Betty Everett (November 23, 1939 – August 19, 2001) was an American soul singer and pianist, best known for her biggest hit single, the million-selling “Shoop Shoop Song (It’s In His Kiss)”, and her duet “Let It Be Me” with Jerry Butler.
Until her death, Everett resided with her sister in South Beloit, Illinois, where she was involved in the Rhythm & Blues Foundation and the churches of the Fountain of Life and New Covenant. In 1989, a handler of Everett brought her to the attention of Worldwide TMA, a management consulting firm in Chicago. Under the direction of Steve Arvey and Scott Pollack, former Chairman of The Chicago Songwriters Association, the firm started work on reviving Everett’s singing career. Within a year she contracted with Pollack taking on all management decisions and management financing.
In 1990, her signature hit, “The Shoop Shoop Song (It’s in His Kiss)”, had been used in the movie Mermaids for the end credits, and recorded by the star of the film, Cher. This reached #1 in the UK Singles Chart and charted well elsewhere in Europe.
Everett had secured an indie label deal in the US and a new single “Don’t Cry Now” had been recorded, penned by Larry Weiss (Trumpet Records, unreleased). In connection to the preceding events, Everett was booked and aired a 20-minute appearance on the hit TV show at the time, Current Affair. She was then booked to star at the 1991 Chicago Blues Festival which aired live worldwide on over 400 PBS radio channels, marking Everett’s last live appearance on radio. Later that year, two concerts were booked for consecutive weekends in late October 1991; one at Trump’s Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, the other at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. All had been arranged through management and Charles McMillan, Jerry Butler’s longtime friend and personal manager. However, Everett declined to show for the engagements. Despite exposure, she was unable to resurrect her career because of health problems.
She was inducted into the Rhythm and Blues Foundation’s Hall Of Fame in 1996 and, about four years later, made her last public appearance on the PBS special Doo Wop 51, along with her former singing partner, Jerry Butler. This, according to The Independent (c. August 2001), was met with raves about the brief reunion where she “brought the house down”. Butler, in his autobiography, Only The Strong Survive, compared Betty with Gladys Knight as a singer in that she seemed to do everything so effortlessly.
Everett died at her home in Beloit, Wisconsin, on August 19, 2001; she was 61.
On June 25, 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed Betty Everett among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire.