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Arthur Conley, 57; R&B Singer Known for 'Sweet Soul Music'

November 18, 2003|From Staff and Wire Reports

Arthur Conley, 57, a 1960s R&B singer best known for the 1967 hit "Sweet Soul Music" whose lyrics salute some of his vocal heroes, including manager and mentor Otis Redding, died Monday at his home in Ruurlo, Netherlands. He had suffered from intestinal cancer.

Born in Atlanta, Conley began his recording career in 1959 as leader of the group Arthur and the Corvets. His greatest success occurred after he signed with Redding's Jotis label. But Conley was devastated when Redding, who produced some of his records, was killed in a 1967 plane crash. Conley wrote the highly personal tribute song, "Otis Sleep On," which he recorded on the flip side of his version of the Beatles' "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da."

Conley moved to Europe in the 1970s and continued to perform there. He regularly appeared on television and radio, toured and ran an independent record label. In 1980, he recorded a live album in Amsterdam under the pseudonym Lee Roberts. For the last few years, he served as advisor to the Original Sixties R&B and Soul Show, which worked to reproduce the sound of the music's heyday.

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