Friday, January 06, 2006

Lou Rawls dead at 72

Lou Rawls, whose mellifluous baritone was featured on hits ranging from his own "You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine" to Sam Cooke's "Bring It on Home to Me," has died. He was 72.

Rawls died Friday morning at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, where he was hospitalized last month for treatment of lung and brain cancer, said his publicist, Paul Shefrin. His wife, Nina, was at his bedside when he died.

The singer was as well known for his charitable activities as he was for his smooth four-octave range. He founded the Lou Rawls Parade of Stars Telethon, which raised millions of dollars for the United Negro College Fund.

Rawls was born on December 1, 1933, in Chicago, Illinois. (Some sources say 1935.) A childhood friend of Sam Cooke -- and, like Cooke, trained in gospel -- as a teenager he took Cooke's place in Cooke's gospel group, the Highway QCs, and later supported Cooke on tour and in the studio.

He nearly died in an auto accident while traveling with Cooke in 1958, spending several days in a coma, according to

Rawls sang background on Cooke's "Bring It on Home to Me" -- that's him doing the "yeah" responses and some harmonies -- and had his first big solo hit with 1966's "Love Is a Hurtin' Thing," which earned him mention in Arthur Conley's "Sweet Soul Music."

He had his biggest hit in 1976 with "You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine," which topped the R&B charts and hit No. 2 on the pop charts. Other hits include "Your Good Thing (Is About to End)," "Natural Man" and "Lady Love."

He is survived by his wife Nina, who was bedside at the time of his death, as well as his three adult children, Louanna Rawls, Lou Rawls, Jr. and Kendra Smith, and his infant son, Aiden.


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