She soon became a crooner in her own right, fronting several local bands before heading to Chicago, where she landed a contract with Chess Records. Teaming up with Bobby McClure, the pair scored their first hits with two early 1965 duets, "Don't Mess Up a Good Thing" and "You'll Miss Me (When I'm Gone)."
But it was later that fall when Bass made her mark as a solo artist, cowriting "Rescue Me," a stirring ditty that soared to the top of Billboard's Hot 100 R&B chart and remained there for four straight weeks.
The song peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard pop charts, sold over a million copies and was covered by the likes of Aretha Franklin, Linda Ronstadt, Cher and Pat Benatar, among others. It also made notable appearances in such '90s films as Sister Act and In the Army Now.