Mable John -- Motown's first female solo artist -- has died.
The singer passed away at her L.A. home Thursday, this according to her nephew, Kevin John ... who spoke to The Detroit News. He said, "We loved her and she was a kind person." A cause of death wasn't offered.
Berry Gordy signed MJ to his new label -- then known as Tamla Records -- in 1958. She was the first woman under his brand to get her own record deal without a group attached. Other acts that were signed early included Smokey Robinson (and the Miracles), Eddie Holland and Mary Wells.
Gordy actually served as a coach/mentor for John -- who was opening for Billie Holiday in Detroit during the '50s. She and BG had a solid partnership, which flourished into a somewhat short-lived working relationship under Motown. She left the label in mid-'60s.
Still, John recorded a number of songs with them during her tenure. Some of her famous tracks include, "Who Wouldn't Love a Man Like That?," "No Love," "Actions Speak Louder Than Words," "Looking for a Man," "You Are My Only Love!" among others.
After a brief stint with Motown, she went on to sign with Stax Records -- where she churned out a memorable hit, "Your Good Thing (Is About to End)." John left Stax and went on to perform with the Raelettes, backing Ray Charles. Eventually, she hung her mainstream career and pursued a career in gospel music ... getting very involved with the church.
She opened her own charity in Los Angeles called the Joy Community Outreach, which does work with homeless people. Despite stepping away from showbiz, she certainly left her mark.