Eugene McDaniels, whose mellifluous voice brought him high onto the Billboard charts several times in the early 1960s, and who wrote “Feel Like Makin’ Love,” which Roberta Flack took to the top of the charts in 1974, died on Friday at his home in Kittery Point, Me. He was 76.
He died after a brief illness, his wife, Karen, said.
With his four-octave range, Gene McDaniels, as he was first professionally known, hit No. 3 in the spring of 1961 with “A Hundred Pounds of Clay” and No. 5 later that year with “Tower of Strength.” He last hit the Top 40 with “Spanish Lace” in late 1962.
Mr. McDaniels’s songs, including those he wrote for other artists later in his career, jumped from jazz to blues to ballads to gospel and could be peppered with cultural criticism and political protest.
The lyrics of his bluesy up-tempo song “Compared to What,” recorded live at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1969 by the pianist and singer Les McCann and the saxophonist Eddie Harris, include:
“The president, he’s got his war
Folks don’t know just what it’s for
Nobody gives us rhyme or reason
Have one doubt, they call it treason”
After hitting No. 1 in 1974, Ms. Flack’s rendition of Mr. McDaniels’s swooning “Feel Like Makin’ Love” (“Strollin’ in the park, watchin’ winter turn to spring/Walking in the dark, seein’ lovers do their thing”) was nominated for a Grammy. It has since been covered by numerous artists.
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