Ohio Players Frontman Leroy 'Sugarfoot' Bonner Dead at 69

Guitarist was the voice of the influential Seventies funk group

January 28, 2013 1:55 PM ET
 Leroy Sugarfoot Bonner, Ohio Players
Leroy 'Sugarfoot' Bonner of Sugarfoot's Ohio Players in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Barry Brecheisen/WireImage

The Ohio Players frontman Leroy "Sugarfoot" Bonner died Saturday in his hometown near Dayton, Ohio, according to his Facebook page. He was 69. No cause of death was announced.

Bonner co-founded the Ohio Players in 1964 with former members of The Ohio Untouchables, and the group scored big hits in the Seventies with "Funky Worm," "Who'd She Coo?" and most notably "Fire" and "Love Rollercoaster."

Photos: The Ohio Players

"Humble yet charismatic, soft spoken and of few words, the weight of his thoughts, lyrics, and music has influenced countless other artists, songs, and trends," reads the post on Bonner's Facebook page. "He will be missed but not forgotten as his legacy and music lives on."

Bonner toured with a version of the Ohio Players until his death. "Love Rollercoaster" found new life in the Nineties as a hit for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and the band's songs have been widely used as samples in rap music. "Funky Worm" and its swirling, signature Moog sound became a staple of rap, from N.W.A's sample in 1988's "Gangsta Gangsta" to a similarly inspired outro on Kendrick Lamar's "m.A.A.d City." last year.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Stillness Is the Move”

Dirty Projectors | 2009

A Wim Wenders film and a rapper inspired the Dirty Projectors duo David Longstreth and Amber Coffmanto write "sort of a love song." "We rented the movie Wings of Desire from Dave's brother's recommendation, and he had me go through it and just write down some things that I found interesting, and they made it into the song," Coffman said. As for the hip-hop connection, Longstreth explained, "The beat is based on T-Pain. We commissioned a radio mix of the song by the guy who mixes all of Timbaland's records, but the mix we made sounded way better, so we didn't use it."

More Song Stories entries »