Friday, January 06, 2006

Lou Rawls: 1933-2006

Granted, most of us only knew Lou Rawls for his 1976 smash hit "You'll Never Find (Another Love Like Mine)" which propelled him to the top of the charts and even garnered him a Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Performace. It's one of those songs that everybody knows, even my 23-year-old co-worker (I played the song in memory of Rawls loudly in my office upon hearing of his passing).

But to place him in the One Hit Wonder catagory would be wrong on so many levels. Rawls was a consummate entertainer who lent his velvety smooth voice to cartoons, played a bit part in Baywatch Nights, and hosted the United Negro College Fund's annual "Parade of Stars" (now known as "An Evening of Stars") telethon. Through his efforts, millions of dollars were raised for the organization. And hell, even Frank Sinatra praised him for for having "the classiest singing and silkiest chops in the singing game." That's something.

The irony of Rawls' passing is that the 2006 telethon--it was recorded in November 2005--has already begun to air in certain markets across the U.S.--the same day as his death. So even though he has passed on, the world will still get one last glimpse of the Natural Man this weekend, doing what he loved. And I'm sure it'll be a bittersweet moment for his fans.

I received media RSVP information back in October about attending the event taping. I thought long and hard about it but being that it was during the week, I opted not to go. But I could have gone to the show and had backstage access. I could have rubbed shoulders with the man himself. Damn.

The 2007 telethon won't be the same without his amazing voice and presence. RIP, Mr. Rawls. You will be missed.

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