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.