Lavern Baker Biography
Delores LaVern Baker was an American R&B singer who had many pop chart hits in the 1950s and early 1960s. “Tweedle Dee” (1955), “Jim Dandy” (1956), and “I Cried a Tear” (1958) were her most popular records (1958). She is well known for her hits “Love me Right” and “See See Right”.
Delores Evans Baker was born in Chicago on November 11, 1929. Delores married Eugene Williams on December 23, 1948, in Cook County, Illinois, under her mother’s new surname, “McMurley.” She began performing as Little Miss Sharecropper at Chicago clubs such as the Club DeLisa in 1946, and she first recorded under that moniker in 1949. When she recorded for Okeh Records in 1951, she went by the name Bea Baker for a short time, and then she went by the name LaVern Baker when she sang with Todd Rhodes and his band in 1952.
She signed with Atlantic Records as a solo artist in 1953, and her first single was “Soul on Fire.” Her first hit was the Latin-tempo “Tweedle Dee,” which charted at number 4 on the R&B chart and number 14 on the national US pop chart in early 1955.
Baker and her backing group, the Gliders, had a string of songs on the R&B charts during the next few years, including “Bop-Ting-a-Ling” (number 3 R&B), “Play It Fair” (number 2 R&B), and “Still” (number 3 R&B) (number 4 R&B). “Jim Dandy” (number 1 R&B, number 17 pop) was a hit for her towards the end of 1956, selling over one million copies and earning her a gold disc. “I Cried a Tear” (number 2 R&B, number 6 pop in 1958, with sax by King Curtis), “I Waited Too Long” (number 5 R&B, number 3 pop, written by Neil Sedaka), “Saved” (number 17 R&B, written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller), and “See See Rider” (number 17 R&B, written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller) were among (number 9 R&B in 1963). Baker toured Australia in 1957 as part of Lee Gordon’s Big Show, performing with Bill Haley and the Comets and other rock ‘n’ roll acts. She made an appearance in the movie Rock, Rock, Rock! (1956).
She played in Madison Square Garden for the 40th anniversary of Atlantic Records in 1988. She went on to work on the soundtracks for a number of films. She released Woke Up This Morning, a well-received studio album for DRG Records in 1992. After both legs were amputated due to diabetic problems in 1994, she continued to perform. Baker’s final recording, “Jump into the Fire,” was released in 1995 on the Music Masters label as part of the Harry Nilsson tribute album For the Love of Harry.
Baker was one of the inaugural eight Pioneer Award recipients from the Rhythm & Blues Foundation in 1990. Following Aretha Franklin‘s induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, she became the second female solo artist to be inducted in 1991. Her song “Jim Dandy” was designated one of the 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and it was ranked 343 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Baker will be inducted into the National Rhythm and Blues Hall of Fame in 2020.
Baker died on March 10, 1997, at the age of 67, from cardiovascular illness. She was laid to rest in Maple Grove Cemetery in Kew Gardens, New York, in an unmarked grave.
Lavern Baker Discography
|Live In Hollywood ’91|
|See See Rider|
|LaVern Baker Sings Bessie Smith|
Frequently Asked Questions
What Kind Of Music Did Lavern Baker Sing?
Lavern Baker was an American R&B singer who had several hit records in the 1950s and 1960s. She is best known for her recordings of “Tweedle Dee” and “Jim Dandy”, which both reached number one on the Billboard R&B chart. Baker’s style of music was a mix of R&B, pop, and country.
Is Lavern Baker In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame?
Yes, Lavern Baker is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She was inducted in 1991.
Who Was Influenced By Lavern Baker?
Lavern Baker was an influential R&B and jazz singer in the 1950s and 1960s. She was known for her distinctive style and vocal range. Many of her contemporaries, including Aretha Franklin, Etta James, and Jackie Wilson, were influenced by her music. Baker’s influence can still be heard in the work of contemporary artists such as Macy Gray and Amy Winehouse.
Which Song Made Lavern Baker Famous?
“Tweedle Dee” was the song that made Lavern Baker famous. It was a No. 1 hit on the R&B charts in 1955 and helped to launch her career as a successful singer. She went on to have several more hits in the 1950s and 1960s, including “Jim Dandy,” “I Cried a Tear,” and “Saved.” Baker passed away in 1997, but her music continues to be enjoyed by fans around the world.