Bettye LaVette’s standout performance: “Love Reign O’er Me” at the 2008 Kennedy Center Honors
We’re honored to welcome Bettye LaVette to the guest roster of our 80th Birthday Celebration of Songwriter Mike Stoller, now numbering more than two dozen artists. Mike Stoller and his lyricist partner Jerry Leiber made one of the greatest songwriting teams of all times.
Enjoy Bettye’s responses to our “Stoller Q&A.”
What’s your favorite Leiber and Stoller song?
There are too many to name just one.
What artists would you like to perform with whom you haven’t yet?
I’d enjoy singing with Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard or Bobby Womack.
What is your favorite “guilty pleasure” song?
“Travelin’ Man” by Ricky Nelson, but I don’t feel guilty about it.
What was your first professional gig?
A dance at the Ypsilanti, Michigan, Community Center in 1962
Is there one performance in your career that particularly stands out?
I think performing “Love Reign O’er Me” at the 2008 Kennedy Center Honors was my best performance to date. I made Pete Townshend cry, Barbara Streisand gasp, and I was seen by more television viewers than had ever seen me before.
What artists do you listen to now / who’s on your playlist?
While I don’t listen to a lot of music, I always enjoy listening to Ray Charles, George Jones, the Temptations (with David & Eddie), Johnny Hartman, Bobby Bland, James Booker and a few others.
If you weren’t a performer, what would you do?
Probably join the circus.