Music

The Emotions’ Pamela Hutchinson Dead at 61

Pamela Hutchinson of the R&B girl group the Emotions died Friday, September 18, the band announced on Facebook. “Pam succumbed to health challenges that she’d been battling for several years,” the group wrote. “Now our beautiful sister will sing amongst the angels in heaven in perfect peace.” She was 61 years old.

Hutchinson was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1958. As a child, her sisters Wanda, Sheila, and Jeanette performed with their father, Joe, in a group called the Hutchinson Sunbeams. In the late 1960s, they rebranded as the Emotions and signed with an imprint of Stax Records. There, the Emotions released a debut album, 1969’s So I Can Love You, produced by Isaac Hayes and David Porter. The record’s title track charted at No. 39 on the Hot 100. A second record, Untouched, arrived in 1972 with the single “Show Me How.”

After Stax closed shop, the Emotions signed with Columbia and teamed up with Maurice White of Earth, Wind & Fire. The Emotions gained their first Grammy nomination for their feature on the the band’s 1979 song “Boogie Wonderland.” In 1976, they released an album titled Flowers, which spawned two successful singles, the title track and “I Don’t Want to Lose Your Love,” which hit No. 4 on the Dance/Club charts. Pamela joined the group before their followup, 1977’s Rejoice, which featured the Emotions’ biggest hit: “Best of My Love” reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and won the group a Grammy for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo, Group or Chorus.

The Emotions went on to release five more albums into the mid-1980s (Sunbeam, Come Into Our World, New Affair, Sincerely, and If Only I Knew). The Emotions have been sampled on songs by A Tribe Called Quest, Primal Scream, Big Daddy Kane, Kanye West, LL Cool J, and more. In 2006, they appeared on Snoop Dog’s album Tha Blue Carpet Treatment.

Read more about the Emotions and their hit “Best of My Love” in Pitchfork’s feature “The Story of Girl Groups in 45 Songs.”

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