Lou Rawls passed away Friday (not the best day for Chicago's gospel music history, see below). Rawls, a contemporary and friend of Sam Cooke, was a member of the Teenage Kings of Harmony and The Holy Wonders before replacing Cooke in the Highway QCs. The Chicago native was then a member of the Chosen Gospel Singers and the Pilgrim Travelers before deciding to sing pop music. In 2001, he recorded I'm Blessed and Oh Happy Day. (Source: Uncloudy Days: The Gospel Music Encyclopedia)
To the right is a photo of the Pilgrim Travelers from LouRawls.com (That's Rawls on bottom left).
More on Rawls:
Lou Rawls dead at 72 (CNN.com)
"The singer was as well known for his charitable activities as he was for his smooth four-octave range. He founded the Lou Rawls Parade of Stars Telethon, which raised millions of dollars for the United Negro College Fund."
Voice That Embodied Chicago (Chicago Tribune)
"Rawls' roots in the South Side brought the sound of this city--rough, gritty and fervently emotional--to audiences on several continents, for the singer often rhapsodized on his Chicago origins in song and in his stage patter. Even if he hadn't, the surging blues quality of his work and the vivid gospel touches of his delivery epitomized music made in Chicago."
Singer Lou Rawls Dies of Cancer at 72 (The Chicago Defender)
"'I've gone the full spectrum, from gospel to blues to jazz to soul to pop,' Rawls once said on his Web site. 'And the public has accepted what I've done through it all.'" (Note: news outlets are reporting Rawls' age as 70 and 72.)
Rawls Leaves Rich Musical, Philanthropic Legacy (National Public Radio)
Another slew of recent stories about Rawls.