Jazz singer Gloria Lynne, who rose to fame with her chart-topping song “I Wish You Love” in 1964, has died. She was 83.
Her son P.J. Allen reports heart failure as the cause of death. Lynne died Tuesday night at a hospital in Newark, NJ.
She was born in New York in 1929 and developed a love for singing at an early age. She often sang in her church choir and went on to win the amateur contest at Harlem’s Apollo Theater at the age of 15.
Lynne was later signed to Everest records in 1958.
However, Allen says Lynne’s first “real break” came when she participated in Harry Belafonte’s Strolling ’20s, the 1966 TV movie that also featured big stars like Diahann Carroll, Sammy Davis Jr., Duke Ellington, Sidney Poitier and Nipsey Russell.
Two years later, Lynne’s song ‘I Wish You Love’ was released and became her biggest and most memorable hit.
“I learned it overnight, and I really wasn’t too pleased with it,” she said in an interview for an oral history of the Apollo Theater in 2009. “And they said, ‘This is going to be the single.’ And I said, ‘Are you kidding me?’ ”
The song was released in 1968 and Lynne’s rendition was an English-language version of a French song recorded in 1942 by Charles Trenet, according to The New York Times.
Lynne went on to produce over 400 recordings and she was featured on more than 25 albums. To add to her impressive journey, she has performed with music legends such as Ray Charles, Johnny Mathis and Ella Fitzgerald.
Despite her hit record and popular songs, Lynne said she didn’t receive royalties from record sales but continued to do live performances, which provided her with supplemental income.
However, she soon faced more severe financial struggles as the Times reports that Lynne took up temporary work and at one point in time, became homeless.
Lynne’s last performance was on August 27 in New York, which was produced by a man named Todd Barkan.
“She was really a giant of American jazz singing, but she never really got the recognition she so richly deserved, and lived the last 20 or 30 years of her life in relative obscurity,” Barkan told CNN.
He added: “It is a brutal business and Gloria was a victim of that brutality, for sure. But she was one of our greatest singers, she was a true angel, no doubt about it.”
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