Bobby Womack  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Robert Dwayne "Bobby" Womack (March 4, 1944 – June 27, 2014) was an American singer-songwriter and musician. An active recording artist since the early 1960s, when 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 spanned more than 50 years and spanned a repertoire in the styles of R&B, soul, rock and roll, doo-wop, gospel, and country.

Womack wrote and originally recorded 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".



Early Career

Taking after their father, who sang gospel music, Bobby Womack and his brothers formed their own group. Sam Cooke took an interest in the Womack Brothers, and they recorded for Cooke's SAR record label in the early 1960s. Renamed the Valentinos, and encouraged by Cooke to go in a more secular and commercial direction, they scored a hit with Womack's "It's All Over Now" in 1964; the Rolling Stones' version of the song became a major hit, earning Womack generous royalty payments.

Solo career

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 classic soul-music singles including the 1968 "What Is This" (his first chart hit), "It's Gonna Rain" and "More Than I Can Stand," all of which featured his elegant, understated rhythm-guitar work and his impassioned vocals. During this period he became known as a songwriter, contributing many songs to the repertoire of Wilson Pickett; these include "I'm in Love" and "I'm a Midnight Mover."

After moving to the United Artists label in the early '70s, he released the album Communication, and on an album with guitarist Gabor Szabo introduced his song "Breezin'," which later became a hit for George Benson. He also became known for his interesting taste in cover versions, essaying Fred Neil's "Everybody's Talkin' " as well as "Fly Me to the Moon (In Other Words)" and James Taylor's "Fire and Rain'" and "California Dreamin'." Among his most well-known works from this period, his appearance as guitarist on Sly & the Family Stone's 1971 There's a Riot Goin' On and on Janis Joplin's Pearl, which features a song by Womack and poet Michael McClure, Trust Me.

He continued to have hits into the '70s; these include "Lookin' for a Love" (a remake of his 1962 Valentinos single), "Across 110th Street," "Woman's Gotta Have It" (covered by James Taylor in 1976), "You're Welcome, Stop on By," and the masterful "Daylight." All are excellent examples of burnished yet gritty 1970s soul music, and reveal a pop-music sensibility akin to that of Marvin Gaye or Curtis Mayfield.

Bobby Womack's 1981 album The Poet was a surprise hit and contained the hit single "If You Think You're Lonely Now." K-Ci Hailey, a notable admirer of Womack's work, covered "If You Think You're Lonely Now" in 1994. 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.'"

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, Womack's Hit Song "Across 110th Street" appeared in the hit Activision video game True Crime: New York City

As of 2006, Womack continues to record and to make live appearances.

In 2006 K-Ci covered Womack's song "Woman's Gotta Have it".

In 2007, Womack's song, "Across 110th Street" was featured in the film American Gangster

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 had not been previously released as a single by Womack.


In March 1965 just after he turned 21 years old--and just 3 months after Sam Cooke's December 1964 murder -- Womack created scandal by marrying Cooke's widow Barbara Campbell. Womack claimed he married Barbara for fear that if she were left alone she would do something crazy. They divorced in 1970. Things became even more complicated when his younger brother, Cecil, married Sam and Barbara's daughter Linda.



  • 1968: Fly Me to the Moon (Minit) - US #174, R&B #34
  • 1969: My Prescription (Minit) - R&B #44
  • 1970: The Womack "Live" (United Artists) - US #188, R&B #13
  • 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: Greatest Hits (United Artists) - US #142, R&B #30
  • 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
  • 1985: So Many Rivers (MCA) - US #66, R&B #5
  • 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
  • 1998: Soul Sensation Live (Sequel)
  • 1999: Back to My Roots (Capitol) - Gospel #27
  • 1999: Traditions (Capitol)
  • 2000: Christmas Album (Indigo)
  • 2003: Lookin' For a Love: The Best of 1968-1976 (Stateside Records)<ref>[1]</ref>
  • 2004: Fly Me To The Moon/My Prescription on one CD (Stateside Records)<ref>[2]</ref>
  • 2004: Understanding/Communication (Stateside Records)<ref>[3]</ref>
  • 2004: Womack Live/The Safety Zone (Stateside Records)<ref>[4]</ref>
  • 2004: Lookin' For A Love Again/BW Goes CW (Stateside Records)<ref>[5]</ref>
  • 2004: Facts of Life/I Don't Know What the World Is Coming To (Stateside Records)<ref>[6]</ref>
  • 2006: Post (Castle)


  • 1962: "Lookin' For A Love" - R&B #8
  • 1964: "It's All Over Now" - R&B #94
  • 1968: "Fly Me To The Moon" - US #52, R&B #16
  • 1968: "What Is This" - R&B #33
  • 1969: "How I Miss My Baby" - US #94, R&B #13
  • 1969: "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" - R&B #48
  • 1969: "It's Gonna Rain" - R&B #43
  • 1970: "I'm Gonna Forget About You" - R&B #30
  • 1970: "More Than I Can Stand" - US# 90, R&B #23
  • 1971: "Communication" - R&B #40
  • 1971: "The Preacher (Part 2)/More Than I Can Stand" - R&B #30
  • 1972: "Sweet Caroline (Good Times Never Seemed So Good)" - US #51, R&B #16
  • 1972: "That's The Way I Feel About Cha" - US #27, R&B #2
  • 1972: "Woman's Gotta Have It" - US #60, R&B #1
  • 1973: "Across 110th Street" - US #56, R&B #19
  • 1973: "Harry Hippie" - US #31, R&B #8
  • 1973: "I'm Through Trying To Prove My Love To You" - R&B #80
  • 1973: "Nobody Wants You When You're Down And Out" - US #29, R&B #2
  • 1974: "Lookin' For A Love" - US #10, R&B #1
  • 1974: "You're Welcome, Stop On By" - US #59, R&B #5
  • 1975: "Check It Out" - US #91, R&B #6
  • 1975: "It's All Over Now" - R&B #68
  • 1976: "Daylight" - R&B #5
  • 1976: "Where There's A Will, There's A Way" - R&B #13
  • 1977: "Home Is Where The Heart Is" - R&B #43
  • 1978: "Trust Your Heart" - R&B #47
  • 1979: "How Could You Break My Heart" - R&B #40
  • 1981: "Secrets" - R&B #55
  • 1982: "If You Think You're Lonely Now" - R&B #3
  • 1982: "Where Do We Go From Here" - R&B #26
  • 1984: "It Takes a Lot of Strength to Say Goodbye" - R&B #76
  • 1984: "Love Has Finally Come at Last" (with Patti LaBelle) - US #88, R&B #3
  • 1985: "I Wish He Didn't Trust Me So Much" - R&B #2
  • 1985: "Let Me Kiss It Where It Hurts" - R&B #50
  • 1985: "Someday We'll All Be Free" - R&B #74
  • 1986: "(I Wanna) Make Love to You" - R&B #57
  • 1989: "Save the Children" - R&B #83

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Bobby Womack" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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