Joe Simon passed away at the age of 85.
The Grammy-winning R&B singer is best known for his hit songs including Power of Love and The Chokin’ Kind.
The two died in his hometown, near Chicago.
Joe was born in Semisport, Louisiana in 1943.
According to Billboard, he hated picking cotton and chose to move to Los Angeles to pursue a career as a singer.
Joe spent his early years homeless in Los Angeles where he lived in a chicken coop.
Despite struggling to make ends meet, Joe wrote 20-30 a day as he worked on developing his singing voice.
He improved so much that the owner of the production company paid him $1,100 to record four songs from other songwriters.
Joe brought in local musicians including future funk greats Sly Stone and Larry Graham to play on the 1964 song My Adorable One.
The song was well received and became a huge hit.
His career quickly took off and he ranked 3rd in #1 and 14 in the Top 10 on what is now the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
Joe also scored Best R&B Vocal Performance, a Grammy mention for his 1969 film The Chokin’ Kind.
The musician later collaborated with Philly Sound hit makers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff on the 1971 song Drowning in the Sea of Love, which was created as the theme for the 1973 film Cleopatra Jones.
Continuing to release hit songs, Joe launched his own independent label, Spring and Posse.
Signed to funk stars including Millie Jackson and the Fatback Band.
Joe, known as “The Mouth of the South,” was often compared to musicians Otis Redding, Sam Cook and Jackie Wilson.
Despite his successful music career, Joe gave up performing to become a minister in 1983.
He was a traveling priest, while his first sermon was to an audience of 4,000 people at the Rapides Coliseum near New Orleans.
According to Billboard, Joe changed his career after a dramatic moment on stage when he forgot the lyrics to his hit songs in front of 10,000 fans.
Fans MOURN JOE
After the musician’s death, celebrities and fans took to Twitter to pay tribute to Joe.
Singer Betty Lafitte wrote: “We’ve lost another one of the good guys. Legend of RIP Rhythm & Blues, Joe Simon. One of the most beautiful men I’ve ever met on show business.”
One fan wrote: “Rest in peace Mr. Joe Simon. Your music will live on forever.”
Another added, “What a special and unique sound I will forever associate with backyard barbecues originating in Chicago. RIH Bishop Joe Simon.”