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Gwendolyn  Guthrie
Gwen Guthrie
 February 3, 1999
Age 48
Uterine Cancer 
OBITUARY 
BIOGRAPHY  
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OBITUARY 
       
 
Gwen Guthrie 

          ORANGE, N.J. (AP) -- Gwen Guthrie, a singer and songwriter who 
          recorded several dance and R&B hits during the 1980s, died 
          Wednesday of uterine cancer. She was 42 [sic].  

          She got her break in the mid-1970s when she was hired as a background 
          vocalist for Aretha Franklin and later worked with Roberta Flack and 
          Luther Vandross. She became a popular recording session singer, 
          performing on albums by Kenny Loggins and Steely Dan, among others.  

          Her biggest solo success came in 1986 with ``Ain't Nothin' Goin' on But 
          the Rent.'' Words from that song -- ``no romance without finance'' -- 
          became a popular catch-phrase. She was also among the first recording 
          artists to raise money for the fight against AIDS.  

          Guthrie's self-titled debut album was released in 1982, featuring the song 
          ``Should Have Been You,'' which helped establish her as one of the top 
          club music performers of the period. 

 
 
 
    
    
 
 
 
       
 

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BIOGRAPHY
 
All Music Guide
Born July 14, 1950 in Okemah, OK 
Died Feb. 3, 1999 in New Jersey 
 
Gwendolyn (Gwen) Guthrie died February 4, 1999 of uterine cancer in Orange, NJ at the age of 48. Born in Okemah, OK in 1950, but raised in Newark, NJ, she's best known for her #1 R&B single "Ain't Nothin' Goin' on But the Rent, " a popular self-written bouncer. A prolific songwriter and a good pianist, she penned "Supernatural Thing" for Ben E. King, "This Time I'll Be Sweeter, " for Martha Reeves, which was later popularized by Angela Bofil and Issac Hayes. Many thought Guthrie and songwriting partner Patrick Grant had the potential to become another Ashford & Simpson. In all, Guthrie has approximately 50 compositions logged in BMI & ASCAP's databases. Guthrie started singing in High School with a female quartet called the Ebonettes. One of the members, Brenda White King, like Guthrie, pursued music and became in demand as a session singer. After graduating from college, Guthrie taught first grade in New York and performed on the side. She gigged with Larry Blackmon's (of Cameo, ) East Coast Band (ECB), Blackmon was 22 at the time. Guthrie sang lead, Blackmon loved her voice and writing skills. ECB had a house gig at Smalls Paradise in Harlem, co-owned by Wilt Chamberlain. The band would later evolve into the New York City Players, and then into Cameo. Guthrie's big break came when she was asked to do a background session for Aretha Franklin. That's Guthrie warbling in the background with Cissy Houston, Judy Clay and Diedre Tuck on "I'm in Love, " the Bobby Womack song. Aretha's lead and the quartet's gospel backing propelled Franklin's rendition to #1 R&B on May 18, 1974, for two weeks. Six months later she signed as a staff writer with Bert Coteaux productions and with Grant wrote "Love Don't Go Through No Changes, " the first hit for Sister Sledge, and many others. The collaboration didn't last long. Guthrie continued to write with a variety of partners, and supplied backing vocals to many recording sessions. Working with Peter Tosh in the late '70s, Guthrie befriended reggae stars Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare who invited her to Nassau to record vocals for an album they were producing. Hearing her unique voice in the studio, Island Records founder, Chris Blackwell, inked her to a contract, and the Dunbar/Shakespeare project, assisted by David Conley of Surface became her first solo release. The self-titled LP was like watered down Chic, the first side tracks were run together and Guthrie didn't have much writing input, still it was a start. She did score a dance-floor hit in the '80s in the U.K. with "It Should Have Been You, " a ballad from the first album. Her second LP, Portrait, released in 1983, followed the same formula, simplistic dance tracks, and trite grooves. The most enjoyable cuts were the ballads written by Guthrie. Bernie Worrell, the famed P-Funk keyboardist, appeared on the LP. Album number three, Good to Go Lover dropped in 1986, and spawned her chart topper, "Ain't Nothin' Goin' on But the Rent, " and the torching ballad, "You Touched My Life." Worrell is again credited as a musician. On Lifeline (1988), Guthrie was more involved with the writing. She wrote and produced nearly every track, and the set is more satisfying than previous efforts despite the lack of a big hit. Flautist Bobbi Humphrey blows a soulful flute, and rapper Gangster-B is featured with Guthrie on "Can't Love You." Hot Times was Guthrie's final LP release, it hit the streets in 1990. Like the previous LP, she wrote nearly everything, except for a moving remake of Stephanie Mills' "Never Knew Love Like This Before." As on all her albums, Sly & Robbie played major roles. Guthrie also had two LP releases: Just for You (1985) and Ticket to Ride (1988) on Fourth & Broadway Records. Urban rapper, Foxy Brown, cites Guthrie as an inspiration. Ironically, the week that Guthrie passed, Brown's second CD, Chyna Doll, debuted with an update of "Ain't Nothin' Goin' on But the Rent." Also, India recently remade "This Time I'll Be Sweeter." Gwendolyn Guthrie is survived by her mother, Mabel, two daughters, Kamilah Ross and Iyanka Wakefield, a brother and a grandson. Her husband, Donald Wakefield, died in 1995. -- Andrew Hamilton, All Music Guide
 
