Bobby Womack: Wikis


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Bobby Womack
Birth name Robert Dwayne Womack
Born March 4, 1944 (1944-03-04) (age 66)
Cleveland, Ohio, United States
Genres R&B soul, funk, deep soul, soul blues
Occupations Singer-songwriter, musician, producer, instrumentalist, sideman
Instruments Vocals, guitar, drums, piano/keyboards
Years active 1962–present
Labels United Artists, Minit, The Right Stuff, Solar, MCA, Columbia, Castle, Indigo Records
Associated acts The Valentinos, Patti LaBelle, Sam Cooke, Cecil Womack, Womack and Womack, Mary Wells, Gorillaz

Robert Dwayne "Bobby" Womack (pronounced /ˈwoʊmæk/) (born March 4, 1944) is an American singer-songwriter and musician. An active recording artist since the early 1960s where he started his career as the lead singer of his family musical group The Valentinos and as Sam Cooke's backing guitarist, Womack's career has spanned more than 40 years and has spanned a repertoire in the styles of R&B, soul, rock and roll, doo-wop, gospel, and country.

As a songwriter, Womack is notable for penning and originally recording The Rolling Stones' first UK No. 1 hit, "It's All Over Now" and New Birth's "I Can Understand It" among other songs. As a singer he is most notable for the hits "Lookin' For a Love", "That's The Way I Feel About Cha", "Woman's Gotta Have It", "Harry Hippie","Across 110th Street" and his 1980s hit "If You Think You're Lonely Now".

In the year 2009 Womack was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. [1]




Early life and career; The Valentinos

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Womack was the third of five boys born to Friendly, Sr. and Naomi Womack in a housing project. Taking after their gospel-singing father, Womack and his four brothers Friendly, Jr., Cecil, Harry and Curtis formed The Womack Brothers and began touring the gospel circuit. One night, soul singer Sam Cooke spotted the Womack Brothers performing and immediately began seeking the group out for a record deal. Signing with SAR Records, Cooke's own imprint, they eventually agreed to leave the gospel circuit for a career in secular music and the group was renamed as the Valentinos. Shortly afterward, they scored their first charted single, "Lookin' For a Love", which peaked at number eight on the national R&B chart. In 1964, they scored a second hit with "It's All Over Now". The latter song was written by Womack and would give the singer monetary royalties after The Rolling Stones' cover of "It's All Over Now" hit the top of the UK singles chart. The Valentinos' career dwindled after the death of Cooke in December 1964. The group stayed together for a year and a half before splitting up in 1966. They reformed in the late 60's and recorded a few songs for Jubilee Records in the early 70's , appearing on Soul Train in 1973. Womack struggled to get noticed in the music industry and secluded himself as a session musician.

Early solo career: sideman

As a session guitarist, Womack worked at producer Chips Moman's American Studios in Memphis, and played on recordings by Joe Tex and The Box Tops. Until this point, around 1967, he had had little success as a solo artist, but at American he began to record a string of hit singles, including 1968's "What Is This" (his first chart hit), "It's Gonna Rain" and "More Than I Can Stand". During this period he became known as a songwriter, contributing many songs to Wilson Pickett's repertoire; these include "I'm in Love" and "I'm a Midnight Mover." He also applied guitar work on three of Aretha Franklin's hit-making late 1960s recordings, including Lady Soul, where he played guitar on Franklin's hit, "Chain of Fools". Among his most well-known works as a session musician from this period, his appearance as guitarist on Sly & the Family Stone's 1971 album There's a Riot Goin' On and on Janis Joplin's Pearl, which features a song by Womack and poet Michael McClure entitled "Trust Me". In 1971, on an album with jazz guitarist Gábor Szabó, he introduced his song "Breezin'", which later became a hit for George Benson.

Solo stardom

In 1968, Womack signed with Minit Records and put out his first charted single, "What Is This", following that up with "It's Gonna Rain", "More than I Can Stand", a soul-infused cover of Frank Sinatra's "Fly Me to the Moon" and his bluesy rendition of The Mamas & the Papas' "California Dreamin'", which gave him his first top 50 pop single.

After moving to the United Artists label in 1971, he released the album Communication, scoring the hit "That's The Way I Feel About Cha", which became his first Top 40 single in 1972.

His follow-up album, Understanding, featured his original rendition of the single "I Can Understand It", which later became a funk hit for the Detroit-based band New Birth, and the Top 10 R&B hit, "Harry Hippie", loosely based on Womack's late brother Harry, who died two years after the song was recorded. Understanding also yielded his first R&B number one single with "A Woman's Gotta Have It", later to be covered by James Taylor in 1976, returning the favor of having Womack cover his seminal single, "Fire and Rain". In 1973, Womack wrote, produced and recorded the soundtrack album to Across 110th Street, with its title track becoming another successful hit for Womack.

In 1974, Womack reached the pinnacle of pop success when his remake of his old 1962 Valentinos single, "Lookin' for a Love" reached the Top 10 of the pop singles chart. Later hits included the funk singles "Check It Out" and "Daylight" and the single, "You're Welcome, Stop On By", later covered by Rufus featuring Chaka Khan. After 1976, few of Womack's songs hit the charts as he dealt with creative difficulties with his record labels. He left United Artists at the end of 1976, and fell out of favor with R&B audiences by the end of the 1970s.

In 1981, he made a comeback with the release of The Poet, which included his Top 10 R&B hit, "If You Think You're Lonely Now". Womack gained a sizable European fan base which grew with the release of 1984's The Poet II, which included the top ten R&B duet with Patti LaBelle titled "Love Has Finally Come at Last". In 1985, he scored his final Top 10 R&B single with "I Wish He Didn't Trust Me So Much".

In 2010, Womack contributed lyrics and sang on "Stylo" alongside Mos Def, the first single from the third Gorillaz album, Plastic Beach. Womack was told to sing whatever was on his mind during the recording of "Stylo". "I was in there for an hour going crazy about love and politics, getting it off my chest", said Womack.[2] He also provides vocals on the song "Cloud of Unknowing".


Jodeci's K-Ci Hailey, a notable admirer of Womack's work, covered "If You Think You're Lonely Now" in 1994. Hailey again covered Womack in 2006 with his rendition of "A Woman's Gotta Have It". The song is referenced in Mariah Carey's song "We Belong Together", a number-one hit in June 2005. Carey sings "I can't sleep at night / When you are on my mind / Bobby Womack's on the radio / Singing to me: 'If you think you're lonely now.'" In 2007, R&B singer Jaheim interpolated the song as "Lonely" on his album "The Making of a Man".

Film director Quentin Tarantino used "Across 110th Street" (which, in a different version, had been the title song of the 1972 movie) in the opening and closing sequences of his 1997 film Jackie Brown. His work has been used in several other popular films, including Meet the Parents (2000), Ali (2001) and American Gangster (2007). A 2003 Saab commercial used Womack's interpretation of "California Dreamin'". In 2005, "Across 110th Street" appeared in the hit Activision video game True Crime: New York City. "Across 110th Street" Was Used In Rockstar Games Video Game Thug'z Depression:Live Or Die

In 2008, Kelly Rowland of Destiny's Child recorded her own version of his R&B hit "Daylight" with Travis McCoy of the Gym Class Heroes, which became a hit in the UK, where it was previously released as a single by Womack in 1976.


In March 1965, just three months after Sam Cooke's death, Womack created scandal by marrying Cooke's widow, Barbara Campbell. Womack claimed he married her for fear that, if she were left alone, she would "do something crazy".[3][4] They divorced in 1970.

Womack's younger brother, Cecil, married Cooke and Campbell's daughter Linda. The controversy derailed Womack's career for some time. Womack and Linda Campbell collaborated on the hit song "Woman's Gotta Have It" and he applied background vocals for his brother and Linda as the pair teamed up as Womack & Womack.

Use in film

Womack's 1968 cover of "California Dreamin'" features prominently in 2009 British film Fish Tank by Andrea Arnold, where the main character Mia dances to it and uses it as her audition piece. The collection CD on which the song appears also plays a role, and is "The Best of Bobby Womack" (2008), on which "California Dreamin'" appears on track 17, as Mia requests at her audition.


Bobby Womack discography
Studio albums 26
Live albums 2
Compilation albums 9
Singles 47

Studio albums

  • 1968: Fly Me to the Moon (Minit) - US #174, R&B #34
  • 1969: My Prescription (Minit) - R&B #44
  • 1971: Communication (United Artists) - US #83, R&B #7, Jazz #20
  • 1972: Understanding (United Artists) - US #43, R&B #7
  • 1972: Across 110th Street (United Artists) - US #50, R&B #6
  • 1973: Facts of Life (United Artists) - US #37, R&B #6
  • 1974: Lookin' for a Love Again (United Artists) - US #85, R&B #5
  • 1975: I Don't Know What the World Is Coming To (United Artists) - US #126, R&B #20
  • 1976: Safety Zone (United Artists) - US #147, R&B #40
  • 1975: I Can Understand It (United Artists) - same tracks as on Greatest Hits
  • 1976: BW Goes C&W (United Artists)
  • 1976: Home Is Where the Heart Is (Columbia)
  • 1977: Pieces (Columbia)
  • 1979: Roads of Life (Arista) - R&B #55
  • 1981: The Poet (Beverly Glen) - US #29, R&B #1
  • 1984: The Poet II (Beverly Glen) - US #60, R&B #5, UK #31
  • 1985: So Many Rivers (MCA) - US #66, R&B #5, UK #28
  • 1985: Someday We'll All Be Free (Beverly Glen) - R&B #59
  • 1986: Womagic (MCA) - R&B #68
  • 1987: Last Soul Man (MCA)
  • 1989: Save The Children (Solar)
  • 1994: Soul Seduction Supreme (Castle)
  • 1994: Resurrection (Continuum) - R&B #91
  • 1999: Back to My Roots (Capitol) - Gospel #27
  • 1999: Traditions (Capitol)
  • 2000: Christmas Album (Indigo)

Live albums

  • 1970: The Womack "Live" (United Artists) - US #188, R&B #13
  • 1998: Soul Sensation Live (Sequel)

Compilation albums

  • 1975: Greatest Hits (United Artists) - US #142, R&B #30
  • 1999: Traditions (Capitol)
  • 2003: Lookin' For a Love: The Best of 1968-1976 (Stateside Records)[5]
  • 2004: Fly Me To The Moon/My Prescription on one CD (Stateside Records)[5]
  • 2004: Understanding/Communication (Stateside Records)[5]
  • 2004: Womack Live/The Safety Zone (Stateside Records)[5]
  • 2004: Lookin' For A Love Again/BW Goes CW (Stateside Records)[5]
  • 2004: Facts of Life/I Don't Know What the World Is Coming To (Stateside Records)[5]
  • 2010: Plastic Beach-Gorillaz (Parlophone)[5]


Year Single Chart positions
US pop chart US R&B chart UK
1962 "Lookin' For a Love" (with The Valentinos) 72 8
1964 "It's All Over Now" (with The Valentinos) 94
1968 "California Dreamin'" 43 20
"Fly Me to the Moon" 52 16
"What Is This" 33
1969 "How I Miss You Baby" 94 13
"I Left My Heart in San Francisco" 48
"It's Gonna Rain" 43
1970 "I'm Gonna Forget About You" 30
"More Than I Can Stand" 90 23
1971 "Communication" 40
"The Preacher (Part 2)/More Than I Can Stand" 30
1972 "That's The Way I Feel About Cha" 27 2
"Sweet Caroline (Good Times Never Seemed So Good)" 51 16
"Woman's Gotta Have It" 60 1
1973 "Harry Hippie" 31 8
"Across 110th Street" 56 19
"Nobody Wants You When You're Down And Out" 29 2
"I'm Through Trying To Prove My Love To You" 80
1974 "Lookin' For a Love" (solo re-release) 10 1
"You're Welcome, Stop On By" 59 5
1975 "Check It Out" 91 6
"It's All Over Now" (with Bill Withers) 68
1976 "Daylight" 5
"Where There's A Will, There's A Way" 13
1977 "Home Is Where The Heart Is" 43
1978 "Trust Your Heart" 47
1979 "How Could You Break My Heart" 40
1981 "Secrets" 55
1982 "If You Think You're Lonely Now" 3
"Where Do We Go From Here" 26
1984 "It Takes a Lot of Strength to Say Goodbye" 76
"Love Has Finally Come at Last" (with Patti LaBelle) 88 3
"Tell Me Why" 60
1985 "I Wish He Didn't Trust Me So Much" 2 64
"Let Me Kiss It Where It Hurts" 50
"Someday We'll All Be Free" 74
1986 "(I Wanna) Make Love to You" 57 100
1987 "How Could You Break My Heart" (UK-only release of 1979 single) 86
"So The Story Goes" (with Living in a Box) 81 34
"Living in a Box" 70
1989 "Save the Children" 83
1991 "I Wish I'd Never Met You" (with Mica Paris)
1993 "I'm Back For More" (with Lulu) 27
1995 "It's A Man's Man's Man's World" (with Jeanie Tracy) 73
2004 "California Dreamin'" (re-release) 59
2010 "Stylo" (with Gorillaz and Mos Def)


External links


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