Betty Willis

Betty Jane Willis (born March 10 1941 - died January 1, 2018) was an American 1960s soul singer. In the early 1960's Betty began singing at various clubs in Santa Ana, California and throughout Orange County. In 1962, she recorded a duet with Ray Lockhart as Betty & Ray on Rendezvous Records entitled 'You're Too Much', 'Turn Your Love Lights On' and followed it up with solo singles entitled, 'Take Your Heart' and 'Someday You'll Need My Love' also in 1962. She also issued two singles with the label as the lead vocalist of a studio group of singers credited as The Instants on a song entitled, 'Gravy Train'. She occasionally sang with Santa Ana, neighbor, Bill Medley (of The Righteous Brothers) at various clubs and they even recorded a duet for Moonglow Records with one of Bill's songs entitled, 'My Tears Will Go Away' which was never released. Betty eventually hooked up with 'Wrecking Crew' pianist, Leon Russell, who would produce her next record on Phil Spector's Philles Records subsidiary, Phi-Dan Records. Betty remembered rehearsing two songs with Leon at his home before they were recorded in 1965 at Hollywood's Gold Star Studio. The tunes were a song written by Johnny Russell and Voni Morrison and made a hit by Capitol Records country & western artist, Buck Owens entitled 'Act Naturally'. The song would be issued as Betty's debut Phi-Dan single release and the often recorded, 'If I Had A Hammer' which was planned as a follow-up, was recorded as well but ultimately, neve...

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