Minnie Riperton: The 'Lovin' You' Whistle Singer And Maya Rudolph's Mom

By Jacob Shelton
R&B singer Minnie Riperton poses for a portrait in August 1975 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Minnie Riperton, the singer behind "Lovin' You," one of the most beautiful songs of the '70s was never able to capitalize on her success. She died too young when she was only 31 years old from complications due to breast cancer. She had a remarkable vocal range which allowed her to hit notes in a register that's as high as a human voice can go. But it's not just that she could sing high, Riperton had an ear for melody. That's what makes her music so special.

One of Riperton's children, Maya Rudolph, grew up to be an icon in her own right. As the star of Saturday Night Live and Bridesmaids (among many other credits) Rudolph often recalls her mother in her work. Riperton was lost too soon, and while her death certainly affected her fans, it was her children who felt the loss most heavily.