• Thu
  • Dec 25, 2014
  • Updated: 5:01pm

Tributes pour out for soul singer Bobby Womack, US music legend dead at 70

Bobby Womack churned out hits for a cavalcade of stars during a life of highs and many lows

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 28 June, 2014, 4:36pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 29 June, 2014, 10:42am

Bobby Womack

Legendary US soul artist Bobby Womack, who influenced and wrote for generations of musicians, has died, triggering a surge of tributes.

Womack, 70, penned a string of R&B staples including It's all Over Now - which went to number one for the Rolling Stones - and Across 110th Street.

Rolling Stones' Ronnie Wood was among the first to pay tribute to Womack, tweeting: "The man who could make you cry when he sang has brought tears to my eyes with his passing."

"RIP to the 'Soul Legend' who sang from his Soul !!!" added US rapper MC Hammer.

Womack started out performing with his brothers in the 1950s and later in the Valentinos. He also wrote songs and played guitar for artists including Aretha Franklin and Wilson Pickett.

Womack, who was credited with influencing generations of acts, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009. He struggled with drugs and health problems for decades, but released a comeback album, The Bravest Man in the Universe, in 2012, his first in over a decade.

He was due to go on tour in Europe next month - his website listed shows in the Netherlands, France, Belgium and Britain in the second half of July and start of August.

Womack was born in Cleveland, Ohio to a musical family, forming The Womack Brothers gospel group with his siblings, managed by their father. But their career took off when they were signed by Sam Cooke to his label Sar Records and renamed The Valentinos in 1962.

Womack still played with his brothers, but also began playing guitar in Cooke's band. After Cooke died in 1964, the Valentinos floundered, and Womack launched his solo career.

Some of his biggest hits were songs written for other stars, including Pickett, Franklin, Joe Tex and Dusty Springfield.

In the early 1970s he recorded hits of his own, including That's The Way I Feel About Cha and Woman's Gotta Have It, but his fortunes waned later in the decade. His health problems included drug addiction, diabetes, colon cancer and the early signs of Alzheimer's disease. It was unclear if any of these ailments contributed to his death.

When he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, he said: "My very first thought was I wish I could call Sam Cooke and share this moment with him.

"This is just about as exciting to me as being able to see Barack Obama become the first black President of the United States of America!"


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