the top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

As a teenager, she began singing in nightclubs while attending Dunbar Vocational High school. Upon graduation, she was hired as a secretary for local record label by her cousin, saxophonist Monk Higgins. Her first release was under the name Barbara Allen on his Special Agent label. Later, Higgins used Acklin as a background singer on his Chess Records sessions.

In 1966, Acklin began working as a receptionist for record producer Carl Davis at Brunswick Records. Always keeping in mind her goal of becoming a recording star, she persistently asked Davis to record her. Davis said that he would, but, in the meantime, he encouraged her to keep writing songs. Cornering Brunswick Records star Jackie Wilson, Acklin had him listen to a tune that she co-wrote with David Scott (formerly of The Exciters Band). Wilson liked it and passed it on to Davis. Released September 1966, the song, “Whispers (Gettin Louder)” went to number six R&B and number 11 on the Hot 100 in the fall of 1966. The song helped re-launch his career in the late 1960s. To return the favor, Wilson helped Acklin secure a recording contract with Brunswick. Acklin’s first chart success came from “Show Me the Way to Go,” a duet with Chandler, reaching number 30 R&B in the spring of 1968. In July 1968, Acklin had a hit of her own with the extremely catchy “Love Makes a Woman,” which went to number three R&B and number 15 on the Hot 100 in August 1968. The song also won a BMI Award.


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