Chicago’s very ownLou Rawls is one of those artists you hear on The Beat Chicago.

When I was a little kid I was blessed to be around all kinds of people in the music business. Having a mother who did background vocals and jingles meant I got to meet some of the greatest talents on Earth.

With Lou Rawls, it was a little different. My uncle sold him jewelry. Whenever my uncle told him he was going to see “Lou”, I jumped in the car like a dog going for the ride of his life. Lou was the epitome of class, cool, suave and debonair.

Lou Rawl’s voice was as distinctive and instantly recognizable as any in music. From the music to those unforgettable “When you say Budweiser, you’ve said it all” commercials – to his massive hits including “Tobacco Road”, “A Natural Man”, “See You When I Get There” and more.

Lou Rawls was born on December 1st, 1933. Early in his career, he worked with Sam Cooke, on “The Dick Clark Show” at the Hollywood Bowl in 1959, the opening for The Beatles in 1966 at Crosley Field in Cincinnati. It’s widely understood that his monologues in the 1970s presaged rap music and helped him become the massive “crossover” artist he’d become long before that term was invented.

With over 50 years in the entertainment business, he released 60-plus albums, won three Grammy Awards with 13 nominations, one platinum album, five gold albums, a gold single and a star on the Hollywood Hall of Fame.

Lou was a man who believed in giving back, helping others and making sure the youth had a chance to become productive human beings.

With is music, he was also known for his work and support for the United Negro College Fund. After Rawls’ death, the Lou Rawls Scholarship Foundation was created. Established in 2007, the mission of the foundation (LRSF) is to provide academic scholarships to qualified minority students and assist these students in obtaining a college education. The objective of the Lou Rawls Scholarship Foundation is to invest in the lives of underprivileged students and encourage their education as well as personal and professional development. The Foundation’s ultimate goal is that these students will be equipped with the tools necessary to make a meaningful contribution to their communities and to society.

Rawls passed away on January 6, 2006.

Click here for more information on this iconic hometown artist, his philanthropic efforts and more

Source: Lou Rawls Website and Sal Amato