Rhett Forrester was a famous American rock vocalist who helped launch Brooklyn's RIOT into near superstar status in the early 1980s. This article tells the story of Rhett Forrester, from his upbringing to his rise to fame and his untimely death.
Forrester was born to a ballroom dance instructor and had the looks and personality perfect for rock stardom. After graduating from Sanford Navel Academy in Florida, he began to pursue his passion for singing and joined a local band. Finally, his big break came when he joined Riot, a band that was looking for a new singer.
With Forrester as their vocalist and frontman, Riot played alongside such stadium acts as Rainbow, Scorpions, Kiss, Rush, and Aerosmith. In Japan, Burrn! Magazine voted Forrester the number one vocalist of the year. Forrester recorded three successful albums with Riot, including Restless Breed, Riot Live, and Born In America.
Forrester brought a professional edge and security to the band, and his instinctive nature was prevalent on stage. "Rhett lived for the stage," said Steve Loeb, the producer and then manager of Riot. "No matter what he did or where he was the night before, we knew he would never miss a gig. That was his life force."
After Riot disbanded due to managerial and record company woes, Forrester remained in New York working on a number of side projects. He also recorded the vocal tracks on Jack Starr's solo album, Out Of The Darkness, and the New York compilation, Thrasher.
Taking a year off, he moved to Paris, France, to record his first solo album, Gone With The Wind. With his solo career in full swing, Forrester returned to the States to record Even The Score, a second solo album.
However, tragedy struck on January 22, 1994, when Forrester was shot and killed in Atlanta, Georgia, during a botched carjacking attempt. He was only 37 years old. His mother, La Fortune Forrester, said, "Rhett was the light of my life. He was everything to me. I was blessed to have him for 37 years. But I wasn't ready to let him go. I wasn't ready for him to be taken away from me."
Forrester's death was a great loss to the music industry, and his fans mourned the loss of a talented and charismatic performer. His legacy lives on, however, in his recordings with Riot and his two solo albums, which showcase his unique voice and showmanship.