Minnie Ripperton attained international recognition in 1973 when her first Epic Records album, Perfect Angel, co-written with her husband, Dick Rudolph, and containing the hit single "Loving You," was released. This album, produced with Stevie Wonder, stunned the world because it demonstrated Ripperton's amazing and unequaled vocal range, which was reputed to be five and a half octaves. Ripperton's early operatic training opened up a professional career for her at the 14 when she joined Gems as a backup singer. She also performed with Chess Records from 1963 to 1970 and from 1966 to 1970 was a member of the Rotary Connection. Other albums include Come to My Garden (1970) and Minnie (1979). Following a mastectomy in 1976, Ripperton became a representative of the American Cancer Society and in 1978 was named educational chairman of the society, becoming the first black woman to hold that position.