Somber news to pass along heading into the weekend as Bobby Womack has died at the age of 70, a representative with XL Recordings confirmed today.
The son of two musicians, Womack began his career as a member of Curtis Womack and the Womack Brothers with his brothers Curtis, Harry, Cecil and Friendly, Jr. After Sam Cooke signed the group to his SAR Records in 1960, the group released a handful of gospel singles before changing their name to the Valentinos and earning success with a more secular, soul- and pop-influenced sound. In 1964, one month after the Valentinos released their hit “It’s All Over Now,” the Rolling Stones released their version, which went to Number One on the UK singles charts.
After leaving the group in 1965, Womack became a session musician, playing guitar on several albums before releasing his debut album, Fly Me to the Moon, in 1968. A string of successful R&B albums would follow, including Understanding and Across 110th Street, both released in 1972, 1973’s Facts of Life and 1974’s Lookin for a Love Again.
It sounds odd to say now, but Bobby was a survivor. The legendary soul singer, like many other legendary musicians of his time, battled drug problems, ultimately checking himself into drug rehabilitation. Womack also went toe-to-toe with several health scares including colon cancer, diabetes and reportedly the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s.
The cause of death is unknown at the time. Per Rolling Stone’s Jason Newman, however, the crooner whose career spanned seven different decades was at work on his new album, The Best Is Yet To Come, with Stevie Wonder, Snoop Dogg and more. It was to be a follow-up to 2012’s critically-acclaimed The Bravest Man In The Universe.
Bonus: Only days ago did we mention Bobby’s classic 1981 single, “If You Think You’re Lonely Now,” with an iPod Shuffle feature of K-Ci’s cover of the same song. Now seems as good a time as ever to remember the original.