Singer Lou Rawls has past away this morning.
Rawls died early Friday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where he was hospitalized last month for treatment of lung and brain cancer, his publicist Paul Shefrin said. His wife Nina was at his bedside when he died, Shefrin said.
Rawls has released more than 70 albums, been in movies, television shows and voiced-over many cartoons. A high school classmate of soul giant Sam Cooke, Rawls sang with Cooke in the Teenage Kings of Harmony, a 50's gospel group. Rawls enlisted in the US Army as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division in 1955. He would leave the "All-Americans" three years later as a Sergeant and hook up with a group he had sang with before enlisting, the Pilgrim Travelers. In 1958, while touring the South with the Travelers and Sam Cooke, Rawls was in a serious car crash which claimed the life of one person. Rawls was actually pronounced dead before getting to the hospital where he stayed in a coma for 5 1/2 days. It took him months to regain his memory and a year to fully recuperate. Rawls considered the event life-changing.
Rawls was signed to Capitol Records in 1962, the same year he sang the soulful background vocals on the Sam Cooke recording of "Bring it on Home to Me". His first Capitol release was "Stormy Monday" (aka "I'd Rather Drink Muddy Water"), a jazz album. Though his 1966 album "Live!" went gold, Rawls wouldn't have a star-making hit until he made a proper soul album, appropriately named "Soulin'" later that same year. The album contained his first R&B #1 single, "Love Is a Hurtin' Thing". 1967 saw Rawls win his first Grammy for Best R&B Vocal Performance for "Dead End Street". After leaving Capitol in 1971, Rawls joined MGM and released the Grammy-winning single "Natural Man". In 1976, Rawls had his greatest album success with the platinum-selling "All Things in Time". The album produced his most successful single, "You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine", which topped the R&B charts and went to number two on the pop side and also went platinum. Subsequent albums, such as 1977's When You've Heard Lou, You've Heard It All yielded such Top 25 singles as "Lady Love".
In December 2005, it was announced that Rawls was being treated for lung and brain cancer.
According to an Associated Press article, dated December 19, 2005, Lou Rawls is trying to annul his two-year marriage to Nina Malek Inman Rawls in order to "protect hundreds of thousands of dollars" that his wife "absconded". Mrs. Rawls, who acted as his manager for two years, explained that she transferred nearly 350-thousand dollars into an account she solely controls to prevent one of Rawls' daughters from seizing it. The couple have a 1 year old son, Aiden Allen Rawls.