“Rescue Me”, recorded by Fontella Bass, was released by the label on September 25th 1965 and reached the R&B summit on October 30th 1965 (4 weeks). The single typified the new Chess sound, built on a bed-rock of Satterfield’s bass and Maurice White’s drums, powered by Gene Barge’s horn section.
Bass had a powerful and dynamic voice that would knock you out when she performed “Rescue Me” live and on record. The single has a powerful groove, propelled by the call-and-response of singer and background vocalists, including the late Minnie Riperton. “Rescue Me” became a hit in several major Europe markets including the UK. The song peaked at number seven on the UK Pop singles chart.
You can hear this single on several movie soundtracks such as Air America, Jumpin’ Jack Flash and Sister Act. The soundtrack Sister Act sold over half a million units in America, achieving gold status, and spent 54 weeks on the Billboard Pop Top 200 Album chart. The track has also been used in marketing campaigns across the USA and in Europe. The original version of “Rescue Me” was utilised in a TV advertising campaign by American Express. It was also adapted as the jingle for a 1991 TV ad campaign for Pizza Hut. As recently as 2009, “Rescue Me” was used in a TV ad campaign by TENA, a Sweden subsidiary of SCA, which manufactures medical products for men and women with bladder weakness and incontinence problems! “Rescue Me” also featured in an advertisement campaign in summer 2011 conducted by British Gas.
In the early sixties, Fontella Bass met a well-known jazz trumpeter, Lester Bowie, whom she later married. In 1969 they moved to Paris.