Merrilee Rush is a pop/rock singer with a clear, angelic voice who became famous during the late 1960s. She is best known for the hauntingly beautiful and then-risque "Angel Of The Morning," a lushly orchestrated pop-country ballad about a one-night stand.
Born Merrilee Gunst in Seattle, Washington, she studied classical piano as a child. In 1960, she became the lead singer for a local rock band led by saxophonist Neil Rush whom she would later marry. The pair formed Merrilee & Her Men in 1962 before joining a local R&B group known as Tiny Tony & The Statics. In 1965, Neil and Merrilee Rush formed The Turnabouts that performed locally and also served as the opening act for such bands as Paul Revere & The Raiders. She later worked with producer Chips Moman who arranged to have her record the Chip Taylor-penned "Angel Of The Morning."
Rush debuted on the Pop/Rock charts in 1968 with "Angel Of The Morning," which became a Top 10 hit. Originally recorded by Evie Sands in 1967, this extensively covered song first charted for Danny Michaels that same year and later became a smash hit for Juice Newton in 1981. Rush's version of this pop-country standard (credited to Merrilee Rush & The Turnabouts) earned her a Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary-Pop Vocal Performance, Female and later went gold. She had several other hits through 1977 that also included "That Kind Of Woman" (1968), a cover of The Four Tops' "Reach Out" (1968), a cover of the Carole King-penned "Child Of Mine" (1971), and "Save Me" (1977).
Throughout the late 1960s-1970s, Rush made numerous TV appearances on such shows as "American Bandstand," "The Joey Bishop Show," and "The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour," and she has continued to tour and record actively over the years. She was inducted into the Northwest Area Music Association Hall of Fame in 1989.
- Merrilee Rush discusses her career and the making of "Angel Of The Morning" in an interview with Gary James of classicbands.com.
- For more info on Merrilee Rush's history and current projects, plus her account of how The Turnabouts got their name, visit merrileerush.com.
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Merrilee Rush And The Turnabouts
- Angel Of The Morning 1968
(This song later also became a hit for Juice Newton (1981).)
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