Billy Paul 1934-2016 R.I.P.

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“Me and Mrs. Jones” is eternal.

By Blurt Staff

Soul legend Billy Paul (born Paul Williams) passed away yesterday (April 24), at the age of 80. According to the New York Times, “Paul, whose career spanned for more than 60 years, died at his home in Blackwood, New Jersey, his co-manager, Beverly Gay, told The Associated Press. Paul had been diagnosed recently with pancreatic cancer, Gay said.”

Paul was a mainstay of the Philly Soul scene, working with Gamble & Huff and Philadelphia International Records – and topping the charts with the Grammy-winning ‘72 song “Me and Mrs. Jones.” The 360 Degrees of Billy Paul album hit number 1 on the soul charts and number 17 on the pop charts.

In a statement, the songwriting duo noted that Paul’s voice made him “one of 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.”

The Times noted that Paul – who grew up in Philadelphia got his start in the late Forties but began to hone his signature pop/soul sound when the Beatles hit – was still performing up until the time of his illness. Among his other popular songs were “Be Truthful to Me,” “Let’s Make a Baby,” “How Good is Your Game, “I Trust You” and a cover of Paul McCartney’s “Let ‘em In.”

There was also a film about Paul in 2009, Am I Black Enough For You?, titled after a controversial Paul song and directed by Sweden’s Goran Hugo Olsson. According to the YouTube trailer blurb, “Am I Black Enough for You? started out as a devoted fan-film but soon turned into a major cinematic hold on the life and artistry of soul legend Billy Paul, the Philly Sound of the 70s and the life of the city of Philadelphia. And last but not least Am I Black Enough For You tells the story about the lifelong companionship between Billy and his wife Blanche. A film packed with soul, love and life’s complications.”

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