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Luther Ingram, 69; R&B singer, songwriter recorded hit track `If Loving You Is Wrong'

March 21, 2007|From the Associated Press

Luther Ingram, the R&B singer and songwriter best known for the hit "If Loving You Is Wrong (I Don't Want to Be Right)," has died. He was 69.

Ingram died Monday at a Belleville, Ill., hospital of heart failure, friend and journalist Bernie Hayes said Tuesday. The singer had suffered for years from diabetes, kidney disease and partial blindness, his wife, Jacqui, said.

Ingram performed with Ike Turner at clubs in East St. Louis, roomed with Jimi Hendrix in New York and was the opening act for Isaac Hayes. He recorded through the 1980s and performed in concert until the mid-1990s, when his health began declining.

"His instrument was his voice; his heart and head were his inspiration," said Hayes, a St. Louis journalist and disc jockey.

Ingram was born Nov. 30, 1937, in Jackson, Tenn. After his family moved to Alton, Ill., in 1947, he started writing music and singing in a group with his siblings.

He had a five-year association with Memphis, Tenn.-based Stax Records during the height of its success. In 1971, Ingram and songwriter-performer Sir Mack Rice co-wrote "Respect Yourself" for the Staple Singers. The song turned into one of Stax's biggest hits.

Ingram recorded "If Loving You Is Wrong (I Don't Want to Be Right)," in 1972 on Koko Records, which Stax distributed. The song was No. 1 on Billboard magazine's R&B chart and was later a hit for Barbara Mandrell. Ingram's other popular songs include "Ain't That Loving You (For More Reasons Than One)," "I'll Be Your Shelter" and "You Never Miss Your Water." "He was a very intense singer; he took it very seriously," said Deanie Parker, who spent her career at Stax and Soulville. "When he was rehearsing, he'd go over it and over it and seek perfection." A "musical visitation" will be held Sunday at St. Augustine Catholic Church in East St. Louis. Ingram is to be buried Monday at Mount Carmel Catholic Cemetery in Belleville.

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