This song about a woman who loses her man because she cheats on him was written and produced by Clarence Reed and Willie Clarke. It was first released as a single in 1971 backed with “I’ll Love You Forever.” It went to #6 on the U.S. Pop Singles chart and #3 on the U.S. Black Singles chart. It sold more than one million copies and earned an RIAA gold record. Willie “Little Beaver” Hale played the hot guitar lick. “Clean Up Woman” was also released on Betty Wright’s 1972 album I Love the Way You Love.
The song has been covered by Blowfly (Clarence Reed), Al Kooper, Maria Muldaur, and Leela James. It has also been sampled by 30+ other songs, including Afrika Bambaattaa, Mary J. Bilige, Sublime, and Chance the Rapper.
Betty Wright was born Bessie Regina Norris in Miami Florida. She recorded her signature song “Clean Up Woman” when she was only 17. She went on to have success in a number of genres, including R&B, soul, gospel, and disco.
Here are the lyrics to “Clean Up Woman” by Betty Wright:
A clean up woman Is a woman who Gets all the love we girls leave behind The reason I know So much about her Is because she picked up a man of mine
Chumpin’ slick Was my ruin ‘Cause I found out all I was doin’ Was makin’ it easy For the clean up woman To get my man’s love, oh, yeah
Just makin’ it easy For the clean up woman To get my baby’s love, huh-huh
I took this man’s love and put it on a shelf And like a fool, I thought I had him all to myself When he needed love, I was out havin’ fun But I found out that all I had done Was made it easy For the clean up woman To get my man’s love, uh-huh Yeah, that’s what I did I made it easy For the clean up woman To steal my baby’s love, oh, yeah
The clean up woman Will wipe his blues away She’ll give him plenyy lovin’ 24 hours a day The clean up woman She’ll sweep him off his feet She’s the one who take him in When you dump him in the street So take a tip You better get hip To the clean up woman ‘Cause she’s tough I mean she really cleans up
For More 70s Tunes
The System has daily featured music from all sorts of genres of 1970s music. You’re welcome to listen to any of the 40+ selections in The System. Thank you for stopping by. Hope you enjoyed “Clean Up Woman” by Betty Wright.