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Yvonne Fair (October 21, 1942 – March 6, 1994) was an American singer, best known for her 1975 recording of "It Should Have Been Me".

Yvonne Fair
Birth nameFlora Yvonne Coleman
Born(1942-10-21)21 October 1942
Richmond, Virginia, United States
Died6 March 1994(1994-03-06) (aged 51)
Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Years active1970–1994


Born as Flora Yvonne Coleman in Richmond, Virginia, Fair's early jobs included work with the Chantels and the James Brown Revue.[1] While performing with Brown, she recorded the song "I Found You", which he later re-worked into his own signature hit "I Got You (I Feel Good)".

She signed to Motown Records in the early 1970s and had a small part as a singer in the film Lady Sings the Blues (1972).[1] Fair worked with producer Norman Whitfield on a series of singles: "Love Ain't No Toy", "Walk Out the Door If You Wanna", and her cover version of "Funky Music Sho' 'Nuff Turns Me On".[1] All these featured on her only album for Motown in 1975 called The Bitch Is Black, which was re-released on CD for the first time more than 30 years later.

Her cover of "It Should Have Been Me" reached the low end of the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1976.[1] The track proved a big hit in the UK, where it climbed to number 5 in February 1976, Fair's only UK hit record.[2] In addition, the song featured in a special episode of BBC TV programme The Vicar of Dibley, entitled "The Handsome Stranger", originally broadcast on 25 December 2006.

Personal lifeEdit

She was married to Sammy Strain, who was a member of both Little Anthony and the Imperials and the O'Jays.[3] Strain is one of the few artists in music history that is a double Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee, having been inducted with the O'Jays in 2005, and the Imperials in 2009.

Fair had two children: Leroy Fair Jr. and (with James Brown) Venisha Brown.


Yvonne Fair died at the age of 51, from cancer in Las Vegas, Nevada, on March 6, 1994.


  • The Bitch Is Black (1975), reissued by Reel Music as CD (2009).


Motown releases (USA)Edit

  • "Stay A Little Longer" b/w "We Should Never Be Lonely, My Love" (1970, S 35075)
  • "Funky Music Sho Nuff Turns Me On" b/w "Let Your Hair Down" (1974, M 1306F)
  • "Walk Out The Door If You Wanna" b/w "It Should Have Been Me" (1974, M 1323F)
  • "It's Bad For Me To See You" b/w "You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover" (1975, M 1344F)
  • "Love Ain't No Toy" b/w "You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover" (1975, M 1354F)
  • "It Should Have Been Me" b/w "Tell Me Something Good" (1976, M 1384F)

Tamla Motown releases (UK)Edit

  • "Funky Music Sho' 'Nuff Turns Me On" b/w "Let Your Hair Down" (1974, TMG 913)
  • "It Should Have Been Me" b/w "You Can't Judge a Book by Its Cover" (1975, TMG 1013)
  • "It's Bad for Me to See You" b/w "Walk Out the Door If You Wanna" (1976, TMG 1025)[4]

In mediaEdit

Fair was portrayed by Tika Sumpter in the 2014 James Brown biopic, Get on Up.


  1. ^ a b c d "Biography by John Lowe". Retrieved 3 January 2009.
  2. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 192. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  3. ^ Rock, Doc. "The Dead Rock Stars Club 1994 - 1995". Retrieved 8 June 2018.
  4. ^ Vinylnet website Archived July 2, 2007, at the Wayback Machine

External linksEdit