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Passings: Denise LaSalle (1939 - 2017)

by VVN Music

Denise LaSalle, the R&B and Blues singer who topped the R&B chart in 1971 with "Trapped By a Thing Called Love", died on Monday (January 8) at the age of 78.  She was suffering from heart problems and complications from a fall last year that caused her to have a leg amputated.

LaSalle was nominated earlier today in the category of Soul Blues Female Artist for the Blues Music Awards.

Born in Sidon, MS, she moved to Chicago in the early-60's where she sat in with bands and began writing music. In 1967, she signed with Chess Records where she had a modest regional hit with "A Love Reputation".

LaSalle's first chart success actually came as a writer on the song "Hey Romeo" (1970 / #34 R&B) by the Sequins but, the following year, she would have her first major recording success with "Trapped By a Thing Called Love" (1971 / #13 Pop / #1 R&B).  She followed the next year with "Now Run and Tell That" (1972 / #46 Pop / #3 R&B) and "Man Sized Job" (1972 / #55 Pop / #4 R&B).

After a series of lesser charting songs, she once again hit the top twenty with "Married But Not to Each Other" (1976 / #16 R&B) which went on to become a major country hit the next year when Barbara Mandrell took the song to number 3. Denise also reached the top ten one more time with "Love Me Right" (1978 / #80 Pop / #10 R&B).

In the early 1980's, she signed with Malaco Records in a relationship that would last two decades and produce numerous critically acclaimed albums. She has also been a major attraction at blues festivals for many years and, in 2011, was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame and, in 2015, the Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame.

LaSalle also owned the Blues Legend Cafe in Jackson, TN.