by TRN Writers,
While the music world was assembling to celebrate the 59th annual Grammys Sunday February, 12, one of the voices that contributed so much to the industry was fading from this world.
Seven time Grammy Award winner and singer Al Jarreau died early Sunday morning at the age of 76.
Officials who worked for Jarreau say the singer died at the hospital where he was surrounded by family and friends. Jarreau had been hospitalized recently for exhaustion which led him to cancel many performance dates he had already scheduled. Even at his age, Jarreau was still performing and doing what he loved until his recent illness forced to consider retiring according to those closest to him.
Jarreau rose to fame in the 80’s thanks in part to a television show that featured his voice on the theme song. Jarreau’s “Moonlighting” song helped the show of the same title, starring Bruce Willis, climb to the top of viewer ratings just as his song did the same.
Jarreau’s unique voice and singing style made him one of the great vocalists of the Jazz genre. While attending college where he majored in Psychology, Jarreau founded a singing group that eventually led to his hooking up with another jazz great George Duke. Jarreau and Duke made up two-thirds of a new trio they formed and before long, Jarreau’s voice would catch the ear of Warner Bros. talent scouts. Jarreau inked a recording contract and soon released his critically acclaimed debut album “We Got By”. He was performing a song on the Valentine’s Day episode of “Saturday Night Live” back in 1976 when the world got to here the versatility and smoothness of his voice which paved the way to his skyrocketing fame.
Still, it would be another five years before commercial success would catch up with Jarreau’s critical success. In 1981, Jarreau’s “Breakin’ Away” was recorded and is still his most commercially successful hit spawning one of his most recognized songs, “We’re in This Love Together”. The following year, Jarreau won the Grammy for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.
In 1984, another single would prove to be Jarreau’s signature song, “After All” reached 69 on the US Hot 100 and soared to the 26th spot on R&B charts.
Though he didn’t release many more records after his pinnacle in the 80’s, Jarreau continued touring the world and performing live concerts. Health issues began to surface in 2010 when Jarreau was in critical condition due to respiratory problems. In 2012, more problems arose when he was diagnosed and hospitalized due to pneumonia which led to cancelling several concerts in France. After taking some time off to recuperate, Jarreau got back on stage as soon as his health allowed.
Jarreau announced his retirement two days before his death. In another month, he would have turned 77 years old. TRN offers it’s deepest condolences to the widow, son, other family, friends and fans of Jarreau.
Here’s a tribute video reminding the world of the talent and precious life that temporarily graced this plane of existence in the form of Al Jarreau.