Singer Billy Paul, whose biggest hit became one of the most iconic songs of the early 1970s, has died. The Washington Post reports that Paul, who made an indelible impression on the music landscape with his soulful performance of “Me and Mrs. Jones,” died Sunday at his home in Blackwood, N.J.
Paul, 81, reportedly died of complications from pancreatic cancer.
“Known by his beard and large glasses, Mr. Paul was one of many singers who found success with the writing and producing team of Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, whose Philadelphia International Records also released music by the O’Jays, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes and Lou Rawls,” the report notes.
“Me and Mrs. Jones,” about an extramarital affair, was one of the top singles of 1972, and brought Paul a Grammy Award for best male R&B performance, beating out a strong field that included Ray Charles and Curtis Mayfield.
While he never equaled the commercial heights of “Me and Mrs. Jones,” Paul followed up on his success with the well-received album “War of the Gods” in 1973. He continued to perform in recent years, and at the time of his death he reportedly had been lining up concert appearances. Among the favorites in his concert repertoire was a cover of the Prince song “Purple Rain.”
Here’s a clip of Paul performing “Me and Mrs. Jones” on “Soul Train” in 1972 …