likethebike wrote:He was kind of a wild man. I think he accidentally killed a man in a bar fight.
He was an absolutely terrific singer. His version of "Fever" is only the tip of the iceberg. A lot of his best stuff was ballads. He was maybe the influence on James Brown. I believe James even recorded a tribute LP to him.
I have that album! On vinyl: got it in the seventies. I remember I was in a small shop in Atlanta - not a Peaches or anything, and the owner came over and said "you want this!" He held it in his arms, affectionately - never forget. It was James Brown's "Thinking About Little Willie John and A Few Nice Things." I then got his own recordings, especially "Fever" which sounds different than versions with which we're more familiar.
He was one of the "inventors," if you will, of "Soul." A very, very important musical figure.
He died in prison. He had been convicted, was out on appeal, did record while he was out, and ended up back in. He died in 1968, in the Wash. St. Penn, of what has been called a heart attack. Not everyone believes that.
He's in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
I'm very grateful to that music store owner. I learned an awful lot about music on this account. (I believe there's an essay on him in the Greil Marcus-edited "Stranded: Rock and Roll for a Desert Island." I forget who wrote it.)
Soon as I can, I'll get a picture of my own album, that introduced me to him - the one by James Brown.