Remembering True R&B Diva: Angela Bofill’s 5 Most Iconic Songs

The legendary singer/songwriter who passed away on June 13, is one of the most revered vocalists of her generation.

On June 13, the music world lost a legend with the passing of singer/songwriter Angela Bofill. She was 70

During the late 70s and 80s, Bofill was a mainstay in R&B with a one-of-a-kind discography that included melancholic, heart-wrenching songs about the struggles of love that struck a chord with her loyal fans. But she could also bring the dance floor vibes with several disco and post-disco cuts that are still beloved to this day. Her unique sound was the soundtrack for many women who came of age during the height of her popularity. She was also a trailblazer as one of the few Latina performers to garner success in R&B and jazz with a majority Black following.

Because of her musical dexterity, as a graduate of the prestigious Manhattan School of Music where she earned a Bachelor of Music degree in 1976, Bofill seamlessly sang R&B, jazz, pop, easy listening, and the blues with her passionate vocal prowess--an extremely rare combination.

In her illustrious career, Bofill released 10 studio albums, numerous hit singles and also provided background vocals for singers like Diana Ross, Kirk Whalum, and several others. She was also inducted into the Women Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2023. 

Although she never achieved mainstream success, she was an incredible live performer and a singer’s singer.

After two debilitating strokes in 2006 and 2007, she returned to performing in 2011, much to the delight of her adoring fans. Being back on stage was where she always wanted to be.

“I feel happy performing again,” Bofill said in an interview with the Washington Post at the time. “I need a crowd. In the blood, entertain. Any time a crowd comes to see me, I’m surprised. No sing no more and still, people come. Wow. Impressed.”

To honor her unforgettable legacy, here are 5 of Angela Bofill’s Most Iconic Songs.

  • This Time I’ll Be Sweeter, 1978

    Co-written by Pat Grant and Gwen Guthrie, “This Time I’ll Be Sweeter” was first recorded by Martha Reeves of Martha Reeves and the Vandellas in 1975. Eventually, Bofill recorded the song on her debut album Angie and she made it her own. Produced by Dave Grusin, "This Time I'll Be Sweeter" became Bofill’s first bonafide hit in 1978, peaking at #23 on the Hot Soul Singles chart.

  • Angel of the Night, 1979

    On her sophomore album, Bofill showed her flexibility as a vocalist on “Angel of the Night.” Blending influences of R&B/Latin jazz with splashes of New York disco, Bofill’s charisma and vocal stylings are second to none on this deep cut. Upon its release, “Angel of the Night” was a club classic and a fan favorite that she would perform live for decades.

  • I Try, 1979

    An instant quiet storm classic, Bofill penned “I Try” from her Angel of the Night LP in 1979.  When it comes to exuding the complexities of love and relationships, “I Try” is one of the gold standards of R&B. Bofill passionately sang in the chorus, “You know that I tried to be with you/You know that I wanted to see it through/You know that I needed to make you mine/It was only a matter of time. The classic tune would be coveted by the likes of Will Downing, Leela James, Peabo Bryson, and several others proving Bofill’s brilliance as a singer and songwriter.

  • What I Wouldn’t Do (For the Love of You), 1979

    Set against the sonic backdrop of a slick, funky mid-tempo track, “What I Wouldn’t Do (For the Love of You)” is another gem from her Angel of the Night album. Peaking at 18 on the Hot Soul Singles, “What I Wouldn’t Do (For the Love of You),” showed the world that she could do more than ballads but she could also sing a jam that could get the club going.

  • I’m On Your Side, 1983

    "I'm on Your Side" was written by Bofill, Jeffrey Cohen, and Narada Michael Walden and captures her at her absolute best. Released in 1983 her fourth studio album Too Tough, the track once again displayed Bofill’s penchant to tap into the yearnings and desires of the realities of relationships. “I’m On Your Side” was another top 20 R&B hit for Bofill, continuing her streak of successful songs that have resonated deeper than any chart could ever measure.

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