Philadelphia-born soul singer Billy Paul, best known for his number one hit from 1972, Me and Mrs Jones, has died aged 81.
Recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, Paul died on Sunday (April 24) at his home in Blackwood, New Jersey, his co-manager Beverly Gay told Associated Press.
With a career spanning more than 60 years, Paul was the first to sample Malcolm X on his 1976 track ‘Let ‘Em In.’ He recorded his first two albums, Ebony Woman and Going East, with the writing and producing duo Gamble and Huff, whose Philadelphia International Records also put out music by the O’Jays, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, and Lou Rawls.
Paul’s 1972 hit ‘Mrs and Mrs Jones’ was one of the top singles of that year and brought the soul singer a Grammy in 1973 for best male R&B performance, with runners-up including Ray Charles and Curtis Mayfield.
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 on 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. Watch Paul perform Me and Mrs Jones’ below.