Legendary soul singer Bobby Womack has died at the age of 70. The singer upheld a distinct soul style and was known for a life and career full of second chances. Just taking a listen to some of his tunes and you can really grasp the mileage in his career, from getting his big break alongside his brothers, the influence of Sam Cooke, and the emotion contained within. And most importantly, you’ll find someone who never gave up. From Rolling Stone:
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After the death of his brother, Harry, in 1974, Womack’s career stalled, but was revived in 1981 with the R&B hit “If You Think You’re Lonely Now.” Throughout most of the Eighties, the singer struggled with drug addiction, eventually checking himself into a rehabilitation center for treatment. A series of health problems would follow, including diabetes, pneumonia, colon cancer and the early signs of Alzheimer’s disease, though it was unclear if any of these ailments contributed to his death. Womack was declared cancer-free in 2012.
In 2012, Womack began a career renaissance with the release of The Bravest Man in the Universe, his first album in more than 10 years. Produced by Damon Albarn and XL’s Richard Russell, the album made Rolling Stone’s 50 Best Albums of 2012 alongside numerous other critical accolades. “You know more at 65 than you did at 25. I understand the songs much better now,” Womack told Rolling Stone at the time. “It’s not about 14 Rolls Royces and two Bentleys. Even if this album never sells a nickel, I know I put my best foot forward.” Upon his death, Womack was in the process of recording his next album for XL, tentatively titled The Best Is Yet to Come and reportedly featuring contributions by Stevie Wonder, Rod Stewart and Snoop Dogg.
Womack was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in 2009 and as he celebrated his career, he took a moment to remember his mentor Sam Cooke and the change he sang about before the end of his short careeer:
“My very first thought was — I wish I could call Sam Cooke and share this moment with him,” Womack said. “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! It proves that, if you’re blessed to be able to wait on what’s important to you, a lot of things will change in life.” (via)
If Womack’s career means anything, it is a testament to what has come before and the people who helped shape what he was able to accomplish for the bulk of his life. His music will live on through recordings, collaborations, and other media.
A lot of readers might be most familiar with Womack’s music through its use in film, especially “Across 110th Street” which was used in the film of the same name and during the opening sequence for Tarantino’s Jackie Brown. That sequence is posted below and hopefully you can take some time to enjoy some of Womack’s music today.
(Via Rolling Stone)