Billy Paul, American soul singer, Died at 81


Billy Paul/Paul Williams was born on December 1, 1934, and died on April 24, 2016.

He was a Grammy Award winning American soul singer.

Popularly known for his 1972 number-one single, “Me and Mrs. Jones” as well as the 1973 album and single “War of the Gods” which blends his more conventional pop, soul and funk styles with electronic and psychedelic influences.

Billy Paul was one of the many artists associated with the Philadelphia soul sound created by Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff, and Thom Bell.

The artist, usually identified by his diverse vocal style which ranges from mellow and soulful to low and raspy.

His long Questlove of The Roots has equated Paul to Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder, calling him “one of the criminally unmentioned proprietors of socially conscious post-revolution ’60s civil rights music.

He was mostly influenced by female jazz vocalists, perhaps none more than Billie Holiday.

As a youngster Paul started his singing career at age eleven, appearing on local radio station WPEN, then owned by the local Philadelphia Bulletin newspaper.

Williams attended the West Philadelphia Music School and the Granoff School of Music for formal vocal training.

His popularity grew famous and led to appearances in clubs and at college campuses nationally.

He gained further opportunities, appearing in concert with Charlie Parker, Dinah Washington, Nina Simone, Miles Davis, The Impressions, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Roberta Flack.

During 1952, when he was still a teenager, he traveled to New York City and entered the recording studio for Jubilee Records.

He did many songs after that and he was also recalled to the army at one point.

Later another song off his ‘360 Degrees of Billy Paul’ reached #1 on the Billboard soul chart and #17 on the pop chart.

Another collaboration made “Me and Mrs. Jones” was a No. 1 hit for the last three weeks of 1972, selling two million copies (platinum single status).

Also, Music executive Clive Davis has consistently commended Paul’s recording of “Am I Black Enough for You?”.

Billy won numerous Ebby awards given by the readers of Ebony magazine; has been a recipient of an American Music Award, the NAACP Image Award and numerous proclamations and keys to cities across the United States.

Paul received the 2015 AMG Favorite Retro Artist of the Year award as well as being given the prestigious Sandy Hosey Lifetime Achievement Award during the Artists Music Guild’s 2015 AMG Heritage Awards broadcast held on November 14, 2015 in Monroe, NC.

Billy Paul passed away at 81 yrs old.