Soul legend Bobby Womack dead at 70

Bobby Womack performing at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Oct 8, 2010. - PHOTO: AFP
Bobby Womack performing at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Oct 8, 2010. - PHOTO: AFP

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Legendary US soul artist Bobby Womack, who influenced and wrote for generations of musicians, died on Friday aged 70, a spokesman said.

Womack wrote a string of R&B staples including It’s all Over Now - which went to number one for British rockers The Rolling Stones and Lookin’ For A Love.

The singer started out performing with his brothers in the 1950s and later a band called the Valentinos. He also wrote songs and played guitar for artists including Aretha Franklin and Wilson Pickett.

Sonya Kolowrat, a spokesman for his label XL Recordings, confirmed his death to AFP, but said she had no further details. Womack’s main home is listed as Los Angeles.

Womack, who was credited with influencing generations of acts, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009.

He struggled with drugs and health problems for decades, but released a comeback album, The Bravest Man In The Universe, in 2012, his first record in over a decade.

Although he had long had health woes, he was due to go on tour in Europe next month - his website listed shows in the Netherlands, France, Belgium and Britain in the second half of July and start of August.

Womack was born in Cleveland, Ohio to a musical family, forming The Womack Brothers gospel group with his siblings, managed by their father.

But their career took off when they were signed by Cooke to his label Sar Records and renamed The Valentinos in 1962, producing their first hit single, Lookin’ For A Love.

Womack still played with his brothers, but also began playing guitar in Cooke’s own band. After Cooke died in 1964, the Valentinos floundered, and Womack launched his solo career.

Some of his biggest hits were songs written for other stars, including Pickett, Franklin, Joe Tex and Dusty Springfield.

In the early 1970s he recorded hits of his own, including That’s The Way I Feel About Cha and Woman’s Gotta Have It, but his fortunes waned later in the decade, according to the IMDb show business database website.