R&B singer/producer Andre "Mr. Rhythm" Williams, died in Chicago on Sunday (March 17) at age 82, in line with a press release from his label, Pravda Records. "It is with nice unhappiness that we announce the passing of legendary artist Andre Williams," learn a FB assertion from the Chicago-based label. "He died this after in Chicago on the age of 82. He touched our lives and the lives of numerous others. We love you Dre."

William's supervisor, Kenn Goodman, tells Billboard that the singer died on Sunday afternoon whereas in hospice care in Chicago surrounded by household. "He was identified two weeks in the past with colon most cancers that unfold to his lungs and mind," Goodman says. "After that his physique began shutting down fairly shortly," he provides, noting that Williams had battled a lot of different well being points not too long ago, together with strokes and seizures. "But was dedicated to making an attempt to sing and report once more."

Born in Bessemer, Alabama, on Nov. 1, 1936, Zephire "Andre" Williams launched his profession as a teen after moving to Detroit within the early 1950s, the place he shortly grew to become a key member of town's then blossoming R&B scene, making his title after profitable the highest prize on the Warfield Theatre's newbie evening present eight weeks in a row. Known for his fiery, usually profane type, Williams signed to Fortune Records and took over the lead vocal slot within the vocal group The Five Dollars.

Renamed Andre Williams and the Don Juans, the group launched "Goin' Down to Tijuana" in 1955, with Williams releasing his signature hit, "Bacon Fat," the following yr, hitting No. 9 on the Billboard R&B chart. His sing-talking type on the observe presaged hip-hop, incomes him the nickname "godfather of rap." He wrote and produced hits for different acts throughout his early years within the enterprise, together with the Five Dutones' "Shake a Tail Feather," in addition to cranking out different beloved Fortune Records singles together with "Jail Bait" and "The Greasy Chicken."

An early 1960s four-year gig as artist/producer/author for Motown Records failed to supply any recordings of notice, although he did rating a co-write on Stevie Wonder's first track, 1964's "Thank You For Loving Me," and labored with The Temptations, whereas persevering with to write and produce for different acts on the time, together with Alvin Cash & The Crawlers ("Twine Time") and The Contours. He adopted in 1965 with a run at Chicago's Chess Records, throughout which he launched a few of his different most beloved tracks reminiscent of "The Stroke," "Humpin' Bumpin' & Thumpin'" and "Cadillac Jack." 

Williams sat in on classes withe everybody from Parliament to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ike & Tina Turner and Mary Wells through the years, hitting his best stride within the 1990s and early 2000s, when a brand new technology of soul-loving rockers found his gritty, grooving sound. Always natty on stage in colourful fits and matching hats, Williams' profession renaissance took off in 1998 with the Silky album, which featured backing from members of the storage rock band The Gories, including some punk swagger to his raunchy soul.

The subsequent yr he continued the re-up with the Bloodshot Records launch of the country-fried Red Dirt, recorded with The Sadies as his backing band, and that includes Williams' variations of songs by Johnny Paycheck, Eddy Arnold and Lefty Frizzell. Energized by working with youthful acts, Williams stored the prepare rolling with a collection of raucous albums on indie labels that bested his whole early profession studio album output, together with The Black Godfather (2000), Bait and Switch (2001), Greasy (2003), That's All I Need (2010) and his ultimate studio effort, 2016's Pravda launch Don't Ever Give Up.

Watch Williams performing "Bacon Fat" in 2012 and see a few of the tributes to the singer beneath.