US media sources are reporting the death at age 76 of soul singer BETTY WILLIS. It seems that Ms Willis had fallen on hard times and was living on the streets of Santa Ana, California. It appears that she was sexually assaulted and murdered in a local shopping mall parking area on New Year’s Day. A 22 year old man has been charged with her murder.
Betty Willis worked in and around California in the early 60s. She was the “Rachel” in the Brian Wilson mentored group Rachel and the Revolvers (though this has been disputed by some soul anoraks) and she also worked with Phil Spector. Her best known solo recording is possibly ‘Take Your Heart’ which was released on 1962 on the small Mojo label. The track appeared on the Kent compilation ‘Birth Of Soul Volume 4’.
Betty Willis was to eventually leave the music business and she worked for many years at the U.S. Postal Service in Santa Ana California as a mail clerk before retiring and, clearly, since then, falling into financial difficulties.