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LaVern Baker

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Delores LaVern Baker (November 11, 1929 – March 10, 1997) was an American rhythm and blues singer, who had several hit records on the pop chart in the 1950s and early 1960s. Her most successful records were “Tweedlee Dee” (1955), “Jim Dandy” (1956), and “I Cried a Tear” (1958).

Baker was born in Chicago, Illinois. She is occasionally referred to as Delores Williams because of an early marriage to Eugene Williams; in the late 1940s she was identified in RCA Victor record company files as “D. L. McMurley.” She was the niece of blues singer Merline Johnson and was also related to Memphis Minnie.

She began singing in Chicago clubs such as the Club DeLisa around 1946, often billed as Little Miss Sharecropper, and first recorded under that name in 1949. She changed her name briefly to Bea Baker when recording for Okeh Records in 1951, and then became LaVern Baker when singing with Todd Rhodes and his band in 1952.

In 1953 she signed for Atlantic Records as a solo artist, her first release being “Soul on Fire”. Her first hit came in early 1955, with the Latin-tempo “Tweedlee Dee” reaching #4 on the R&B chart and #14 on the national US pop charts. Georgia Gibbs’ note-for-note cover of Baker’s “Tweedle Dee” reached #1; subsequently Baker made an unsuccessful attempt to sue her and petitioned Congress to consider such covers copyright violations.

Baker had a succession of hits on the R&B charts over the next couple of years with her backing group The Gliders, including “Bop-Ting-A-Ling” (#3 R&B), “Play It Fair” (#2 R&B), and “Still” (#4 R&B). At the end of 1956 she had another smash hit with “Jim Dandy” (#1 R&B, #17 pop).

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  • dangerbatist

    Queen of swing.

    12 May 9:47pm Reply
  • memekiwii

    Pure Shiny Brilliance !!

    1 Oct 2012 Reply
  • btnybay

    love her music

    17 Apr 2012 Reply
  • Grosseteste

    I'm not embarrassed by her singles....

    9 Mar 2012 Reply
  • Castizo

    Saved

    1 Jul 2011 Reply
  • 1969SL

    Early rock pioneer who had figure of Mae West and voice of big,bad blues mama. Embarrassing hit singles but excellent albums. Check her gospel and Bessie Smith tribute studio albums!

    23 Jun 2011 Reply
  • orangetm

    Love me right.

    15 May 2011 Reply
  • insomniacme

    <3

    27 Feb 2011 Reply
  • jaskiel

    Bumble Bee is amazing and timeless song!

    2 Sep 2010 Reply
  • burning-flag

    i used to smoke, i used to drink ♥

    12 Aug 2010 Reply
  • thegoodnames

    My Happiness Forever is the best song out of all of hers.

    12 Apr 2010 Reply
  • BayAreaVenus

    thank you last fm for another one! she's amazing. So does this mean Elvis had a crush on ms lavern? (in little sister he says "along came Jim Dandy and they snuck right out the door" and she has a song called jim dandy... speculating lol)

    29 Jan 2010 Reply
  • staytooned

    !

    25 Apr 2009 Reply
  • ShangoOrisha

    I can't believe Bumble Bee is not in the top tracks...

    27 Jan 2009 Reply
  • rinygrin

    Tiny Tim is a lover ♥ (He's a real gone lover) ♥

    16 Sep 2008 Reply
  • Grosseteste

    I'm still waiting for the reissue of the Atlantic LP Hits and Rarities, which has one of my favourite of her sides: Bumble Bee.

    31 Jul 2007 Reply

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