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Biography

  • Born

    21 December 1943 (age 80)

  • Born In

    Pensacola, Escambia County, Florida, United States

Gwen Mosley (born December 21 1943), better known as Gwen McCrae, is an American R&B singer best known for her 1975 hit "Rockin' Chair".

Born in Pensacola, Florida, McCrae grew up singing in her pentecostal church and later discovered secular singers like Sam Cooke and Aretha Franklin. She began performing in local clubs as a teenager, and singing with local groups like the Lafayettes and the Independents. In 1963, she met a young sailor named George McCrae, whom she married within a week.

From 1963 onward, she recorded as a duo with her husband George, and was first to receive a solo contract, with Henry Stone's TK Records. She found success on the R&B charts with "Lead Me On" in 1970, followed by "For Your Love".

George & Gwen were discovered in 1967 by singer Betty Wright, who helped get them signed to Henry Stone's Alston label. Their debut single, "Three Hearts in a Tangle," was released in 1969; the follow-up, "Like Yesterday Our Love Is Gone," marked the first time they worked with the writing team of Clarence Reid (who would later morph into the bawdy comic Blowfly) and Willie Clarke. Both were regional hits, as was third single, "No One Left to Come Home," although none of those records broke nationally; meanwhile, the McCraes and Wright were collectively earning a reputation as stellar session vocalists.

Following husband George’s unexpected solo success with "Rock Your Baby", Gwen went on to have a major hit of her own in 1975 with "Rockin' Chair", a #1 R&B hit which also reached the US Top 10. The follow-up album, Love Insurance, also made the R&B charts. By this time, the separate successes were taking their toll on the McCraes' marriage. Gwen has since alleged that her husband beat her frequently.

After Gwen and George divorced and TK Records collapsed, Gwen moved to New Jersey, and signed with Atlantic Records, having another hit with "Funky Sensation" in 1981. She continued to record, and the success of some of her earlier recordings on the UK’s Northern Soul scene maintained her popularity as a live act in Europe. In 2004, she released her first gospel album.

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