Lou Rawls was a singer’s singer, with a vocal style Frank Sinatra called ‘the silkiest chops in the singing game.’ He commanded the stage, and scored hits with songs that ranged from blues to jazz to uptown R&B, in the course of a magisterial recording career that spanned five decades.
A definitive ‘crossover’ artist long before the term was coined, he was at home before crowds in Las Vegas and on the couches of network TV talk shows, while his pioneering work for the United Negro College Fund created a legacy far beyond music. But the man behind that smooth-singing persona was a more complicated figure – an abandoned child whose scars never healed, and whose unpredictable explosions of anger and violence were often directed toward those he loved best.
In this ground-breaking episode of Unsung, friends, family, and musical collaborators – including fellow legends Della Reese, and Gamble & Huff – come together to craft a portrait of a singer whose music transcended category, and a man whose true personality was wrapped in layers of mystery.
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