 
   
 
 

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  AMG Discography
  (many titles out of print)
           1982                 Good to Go Lover                                         Polydor 

           1982                 Hot Times                                                      Reprise 

           1983                 Portrait                                                           Island 

           1985                 Just for You                                                   4th & Broadway 

           1988                 Lifeline                                                           Jellybean Prod 

           1988                 Gwen Guthrie                                                 Island 

           1988                 Ticket to Ride                                                 Fourth & Broad 



Performs on: 

1972 
     Preston, Billy                          Music Is My Life  
                                                          Vocals  
 1972 
     Flack, Roberta                          Roberta Flack Featuring Donny Hathaway 
                                                          Arranger, Vocals (bckgr)  
 1974 
     Franklin, Aretha                          Let Me in Your Life  
                                                          Vocals, Vocals (bckgr)  
 1975 
     King, Ben E.                          Supernatural Thing  
                                                          Vocals  
 1976 
     Cocker, Joe                          Stingray  
                                                          Vocals  
 1976 
     Blood, Sweat & Tears              More than Ever  
                                                          Vocals  
 1976 
     MacDonald, Ralph                      Sound of a Drum  
                                                         Vocals  
 1976 
     Matthews, Dave [2]               Shoogie Wanna Boogie  
                                                          Vocals  
 1977 
     Titus, Libby                          Libby Titus  
                                                          Vocals, Vocals (bckgr)  
 1977 
     Troiano, Domenic                       Burning at the Stake  
                                                          Vocals, Vocals (bckgr)  
 1977 
     Austin, Patti                          Havana Candy  
                                                          Vocals (bckgr)  
 1977 
     Flack, Roberta                          Blue Lights in the Basement  
                                                          Vocals, Vocals (bckgr)  
 1977 
     Joel, Billy                                 Stranger  
                                                          Vocals, Vocals (bckgr)  
 1977 
     Loggins, Kenny                          Celebrate Me Home  
                                                          Vocals  
 1977 
     Snow, Phoebe                          Never Letting Go  
                                                          Vocals (bckgr)  
 1977 
     James, Bob                              Heads  
                                                          Vocals, Vocals (bckgr)  
 1978 
     Flack, Roberta                          Roberta Flack  
                                                          Vocals  
 1978 
     MacDonald, Ralph                          Path  
                                                          Vocals  
 1978 
     Thomas, Joe [Sax #2]                   In the Wind  
                                                          Vocals  
 1978 
     VanLeer, Thijs                          Nice to Have Met You  
                                                          Vocals  
 1978 
     Syms, Sylvia                          She Loves to Hear the Music  
                                                          Vocals (bckgr)  
 1978 
     Brooks, Joe                          Joe Brooks Group  
                                                          Vocals  
 1978 
     Brothers Johnson                          Blam!!  
                                                          Vocals  
 1978 
     Jones, Quincy                          Sounds & Stuff  
                                                          Vocals  
 1978 
    Snow, Phoebe                          Against the Grain  
                                                          Vocals (bckgr)  
 1978 
     Wiz                                        Wiz  
                                                  Choir, Chorus  
 1978 
     Ferguson, Maynard                 Conquistador  
                                                       Vocals  
 1978 
     Animal House                          Animal House  
                                                          Vocals (bckgr)  
 1979 
     Jones, Thelma                          Thelma Jones  
                                                          Vocals (bckgr)  
 1979 
     Santamaria, Mongo                          Red Hot  
                                                          Vocals (bckgr)  
 1979 
     Tosh, Peter                              Mystic Man  
                                                          Vocals  
 1980 
     Flack, Roberta                          Featuring Donnie Hathaway  
                                                          Vocals  
 1980 
     Mtume                          In Search of the Rainbow Seekers  
                                                          Vocals  
 1980 
     Dibango, Manu                          Gone Clear  
                                                          Vocals, Voices  
 1981 
     Tosh, Peter                          Wanted Dread & Alive  
                                                          Vocals  
 1981 
     Dibango, Manu                          Ambassador  
                                                          Vocals (bckgr)  
 1983 
     Madonna                                     Madonna  
                                                          Vocals (bckgr)  
 1987 
     Blake, John                          Adventures of the Heart  
                                                          Vocals  
 1987 
     Island Story 1962-1987            Island Story 1962-1987  
  
