Bobby Womack, the veteran singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist whose work spanned genres and decades, has passed away at the age of 70, At the moment, The cause of death has not been announced, though Womack was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2013 and previously fought colon cancer.
In the early 1950s, Womack and his four brothers formed a gospel group called the Womack Brothers, later the Valentinos. They became friends with Sam Cooke, who signed them to his label, SAR Records, in 1961. Womack played guitar on Cooke’s song Twisting the Night Away. Womack would go on to marry Cooke’s widow just months after Cooke’s death in 1964.
The Valentinos’ song It’s All Over Now, written by Womack, became a huge hit for the Rolling Stones. Womack began his solo career with 1968’s Fly Me to the Moon in the US, and released several albums in the early 70s, including Understanding and Across 110th Street. In 1981, he had a hit with If You Think You’re Lonely Now, but spent most of the 80s struggling with drug addiction.
In addition to his solo work, Womack also collaborated with artists across the spectrum of genres. He toured with the Faces in 1974, worked with Janis Joplin, and played on Sly & the Family Stone’s Family Affair, Elvis Presley’s Suspicious Minds, Dusty Springfield’s Son of a Preacher Man, and Aretha Franklin’s You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman, among many other songs.
Womack was inducted into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame in 2009, and had begun to experience a career renaissance in recent years. Damon Albarn recruited Womack to appear on Gorillaz songs on Plastic Beach and The Fall. In 2012, Womack teamed up with Albarn again, as well as Richard Russell of XL Recordings to record The Bravest Man in the Universe. It marked his first album of original solo material since 1994’s Resurrection. Womack was scheduled to embark on a European tour this summer. He was at work on a new album, collaborating with Stevie Wonder, Snoop Dogg, Rod Stewart, and Levert.