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BILLY PAUL,
1934-2016

Philadelphia soul singer Billy Paul, best known for the #1 hit "Me and Mrs. Jones," died 4/24 at the age of 81 at his home in Blackwood, N.J. He had been diagnosed recently with pancreatic cancer.

One of the many acts who found success on Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff’s Philadelphia International Records, Paul was a jazz singer in his teens, before joining the military where he formed a jazz band with Bing Crosby’s son Gary.

Upon his return to the States, Paul started to incorporate more R&B in his music, and after meeting Gamble in a Philadelphia record shop, was sign to Philly International where he would record a half-dozen albums.

Besides “Me and Mrs. Jones,” which hit #1 in 1972,  he had only one other Top 40 single, “Thanks for Saving My Life,” which peaked at #37 in 1974. “Me and Mrs. Jones,” written by Gamble, Huff and Cary Gilbert, won the Grammy for male R&B performance.

“From the time we saw Billy performing live, and then signing him to our PIR/TSOP label, we immediately realized that we had discovered and launched one the most unique voices in the music industry,” Gamble and Huff said in a statement. “Billy's voice combined jazz, R&B and soul vocals, making him one the great artists to come out of Philly and to be celebrated worldwide. Our proudest moment with Billy was the recording of the salacious smash ‘Me and Mrs. Jones.’ In our view, it is one of the greatest love songs ever recorded.”

 

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