January 7, 2006


Lou Rawls, Singer of Pop and Gospel, Dies at 72 (BEN RATLIFF, 1/07/06, NY Times)

Successfully modeling himself partly on his friend Sam Cooke, as well as on Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra, Mr. Rawls was a suave entertainer who appealed nearly equally to black and white audiences. He became best known for the unmistakable, mentholated baritone end of his vocal range, especially as heard on his biggest hit, "You'll Never Find (Another Love Like Mine)."

After his greatest successes, in the 1960's and 70's, Mr. Rawls became something of an elder statesman, raising millions for black colleges; providing a recognizable face in movies and on television, and a familiar voice for cartoons and commercials; and continuing to tour as a singer. His songs are still as likely to be played on jazz and easy-listening stations as on rhythm-and-blues and gospel outlets. [...]

In 1955 Mr. Rawls enlisted as a paratrooper in the Army, and upon his return to civilian life, rejoined the Pilgrim Travelers as a lead singer. In 1958, while the group was touring with Mr. Cooke - who by that time had crossed over to the pop charts with "You Send Me"- both Mr. Rawls and Mr. Cooke were injured in a car accident that killed Eddie Cunningham, Mr. Cooke's driver. Mr. Rawls was in a coma for several days. After his recovery, he often said he felt he had been given a new life, and new reasons to live.

That range was supposedly four octaves.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 7, 2006 12:00 AM
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