Soul singer Betty Everett, best known for her 1964 hit "The Shoop Shoop Song (It's in His Kiss)," has died. She was 61.
Everett's family discovered her body in her Beloit, Wisconsin, home on Sunday, according to her lawyer, Jay B. Ross. She apparently died either Friday or Saturday. A cause of death had not been determined at press time.
With her powerful, velvet-toned pipes, Everett gave a gospel-inflection to her singing while naturally settling into blues, soul and pop.
Born in Greenwood, Mississippi, on November 23, 1939, Everett started playing piano and singing in church at age 9. In 1957, she moved to Chicago, where she made a name for herself on the local scene and recorded for area labels.
After signing with Vee-Jay in the early '60s, she released "You're No Good," but the tune failed to crack the top 50. The song was later covered by the U.K. acts Linda Lewis and Swinging Blue Jeans as well as Linda Ronstadt, who took it to #1 in 1975.
In the spring of 1964, Everett recorded "The Shoop Shoop Song (It's in His Kiss)," which turned out to be a top-10 hit and her big break. Cher rode the sassy number to the top of the pop charts 27 years later.
Everett's next big success came when she teamed with fellow Chicago singer Jerry Butler on a soul version of the Everly Brothers' "Let It Be Me." The duo also released an album called Delicious Together.
In 1969, Everett had another solo hit with "There Comes a Time," which climbed to #2 on the R&B chart. She continued to record on different labels until the late '70s, making her last appearance on the charts with 1978's "True Love (You Took My Heart)." Ross said Everett lived modestly for most of her life because she did not reap royalties until recently.
Her last public appearance was on the PBS program "Doo Wop 51" with Butler, shot in February 2000.
"She was nervous because she hadn't performed in quite a while," said Ross, who accompanied Everett to the show. "But once she got into it and saw how much the audience loved her, she just blossomed, and the audience just went nuts."
Funeral and memorial arrangements had not been finalized at press time. Everett will be laid to rest in Beloit, and a memorial service will be held in Chicago, Ross said.
Flowers and letters may be sent to: Jay B. Ross and Associates, 838 West Grand Ave., Suite 2 West, Chicago, IL 60622-6565.