Soul singer Billy Paul has died aged 80. He will always be remembered for his 1972 Gamble & Huff penned hit 'Me & Mrs Jones.'
Soul singer Billy Paul has died from cancer at the age of 80. Paul had a string of hits in the late 60’s and early 70’s, but his enduring hit was the 1972 Gamble & Huff penned 'Me & Mrs Jones' for Philadelphia International Records telling a story of an extra-marital affair. The song won Billy a Grammy in 1973 for 'Best Male R&B Performance.' Founders of the iconic label Leon Huff and Kenneth Gamble said, "Our proudest moment with Billy was the recording of the salacious smash 'Me and Mrs. Jones.' In our view, it is one of the greatest love songs ever recorded."
Billy Paul's early music was within jazz whilst he was in the military as a young man. He performed with jazz stars including Charlie Parker, Nina Simone and Dinah Washington. It was the music of the The Beatles that led him to go more rhythm and blues. Later Paul was to make a signature Philly Soul version of Paul McCartney and Wings' 'Let 'Em In.'
A Philadelphia original, his real name is Paul Williams but he changed to Billy Paul to avoid confusion with other artists and writers. In 2003 he won $500,000 in a lawsuit regarding unpaid royalties. Four months ago, on his 80th birthday, he was honoured with a message from President Barack Obama, who praised his decades-long contribution to music.
An announcement from his manager on billypaul.com reads, “We’d like to extend our most sincere condolences to his wife Blanche and family for their loss, as they and the world grieve the loss of another musical icon that helped pioneer today’s R&B music. Billy will be truly missed”.