Bobby Womack

Robert Dwayne Womack (born in Cleveland, Ohio, USA on March 4, 1944), is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. Working in the soul and R&B genres, he achieved his greatest success in the 1970s and 1980s. Taking after their father, who sang gospel music, Bobby Womack and his brothers formed their own group. Sam Cooke took an interest in the Womack Brothers, and they recorded for Cooke's SAR record label in the early 1960s. ...show more

Robert Dwayne Womack (born in Cleveland, Ohio, USA on March 4, 1944), is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. Working in the soul and R&B genres, he achieved his greatest success in the 1970s and 1980s. Taking after their father, who sang gospel music, Bobby Womack and his brothers formed their own group. Sam Cooke took an interest in the Womack Brothers, and they recorded for Cooke's SAR record label in the early 1960s.

Renamed the Valentinos, and encouraged by Cooke to go in a more secular and commercial direction, they scored a hit with Womack's "It's All Over Now" in 1964; the Rolling Stones' version of the song became a major hit, earning Womack generous royalty payments. Sam Cooke died in late 1964; Womack married Cooke's widow, Barbara, a short time later, creating something of a scandal. Things became even more complicated when his younger brother, Cecil, married Cooke's daughter, Linda. As a session guitarist, Womack worked at producer Chips Moman's American Studios in Memphis, and played on recordings by Joe Tex and The Box Tops.

Until this point, around 1967, he had had little success as a solo artist, but at American he began to record a string of classic soul-music singles including the 1968 "What Is This" (his first chart hit), "It's Gonna Rain" and "More Than I Can Stand," all of which featured his elegant, understated rhythm-guitar work and his impassioned vocals. During this period he became known as a songwriter, contributing many songs to the repertoire of Wilson Pickett; these include "I'm in Love" and "I'm a Midnight Mover." After moving to the United Artists label in the early '70s, he released the album Communication, and on an album with guitarist Gabor Szabo introduced his song "Breezin'," which later became a hit for George Benson. He also became known for his interesting taste in cover versions, essaying Fred Neil's "Everybody's Talkin' " as well as "Fly Me to the Moon (In Other Words)" and James Taylor's "Fire and Rain'" and "California Dreamin'." Perhaps his most well-known work from this period is as guitarist on Sly & The Family Stone's 1971 There's a Riot Goin' On. He continued to have hits into the '70s; these include "Lookin' for a Love" (a remake of his 1962 Valentinos single), "Across 110th Street," "Woman's Gotta Have It" (covered by James Taylor in 1976), "You're Welcome, Stop on By," and the masterful "Daylight." All are excellent examples of burnished yet gritty 1970s soul music, and reveal a pop-music sensibility akin to that of Marvin Gaye or Curtis Mayfield. ...show less