R&B star Gerald Levert dies of heart attack
Date: Sunday, November 12 @ 09:19:51 MST
Topic: Black Habits Articles
LOS ANGELES (Billboard) - Popular R&B singer Gerald Levert died Friday of a heart attack in his hometown of Cleveland. The artist turned 40 years old in July.
The son of O'Jays lead singer Eddie Levert, Levert emerged from his father's shadow to become a well-regarded singer/songwriter and producer in his own right.
Some 20 years after notching his first R&B hit with "(Pop, Pop, Pop, Pop) Goes My Mind," Levert's warm, sensual voice remained a concert draw, especially among female fans who rushed the stage to grab -- and sometimes wrestle over -- the teddy bears he would toss into the audience.
He came to national attention as a member of Atlantic Records' Levert, comprised of his brother Sean and friend Marc Gordon. The trio scored with the aforementioned "Pop" in 1986. Next came the No. 1 R&B/No. 5 pop hit "Casanova" in 1987, followed by three more R&B chart-toppers, "Addicted to You," "Just Coolin'" featuring Heavy D and "Baby I'm Ready" in 1991.
Also in 1991, Levert launched his solo career with the EastWest album "Private Line," whose title track notched No. 1 on the R&B charts. A second No. 1 R&B single, "Baby Hold on to Me," arrived the following year.
Levert went on to record eight solo albums, the most recent being 2004's "Do I Speak for the World?" "Voices," a compilation of Levert duets with his dad and other artists, was released last year. Levert was also a member of the group LSG, which included Keith Sweat and Johnny Gill.
Beyond singing, Levert's talents included songwriting and producing. His collaborations included projects with Barry White, Stephanie Mills, Teddy Pendergrass and the Winans. He also co-wrote and co-produced Barry White's last No. 1 R&B hit, 1994's "Practice What You Preach."
"He was one of the greatest voices of our time, who sang with unmatched soulfulness and power, as well as a tremendously gifted composer and an accomplished producer," read a statement from Atlantic. "Above all, he was an exceptional human being whose warmth and grace inspired us all."
By Gail Mitchell