Friday, January 06, 2006 was a sad day for the nightclubs in San Francisco. In fact it was a sad day for nightclubs in every major city. On that day the nightclub owners received the sad news that they could never hope for a future appearance on any nightclub stage of the singer Lou Rawls. Rawls' family announced that he had died from cancer at Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles.
The biographical information on Lou Rawls does not reveal whether or not he ever sang at one of the nightclubs San Francisco. Still, the breadth of Rawls' abilities seemed to assure the veracity of any contention that at least one San Francisco nightclub performer has sung a song that was made popular by Lou Rawls.
Any of the nightclubs San Francisco where a singer had wanted to demonstrate a command of gospel or soul could have become filled with one of the songs popularized by Lou Rawls. Similarly any of the nightclubs San Francisco where a singer had had the urge to issue forth notes of a blues song might have treated its audience to the sounds of music that was made popular by Lou Rawls.
Lou Rawls had the ability to sing all types of songs, and to sing them well. He recorded gospel, jazz, blues, soul, R and B, and pop. He had a memorable and deep voice, a voice with an eight-octave range. One of his most famous songs was "You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine." So in January of 2006 it would seem entirely fitting for the nightclubs San Francisco to have singers perform that song.
The residents of San Francisco, especially those who enjoy the San Francisco nightlife, might want to pause briefly in January and remember the beautiful voice of Lou Rawls. Why should they do this? Not because Rawls made a frequent appearance at any of the nightclubs in San Francisco, and not because Rawls was often seen by those who enjoyed the San Francisco night life. No, the residents of San Francisco, indeed the residents of all major cities, should mourn the passing of Lou Rawls because he contributed so much to the music of the U.S.
Lou Rawls won three Grammy's, and he made fifty-two albums with Capitol Records. He also served as yet another example of how life in the United States can create a rags to riches story. Lou Rawls knew nothing about nightclubs San Francisco when he came to Los Angeles in the 1950s. He came to L.A. from Chicago, where he had been an active member of his church choir. When he got to the City of Angels, then Rawls joined the Pilgrim Travelers, a gospel singing group.
After Rawls had made a name for himself, then he wanted to help other minority youth achieve success. In the 1980s Rawls frequently appeared on telethons, working to raise money for the United Negro College Fund. He wanted to help bring to prominence yet another singer, one who could charm audiences with tunes such as "You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine." Perhaps someday music lovers and educators will see the efforts of Lou Rawls resulting in more than the giving to minority youth of the benefits of the Fund. Perhaps they will see a Funded youth appear on stage at one of the nightclubs San Francisco.