This morning it was reported that soul singer Charles Bradley has passed away at the age of 68 after being diagnosed last year. Recently Bradley had been forced to cancel tour dates after a cancerous tumor he had been diagnosed with last fall had returned. Despite the grim diagnosis, Bradley was expected to recover after treatment. Throughout 2017 he continuously performed, giving every audience the same gratitude and love he was always known for. His publicist issued a statement, saying, “Bradley headed out on the road earlier this year after receiving a clean bill of health but the cancer recently returned, spreading to his liver.”
Known affectionately by his band mates as the “Screaming Eagle of Soul”, Bradley rose to fame in 2011 after releasing his debut album No Time For Dreaming on the venerable funk and soul label Daptone. His struggle to make it as a soul singer was captured in the 2012 documentary Charles Bradley: Soul of America. Even though Bradley didn’t become well known until later in his life, he approached every single show as if delighting in being able to perform for the very first time. His theatrical stage presence focused on one thing: spreading love. At a time when true soul music is hard to come by and the world needs love more than ever, Charles Bradley was a welcome presence. In the end, Bradley lived what he preached. He will be missed.
In remembrance of the soul icon with one of the biggest hearts in music, here’s a a clip of Bradley performing in the rain at UTOPiAfest 2012: