Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
LaVern Baker (November 11, 1929 - March 10, 1997) was an American singer, originally billed as Little Miss Sharecropper, then Bea Baker. She had taken the first name "LaVern" by 1952, when she began recording with Todd Rhodes and his band.
In 1953, Baker signed with Atlantic Records, and immediately began releasing hits, such as "Soul on Fire" and "Tweedlee Dee". Georgia Gibbs soon covered "Tweedlee Dee" with a whitewashed version of the song, and Baker unsuccessfully attempted to sue her.
In addition to singing, Baker also did some work with Ed Sullivan and Alan Freed on TV and in films. In the late 1960s, Baker fell ill after a trip to Vietnam to entertain American soldiers, and she stayed in semi-retirement until 1988, when she performed at Madison Square Garden for Atlantic Records' 40th anniversary. She then worked on the soundtrack to Dick Tracy and appeared in Black & Blue , a Broadway musical, and released a comeback disc that sold moderately well. She died in 1997.
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