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June 30, 2014

Music legend Bobby Womack dies, age 70

Soul legend Bobby Womack has died. Womack was 70 years at the time of his reported death on Friday, June 27. Womack’s publicist Sonya Kolowrat confirmed that the singer died but had no other details to provide. 

Womack was renown for his unique vocal styling and sound that few others could match. He was a evocative singer and skilled guitarist in his own right and a powerful songwriter whose hits like “Across 110th Street,” ”If You Think You’re Lonely Now” and “I Wish He Didn’t Trust Me So Much” have captivated listeners and the imagination of future stars in rock ‘n’ roll and R&B. 

“He had a style that nobody else could ever capture. “I loved him and I will miss him so, so very much,” longtime friend, gospel singer Candi Staton, said in a statement. 

In a statement, musician Peter Gabriel said: “I’m very sad to learn of Bobby Womack’s death … His songs and his voice have been so much a part of the fabric of so many musical lives. In recent years, it was great to see Richard Russell and Damon Albarn bringing his music back into our attention. He was a soul legend. Our thoughts and condolences are with his family and friends at this time.” 

Womack’s death did come as something of a surprise for many. He had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease two years ago and overcame addiction and multiple health issues, including prostate and colon cancer recently. However when he performed at this year’s Bonnaroo Arts & Music festival here in Tennessee, there were signs of any impairment or impediment in his performances. 

Bobby Womack-The Poet_albumcvrIn an 2013 interview with the BBC, he revealed the Alzheimer’s diagnosis came after he began having difficulty remembering his songs and the names of people he had worked with. Theat roster of names is quite lang as the musician had created a wide and far-reaching path in the music industry, working as a performer and a songwriter with talents of various genres. Woamck’s career spanned seven decades. Womack was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009, long after he’d lost his fortune and his career to addiction. 

According to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame website, Womack was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and sang gospel music at a young age, performing with his brothers in The Womack Brothers. Under the influence of gospel and R&B legend Sam Cooke, who signed the group to his personal label, Womack moved into secular music. In the early 1960s his group recorded “It’s All Over Now,” which was covered Mick Jagger and by the Stones and became the band’s first number-one hit. 

Albarn and XL Recordings president Richard Russell helped Womack regain his career with 2012 comeback album “The Bravest Man in the Universe.” The album was a departure for Womack, full of electronic music and beats. But it was lauded by critics for a simple reason: That distinctive voice of his still brought chills.

“I don’t think he ever really thought that he would do anything again,” Albarn said of Womack in March. “Watching his rehabilitation and watching his ability to confront new material and new challenges was nothing short of miraculous at the time, and he still today continues to battle his demons and his illness. But he’s a beautiful person and when he opens his mouth and that voice comes out, it is something that is somehow touched by God.”

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