Cecil Womack, who formed one half of R&B songwriting team Womack & Womack, died earlier this week at his home in South Africa.
Womack began his career as part of a family gospel band, which later morphed into secular R&B group The Valentinos after the were discovered by Sam Cooke. Womack’s brother, Bobby, initially became the group’s breakout star, while Cecil married Cooke’s daughter, Linda. The two soon began writing songs as Womack & Womack. Via The Guardian:
Cecil and Linda had known each other since they were children. After marrying, their careers as songwriters and performers flourished. In 1980, Teddy Pendergrass had a hit with their song Love TKO (later covered by Bette Midler, Boz Scaggs and Hall & Oates) and Cecil and Linda quickly became an in-demand songwriting duo, their songs recorded by Randy Crawford, George Benson, Patti LaBelle, the O’Jays, Millie Jackson, Johnnie Taylor, Loleatta Holloway and Bobby Womack.
These were emotionally draining, adult love songs, sweetened by infectious Philly disco beats. Soon they were writing for themselves and landing hit singles as Womack & Womack: Love Wars (1984) and Teardrops (a No 3 in the UK in 1988) were both tightly plotted psychodramas on the subject of infidelity. Following the Love Wars album (1983), a string of other LPs ensued: Radio MUSC Man (1985), Star Bright (1986) and Conscience (1988).
In the mid-1990s, Womack began exploring his African heritage following a trip to Nigeria. He and Linda eventually relocated to South Africa, where he began going by the name Zekuumba Zekkariyas.
The cause of death has not been released. Womack was 65.