Friday, January 06, 2006

What makes the ending so sad?

Play it: My favorite Lou Rawls

Lou Rawls died this morning in Los Angeles, succumbing to lung and brain cancer. He was 72. Rawls was born on the Southside in Chicago (1933,) and relished the White Sox recent win in the World Series (he sang the national anthem before game 2.)

Rawls was a school chum of singer Sam Cooke, and his vocal styling always toed the line between Cooke and Nat King Cole. He followed Cooke and sang in gospel groups throughout the 1950s. In 1958, while touring the South with a gospel vocal group the Pilgrim Travelers (w/ Sam Cooke,) Rawls was in a serious car crash that claimed the life of one person, and Rawls himself was actually pronounced dead on the way to the hospital. He was in a coma for five and a half days, and it took three months for him to get his memory back, and a full year to fully recover. When he did, he took it as a life-changing experience switched to secular music, starting out singing Jazz standards.

After a few years of touring and retooling his performances, Rawls' live shows became known for incorporating spoken word 'raps' about social issues, which is aptly captured on his Live! album, which went gold - his first success. He raps about the slums of the Southside of Chicago (and everywhere) on "Southside Blues, Tobacco Road" (Play it.) But if you listen to only one Lou Rawls track today, make it "A Street Corner Hustler's Blues, World of Trouble" (Play it) as the cat could lay it down... serious.

Rawls quickly switched to soul and there he found more success, with the song "Love is a Hurtin' Thing," on the album Soulin'. He then won a grammy for "Dead End Street" and found himself a hot commodity. He left Capital and signed with MGM, which brought the hit "Natural Man." After some fights with the label, who pushed him to record lightweight stuff, Rawls bounced around until he finally landed with Philly International, where he enjoyed his biggest selling years. With the album All Things In Time (1976,) Rawls had his biggest selling album as well as most well known hit, "You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine." He won another grammy the following year (for Unmistakably Lou) and then continued his hit streak with When You Hear Lou, You've Heard It All, which produced the classic "Lady Love." He had one more hit with Philly International with the title track from Let Me Be Good to You, before dedicating himself for years to his philanthropic passion: the Lou Rawls Parade of Stars Telethon. He made several small comebacks over the years, but mostly traveled the Vegas singing circuit.

So 'what makes the ending so sad?' Rawls two-year marriage to Nina Malek Inman Rawls was in serious trouble towards the end, as Mrs. Rawls apparently 'absconded' $350,000 to her own controlled account when it became apparent that Rawls wouldn't live much longer. The power grab between her and Rawls' relatives unfortunately now begins, and hopefully won't fly in the face of how Rawls truly was - classy through and through. He also has a 1-year old (viagra!) child, Aiden, who never got to know his smooth daddy.

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1 comment:

drake leLane said...

Lou Rawls - What Makes the Ending So Sad

* "What Makes The Ending So Sad" - Lou Rawls
* "Blues Is A Woman" - Lou Rawls
* "(They Call It) Stormy Monday" - Lou Rawls
* "Southside Blues,Tobacco Road" - Lou Rawls
* "A Street Corner Hustler's Blues,World of Trouble" - Lou Rawls
* "Love Is a Hurtin' Thing" - Lou Rawls
* "Dead End Street" - Lou Rawls
* "Your Good Thing (Is About to End)" - Lou Rawls
* "Natural Man" - Lou Rawls
* "You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine" - Lou Rawls
* "Lady Love" - Lou Rawls