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Summit Insights | Barbara Lynn

Never Lose A Good Thing

Summit Strategy Group salutes Barbara Lynn who turns 80 this month and has never lost her good thing.

Known for her emotion-packed singing, songwriting, and a unique left-handed guitar style, the Beaumont, Texas native scored her first national hit nearly 60 years ago. But Barbara deserves to be just as famous for her resolve. There was no easy path in 1962 for an African American woman from the Deep South to climb to the top of the national music scene.

“I knew from a young girl that I wanted to be a singer,” Barbara says. “I had never heard of a female playing guitar, but I had my mind on music so strong. I was determined.”

Barbara formed a band and started gigging while still a high schooler, her mother tagging along each evening to chaperone at clubs. By the time a producer took her to New Orleans’ J&M Studio to record a few of her original songs, Barbara was still only 20, and the studio band included 21-year-year old Mac “Dr. John” Rebbenack.

The results were magic. “You’ll Lose a Good Thing” ascended to #1 on the R&B chart and made it into the Billboard Top Ten. She was invited to perform on American Bandstand twice. Younger Americans know the song from the “Hairspray” soundtrack. Another Barbara composition from the era, “Oh Baby (We Got a Good Thing Goin’)”, was recorded by the Rolling Stones.

She is still performing several shows each year and in 2018, Barbara reached another height when she was named a NEA National Heritage Fellow for “artistic excellence and continuing contributions to our nation's traditional arts heritage.”

“Barbara is a gracious angel,” says renowned guitarist Sean Mencher, who played with her a few years ago at a festival in Rhode Island. “She truly wants to serve up the good things.”

Join us in celebrating Barbara Lynn’s 80th birthday and appreciating all she has done to pave the way for so many others. And if you want to join a team that finds energy and inspiration in the stories of great artists, explorers and pacesetters, come and speak to us here at Summit.


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