Lou Rawls dead at 72
(CNN) — 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 Allmusic.com.
Rawls sang in a variety of genres, from gospel to soul to standards.
“I’ve gone the full spectrum, from gospel to blues to jazz to soul to pop,” Rawls once said on his Web site, according to The Associated Press. “And the public has accepted what I’ve done through it all.”
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 a 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),” “A Natural Man” and “Lady Love.”
He won three Grammys and is reported to have sold more than 40 million albums.
Rawls also appeared in a variety of TV shows and movies, including the films “Leaving Las Vegas” and “The Rugrats Movie” and the TV shows “The Big Valley,” “Mannix,” “Fantasy Island” and “Baywatch,” according to the Internet Movie Database.
His voice also graced TV commercials, notably ads for Anheuser-Busch, the beer company for which he was the corporate spokesman.
Rawls was diagnosed with lung cancer in December 2004 and brain cancer in May 2005, according to the AP.
He is survived by his wife Nina, as well as his three adult children, Louanna Rawls, Lou Rawls, Jr. and Kendra Smith, and his infant son, Aiden.