Charles Bradley has died. The soul singer was 68 years old, and had been diagnosed with cancer last year, recently having to cancel his tour dates as a result of his illness. Bradley was touring behind his 2016 album Changes when he announced he would be canceling those dates. “I will fight through this like I’ve fought through the many other obstacles in my life,” he said in a statement.
Bradley was born in 1948 in Gainesville, Florida, and lived in poverty for much of his youth, working odd jobs before moving to Maine to train as a chef. He took an interest in music early on in the ’60s when his sister took him to see James Brown at the Apollo Theatre. He settled in California and performed in cover bands, often doing James Brown songs, which earned him the nickname “The Screaming Eagle of Soul.”
Bradley began releasing singles with the Menahan Street Band through Daptone in the early ’00s, but didn’t release his debut album, No Time for Dreaming, until 2011. He released three studio albums during his career, his last one being 2016’s Changes.
Respect to Brother Charles. So Much Soul. https://t.co/IX5jtGz7Te
— T’questla (@questlove) September 23, 2017
I've had the honor of being completely and utterly blown off stage by both of these sweethearts. RIP Charles Bradley.❤️We miss you, Sharon! pic.twitter.com/QUdCugUw3R
— Neko Case (@NekoCase) September 23, 2017
RIP Charles Bradley. Will live forever in the Underground Garage.
— Stevie Van Zandt (@StevieVanZandt) September 23, 2017
Gone too soon. RIP Charles Bradley ❤️ Thank you for sharing your heart and your gift with the world. 🦅🦅🦅 pic.twitter.com/X6yKp6d7P5
— Margo Price (@MissMargoPrice) September 23, 2017
Charles Bradley’s “Ain’t It A Sin” is on our list of the Top 100 Songs of 2016.
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.