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Jazz and soul singer, known for the 1972 number one hit "Me and Mrs. Jones," who made some of Philadelphia International's most adventurous albums.
Billy Paul (born Paul Williams; December 1, 1934 – April 24, 2016) was a Grammy Award-winning American soul singer, most known for his 1972 number-one single, "Me and Mrs. Jones", as well as the 1973 album and single "War of the Gods" which blends his more conventional pop, soul and funk styles with electronic and psychedelic influences.
He was one of the many artists associated with the Philadelphia soul sound created by Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff, and Thom Bell. Paul was identified by his diverse vocal style which ranged from mellow and soulful to low and raspy. Questlove of The Roots equated Paul to Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder, calling him "one of the criminally unmentioned proprietors of socially conscious post-revolution '60s civil rights music".
Billy Paul had a good run in the '70s as an R&B vocalist, though he'd been recording since the '50s, when he debuted on Jubilee. Paul was featured on radio broadcasts in Philadelphia at age 11 and had an extensive jazz background. He worked with Dinah Washington, Miles Davis, and Roberta Flack, as well as Charlie Parker, before forming a trio and recording for Jubilee. His original 1959 recording of "Ebony Woman" for New Dawn was later re-recorded for Neptune as the title of his 1970 LP. He signed the next year with Philadelphia International and scored his biggest hit with "Me & Mrs. Jones" in 1972, topping both the R&B and pop charts. Paul had one other Top Ten R&B single, "Thanks for Saving My Life," in 1974. He remained on Philadelphia International until the mid-'80s. Paul recorded one LP for Total Experience in 1985, Lately, and another for Ichiban before announcing his retirement in 1989 in London. But he's since done several club dates, both in America and overseas.
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