 1987 
     Disorderlies                              Disorderlies  
                                                          Producer  
 1989 
     Humphrey, Bobbi                          City Beat  
                                                          Vocals (bckgr)  
 1991 
     Franklin, Aretha                          What You See Is What You Sweat  

                                                          Vocals (bckgr)  
 1992 
     Red Hot & Dance                          Red Hot & Dance  
                                                          Vocals  
 1992 
     Priest, Maxi                                  Fe Real  
                                                          Vocals (bckgr)  
 1992 
     GRP                             GRP 10th Anniversary Collection  
                                                          Vocals (bckgr)  
 1994 
     Austin, Patti                          Best of Patti Austin  
                                                          Vocals (bckgr)  
 1994 
     80's Dance Party                80's Dance Party, Vol. 3  
                                                          Producer  
 1995 
     Flack, Roberta                          Roberta  
                                                       Vocals (bckgr)  
 1996 
     Ferguson, Maynard                      This Is Jazz, Vol. 16  
                                                          Vocals  
 1996 
     Hyman, Phyllis                          Legacy of Phyllis Hyman  
                                                          Vocals (bckgr)  
 1997 
     Lundy, Carmen                          Old Devil Moon  
                                                          Vocals (bckgr)  
 1997 
     CTI Records: The Birth              CTI Records: The Birth of Groove  
                                                          Vocals  
 1998 
     Birth of Cool Funk Vint              Birth of Cool Funk Vintage Jams  
                                                          Vocals  
 1998 
     MacDonald, Ralph                          Sound of a Drum/Path  
  
 1998 
     Essential 12'': The 70'              Essential 12'': The 70's  
                                                          Vocals  
 1998 
     Hill, Z.Z.                          This Time They Told the Truth:  
                                                          Vocals (bckgr)  
  
     Pointer, Noel                          Hold On  
                                                          Vocals (bckgr)  
  
     Jumpin' Jack Flash                          Jumpin' Jack Flash  
                                                          Producer  
  
     Smith, Lonnie Liston                          Exotic Mysteries  
                                                          Vocals  
  
     Eaton, William                          Struggle Buggy  
                                                          Vocals (bckgr)  
  
     Ponder, Jimmy                          Jimmy Ponder: Sonny Lester Collection 
                                                         Vocals 

 
 
 
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