Jessica Cleaves

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Jessica Cleaves
Born (1948-12-10)December 10, 1948
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Died May 2, 2014(2014-05-02) (aged 65)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Genres R&B, pop, soul, funk
Occupation(s) Singer, songwriter
Associated acts The Friends of Distinction, Earth, Wind & Fire, George Clinton, Parliament-Funkadelic

Jessica Marguerite Cleaves (December 10, 1948 – May 2, 2014) was an American singer and songwriter. Cleaves was lead singer for The Friends of Distinction in the 1960s.[1][2]

Early life

Jessica Cleaves was born to Mary Gladys Cleaves (née Wilkerson), a librarian, and Lane C. Cleaves II, a US Postal employee. Cleaves' paternal grandfather, Lane C. Cleaves Sr., was Presiding Bishop over Phillips Temple, CME.[3]


The Friends of Distinction was founded by Harry Elston and Floyd Butler, and beside Cleaves, it included Barbara Jean Love (plus Charlene Gibson, who replaced Love during her pregnancy).[citation needed]

During the 1970s, Cleaves performed and recorded with Earth, Wind & Fire. She later moved to Detroit where she joined forces with George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic[4] for several recordings, including Computer Games, R&B Skeletons in the Closet and Dope Dogs.[5]

Cleaves died in hospital in Los Angeles, California, aged 65, following complications from a stroke.[5] Her godson, director Armand Araujo, began filming Jessica Cleaves, My Friends of Distinction at the time of her passing.[5]


Grazing in the Grass

US Billboard Hot 100

  • Peak Position 3

US Billboard Hot Soul Singles

  • Peak Position 5


  1. Lytle, Craig. "Biography: The Friends of Distinction". AMG. Retrieved May 18, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Former Earth Wind & Fire and Friends of Distinction singer Jessica Cleaves dies at age 65". SoulTracks. Retrieved May 3, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Robert J. Carmack, "Rest in Love & Peace - Jessica Cleaves 1948-2014", Hipster Sanctuary, May 2, 2014.
  4. Bates, Karen Grigsby (May 5, 2014). "Jessica Cleaves: A Silky, Soulful — And Funky — Voice Goes Silent". NPR. Retrieved May 7, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "Soul Singer Jessica Cleaves Dies at 65", Variety, May 7, 2014.

External links