... he died on January 6, 2006 from lung and brain cancer.
Born on the South Side of Chicago and raised by his grandmother, Louis Allen "Lou" Rawls was a soul, jazz, and blues singer. released more than 70 albums, sold more than 40 million records, appeared as an actor in motion pictures and on television, and voiced-over many cartoons.
He was known for his smooth vocal style: Frank Sinatra once said that Rawls had "the classiest singing and silkiest chops in the singing game."
He began singing in the Greater Mount Olive Baptist Church choir at the age of seven and later sang with local groups through which he met future music stars Sam Cooke and Curtis Mayfield.
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After graduating from Dunbar Vocational Career Academy, he sang briefly with Cooke in the Teenage Kings of Harmony, a local gospel group, and then with the Holy Wonders. In 1951, Rawls replaced Cooke in the Highway QC's after Cooke departed to join The Soul Stirrers in Los Angeles. Rawls was soon recruited by the Chosen Gospel Singers and himself moved to Los Angeles, where he subsequently joined the Pilgrim Travelers.
After a stint the U.S. Army as a paratrooper,in 1958, while touring the South with the Travelers and Sam Cooke, Rawls was in a serious car crash. Rawls was pronounced dead before arriving at the hospital, where he stayed in a coma for five and a half days. It took him months to regain his memory, and a year to fully recuperate. Rawls considered the event to be life-changing.
He was signed to Capitol Records in 1962, the same year he sang the soulful background vocals on the Sam Cooke recording of "Bring it on Home to Me" and "That's Where it's At," both written by Cooke. Rawls himself charted with a cover of "Bring it on Home to Me" in 1970.
Though his 1966 album Live! went gold, Rawls would not have a star-making hit until he made a proper soul album, appropriately named Soulin', later that same year. The album contained his first R&B #1 single, "Love Is a Hurtin' Thing." In 1967 Rawls won his first Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance, for the single "Dead End Street."