Lyn Collins (Gloria Lavern Collins, June 12, 1948 – March 13, 2005), was an African-American soul singer best known for working with James Brown in the 1970s and for the influential 1972 funk single "Think (About It)".
Born in Abilene, Texas, U.S.A., she began her recording career aged 14. Her biggest solo hit was the James Brown-produced gospel-style song "Think (About It)", from her 1972 album of the same name on People Records. The song contains five breaks which have been widely sampled in hip-hop and drum and bass, most famously, the "Yeah! Woo!" and "It takes two to make a thing go right" loops in Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock's "It Takes Two" which is composed almost completely from samples of Think including a few lines of Collins' vocals. Furthermore, it was used in the early sociocritical eurodance classic I Can't Stand It by Twenty 4 Seven. Another album followed in 1975 Check Me Out If You Don't Know Me by Now. After the release of this album, she returned to performing mainly as a back-up vocalist.
In the late 1980s and early '90s, Collins attempted a comeback as a dance/club diva, recording the house single "Shout" for Belgium's ARS label. In 1993, Collins' profile was given a boost by female dancehall singer Patra, who invited Collins to perform on her hit remake of "Think (About It)"; partly due to the resulting interest, her two official albums were reissued in England and the Netherlands. Collins continued to tour and perform, most notably at the European Jazz/Funk Festival (in both 1998 and 1999) and the Montreux Jazz Festival.
In February 2005, Collins embarked on her first ever solo tour. For three weeks, she performed in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The tour was produced by the Soulpower organization. Shortly after returning from her European tour, Collins died aged 56 in Pasadena, California, of cardiac arrhythmia.
In 2006, Paris-based Hi&Fly Records released a live album entitled Mama Feelgood, which included recordings from her European tour and some interview clips. This release was produced by German-born DJ Pari, who has also produced for Marva Whitney and who has managed Collins' last tour. An official anthology CD, also called Mama Feelgood, was released on Universal Music that same year.
In October 2004, "Rock Me Again And Again" and "Think (About It)" featured on the Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas soundtrack, playing on fictional radio station Master Sounds 98.3.
"Rock Me Again And Again" was covered by synth band The Human League on their 1984 album Hysteria.
Bruce Springsteen's song "Shackled and Drawn", from his 2012 album Wrecking Ball, and Ludacris' song "Southern Fried Intro", from his 2003 album Chicken-n-Beer, both feature an excerpt from Collins' song "Me And My Baby Got Our Own Thing Going."
Contrary to some reports, she is not related to Bootsy and Catfish Collins.
This biography originally appeared on the back of the UK re-release of "Check Me Out If You Don't Know Me By Now".
Following in the high-heeled footsteps of Yvonne Fair, Sugar Pie DeSanto, Anna King, Vicki Anderson and Marva Whitney, throughout the first half of the seventies Lyn Collins - "Mama Feelgood, The Female Preacher" - was the principal voice of the James Brown Revue.
Lyn was born in Abilene, Texas on June 12th 1948. During her late teens she sang proffessionally locally but didn't get an outside break until, after seeing the James Brown show a time or three, she decided to hone in on the Godfather sending a demo to him c/o King records. At first he didn't react but there must have been something memorable about the demo, for when Marva Whitney left his show in January 1970 he contacted Lyn and instructed "Be ready".
It still wasn't immediate acceptance because Vicki Anderson, who had been with the revue in the mid sixties, rejoined the team for a further two years. During this period James first recorded five tracks on Lyn at Bobby Smith's Studio in Macon, Georgia, February 15th 1971. Two cuts from the session, Wheels of Life and Just Won't Do Right, were twice scheduled for release on the King and People labels but only finally emerged on Polydor in December 1971, when it was clear that Vicki was packing up and shipping out again.
(This is a recurring pattern with James, and an object lesson for all aspiring band/revue leaders. Always have a replacement - whether a singer, an appropriate musician or an entire band - on hold in the wings, ready to immediately forward to fill a void.) When Vicki left again, Lyn Collins stepped into the spotlight to become soul sister No. 1.
The most commercially succesful of all of James Brown's funky femme fatales, Lyn's JB-produced hits included Think (About It) and, in duet with James What My Baby Needs Now (both 1972); Mama Feelgood, How Long Can I Keep It Up, Take Me Just As I Am and We Want to Parrty, Parrty, Parrty, (1973).
This album, her second, contains several of her most popular recordings a fine mix of funk and soul balladry. If you don't know her by now, check it out. And watch the announcement columns: at the time of writing it seems likely that Lyn Collins will be back to party very soon.