Skip to comments.(Soul Legend)Bobby Womack, a Cleveland-Born Rock Hall Member, Dies at 70
Posted on 06/27/2014 10:28:09 PM PDT by nickcarraway
Bobby Womack, the Cleveland-born influential R&B singer-songwriter, died Friday.
Although no details have been released about his death, the Los Angeles resident revealed in a interview last year with the BBC that he had Alzheimer's disease. The Associated Press reported he had numerous other health issues, including prostate cancer.
Womack, 70, was brought to California from Cleveland by singer Sam Cooke in 1962, after a change in singing style by Womack and his brothers caused their father to throw them out of their home near East 63rd Street and Central Avenue.
The boys first largely sang gospel, but when they shifted to secular music, it was too much for their steelworker dad. "If you're going to stay here, you're not serving Satan," Womack recalled his father saying. "If Sam wants y'all to sing that kind of music ... go live with Sam."
Womack told the story to The Plain Dealer in 2009, just prior to his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Robert Dwayne Womack got to know Cooke after he and his brothers opened for the singer at an appearance in a Cleveland church in 1953. It was Cooke who persuaded the brothers to try different music since there was no money in gospel.
Womack ended up recording more than two dozen studio albums, had nine compilation albums released and 47 singles. He also sang rock, doo-wop, soul and country.
Ron Wood, of the Rolling Stones, inducted Womack into the Hall of Fame. He said the band owed a debt to Womack and American music in general.
"We got inspired by the American music," Wood said.
Womack did more than that for the Rolling Stones. He wrote, "It's All Over Now," one of the Stones biggest early hits.
In the late 1960s, Womack got a job at a Memphis studio and did sessions with Jackie Wilson, Dusty Springfield and Elvis Presley. Womack's guitar work can be heard on Presley's "Suspicious Minds."
He wrote songs for the J. Geils Band -- "Lookin' for a Love -- and helped produce Sly Stone's album, "There's a Riot Going On." He played a different role in shaking a song out of another star. He told The Plain Dealer that after he gave Janis Joplin a ride in his fancy car, she penned the song, "Mercedes Benz."
Womack had more success in the studio playing or singing with other artists than he did as a solo performer. Some singles hits include "That's the Way I Feel About You 'Cha," and "Woman's Gotta Have It."
Two years ago, he released "The Bravest Man in the Universe," his first album of new material since 1994. It was met with critical acclaim. The New York Times described it as an avant-garde collaboration with a new generation of musicians."
He told the Guardian, "I don't understand a lot of the things they were doing. I would never have dreamed of doing stuff like that, but I wanted to relate to the people today."
He was at the Rock Hall's groundbreaking ceremony in 1993, and pointedly told officials that he belonged in the building when it was completed.
He performed in Cleveland last year inside the Rock Hall.
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Across 110th Street is a great song. RIP, Mr. Womack.
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