NEW YORK: Billy Paul, a star from the Philadelphia soul scene who won fame with “Me and Mrs. Jones” before drawing controversy with his racially charged politics, died Sunday (Monday in Manila). He was 80.
Known for his uplifting, mellifluous voice, Paul won a Grammy Award and helped shape the course of modern R&B but fell on the losing end of one of the music industry’s legendary tales of poor marketing.
“We regret to announce with a heavy heart that Billy has passed away today at home after a serious medical condition,” a statement on his website said.
Born as Paul Williams in Philadelphia, the singer came of age as the eastern city became an epicenter of a style of soul music known for smooth and jazzy melodies.
Paul topped the mainstream charts in 1972 with “Me and Mrs. Jones,” a light-touch song about an extra-marital affair that has been covered by a range of artists including pop duo Hall & Oates and crooner Michael Buble.