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Bobby Womack, legendary R&B singer, dead at 70

Bobby Womack
Bobby Womack

Bobby Womack, a legendary soul singer, died on Friday at the age of 70. His career extended through an incredible seven decades, according to Rolling Stone magazine on Friday. According to the singer’s recording label, XL Recordings, the cause of Womack’s death is not known at this time.

Womack began his music career as a member of Curtis Womack and the Womack Brothers. In that group, he performed with his brothers named Curtis, Harry, Cecil, and Friendly Jr. They were children of two musicians. In 1960, Curtis Womack and the Womack Brothers were signed to SAR Records which was legendary singer Sam Cooke’s recording label. After recording a number of gospel songs, they changed their name from the family-named group to the name of the Valentinos. Their work as the Valentinos garnered a secular following. As the Valentinos, they had a pop music sound.

The groups recorded a hit song entitled “It’s All Over Now.” The song was picked up by the Rolling Stones – led by Mick Jagger – just a month after the Valentinos put their version out. The Rolling Stones had the huge hit with that song.

Womack married Barbara Campbell – who was Sam Cooke’s widow – three months after Cooke died in 1964. At that time, the Valentinos broke up along with the demise of Cooke’s SAR Recording Company. After that, Womack was a session musician. He had success by playing guitar on recording sessions. He played on Aretha Franklin’s “Lady Soul” album. After that, he released his first solo effort with “Fly Me to the Moon” which was put out in 1968.

After that debut album, he had many successful R&B albums released. Following “Fly Me to the Moon,” he released “Understanding” as well as “Across 110th Street.” Both of those projects were released in 1972. Then he had “Facts of Life” in 1973 and “Lookin for a Love Again” in 1974, according to Variety.

Womack’s career came to a halt in 1974 when his brother Harry passed away. Eight years later, however, his career was started up again with the release of “If You Think You’re Lonely Now,” an R&B hit song. He reportedly struggled with drugs throughout the 1980s, but he eventually was treated for the addiction. Though it is not certain that any of his health ailments contributed to his death, he was afflicted with diabetes, pneumonia, colon cancer and Alzheimer’s disease through the years.

Womack, who was born in Cleveland, Ohio, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame five years ago. At the time, Womack said that he wished he could call Sam Cooke and share the moment with him. He released “The Bravest Man in the Universe,” his first recording in 10 years back in 2012.

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