December 1, 1933 - January 6, 2006
Frank Sinatra once said of Rawls had, "the
classiest singing and silkiest chops in the singing game." Lou was
born in Chicago, recorded over 70 albums and sold over 40 million records.
He was also a high school buddy of Sam
Cooke. The two were very close, and worked together a lot. Lou
was almost killed in a car accident while touring with Sam in the late 50s. He was in a coma for several days, and he took this as a time to
reevaluate his life. No kidding.
In December 2005 it was announced that Lou had
the worst dynamic duo, brain and lung cancer. That's like announcing an
obituary. On January 6th, Lou did indeed pass away at Cedars.
His wife was at his side.
He was 72 years old.
Upon the announcement, the Hollywood Chamber
place the obligatory wreath on Lou's star.
Lou was laid out at the Angelus
Funeral Home on Crenshaw, and viewing was open to the public (no
I asked my friend Michael to attend, who had
curiously never seen a corpse before. If there's gonna be a first, it may
as well be Lou Rawls, eh? We had to enter through a side
door, and Lou was dressed in a purple jacket and black turtleneck.
Probably the same as the picture above. He wore a black knit cap, which
Dead Larry referred to as "spud fashion." Lou was in a beautiful
black and silver casket, that was facing away from the people viewing.
From the angle, he looked pretty damn good.
There were no major flowers on display, just an
arrangement from the United Negro College Fund, which Lou famously supported
through telethons. There was a lone microphone placed to the right of his
casket. The viewing room was beautiful, stars in the ceiling, the room was
dark with only Lou lit, and "You'll Never Find" was
playing on a loop.
After we left, we signed a guest
book, and the only thing there was to take away with us, were African
American History calendars.
I was hoping for a memorial pamphlet or
something, but that wasn't to be. I did spot the Angelus florist with a
lot of arrangements in the window,
which I am assuming were Rawl's.
Upon leaving, I purchased a souvenir Lou Rawls
t-shirt for 5 bucks, thankyouverymuch. XXXL,
which the man selling (hopefully) joked that I could fit in to.
We walked around the corner and spotted the
hearse driver, and asked which one would be used for Mr. Rawl's funeral the next
day. He showed me the vehicle, covered in white cloth to keep the dust
off, but he very kindly refused my request to photograph it, but did however
spill that Lou was going to be taken to Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills for interment.
His funeral was held on Friday the 13th at the West Angeles Church of God. Jesse Jackson presided, and mourners included
Stevie Wonder, Della Reese and Little Richard. Joan Baez sang. After the service, Lou was taken to Forest Lawn and interred in this temporarily unmarked grave.
friends Kim and Roger were there, and snapped this
picture of the service.
Rest in peace, Mr. Rawls. I'll bet you and Sam are making beautiful music
together. That's something I wouldn't mind watching. Yeah buddy.
Lou's official website.