Washington: Grammy Award-winning American soul singer Billy Paul died from pancreatic cancer at his home in New Jersey on Sunday 24 April. He was 81.
Paul gained his greatest success when he released his 1972 single Me and Mrs Jones, the song for which he would later receive his Grammy. It reached number one in the US and number 12 in the UK.
Born in 1934 in Philadelphia, Paul began his music career at the age of 11 when he appeared on a local radio station and would go on to perform with many jazz and soul music icons, including Charlie Parker, Nina Simone, Miles Davis and Roberta Flack. Paul was one of many singers who found success with the writing and producing team of Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff.
After serving in the Army, where he was stationed with Elvis Presley, Paul released his debut album Feelin’ Good at the Cadillac Club in 1968. In all, Paul released 15 other albums between 1968 and 1988, but he would always be associated with his hit single Me and Mrs Jones, which describes an extramarital affair between a man and his lover, Mrs Jones.
The song was used in the film Bridget Jones’s Diary, in the scene where Bridget’s mother begins an affair with a perma-tanned shopping channel presenter named Julian. Michael Buble also released a cover version in 2007.
Paul’s other hits included Only the Strong Survive and Let ‘Em In. He is survived by his wife, Blanche Williams, with whom he had two children.