Cancer Claims Lou Rawls
Rawls died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, 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.
Rawls’ family and Shefrin said the singer was 72, although other records indicate he was 70.
Rawls’ deep, smooth voice was his trademark, and he used it in a variety of genres.
“I’ve gone the full spectrum, from gospel to blues to jazz to soul to pop,” Rawls once said on his Web site. “And the public has accepted what I’ve done through it all.”
Rawls’ grandmother introduced him to gospel in his hometown of Chicago. The singer moved to Los Angeles in the mid-1950s to join a touring gospel group, the Pilgrim Travelers.
After a two-year stint in the Army, Rawls rejoined the Pilgrim Travelers in Los Angeles, where he sang with Sam Cooke. Rawls performed with Dick Clark at the Hollywood Bowl in 1959, and two years later he opened for The Beatles at Crosley Field in Cincinnati.
Rawls was playing small blues and R&B clubs in Los Angeles when his four-octave range caught the ear of a Capitol Records producer, who signed him to the label in 1962.
His debut effort, “Stormy Monday,” recorded with the Les McCann Trio, was the first of 28 albums Rawls made with Capitol.