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R&B singer 85 years old – Billboard

Joe Simon, a Grammy Award-winning R&B singer whose hits include 1969’s “The Chokin’ Kind” and 1972’s “Power of Love” and was sampled on OutKast’s “So Fresh, So Clean” and hip compositions -hop classic, passed away Monday (December 13) in his long-standing hometown near Chicago. He’s 85 years old.

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Born in Simmesport, La., Simon hated cotton picking and moved to Los Angeles to work as a singer, spending his early years there, homeless and living in a chicken coop. Having nothing to do at night, he writes 20 to 30 songs daily and develops his voice to the point where the label owner paid him $1,100 to record 4 songs written by someone else. He invited local musicians including future celebrities Sly Stone and Larry Graham to play on the 1964 song “My Ad Lovely One,” which became Simon’s breakout hit. .

“I don’t want to rush my career,” says Simon Billboards in 1968. “I’ll take my time, because the artist is in a hurry to skip a lot of things.”

However, Simon’s career accelerated rapidly as he earned three No. 1 and top 14 positions on the current Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, and a vocal performance. Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male Grammy Award for “The Chokin ‘Kind.” He collaborated with Philly Sound hitmakers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff for 1971’s “Dive in a Sea of ​​Love”, then created the theme for 1973. Cleopatra Jones. During his prime, Simon founded his own independent studio, Spring and Posse, signing funk stars like Millie Jackson and the Fatback Band.

He is known by the nickname “The Mouth of the South”, compared to Otis Redding, Sam Cooke and perhaps most aptly Jackie Wilson. His grandson, David Simon, a professional basketball player who toured with Simon towards the end of his R&B career in the 80s, said: “He had a very different and different voice. “You can definitely pick his voice from any crowd.”

Early in his touring career, Simon performed at the Apollo Theater in New York, where a staff member told him he would be fine. “I went from cottonfield to chicken coop to becoming a rhythm and blues superstar – you can’t tell me I wouldn’t be,” Simon said in his 2016 documentary. , Looking back with Joe Simon.

At the Apollo, he agreed to have a young soul band, the Jackson 5, appear on the same bill. “I remember going up to Michael and looking at him up close and thinking, ‘Okay, is this boy a dwarf?'” Simon told J. Randy Taraborrelli in his biography of Jackson. The Magic, The Madness, The Whole Story 1958-2009. “‘Hey man, don’t talk nonsense’ to me, okay?” [Jackson] Told me. ”

For all his success, Simon turned his back on R&B, because, he said in the documentary: “To sing rhythms and blues, you have to act like a fool. Everyone out there is adulterated. “In 1981, Jet plane The magazine claimed Simon, with his earrings and wig on stage, “is known for his bizarre costumes as well as his hits” and reported that he is evolving into a suit and coffee image. more conservative flap.

In 1983, he gave up what he called “worldly music,” in the words of his grandson, to become an ordained, traveling pastor, beginning with a sermon to 4,000 people in Rapides Coliseum near New Orleans. He changed after a dramatic moment on stage in front of 10,000 fans when he forgot the lyrics of the pop and R&B hits he’s been singing for 25 years: “I tell people, ‘Dear Taste, I want everyone to sit down. I want you to know that I can’t sing these songs tonight…. I want people to come to the front door of the office and get your money back. Because I’m going to church. ‘ And 10,000 people said, “Hallelujah!”

Still, Simon’s secular successes and influences continue to pop up around the world – David Simon discovered one of his grandfather’s old posters in the 1999 film Denzel Washington. Storm. “I travel internationally, and when I’m in Asia, we go to karaoke bars and they have his music in the karaoke books,” said the 39-year-old athlete. “It really stretches everywhere.”

https://www.billboard.com/music/rb-hip-hop/joe-simon-dead-1235010357/ R&B singer 85 years old – Billboard

Dais Johnston

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