Soul star Bobby Womack died at age 70 on Friday, his label XL Recordings announced.
Famed for songs including “Across 110th Street,” “If You Think You’re Lonely Now,” “Lookin’ for a Love,” and “Woman’s Gotta Have It” – he also penned the Rolling Stones’ first no. 1 hit, “It’s All Over Now” – he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009.
While the cause of his death is still unknown, he had battled colon cancer and was diagnosed with early-stage Alzeheimer’s last year.
Fellow soul icon Sam Cooke discovered Womack and his brothers in 1956 and dubbed them The Valentinos. The family group ended when Cooke died in 1964, but Womack continued writing and performing for decades after. In 2009, after Womack’s Rock Hall induction, EW’s Sean Howe praising the singer as one of the most underrated R&B artists of all time. “His always-at-the-edges-of-history career has gotten a share of ink over the years, and was the dominant theme in Ron Wood’s induction speech Saturday,” Howe wrote at the time. “But as a great songwriter, he’s been given short shrift. He wrote a few albums’ worth of songs for Wilson Pickett, then did the arrangements on those albums, and you can even hear Womack’s vocal mannerisms intact (if a little more wicked).”
Womack lived a tumultuous life and struggled with addiction for years, and by the 1980s his career had so slowed – but more recently he mounted a comeback which included 2010’s acclaimed The Bravest Man in the Universe, produced by Blur and Gorillaz frontman Damon Albarn. He was also reportedly working on an album of collaborations with artists including Stevie Wonder and Snoop Dogg.
Here’s just a taste of what Womack could do: