b. Louis Allen Rawls, 1st December 1933, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
d. 6th January 2006, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, U.S.A.
Lou Rawls was born and raised in Chicago by his grandmother.
He began singing gospel at age 7 in the choir of his Baptist church.
Lou first recorded in June 1950 with The Holy Wonders (imprint: Premium 854 : 'I Won't Be Long' b/w 'Move In The Room With The Lord').
the pilgrim travelers
He later recorded in February 1954 with The Pilgrim Travelers, whose line-up featured Lou Rawls, Bumps Blackwell, George McCurn, J. W. Alexander, Jesse Whitaker and Ernest Booker.
pilgrim travelers l to r: sam cooke, george mccurn, rene hall, j.w. alexander and lou rawls
As a teenager, he began joining doo-wop groups with his classmate Sam Cooke, whose own singing career in the 1950's and 1960's really took off.
Lou served in the Army (where he was a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division) in the 1950's, and he began singing at small clubs in Los Angeles.
In 1958, while touring the South with the Pilgrim Travelers and Sam Cooke, Lou was in a serious car crash.
He was pronounced dead before arriving at the hospital, where he stayed in a coma for five and a half days.
Following the accident, Lou was later talent spotted and joined the Capitol Records imprint.
In the '60's he often visited schools, playgrounds, and community centre's and was quite prolific in his musical output.
stormy monday - 1962 / black and blue - 1963 / tobacco road - 1964 / nobody but you - 1965
Lou's first Capitol solo release was 'Stormy Monday' (a.k.a. I'd Rather Drink Muddy Water), a jazz album, in 1962.
On the 21st of August 1966, Lou opened for The Beatles at Crosley Field in Cincinnati.
lou rawls and strings - 1965 / soulin' - 1966 / carryin' on - 1966 / that's lou - 1967
It took Lou a while to establish himself as a soul artist, however, 'Love Is a Hurtin' Thing' topped the R & B charts in 1966, and 'Dead End Street' and 'Your Good Thing (Is About to End)' enhanced his reputation as a singer of all Black genre's.
His 1966 album 'Soulin' showed a movement away from the Jazz genre.
The album contained his first R&B number 1 single, 'Love Is a Hurtin' Thing'.
too much! - 1967 / you're good for me - 1968 / the way it was, the way it is - 1969 / gee baby, ain't i good to you - 1969
In 1967 he won his first Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance, for the single 'Dead End Street'.
The same year he also performed at the first evening of the Monterey International Pop Music Festival.
Lou departed Capitol Records in 1971.
you've made me feel so very happy - 1970 / natural man - 1971 / a man of value - 1972 / she's gone - 1974
He joined MGM, and released his Grammy-winning single 'Natural Man' written by Sandy Baron and singer Bobby Hebb.
Lou switched labels to Bell Records in 1974, where he recorded a cover of the Hall & Oates' song 'She's Gone', taken from an album of the same name.
naturally - 1976 / all things in time - 1976 / when you heard lou, you heard it all - 1977 / unmistakably lou - 1977
However, it was the change of record labels, and joining the Philadelphia International imprint, were where Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff gave him his biggest hit in 1976, namely, 'You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine'.
Several other hit albums followed, including 'Unmistakably Lou' (featuring 'See You When I Git There') in 1977, 'When You Heard Lou, You Heard It All' (the same year) and 'Sit Down And Talk To Me' in 1979.
let me be good to you - 1979 / sit down and talk to me - 1979 / now is the time - 1982 / when the night comes - 1983
In 1979, Ihis Philly album 'Let Me Be Good To You' was warmly received by Soul fans, and featured the Jones Girls.
1982's 'Now Is The Time' saw a label move to the Epic imprint, with the title track being popular amongst Soul fans.
A year later, the album 'When The Night Comes' featured the song 'I Been Him'.
close company - 1984 / love all your blues away - 1986 / family reunion - 1987 / at last - 1989
Further albums followed throughout the Eighties, with 'Close Company' featuring 'In The Middle Of The Night', 'Love All Your Blues Away' featured 'Stop Me From Staring This Feeling' (kicking of something of a Soul renaissance for the singer), and 'At last', featuring 'You Can't Go Home'.
Lou was a longtime community activist, he played a major role in the United Negro College Fund telethon's in the 1980's, which raised more than $200 million.
He recorded more than 75 albums, won three Grammy awards, and starred on television during his career.
Lou went on to record for several other labels, including Blue Note, after previously signing to the Epic label, where he recorded the much sought after 'Stop Me From Starting This Feeling' in 1986.
He was 72 when Lou passed away.
It was also announced in December 2005 that Lou was being treated for cancer in both his lungs and brain.
He passed away from the illness on the 6th of January 2006, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California.
Lou lived in Scottsdale, Arizona, and had said, in an interview with the Arizona Republic that he had received alternative and traditional medical treatment.
Apart from his wife, Lou is survived by four children, Louanna Rawls, Lou Rawls Jr., Kendra Smith and Aiden Rawls.
Stormy Monday (Blue Note Records 1962)
Black and Blue (Capitol Records 1962)
Tobacco Road (Capitol Records 1963)
For You My Love (Capitol Records 1964)
Lou Rawls and Strings (Capitol Records 1965)
Merry Christmas Ho! Ho! Ho! (Capitol Records 1965)
Nobody But Lou (Capitol Records 1965)
Live! (Capitol Records 1966)
Soul Stirring Gospel Sounds of the Pilgrim... (Capitol Records 1966)
Carryin' On (Capitol Records 1966)
Soulin' (Capitol Records 1966)
Too Much (Capitol Records 1967)
That's Lou (Capitol Records 1967)
You're Good for Me (Capitol Records 1968)
Feelin' Good (Capitol Records 1968)
The Way It Was: The Way It Is (Capitol Records 1969)
Your Good Thing (Capitol Records 1969)
Natural Man (MGM Records 1971)
Silk & Soul (MGM Records 1972)
Live at the Century Plaza (Rebound Records 1973)
All Things in Time (Philadelphia International Records 1976)
Unmistakably Lou (Philadelphia International Records 1977)
When You Hear Lou, You've Heard It All (Philadelphia International Records 1977)
Live (Philadelphia International Records 1978)
Sit Down and Talk to Me (Philadelphia International Records 1980)
Let Me Be Good To You (Philadelphia International Records 1980)
Shades of Blue (Philadelphia International Records 1981)
Now Is The Time (Epic Records 1982)
When the Night Comes (Epic Records 1983)
Close Comany (Epic Records 1984)
Family Reunion (Philadelphia International Records 1985)
Love All Your Blues Away (Epic Records 1986)
At Last (Blue Note Records 1989)
It's Supposed to Be Fun (Blue Note Records 1990)
Christmas Is the Time (Manhattan Records 1993)
Merry Little Christmas (Cema Special M Records 1995)
Holiday Cheer (Cema Special M Records 1995)
Seasons 4 U (Rawls & Brokaw Records 1998)
Rawls Sings Sinatra (Savoy Jazz Records 2003)