Bobby Womack, R&B singer-songwriter, dies at 70 - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Bobby Womack, R&B singer-songwriter, dies at 70

Posted: Updated:
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 Friday that the singer had died, but she could provide no other details.

With an incomparable voice few could match, Womack was a stirring singer and guitarist in his own right and a powerful songwriter whose hits like "Across 110th Street," ''If You Think You're Lonely Now" and "I Wish He Didn't Trust Me So Much" captured the imagination of future stars in rock 'n' roll and R&B.

"He had a style that nobody else could ever capture," longtime friend, gospel singer Candi Staton, said in a statement. "I loved him and I will miss him so, so very much."

In a statement, musician Peter Gabriel said: "I'm very sad to learn of Bobby Womack's death ... His songs and his voice have been so much a part of the fabric of so many musical lives. In recent years, it was great to see Richard Russell and Damon Albarn bringing his music back into our attention. He was a soul legend. Our thoughts and condolences are with his family and friends at this time."

Womack's death comes as something of a surprise. Though he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease two years ago and overcame addiction and multiple health issues, including prostate and colon cancer, recently, he seemed in good health and spirits when he performed earlier this month at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival.

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.

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.

"I must have listened to 'Facts of Life' for months, what an influence, what a voice, so long Bobby!!" Rod Stewart said in a statement to The Associated Press.

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."

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."

  • Top StoriesMore>>

  • Students pack bottled water in school supplies this year

    Students pack bottled water in school supplies this year

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 10:55 PM EDT2014-08-20 02:55:24 GMT
    Nathan Rizer came to Owens Community College all the way from Columbus to study machinery. The new student heard about the Toledo water crisis earlier this month and came ready to go."The locals said I should pretty much drink bottled water but I can pretty much shower and brush my teeth," says Rizer. "I decided to still stick with bottled water, just in case."OCC leaders brought in bottled water and covered drinking fountains during the water emergency earlier this month. If it were to happe...
    Nathan Rizer came to Owens Community College all the way from Columbus to study machinery. The new student heard about the Toledo water crisis earlier this month and came ready to go."The locals said I should pretty much drink bottled water but I can pretty much shower and brush my teeth," says Rizer. "I decided to still stick with bottled water, just in case."OCC leaders brought in bottled water and covered drinking fountains during the water emergency earlier this month. If it were to happe...
  • Peanut and almond butters recalled due to salmonella risk

    Peanut and almond butters recalled due to salmonella risk

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 7:42 AM EDT2014-08-20 11:42:24 GMT
    NEW YORK (AP) - A unit of Hain Celestial Group Inc. is recalling some peanut and almond butter because of possible salmonella contamination. The company said Tuesday that there have been reports of four illnesses that may be related to the nut butters. They were sold under the brand names Arrowhead Mills peanut butters and MaraNatha almond butters and peanut butters. Also being recalled were some lots of private label almond butter from grocers Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Kroger and Safeway. A...
    NEW YORK (AP) - A unit of Hain Celestial Group Inc. is recalling some peanut and almond butter because of possible salmonella contamination. The company said Tuesday that there have been reports of four illnesses that may be related to the nut butters. They were sold under the brand names Arrowhead Mills peanut butters and MaraNatha almond butters and peanut butters. Also being recalled were some lots of private label almond butter from grocers Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Kroger and Safeway. A...
  • Fighting human trafficking after 11 arrests

    Fighting human trafficking after 11 arrests

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 10:40 PM EDT2014-08-20 02:40:41 GMT
    The Wood County Sheriff is hoping to send a clear message: human trafficking will not be tolerated."We're really working hard to get to the point where they say no, we're not going to meet in Wood county," Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn said.Last weekend, law enforcement agencies from around the area set their sights on Bowling Green.Sheriff's deputies set up at the Days Inn Hotel and ended up making 11 arrests."Part of the reason we chose this past weekend is because the tractor pull," the sheriff ...
    The Wood County Sheriff is hoping to send a clear message: human trafficking will not be tolerated."We're really working hard to get to the point where they say no, we're not going to meet in Wood county," Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn said.Last weekend, law enforcement agencies from around the area set their sights on Bowling Green.Sheriff's deputies set up at the Days Inn Hotel and ended up making 11 arrests."Part of the reason we chose this past weekend is because the tractor pull," the sheriff ...

Area Events Calendar

See It, Shoot It, Send It!