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Bobby Womack and his four brothers had a childhood band which became The Valentinos in the early 1960s, one of the most successful gospel groups of all time. As a solo act Womack went on to sell 30 million records, penned the classics Midnight Mover and Across 110th Street and worked with such all-time greats as Elvis Presley, James Brown, Jimi Hendrix, Ray Charles, The Rolling Stones, Sam Cooke, and Sly Stone. Robert Ashton is the author of three books, The First Rock'n'Roll Bodyguard, Heroin, and Waking Up. He has also written for numerous magazines and newspapers including Elle, the Independent, the Guardian, GQ, and the Sunday Times.
Bobby Womack is a true legend, a phenomenally gifted musician with 40 albums and 30 million record sales to his name. He wrote the classic tracks 'It's All Over Now' (a smash for the Rolling Stones), 'Across 110th Street', 'Lookin' For a Love' and 'Woman's Gotta Have It'. Their success helped him to escape the ghetto and become a star, but battles with the record industry and hard drugs almost wiped him out. Behind his beautiful music lies a life scorched by more than its fair share of tragedy. Having trod the harsh edge of the music business for decades, in Midnight Mover he tells his explosive story for the first time. From his poor childhood growing up in Cleveland and his early forays into music with his four brothers in the 1950s, Womack tells how he found success with his family gospel group The Valentinos. He describes his act being whipped into shape by James Brown, life on the 'chitlin' circuit' with Jimi Hendrix, being on the road with the likes of Sam Cooke and Wilson Pickett and recording in the studio with Eric Clapton and Elvis Presley. But success came at a price. His personal life was never far from heartache and pain. Womack lost his friend and mentor Sam Cooke when the soul star was gunned down in a motel. He incurred the wrath of many when, at the age of just 21, he married Cooke's widow Barbara. His escape from the criticism was to turn to drugs and his friend Sly Stone, leading him to spend years as one of biggest party animals in Los Angeles. The years of riotous abuse took its toll on Womack and those closest to him, including Janis Joplin, who spent her last night drinking with the singer. His marriage to Barbara broke up, his brother Harry was brutally murdered and he tragically lost two sons. But Womack's talent, searing guitar and soulful voice always shone through. His stellar career has woven a colourful path through the history of Soul and provides a vital link between 1950s gospel and some of the greatest Rock and R&B music put to record. Now in his 60s, clean and back from the brink, Womack is cited as an influence by myriad musicians and remains the epitome of cool. Honest, insightful and unflinching, this is the authentic voice of the Midnight Mover, a hard-working legend of music whose every day has been lived to the full.
Bobby Womack's is the story of R&B and soul itself, a crucial link between the gospel of the 1950s and the greatest soul and rock of the 1960s and 1970s. As well as the 40 albums and 30 million records he sold in his own right, he provided key support and partied hard with the likes of the Rolling Stones and Sly Stone. In a turbulent life often as afflicted with battles with drink and drugs as it was with rich music, Womack was one of the last to see his friend Janis Joplin shortly before she died and one of the key witnesses to the mysterious shooting of Sam Cooke. He worked with Elvis Presley, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin and Rod Stewart and his own hits included 'What Is This' and 'Across 110th Street'. He turned to drink and drugs after the murder of his brother Harry and went on the rampage with the likes of Sly Stone for much of the 1970s. It was a wild time he was lucky to survive. Back from the brink, he's gone on to be a hero to millions, with modern-day musicians claiming him as a key influence.