Soul music legend Bobby Womack dead at 70 - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

Soul music legend Bobby Womack dead at 70

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'Rolling Stone' reports singer Bobby Womack has died. (Source: Bill Ebbesen/Wikicommons) 'Rolling Stone' reports singer Bobby Womack has died. (Source: Bill Ebbesen/Wikicommons)
(RNN) – Gospel and R&B singer, songwriter and musician Bobby Womack has died, his music label XL Recordings confirmed to Rolling Stone on Friday. He was 70 years old.

In posts to their social media accounts, XL Recordings posted tributes to the singer saying, “Long live Bobby Womack.”

Robert Dwayne Womack was born on March 4, 1944 in Cleveland, OH as the third of five sons in a religious and musical family. After singing with his brothers in the gospel group Curtis Womack and the Womack Brothers in the 1950s, the group was signed by soul music icon Sam Cooke to his SAR label in 1960, according to his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame biography.

Between 1964 to 1990, Womack had 36 singles, including Woman’s Gotta Have It, If You Think You’re Lonely Now, That’s The Way I Feel About Cha, Across 110th Street, among others and sold more than 30 million albums in his career.

Womack also sang background or played instruments on tracks for many other artists, including Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, King Curtis, Janis Joplin and Dusty Springfield, Elvis Presley, and Sly and the Family Stone.

Womack was a 16-year-old high school dropout when he signed with Cooke, but followed Cooke from gospel to secular pop music and the group changed their name to Valentino and the Lovers, and later The Valentinos.

The group’s first two singles was Looking for a Love in 1962 and It’s All Over Now in 1964. The Rolling Stones later covered It’s All Over Now, and their version made it to the top of the British charts for their first No. 1 hit.

Shortly after the death of Cooke in 1964, Womack married Cooke’s widow, Barbara Campbell, in 1965 and SAR Recordings dissolved.

After the controversy of marrying Cooke's widow weakened and he spent time as a session musician, Womack released his first solo album, Communication, in 1971. In 1971, he divorced Campbell after he was found in bed with her 18-year-old daughter Linda. Linda would later go on to marry Womack's younger brother, Cecil, and form the duo Womack & Womack.

Womack later married Regina Banks in 1976.

After signing with XL Recordings in 2009, Womack released his last full album, The Bravest Man In The Universe, in 2012 - his first solo album in 1994's Resurrection. The album was produced by the Gorillaz Damon Albarn and XL Recordings president Richard Russell.

In 2013, he recorded a track with rapper Rick Ross for his album Mastermind, and announced that he was recording a new album that would feature Rod Stewart, Stevie Wonder, Snoop Dogg and Levert, according to Pitchfork. Billboard reports it was tentatively titled The Best Is Yet To Come. 

Womack was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009. During his speech he reminisced over his friend and mentor Sam Cooke.

“My very first thought was I wish I could call Sam Cooke and share this moment with him,” Womack said.

Womack had battled several health issues in the last few years, including diabetes, bouts of pneumonia, early signs of Alzheimer’s disease and surgery to remove colon cancer in 2012. Womack was declared cancer free in 2012.

The singer also battled a drug addiction, admitting he struggled with cocaine in his memoir Midnight Mover: The True Story of the Greatest Soul Singer in the World, published in 2007.

Womack had also recently performed at the New Orleans Jazz Festival, with his last public appearance being the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in June, and had several upcoming shows scheduled.

The cause of death and where Womack died is unknown. Womack had six children by three women. His son with Campbell, Vincent, committed suicide in 1988, and one son with Regina, Bobby Truth, died as an infant in 1978.

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