Saturday, January 12, 2008

nasty gal

I always talk about the great Funk Gods, George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, etc. but I often neglect to mention the Funk Goddess, the most badass chick in the music..ever: Betty Davis

When she turned sixteen, Betty moved to New York and met several musicians including Jimi Hendrix and Sly Stone. She met Miles Davis in 1967 and - as he states in his autobiography - helped to plant the seeds of his future musical explorations by introducing him to psychedelic rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix and funk innovator Sly Stone. She married Davis in 1968.

After the breakup of her marriage, Betty moved to London to pursue her modeling career. She wrote music - a passion since childhood - while in the UK and returned to the US with the intention of recording songs with Santana. Instead, she organized a group of talented West Coast funk musicians to make her own recordings.

Her first record, Betty Davis, was released in 1973 and her band included members of Sly & The Family Stone, Graham Central Station and Tower of Power. Davis released two more studio albums: They Say I'm Different (1974) and Nasty Gal (1975). However, none of the three albums were commercial successes.

Davis remained a cult figure as a singer, due in part to her open sexual attitude, which was controversial for the time. Some of her shows were boycotted and her songs not played on the radio due to pressure by religious groups. With the passage of time her records have become highly regarded by collectors of soul and funk music. Davis eventually stopped making music and returned to Pennsylvania.
http://www.last.fm/music/Betty+Davis/+wiki

What the article neglects to mention is that - allegedly - her divorce from Miles Davis was because of her affair with Jimi Hendrix.

Seriously.
Regular readers might remember this fantastic picture from my old header.

She's sometimes considered the precursor to Madonna in regards to sexually explicit lyrics (some Betty classics: "He Was a Big Freak", "Nasty Gal", "Talkin' Trash"), but as a non-Madonna fan, I would disagree. She's also been called the female Prince, which I love, though her music is more strictly funk/R&B. If I could recommend one song for you to download, I'd chose "Anti-Love Song". Do it

Unfortunately, Betty no longer makes music, but she leaves us with three classic and, take my word for it, mind-blowingly incredible albums: Nasty Gal, Betty Davis and They Say I'm Different.


Betty on the cover of ex-husband Miles Davis' album for Filles de Kilimanjaro.

"She was the first Madonna. But Madonna is more like Marie Osmond when compared to Betty Davis." -Carlos Santana

P.S. The incredible Sunniva at http://style-spot.blogspot.com/ just did the sweetest post about me. Um, not to sound cocky, but check it out!

16 comments:

Carolina Lange said...

Very interesting post! I didn't know she had an affair with Jimi Hendrix!
Love your new header!

Heather said...

I do remember that picture from your old header! What a fascinating story behind it!

Mash said...

I didn't know her before your post thank you for the biography :)

Mash said...

btw thank you but my english is cool just because my friends help me a little for the translation because my grammar is tooooo bad but thank you so much :)

coco said...

I didn't know any of this
and also that first pic of her is just pure style!! I love it!

Emma said...

love the afro!

maya said...

How did you get your header to be normal nd not all to the side and wierd like mine?
also, i just noticed that you actually put in your side bar. It's all true.

-S said...

I was confused by the betty davis title. I never knew there was a Betty Davis, but i knew there was a Bette Davis!

Pretty In Black said...

I like her 'dirty skit.' The star is really cool.

alexgirl said...

I totally remember that picture of her from your old header! I will definitely have to check her out. Would you recommend 1 album over the other 2? (even though i know you said they're all good).
ps- I love your new header.

Wendy said...

She sounds really incredible! Great post and insights.

Chelsea Talks Smack said...

I'm ALLL about the soul music and a MAJOR fan of hers. Thanks for writing about her, she was fierce.

Cate said...

bette davis is really a legend, thanks for this informative post! didn't know the jimi hendrix affair thing either!

Katelin said...

I didn't know her until your post either. I'm definitely intrigued...

F.U. said...

Molly...I learn something new everyday...thanks for being the teacher today. How great is it that not everyone blogs about random unnecessary bullshit (yours truly!)? Continue to enlighten...

http://yeahisaiditandwhat.blogspot.com/

WendyB said...

Love her!