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CHARLES BRADLEY,
1948-2017

Charles Bradley, the gritty, dynamic R&B singer who went from performing James Brown tributes to becoming a leading light in modern soul music, all while in his 60s, died today. He was 68.

Bradley was treated for stomach cancer a year ago and was well enough to tour earlier this year, though he canceled multiple dates after the cancer returned, spreading to his liver.

At the time of his death in Brooklyn, Bradley was surrounded by family and friends including members of the bands with whom he had worked—Menahan Street Band, His ExtraordinairesBudos Band and the Jimmy Hill Allstarz.

Discovered by Daptone RecordsGabriel Roth while working Brooklyn clubs under the name Black Velvet, Bradley made his first album at the age of 62, No Time For Dreaming, for the Daptone subsidiary Dunham.

A breakthrough performance at SXSW and multiple impressive television performances established Bradley as a modern heir to Southern soul singers such as Otis Redding and Little Milton.

Bradley’s life—he spent his 20s and 30s out West doing odd jobs and occasionally performing before returning to Brooklyn two decades ago—was told in Poull Brien’s 2012 doc Charles Bradley: Soul of America.

Bradley released two other well-reviewed albums, Victim of Love in 2013 and Changes, the title track of which was a cover of a Black Sabbath song, last year. He sang of heartbreak and longing with a unique intensity that connected with multiple generations of listeners.

Like labelmate Sharon Jones, who died last year, Bradley found a legion of young fans by playing alternative rock festivals such as Bonnaroo, Glastonbury, Austin City Limits, FYF and Coachella.

In lieu of flowers or gifts, people are encouraged to make donations to Music Unites or All Star Project

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