Ruby Wilson, the blues, soul and gospel singer known as the Queen of Beale Street, has died. She was 68.
Rollin Riggs, a partner at Resource Management Group, said Wilson died at a Memphis hospital on Friday after having suffered a heart attack the previous Saturday and never regaining consciousness.
A biography provided by Riggs said Wilson was born in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1948 and grew up singing in her church choir. She moved to Memphis in 1972, and became a fixture at Beale Street nightclubs, including B.B. King’s Blues Club, where she had regular weekly performances.
Wilson recorded 10 albums and performed with Ray Charles, The Four Tops, Isaac Hayes, King and others. She also performed in Europe and Asia and at the New Orleans Jazz Heritage Festival.
Wilson appeared in films including The People vs. Larry Flynt and The Chamber. She also sang in the choirs of several churches, including Rev. Al Green’s Full Gospel Tabernacle in Memphis. Wilson had recovered from a 2009 stroke to continue her career, and had performed at a benefit last week, Riggs said.
She was an extraordinary ambassador for Memphis, and soul, and RB and gospel. She had an exceptional stage presence that made you fall in love with her, no matter what style she was singing.’