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.
Another Chandler/Acklin duet followed in October 1968. "From the Teacher to the Preacher" reached number 16 R&B and number 57 pop. Acklin's next charting singles were "Just Ain't No Love," "Am I the Same Girl" (covered by Dusty Springfield, Swing Out Sister and The Manhattan Transfer), "I Did It," "Lady Lady Lady," and "I Call It Trouble." In 1974, Acklin departed Brunswick for Capitol Records. Her first single, "Raindrops," was a R&B hit in June of that year.
Prior to Brunswick releasing her "Am I the Same Girl", they removed her voice from the track and replaced it with a piano and released as the instrumental track "Soulful Strut," which became a massive hit for Young-Holt Unlimited. Unfortunately for Acklin, her release of the song did not get the promotion as "Soulful Strut" received. However, she was also proficient as a songwriter - in addition to "Whispers (Gettin' Louder)" for Jackie Wilson, she co-wrote "Have You Seen Her" with her husband Eugene Record, who was also the lead singer of The Chi-Lites, as well as several of their other biggest hits: "Oh Girl", "Stoned Out Of My Mind" and "Toby."
Barbara Acklin died from pneumonia on November 27, 1998.
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