Bobby Womack, the legendary soul singer, whose career spanned seven decades and recently suffered from a series of health problems, including diabetes, pneumonia, colon cancer and the early signs of Alzheimer’s disease has died. His publicist confirmed his death on Friday June 27th. He was 70. A representative for Womack’s label XL Recordings confirmed the singer’s death, but said the cause of death was currently unknown.
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.
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.