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Leroy ‘Sugarfoot’ Bonner: 5 Facts About the ’70s Funk Legend
Posted By Patrick Kiger On January 29, 2013 @ 7:00 pm In Bulletin Today,Entertainment | Comments Disabled
If you grew up in the 1970s and loved to cruise around in your parents’ car with your buddies, getting down to some funk music on the AM radio, the words to the Ohio Players’ “Fire” probably are still seared into your frontal lobes.
The way you walk and talk really sets me off
To a full alarm, child, yes, it does
The way you squeeze and tease, knocks me to my knees
‘Cause I’m smokin’, baby, baby
Everything about the OPs made you want to bust a move, from the thumping bass lines to the driving, catchy horn riffs that that they managed to build around a single-chord melody. But the band’s pièce de résistance was the vocal virtuosity of lead singer Leroy “Sugarfoot” Bonner, who had a knack for shifting effortlessly from a satyric growl to a soaring falsetto, and whose playfully improvisational enunciation – the way, for example, he turned “baby” into “BAY-yay-ah-BEE” – no doubt subtly worked its way into the everyday speech of millions of teenagers.
Considering that we all copied his sexy swagger so slavishly, it’s remarkable how little most of us knew about Bonner, who died on Jan. 26 at age 69 near Dayton. Here are five intriguing tidbits about a smoldering legend of funk:
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