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For a very long time, it was very hard to learn anything about the woman behind the cover of Betty Davis. It's widely known she was once married to Miles Davis (hence her surname) but that's hardly enough to explain how a former First Lady of Jazz became the leading Femme Fatale of Funk. Moreover, if you scanned the credits on her albums, you realized that Betty wasn't merely a mouthpiece for a male producer or songwriter but an artist in her own right, an independent visionary in an era where Black female solo artists were a rarity. In a show of independence that has few comparisons, then or now, Betty wrote every song she ever recorded and produced every album after her first. That puts her in rarefied company among all musical artists, male or female. Yet, despite an earned reputation as being ahead of her time, it seems that time never caught up to her.
Though Betty Davis is Betty's vision, executed, she and producer Greg Errico contracted a murderer's row of session players to play on the album. Check out this interactive site that tells the story of the players on the album.
Read the Liner Notes to Betty Davis here.
More funk albums to listen to once you listen to Betty Davis (featuring another Betty Davis album!). Read here.
We sat down with writer John Ballon, who interviewed Davis extensively, to dig into the making of Betty Davis. You can listen here.
Because we love you, and we love funk, here's a 4-hr funk playlist to get you through life.
Learn how to make this month's cocktail before your Betty Davis record arrives here.