DAMITA JO

Born Damita Jo DeBlanc, 5 August 1930, Austin, Texas
Died 25 December 1998, Baltimore, Maryland

Damita Jo DeBlanc (usually misspelled DuBlanc) has been active in both music and comedy since the '50s. In 1950 she joined the group of her future husband Steve Gibson, The 5 Red Caps and provided the vocals on their 1952 hit, "I Went To Your Wedding" (# 20 pop), on RCA Victor. After four years of marriage, Damita and Steve were divorced in 1958, but she remained the featured vocalist of the group until 1960. In that year she scored her first solo hit, with "I'll Save The Last Dance For You" (# 22 pop, # 16 R&B), being a clever answer record to the Drifters' "Save the Last Dance For Me". Her other big hit, "I'll Be There" from 1961 (# 12 pop, # 15 R&B), was also an answer record, this time to Ben E. King's "Stand By Me". These two hits were on Mercury. She had her final chart entry on Epic, in 1966, with "If You Go Away", an adaptation of Jacques Brel's "Ne Me Quitte Pas", with English lyrics by Rod McKuen. In the seventies she was a regular on Red Foxx's television show. She also toured with the comedian. Retiring in Baltimore, she later turned to gospel music, releasing an album of religious material in 1985. Damito Jo died of respiratory illness at the age of 58.

CD: The Very Best of Damita Jo (Collectables, 1997).

 
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