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February 8, 2020

The “Godmother of Soul”: Beautiful Pics of Patti Labelle Photographed by Mario Casilli in 1985

Born 1944 as Patricia Louise Holte in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, American singer, songwriter, actress, and businesswoman Patti LaBelle is a dramatic soprano and is noted for her vocal power, range and emotive delivery. She began her career in the early 1960s as lead singer and front woman of the vocal group, Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles.

After the group split in 1976, LaBelle began a successful solo career, starting with her critically acclaimed debut album, which included the career-defining song, “You Are My Friend”. She became a mainstream solo star in 1984 following the success of the singles, “If Only You Knew”, “New Attitude” and “Stir It Up”, with the latter two crossing over to pop audiences and becoming radio staples.

In 1986, LaBelle scored with the number-one album, Winner in You and the number-one duet single, "On My Own", with Michael McDonald. She eventually won a 1992 Grammy for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for her 1991 album, Burnin', followed by a second Grammy win for the live album, Live! One Night Only. Her 1990s albums, Burnin', Gems (1994) and Flame (1997), continued her popularity with young R&B audiences throughout the decade.

LaBelle's success has extended as an actress with a notable role in the film, A Soldier's Story, and in TV shows such as A Different World and American Horror Story: Freak Show. In 1992, LaBelle starred in her own TV sitcom, Out All Night. A decade later, LaBelle hosted her own lifestyle TV show, Living It Up with Patti LaBelle on TV One.

In a career that has spanned fifty years, LaBelle has sold more than 50 million records worldwide. She has been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and the Apollo Theater Hall of Fame. She also was included in Rolling Stone on their list of 100 Greatest Singers.

Take a look at these beautiful pics that photographer Mario Casilli took portrait of Patti Labelle in 1985.


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