Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Soul heaven

Soul and R and B singers over the years have tended to live fast and die young. Many have died of natural causes such as heart attacks, cancer and strokes, or alcohol or drug related diseases. But many more have died violent deaths. Among those who have been murdered or killed are Darrell Banks, Sam Cooke, Tony Clarke, Shirley Brickley of the Orlons, King Curtis, Marvin Gaye, James 'Shep' Shephard' of the Heartbeats, Cornell Gunter of the Coasters, Henry Booth of the Midnighters, Al Jackson of Booker T and the MGs, Samuel George of the Capitols and John Whitehead of McFadden and Whitehead. Several have committed suicide, including Paul Williams of the Temptations, Larry Williams, Hubert Johnson of the Contours, Phyllis Hyman and Donny Hathaway. The most famous R&B suicide was that of Johnny Ace, who shot himself in a game of Russian roulette on Christmas Day, 1954. Many more have died in plane or car crashes, including Jesse Belvin (possibly murdered by white racists), Ted Taylor, Billy Stewart, Otis Redding, Dave Prater of Sam and Dave, four members of the Bar-Kays and Judy Clay. They are gone but not forgotten. For a fairly full list of soul and R&B artists who are no longer with us check out this site


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