Legendary Soul Singer Bobby Womack Dies

Legendary Soul singer Bobby Womack performing at the Roskilde Festival in 2010. (Photo: Google Images)

Legendary Soul singer Bobby Womack performing at the Roskilde Festival in 2010.
(Photo: Google Images)

Jason Newman of Rolling Stone is reporting that soul music legend Bobby Womack has died. Womack’s death has been confirmed by representatives at Womack’s XL Recordings label, but a cause of death has been undetermined.

Newman writes:

“The son of two musicians, Womack began his career as a member of Curtis Womack and the Womack Brothers with his siblings Curtis, Harry, Cecil and Friendly Jr. After Sam Cooke signed the group to his SAR Records in 1960, they released a handful of gospel singles before changing their name to the Valentinos and earning success with a more secular, soul- and pop-influenced sound. In 1964, one month after the Valentinos released their hit “It’s All Over Now,” the Rolling Stones put out their version, which went to Number One on the U.K. singles charts. 

Three months after the death of Cooke in 1964, Womack married Cooke’s widow, Barbara Campbell, and the Valentinos disbanded after the collapse of SAR Records. After leaving the group, Womack became a session musician, playing guitar on several albums, including Aretha Franklin’s landmark Lady Soul, before releasing his debut album, Fly Me to the Moon, in 1968. A string of successful R&B albums would follow, including Understanding and Across 110th Street, both released in 1972, 1973’s Facts of Life and 1974’s Lookin for a Love Again.

Newman adds:

After the death of his brother, Harry, in 1974, Womack’s career stalled, but was revived in 1981 with the R&B hit “If You Think You’re Lonely Now.” Throughout most of the Eighties, the singer struggled with drug addiction, eventually checking himself into a rehabilitation center for treatment. A series of health problems would follow, including diabetes, pneumoniacolon cancer and the early signs of Alzheimer’s disease, though it was unclear if any of these ailments contributed to his death. Womack was declared cancer-free in 2012.”

Womack was also a prolific songwriter. He wrote songs for Janis Joplin, Wilson Pickett, George Benson, Ray Charles, Jo Tex, King Curtis, Dusty Springfield, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Keith Richards, Rod Stewart, Ron Isley and a host of other musical artists.

He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009. Bobby Womack was 70.

Read the article in its entirety at Rolling Stone.

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