Pamela Hutchinson, a member of the influential R&B group The Emotions, has died at the age of 61. The group confirmed the singer’s passing in a statement posted on social media. “In loving memory, we are saddened to announce the passing of our sister, Pamela Rose Hutchinson, on Friday, September 18, 2020,” the statement reads. “Pam succumbed to health challenges that she’d been battling for several years. Now our beautiful sister will sing amongst the angels in heaven in perfect peace.”
The group started out in Chicago in the 1960s as a gospel group of three sisters — Shelia, Wanda, and Jeanette — then known as the Hutchinson Sunbeams. After changing their name to The Emotions, they signed with the legendary R&B label Stax, working with producers Isaac Hayes and David Porter. Though not an original member of the band, Pamela joined The Emotions in he mid-70s and sang on many of their biggest crossover hits, including the massive ‘Best of My Love’ from their 1976 album Flowers. At that point, the group had signed to Columbia Records and struck a creative partnership with Earth, Wind & Fire’s Maurice White, with whom they collaborated on the 1979 disco hit ‘Boogie Wonderland’.
Pamela only appeared on one of the group’s studio albums, though the Grammy-winning trio released a total of nine LPs throughout their decade-spanning career. The singer eventually rejoined the group in the 2000s, during which time they guested on Earth, Wind & Fire’s 2003 single ‘All in the Way’ and teamed up with Snoop Dog for the 2006 track ‘Life’. The group also made an appearance on Terrace Martin’s 2016 album Velvet Portraits and have been sampled by many hip-hop artists, including Tupac, Kanye West, De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, The Notorious B.I.G., and more.
“During this time, the family kindly asks for fans and friends to respect our privacy. We appreciate all kind words, photos, and videos you may want to post for our beloved Pamela and of course your loving prayers,” The Emotions’ statement concluded. “A life so beautifully lived deserves to be beautifully remembered. We love you, Pamela!”