Soul legend Bobby Womack has passed away at the age of 70. A representative for his current record label, XL Recordings, confirmed the news of his death to Rolling Stone but did not offer any further information. In recent years, Womack has dealt with health problems that included colon cancer, and last year, he announced he had early signs of Alzheimer's disease.
A dedicated performer who saw early success after catching the attention of Sam Cooke, Womack had a career that spanned decades and a huge number of artistic collaborators. With his group The Valentinos, he wrote and recorded "It's All Over Now," which soon became The Rolling Stones' first number one hit in the UK. He also gained accolades for albums such as his soundtrack for the movie Across 110th Street and The Poet, which included his biggest hit "If You Think You're Lonely Now." He was inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in 2009. After nearly two decades without recording new material, in 2012 he released the acclaimed album The Bravest Man in the Universe. Produced by Damon Albarn and released on XL, the album helped spark a career renaissance for Womack. He was working on a follow-up project expected to come out this year.
Watching Womack this past winter in New York, Noisey's Jeff Rosenthal described the performance with admiration:
And we say he’s “still” got it. Maybe that’s just the easiest way to explain away his endurance, the way he stomps his good foot and screams “your turn!” at the end of some songs, knowing well why the rest of the room lays dark. He walks the stage, in a leather suit so red it looks plastic, tipping his hat from the back and throwing his hand skyward, screaming, “Feels so good, I just wanna ugh, wanna ugh, wanna one more time!" He sings “Mercy Mercy Me,” “California Dreamin’,” “Land of 1,000 Dances,” all as interludes, tacking them onto “You’re Welcome, Stop On By” and “I Wish He Didn’t Trust Me So Much” because he’s having so much fun, his first time playing New York in a decade. A smile crinkles his cheek, half of it hidden by sunglasses. He drags the high notes on as long as they’ll go, like they’re tractor pulls airing Sunday mornings on ESPN. And even though he sits down every so often, it all seems effortless, an afternoon peeling oranges on the corner.
RIP Bobby Womack. You'll be missed.