Mable John who was first female solo act signed by Motown founder Berry Gordy dies at age 91 in Los Angeles

Mable John who was the first female solo artist signed by Motown Records founder Berry Gordy has died at age 91 in Los Angeles.

The eldest of Detroit’s musical John family died on Thursday, according to her nephew Kevin John.

‘We loved her and she was a kind person,’ Kevin told The Detroit News.

Pioneering singer: Mable John, shown in August 2019 in Los Angeles, who was the first female solo artist signed by Berry Gordy has died at age 91 in Los Angeles

Mable in 1959 was signed to Gordy’s Tamla Records that he founded in June 1958 and incorporated as Motown Record Corportaion in April 1960.

She was the first female under Gordy’s brand to get her own record deal without an attached group.

Her first release on Tamla was ‘Who Wouldn’t Love A Man Like That’ in 1960.

Mable toured in 1969 with the late Ray Charles as the lead singer of The Raelettes and was on the road with him for years until she quit in 1977.

Lead singer: Mable is shown second from right in 1970 performing as lead singer of The Raelettes, the backing singers for the late Ray Charles

Gordy, 92, served as a coach and mentor to John who in the 1950s was opening act for the legendary Billie Holiday.

Mable’s tracks with his label include: No Love, Actions Speak Louder Than Words, Looking For A Man, and You Are My Only Love!, among others.

She later signed with Stax Records and recorded the hit song Your Good Thing (Is About To End).

Hit songs: The singer is shown in June 2007 in Memphis performing at the ’50 Years Of Stax’ benefit concert

Mable later became a pastor at her own church in Los Angeles and founded the charity Joy Community Outreach To End Homelessness with its mission to feed and clothe the homeless.

The singer collaborated in 2006 with writer David Ritz, 78, on a novel titled Sanctified Blues about a former singer who becomes a spiritual leader. 

She was married four times and had four sons: Jesse, Joel, Otis and Lemuel. She is survived by Lemuel as well as numerous grandchildren.

Novel collaboration: Mable collaborated in 2006 with writer David Ritz, 78, on a novel titled Sanctified Blues and they are shown in September 2004 in Beverly Hills, California at a fundraiser for the Ray Charles Performing Arts Center

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