Charles Bradley — the powerful, dynamic vocalist known as the "Screaming Eagle of Soul" — has died. A press release reports that Bradley passed away in Brooklyn today (September 23) surrounded by family, friends and band members. He was 68.
Bradley had cancelled a fall leg of touring earlier this month after it was revealed that his cancer had returned. Having beaten stomach cancer in May, he had toured Canada and the United States in summer after receiving a clean bill of health. Earlier this month, his camp revealed that he had began to feel "run down" during the tour, learning that the cancer had spread to his liver.
Born in Gainesville, Florida, in 1948, Bradley moved to Brooklyn, New York, at age 8. After running away from home at 14, he lived and worked in Maine as a chef before travelling through Seattle, Canada and Alaska before settling in California.
Upon moving back to Brooklyn in 1996, Bradley began moonlighting as a James Brown impersonator under the name Black Velvet. He was discovered by Daptone Records co-founder Gabriel Roth (a.k.a. Bosco Mann), and was invited to a rehearsal and writing session with Daptone artist and future producer Tom Brenneck.
Bradley released his debut LP No Time for Dreaming in 2011 at age 62, followed by his sophomore album Victim of Love in 2013. His most recent album, Changes, saw release in 2016 and featured a soulful rendition of Black Sabbath's 1972 song as its titular track. His heartfelt live performances with backing band the Extraordinaires won him fans across the globe.
Find reaction to Bradley's passing from industry figures and fans below.
I've had the honor of being completely and utterly blown off stage by both of these sweethearts. RIP Charles Bradley.❤️We miss you, Sharon! pic.twitter.com/QUdCugUw3R— Neko Case (@NekoCase) September 23, 2017
Rest in peace to the great Charles Bradley.— el-p (@therealelp) September 23, 2017
With stories of love, persistence, justice and the power of song, we are eternally grateful for you. Thank you, and RIP Charles Bradley. pic.twitter.com/khcO9WHhYH— Stroumboulopoulos (@strombo) September 23, 2017
RIP to our dear brother Charles Bradley. Your heart was too big for this planet. See you on the other side. We love you.— Antibalas (@Antibalas) September 23, 2017
No! RIP Charles Bradley. You were a beautiful man and an inspiration. I hope the song we were making gets to live in the world someday.— Har Mar Superstar (@HarMarSuperstar) September 23, 2017
Goodbye, Charles Bradley. You put the flame on it. pic.twitter.com/lqy0O836i7— Jake Fogelnest (@jakefogelnest) September 23, 2017
RIP Charles Bradley. I'll never forget that set at @SappyFest— Nick Ferrio (@ferrioinstereo) September 23, 2017
got a chance to share a festival stage with charles bradley this summer. such a beautiful man with an incredibly story. RIP. pic.twitter.com/NuHC77hNG6— Steve Sladkowski (@sladkow) September 23, 2017
Goodnight, Charles Bradley. You sang from beyond and gave the best hugs. pic.twitter.com/nrNpc6LtiP— greg dulli (@MrGregDulli) September 23, 2017
What a lovely man he was. So deeply saddened to hear we have lost Charles Bradley, "The Screaming Eagle of Soul." pic.twitter.com/ycs5ofWT0v— Anthony Mason (@AnthonyMasonCBS) September 23, 2017
Thank you for the music, Charles Bradley 😔🌹— UMO (@UMO) September 23, 2017