Friday, July 1, 2022

Joe Simon (Bishop and Former R&B Star) Passes. He was 85

Joe Simon as Bishop and as R&B Star

*(Submitted O.B.O Simon Family – Chicago, Illinois) – It is with heavy hearts that the Simon family announces the death of Bishop Joe Simon (former R&B singer), who passed away Monday, December 13, 2021.

Joe Simon was best known as a Grammy Award-winning, rhythm and blues legend, and most recently as a celebrated gospel singer and minister.

Joe Simon (known as the “Mouth of the South”) was born in Simmesport, Louisiana. He pursued a solo singing career, and in 1964 debuted his first major hit single with the song “My Adorable One.” This was quickly accompanied by other fan favorites such as “Teenager’s Prayer,” “Hanging On,” and “The Chokin’ Kind.”

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In 1970, Simon was awarded a Grammy for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance. That same year he moved to Spring Records and in 1971 he released the #3 R&B hit “Drowning in the Sea of Love.” Then, in 1972, Simon reached #1 on the R&B charts with the hit single “The Power of Love” which earned him another gold record.

Joe Simon also famously wrote the theme song for the movie Cleopatra Jones in 1973. A steady stream of hits eventually landed him at number 8 on the Hot 100 and another #1 hit (his third) on the R&B charts with the 1975 song “Get Down, Get Down.” Over his brilliant musical career, Joe Simon amassed songs in the Pop Top 40 eight times and 38 times in the R&B Top 40 including three number one hits and three gold records. His influence spanned decades and genres as his signature sound and music was sampled by other major artists like Outkast, 50 Cent, Lil’ Kim, and Joss Stone.

In the early 1980s Joe Simon felt a call from God and decided to remove his distinct tenor/baritone/bass voice from the secular music scene and devoted it to Christianity. He became an ordained minister and began evangelism preaching and singing gospel music. Simon went on to produce and release gospel albums including “Lay My Burden Down” (1983) and “This Story Must Be Told” in the late 1990s.

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In 1999 Joe Simon was inducted into the Rhythm and Blues Foundation and honored with their Pioneer Award for his music, and has also been inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. On August 24, 2017, a portion of the Louisiana Highway that runs through Simmesport was named Joe Simon Boulevard. At the reception, Joe was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame, making him the first artist to be inducted into a religious and secular music hall of fame.

As the leader of Bishop Joe Simon Ministries, a not-for-profit organization that provides humanitarian services and community outreach, Bishop Simon worked tirelessly to help others. Through his organization, he established educational opportunities, transportation and support for underserved youth. He also was an active leader in the fight for civil rights and promoted justice and equality around the world. Simon’s life serves as a reminder to us all to trust in God and lean not on your own understanding.

Simon is lovingly survived by his wife, Melinee Simon, his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, sisters, brother and a host of other family and friends. He will be greatly missed by all, but his voice, his laugh and his legacy will live on.

Funeral arrangements are pending. Joe Simon was 85.

Larry Buford
Larry Buford is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer, and author of Book/CD titled "Things Are Gettin' Outta Hand" (Steuben Pub.) He writes Human Interest articles and entertainment reviews for various newspapers across the country. He is also an editor, and provides services for press releases, interviews, business letters, resumes, etc. A native Detroiter, he is a former Motown songwriter.




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