Marva Whitney, who rose to fame as part of the James Brown Revue, died on December 22nd in her hometown of Kansas City. She was 68 years old.
Born Marva Ann Manning in Kansas City, she joined the James Brown Revue in 1967 and was nicknamed “Soul Sister #1.″ She had modest success as a solo artist as well.
Her breakthrough solo single “Unwind Yourself,” found renewed popularity as the sample behind the breakbeat record “The 900 Number” by DJ Mark the 45 King.
Whitney’s biggest solo hit was a response to the Isley Brothers’ “It’s Your Thing” called, “It’s My Thing (You Can’t Tell Me Who to Sock It To),” released in 1969. It was also later sampled by Public Enemy, N.W.A. and EPMD, among other artists.
Whitney died of complications of pneumonia and is survived by survived by her mother, five brothers, two children, five grandchildren and two great grandchildren.