Early years. She was born in Newark, New Jersey to David Tuell, a gospel singerand a key figure in the Church of God in Christ (COGIC). At the age of five she joined her sisters to sing spirituals, regularly appearing on Newark radio shows.
She was born in Newark, New Jersey to David Tuell, a gospel singer and a key figure in the Church of God in Christ (COGIC). At the age of five she joined her sisters to sing spirituals, regularly appearing on Newark radio shows.
Under her married name, Faye Scruggs, she became a regular performer in New York nightclubs in the late 1940s and early 1950s. While performing in Atlanta, Georgia, she was discovered by singer Ruth Brown, who won her an audition with bandleader Joe Morris of Atlantic Records. Having changed Scruggs’s name to Faye Adams, Morris recruited her as a singer in 1952, and signed her to Herald Records. Her first release was Morris’s song “Shake a Hand”, which topped the US Billboard R&B chart for ten weeks in 1953, and made number 22 on the US pop chart. It sold one million copies and was awarded a gold disc.
In 1954, Faye had two more R&B chart toppers with “I’ll Be True” (later covered by Bill Haley in 1954, and by a young Jackie DeShannon in 1957) and “It Hurts Me to My Heart”. During this period, she left the Morris band and was billed as “Atomic Adams”. Adams appeared in the 1955 film Rhythm & Blues Revue. In 1957 she moved to Imperial Records, but her commercial success diminished. By the late 1950s she was seen as an older recording artist whose time had come and gone, although she continued to record for various smaller labels until the early 1960s.
By 1963 she had retired from the music industry. She remarried and, as Fannie Jones, returned to her gospel roots and family life in New Jersey.
Alan Freed called Adams the “little gal with the big voice”. Adams was given a Pioneer Award by the Rhythm and Blues Foundation in 1998.