He’d survived bouts of ill-health including diabetes and cancer, drug addiction, and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as a life full of drama and tragedy.
His most famous song, which he recorded with his family group The Valentinos, was It’s All Over Now which was of course a big hit and the first UK No 1 for the Rolling Stones.
Another famous song was Across 110th Street which was used by Quentin Tarrentino in his 1997 film Jackie Brown.
He wasn’t unduly modest about his achievements. His autobiography was called Midnight Mover: The True Story of the Greatest Soul Singer in the World. And his personal life was complicated to say the least.
The Womack family group, The Valentinos, had been discovered, mentored and recorded by Sam Cooke who first met the Womack Brothers touring the gospel circuit when Bobby was only 12 (they’d formed the group with their mother on organ when he was 10).
When Cooke was shot in 1964 Womack left the Valentinos to comfort Cooke’s widow Barbara. They were soon married and that led to him being boycotted by many radio stations so he turned to session work.
He played guitar on sessions for Ray Charles, Sly Stone, Aretha Franklin, and Dusty Springfield – and later with the Rolling Stones on Dirty Work. He played a right handed guitar upside down as he was left-handed but unlike Jimi Hendrix didn’t change the strings around (so he hit the top strings first when strumming chords). He made a musical comeback in 2010 thanks to Damon Allbarn.
His marriage to Barbara lasted 5 years until she caught him in bed with her daughter Linda and tried to shoot him. Linda later married Womack’s younger brother Cecil (ex-Valentinos) and they formed the duo Womack and Womack (perhaps Love Wars was autobiographical although the rest of the Womack family sang backing vocals on it).
He had tragedy in his life losing his 4 month old son in a cot death and another son committing suicide aged 21. His brother Harry was stabbed to death by a jealous girlfriend and another son was jailed for second-degree murder. He was recently quoted as saying “all that stuff. it’s either going to make you weaker or make you stronger, and some people stronger than others”.