Lou Rawls

Lou Rawls (Dec. 1, 1933 — Jan. 6, 2006) was an American soul singer from Chicago who began in gospel groups in the early 1950s. He released numerous albums on Capitol during the 1960s, scoring hits with “Love Is a Hurtin’ Thing,” “Dead End Street,” “Show Business,” and “Your Good Thing (Is About to End).” This was followed by a five-album run on MGM, marked by the 1971 hit “A Natural Man.”

During the mid-1970s, Rawls hosted a series of albums for the Naval Recruiting Command. Between 1976 and 1982, he issued a string of soul-pop albums on Philadelphia International Records, charting with “You’ll Never Find Another Love like Mine” and “Lady Love.” He then signed to Epic for a sting of 1982–86 titles and continued sporadically for his final two decades.

He was born Louis Allen Rawls on December 1, 1933, in Chicago, where he was raised by his grandmother. He first sang at age seven in the Greater Mount Olive Baptist Church choir. In his late teens, he sang in the gospel group Teenage Kings of Harmony, which featured a young Sam Cooke. After a stint in the Holy Wonders, Rawls replaced Cooke in a sequence of gospel groups (Highway QC’s, The Soul Stirrers) and headed west for a stint in the Pilgrim Travelers.

In 1955, Rawls enlisted in the US Army, where he attained the rank of sergeant and made 26 skydives in the B Co 2/505th Parachute Infantry. After his discharge, he rejoined the Travelers. During a 1958 southern tour with the Travelers and Cooke, he was in a car crash and pronounced dead by first responders. He was in a coma for the next six days and spent the subsequent year in recovery.

Rawls made his vinyl debut with the 1959 Shar-Dee single “Love, Love, Love” (b/w “My Heart Belongs to You”), recorded with the Gaynel Hodge Singers. Over the next two years, he issued singles on Candix and Capitol, his label for the ensuing decade. In January 1962, he recorded the jazz album Stormy Monday in collaboration with Les McCann Ltd. His first two solo albums, Black and Blue and Tobacco Road, appeared on Capitol in 1963.


  • Stormy Monday (1962 • Lou Rawls & Les McCann Ltd.)
  • Black and Blue (1963)
  • Tobacco Road (1964)
  • Lou Rawls and Strings (1965)
  • Nobody But Lou (1965)
  • Carryin’ On (1966)
  • Soulin’ (1966)
  • Merry Christmas Ho! Ho! Ho! (1967)
  • That’s Lou (1967)
  • Too Much! (1967)
  • Feelin’ Good (1968)
  • You’re Good for Me (1968)
  • Come on in, Mister Blues (1969)
  • The Way It Was, The Way It Is (1969)
  • Your Good Thing (1969)
  • Bring It On Home (1970)
  • You’ve Made Me So Very Happy (1970)
  • Natural Man (1971)
  • A Man of Value (1972)
  • Silk & Soul (1972)
  • She’s Gone (1974)
  • All Things in Time (1976)
  • Unmistakably Lou (1977)
  • When You Hear Lou, You’ve Heard It All (1977)
  • Let Me Be Good to You (1979)
  • Sit Down and Talk to Me (1979)
  • Shades of Blue (1980)
  • Now Is the Time (1982)
  • When the Night Comes (1983)
  • Close Company (1984)
  • Love All Your Blues Away (1986)
  • Family Reunion (1987)
  • At Last (1989)


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