Soul great Billy Paul dead at 80

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Billy Paul

Billy Paul

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.

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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.

AFP

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