Barbara Acklin (February 28, 1943 - November 27, 1998) was an R&B/soul singer-songwriter with powerful, expressive vocals who became famous during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Her best known songs include the catchy "Love Makes A Woman" (1968) and the jazz-infused "Am I The Same Girl" (1969), the latter of which is the original sung version of Young-Holt Unlimited's "Soulful Strut." An accomplished songwriter, Acklin also penned many hit songs for other artists that include The Chi-Lites 1971 smash, "Have You Seen Her," co-written with the band's lead singer, Eugene Record.
Born in Oakland, California and raised in Chicago, she sang as a soloist at her church as a child and began performing in nightclubs in her teens. While working as a secretary at St. Lawrence Records, she released her first recording (as Barbara Allen) which was produced by her cousin, saxophonist Monk Higgins. She also worked at Chess Records as a backing singer for Fontella Bass, Etta James, and others. Acklin had her first major songwriting success in 1966 with "Whispers (Gettin' Louder)," a wistful R&B ballad co-written with David Scott that became a top hit for Jackie Wilson. Wilson then helped her land a recording contract with Brunswick Records.
Barbara Acklin debuted on the R&B charts in 1968 with "Show Me The Way To Go," a duet with Gene Chandler. Her fame took off later that year with "Love Makes A Woman" (1968), which became an R&B Top 5 hit and made the Pop/Rock Top 20. This smash was followed by another duet with Gene Chandler, "From The Teacher To The Preacher" (1968). Acklin's many hits, which continued on both charts through the mid 1970s, also include "Just Ain't No Love" (1968), "Am I The Same Girl" (1969), "After You" (1969), "I Did It" (1970), and "Raindrops" (1974). Her final charting song came in 1975 with "Give Me Some Of Your Sweet Love," a minor R&B hit.
Acklin continued her songwriting partnership with Eugene Record through the 1970s and co-wrote several other hits for The Chi-Lites that include "Stoned Out Of My Mind" (1973), "Toby" (1974) and "Too Good To Be Forgotten" (1975). She continued to tour solo and also served as a backing singer for The Chi-Lites, Tyrone Davis, and various other acts. In 1998, she had begun recording a new album when she fell ill and passed away from pneumonia.
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- The Independent remembers Barbara Acklin.
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- After You 1969
(R&B chart hit)
- Am I The Same Girl 1969
(This song, which uses "Soulful Strut" by Young-Holt Unlimited as its instrumental track, later also became a hit for Swing Out Sister (1992).)
- Be By My Side 1969
(B-side of "Am I The Same Girl.")
- I Call It Trouble 1972
(R&B chart hit)
- I Did It 1970
- I'm Living With A Memory 1970
(B-side of "I Did It")
- Just Ain't No Love 1968
- Lady Lady Lady 1971
(R&B chart hit)
- Love Makes A Woman 1968
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