Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Luther Ingram Dead at 69

Luther Ingram: If Loving You Is Wrong (live)
from Wattstax 1972

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Luther Ingram, the soul singer who seduced audiences with his hit "(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don't Want to Be Right," has died of a heart attack at age 69, his family said on Wednesday. Ingram, who also co-wrote the Staple Singers' hit "Respect Yourself," died Monday in Belleville, Illinois, near his home in O'Fallon. Ingram had diabetes and suffered kidney failure in 2003, his son, Eric, said."He couldn't tolerate the dialysis," said Eric, an aspiring music producer. "It began to take a toll on his heart, which caused his heart to fail."Luther Ingram had been a part of the deep talent pool at Stax Records, the influential Memphis, Tennessee, label, and its subsidiaries that included soul-music stars like Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, Isaac Hayes, Booker T and the MGs and Rufus Thomas. Two other acts had recorded "(If Loving You is Wrong) I Don't Want to Be Right" before Ingram but neither version was released. Ingram decided to slow the song down and his version was released in May 1972. With his intimate, gospel-flavored vocal, it quickly hit No. 1 on the rhythm and blues chart, went to No. 3 on the pop chart and became a radio standby that summer. His other best known hits were "Ain't That Loving You (For More Reasons Than One)" and "I'll Be Your Shelter." Ingram was born in Jackson, Tennessee, and grew up in Alton, Illinois. After singing with his family's gospel group, he and his brothers and friends formed the Gardenias and recorded with Ike Turner. In the 1960s Ingram went to New York, writing with Johnny Nash and living across the hall from Jimi Hendrix. He did not have a hit until 1969, when he recorded "Pity for the Lonely" and "My Honey and Me" for KoKo Records, a Stax Records partner.

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