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Funk icon Betty Davis dies aged 77

Funk icon Betty Davis has died at the age of 77, it has been confirmed.

The musician’s friend, Danielle Maggio, confirmed the news on Wednesday.

Amie Downs, communications director for Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, where Davis resided, also told Rolling Stone magazine that her cause of death was from natural causes.

Davis was born Betty Mabry in North Carolina before later settling in New York where her music career flourished.

Renowned as the queen of funk and her sexualised lyrics, Davis rose to prominence in 1964 and went on to release hits such as Get Ready for Betty, It’s My Life, If I’m in Luck I Might Get Picked Up and many more. Davis also wrote the Chambers Brothers song Uptown (to Harlem).

Her self-titled debut album was released in 1973 under Woodstock promoter Michael Lang’s Just Sunshine Records, followed two further records. They Say I’m Different arrived in 1974 while the album Nasty Gal came the following year.

Betty Davis
(Picture: Getty Images)
Betty Davis
(Picture: Getty)
Betty Davis and Miles Davis
(Picture: Getty Images)

The singer and model was also famously married music icon Miles Davis, who was 19 years her senior, in 1968 after two years of dating. However, their marriage lasted just a year before filing for divorce.

Davis quit the music industry after 1975 and moved to Pittsburgh for a life out of the spotlight.

Opening up about her decision to retire, Davis told The New York Times in 2018: ‘When I was told that it was over, I just accepted it. And nobody else was knocking at my door.’

Her life was explored in the 2017 documentary Betty: They Say I’m Different. The following year, Davis released her first song in 40 years, titled A Little Bit Hot Tonight.

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