Edna Wright, the lead singer of the girl group Honey Cone, has died at the age of 76, her sister, Darlene Love, confirmed in a Facebook post.
Love wrote that she was in “complete shock and so heartbroken” over the death of her sister. Love did not say what her Wright’s cause of death was but wrote that it was “sudden.” Love ended the post writing, “Please keep me and my family in your prayers during this very sad time for us.”
Wright was also a backup singer for Ray Charles and The Righteous Brothers. Wright performed for a time under the moniker Sandy Wynns.
Wright Began Her Music Career as a Gospel Singer
According to Wright’s bio on All Music, she was a native of Los Angele and was involved in the music business before her association with Honey Cone. Wright’s first group was known as The Blossoms. The bio says that both Love and Wright began by singing gospel music with the Church of God in Christ Singers but later switched completely to “secular” RnB.
Wright Formed Honey Cone in 1969, the Group Released Their Biggest Hit ‘Want Ads’ in 1971
Wright formed Honey Cone in 1969 alongside Shellie Clark and Carolyn Wills. Clark was formerly a backup singer with Ike & Tina Turner. The group’s biggest hit was 1971’s “Want Ads.” The song was covered by Taylor Dane in 1988. The group split in 1973 after a string of failed singles. Wright pursued a solo career, singing back-up vocals for many artists and releasing a solo album Oops! Here I Go Again in 1976. Honey Cone was signed to the record label Hot Wax. In 1988, Wright sang back-up vocals on U2’s single “Desire.”
Wright’s most recent activity on Facebook saw her share a photo with RnB legend Martha Reeves. One fan paid tribute to Wright on the Honey Cone official Facebook page writing, “I love you so much my beautiful prayer partner Edna Wright, my heart is broken. You are so amazing and spirit-filled. You now rejoice with God! I will always Love you! REST QUEEN!”
Wright’s Pastor Father Did Not Object to Her Singing Career Because of His Belief That All Music Is ‘Spiritual’
Wright told Jet magazine in September 1971 that her father was a pastor at King’s Holiness Chapel in Los Angeles. Wright said that her father did not object to her career choice as he believed that all music was “spiritual.” In the same interview, Wright said that she still found time to volunteer with children at a church. She said:
I know what they’re going through because of the type of church they’re in. I used to be their Sunday school teacher and young people’s president and also choir director. After being out in the world, I feel that I can explain the outside world to them and help them with problems of growing up and trying to be Christian.
One section of the book, The Billboard Book of Number One Hits, details that in the 1960s, Wright met the disgraced producer, Phil Spector. Spector’s associate, Jack Nitzsche, produced Honey Cone’s early work.