Janis Hansen, who sang on some of Sergio Mendes' biggest hits, died on October 4 at her Sherman Oaks, CA home after suffering from myelofibrosis and acute myeloid leukemia. She was 74.
Hansen was born in Great Falls, MT and grew up on the ranch of her grandparents without electricity or running water in Absarokee, MT. She took after her father's talents as a musician and, while going to the University of Colorado for anthropology, started singing in local bands.
A talent scout heard her singing and recommended her for an opening on The Andy Williams Show where she became a regular in the backup group. From their, she joined Sergio Mendes and Brasil '66 who were looking for a new member to replace Bibi Vogel.
Hansen was with Brasil '66 for two albums, Equinox and Look Around and can be heard singing lead on The Look of Love (1968 / #4) but was let go, along with all the other members except for Lani Hall, before Look was even released.
Hansen went on to join the group the Going Thing which did work for Ford in commercials and at conventions along with recording three albums given away at dealerships. She was also part of the group the Carnival, formed by Bones Howe (Association, Fifth Dimension) who recorded a few singles with no success. After the two groups disbanded, she retired from music.
Janis went on to eventually become Vice President of RDK Productions and helped develop The Bible Adventure Club series of books.
She is survived by her husband of 48 years, Richard, two sons and three grandchildren.