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R.I.P. Pamela Hutchinson, The Emotions Singer Dies at 61

on September 21, 2020, 2:17pm

Pamela Hutchinson, a member of the famed R&B trio The Emotions, died Friday (September 18th) at the age of 61. A post on The Emotions’ Facebook page confirmed the news on Sunday.

“In loving memory, we are saddened to announce the passing of our sister, Pamela Rose Hutchinson,” read the posting. “Pam succumbed to health challenges that she’d been battling for several years. Now our beautiful sister will sing amongst the angels in heaven in perfect peace.”

Hutchinson’s sisters Wanda, Jeanette, and Sheila began performing gospel music as the Hutchinson Sunbeams in the early ’60s. By the end of the decade, though, they’d pivoted to making soul and disco music as The Emotions, releasing their Isaac Hayes/David Porter-produced debut in 1969.

The Chicago-based girl group found relative fame in the early ’70s. But it was nothing compared to mainstream success achieved a few years later when Pamela finally joined The Emotions lineup, replacing sister Jeanette, and the newly-minted trio began working with Maurice White of Earth, Wind & Fire.

Their 1976 album Flowers peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Top R&B Albums chart and was eventually certified gold. However, it was their 1977 single “Best of My Love” that truly made them a household name, and remains the song Pamela is most known for today. The track reached No. 1 on the Billboard Pop and R&B charts, and won a Grammy for Best R&B Vocal Performance By A Duo, Group, Or Chorus. It’s since been sampled by the likes of Kanye West, 50 Cent, LL Cool J, Killer Mike, Big Daddy Kane, and more.

The Emotions’ scored another massive hit in 1979 alongside Earth, Wind & Fire with their collaborative track, “Boogie Wonderland”, which landed them a Grammy nomination for Best Disco Recording.

Aside from Earth, Wind & Fire, The Emotions appeared on tracks with Nancy Wilson, Smokey Robinson, LL Cool J, and Snoop Dogg.