Dorothy Love Coates
The songstress behind the hits of such legendary recording artists as Johnny Cash and Ray Charles, gospel singer/songwriter Dorothy Love Coates penned and recorded over 300 songs throughout her enduring career and even found time to make a few onscreen appearances. Born Dorothy McGriff in Birmingham, AL, in 1928, the eager youngster founded the Royal Gospel Singers while still in her early teens. Later joining the Original Gospel Harmonettes and rising through the ranks to become lead singer/songwriter, Coates became a noted success while playing popular venues across the country, often charging a mere one-dollar admission fee. Eventually her songs were recorded by some of the most famed artists of the 20th century. Coates also made appearances in films such as The Long Walk Home (1990) and Beloved (1998); her song "No Hiding Place" was used in the 1990 supernatural romance Ghost. In early April of 2002, Coates died of in Birmingham, AL, after suffering numerous heart problems. She was 74.