Illinois History Minutes

November 8 Illinois History Minute


It’s November 8th. And actress Ethel Clayton was born in Champaign on this day in 1882. Clayton acted on Broadway and became a star of silent movies such “The Young Mrs. Winthrop” and “A City Sparrow”. But she dropped down to minor roles with the coming of sound.

Ethel Clayton made her last film in 1947, the same year that singer Minnie Riperton was born, on this day in Chicago. Riperton sang and recorded with two R&B groups, the Gems and Rotary Connection, before striking out on her own. Her biggest hit single as a solo artist was “Lovin’ You”, which she co-wrote with her husband Richard Rudolph, and released in 1975. The recording featured electric keyboard accompaniment from Stevie Wonder, credited for contractual reasons as “El Toro Negro”. The gentle ballad was notable for the wordless high notes from Riperton in the song’s bridge. Using the whistle register, the human voice’s highest register, Riperton sang an F-sharp, two octaves above middle C.