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Lou Rawls Biography

Home > Music > R > Rawls, Lou > Biography

Birth Name: Louis Allen Rawls
Born: 1933/12/01
Birth Place: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: 2006/01/06
Years Active: 1950s-2006
Genres: R&B, Soul, Jazz, Blues

Lou Rawls was born on December 1, 1933 in Chicago and was a jazz, and blues singer. Throughout the course of his career, Rawls released more than 60 albums, and sold more than 40 million records. Rawls also worked as an actor and appeared in a number of feature films and television shows. As a child he used his love of music to get him through a life in poverty. Rawls got his start singing as a child in the Greater Mount Olive Baptist Church choir at the age of seven. By the time he was a teenager, Rawls was singing with local groups from his neighborhood and met up-and-coming stars, Sam Cooke and Curtis Mayfield. Rawls sang with Cooke in the local gospel group, Teenage Kings of Harmony, and later moved on to sing with the Chosen Gospel Singers, which took him to Los Angeles. Once settled in California, Rawls joined the Pilgrim Travelers.

After a stint in the army, Rawls rejoined the Pilgrim Travelers in 1958 and embarked on a tour with Sam Cooke. Tragedy struck when Rawls was in a car accident and remained in a coma for five days. It took a year for Rawls to fully recover. A year later he was performing again and signed to Capitol Records by 1962. His debut album for the label, “Stormy Monday” appeared in 1962 and was a jazz album. The album was warmly received and Rawls achieved moderate success, however four years later in 1966, Rawls was opening for The Beatles. That same year marked the release of a live album for Rawls, which went gold. But Rawls' big break came with his soul album, “Soulin',” which he released later that same year. The album spawned the #1 hit single, “Love Is a Hurtin' Thing” and earned Rawls his first Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance.

1971 saw Rawls depart Capitol Records, sign with MGM, and release his Grammy Award-winning single, “Natural Man.” 1976 saw another label change for Rawls, signing with International Records, and releasing his most successful album to date, “All Things in Time.” The album also produced Rawls' most successful single, “You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine.” Rawls continued on to release albums through the 70s and 80s and was able to maintain his fan base and continue to be successful. In 1982, Rawls received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and in 2005 he gave his final performance. Throughout his life, in addition to his successful singing career and acting performances, Rawls won numerous awards, and spent a considerable amount of time and money doing charity work. Rawls died in 2006 after being diagnosed with cancer.