Hummingbirds’ Tucker Dies At 83

Ira Tucker Sr., 83, lead singer of The Dixie Hummingbirds, died of heart failure in Philadelphia June 24th.

Tucker joined the vocal group, believed to be the longest-surviving American group, in 1938 at age 13 and led it for the next 70 years.

A colorful showman known for jumping from the stage and running down the aisles, Tucker inspired such performers as James Brown, Jackie Wilson and The Temptations.

A highlight of the gospel group’s commercial career was the national attention received for bringing backup vocals to Paul Simon’s 1973 hit, "Loves Me Like A Rock." The Dixie Hummingbirds also won a Grammy Award that year for best soul gospel performance for its own recording of the song.