Amp Events has announced that rock icons Pixies will be touring South Africa in March next year!

Meet Iain Thomas, the 36-year-old South African poet who is famous all over the world except in SA

Soul singer Bobby Womack dies at 70

2014-06-28 09:02
Bobby Womack
New York - Bobby Womack, a colorful and highly influential R&B singer-songwriter who influenced artists from the Rolling Stones to Damon Albarn, has died. He was 70.

Womack's publicist Sonya Kolowrat said on Friday that the singer had died, but she could provide no other details.

Womack was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease two years ago and overcame addiction and multiple health issues, including prostate cancer, to pull off a second act in his career.

Womack performed recently at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival and seemed in good health and spirits. He had been scheduled to perform at multiple events across Europe in July and August.

He told the BBC in 2013 the Alzheimer's diagnosis came after he began having difficulty remembering his songs and the names of people he had worked with.

Substance abuse problem

And there have been many. The soul singer cut a wide path through the music business as a performer and songwriter in a career that 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.

He spoke of kicking his substance abuse problems in a 2012 interview with The Associated Press and all the friends he'd lost to drugs over the years.

"I think the biggest move for me was to get away from the drug scene," Womack said. "It wasn't easy. It was hard because everybody I knew did drugs. ... They didn't know when to turn it off. So for me looking at Wilson Pickett, close friends of mine, Sly Stone, Jim Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and I can go on and on and on, and I say all of them died because of drugs."

Distinctive voice

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 and by the Stones and became the band's first number-one hit.

His songs have been recorded by multiple artists, and he played as a session musician in Memphis in the 1960s.

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."

Gospel singer Candi Staton knew Womack since they were children and she toured with him.

"He had a style that nobody else could ever capture," she said in a statement. "I loved him and I will miss him so, so very much."
Read more on:    music publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Recent News

Justin Bieber stormed off stage at his concert in Manchester, England, after being booed by fans. Read More »

Amp Events has announced that rock icons Pixies will be touring South Africa in March 2017. Read More »

inside channel 24

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.