Philly R&B Crooner Billy Paul, whose hit single “Me and Mrs Jones” was a huge hit has passed.
Billy Paul, the soul singer best known for the number one hit and Philadelphia soul classic, Me and Mrs Jones, has died aged 80.
Paul, whose career spanned for more than 60 years, died at his home in Blackwood, New Jersey, his co-manager, Beverly Gay, told Associated Press. Paul, 80, had been diagnosed recently with pancreatic cancer, Gay said.
Known for his beard and large glasses, Paul was one of many singers who found success with the writing and producing team of Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, whose Philadelphia International Records also released music by the O’Jays, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, and Lou Rawls.
Martha Reeves, the Motown singer, was among those who paid tribute on social media.
Me and Mrs Jones, which reached number one in the US at the end of 1972 and number 12 in the UK, was an extramarital confession and a characteristic Gamble and Huff production, setting Paul’s thick tenor against a lush and sensuous arrangement. Many fans best remember the moment when Paul’s otherwise subtle vocals jump as they reach the title words, stretching out “Me” and “And” into multiple syllables and repeating “Mrs Jones, Mrs Jones, Mrs Jones.” (Paul himself was married to the same woman for decades).
Paul’s voice made him “one of the great artists to come out of Philly and to be celebrated worldwide”, Gamble and Huff said in a statement late Sunday.
“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,” they said.
My favorite cover of Paul’s hit song was by the Dramatics in the Old Style of group R&B…