Soul singer Arthur Conley, who had been suffering from intestinal cancer, died Monday at his home in the Netherlands; he was fifty-seven.
Born in Atlanta in 1946, Conley got his start fronting Arthur and the Corvets, and realized his greatest success with “Sweet Soul Music” — a song he co-wrote with Otis Redding — that reached #2 on the pop singles chart. Redding discovered Conley after getting a copy of the 1965 Ru-Jac single “I’m a Lonely Stranger,” and invited the young singer to re-record the song at Memphis’ Stax Studios.
Conley recorded for Atco Records and toured Europe in 1967 with the Stax/Volt Revue, which featured Redding, Booker T. and the MG’s, Eddie Floyd and Sam and Dave.
“We’ll never forget the skinny, enormously energetic little guy that asked people all over the world ‘Do you like soul music, that sweet soul music?'” says Deanie Parker, former Stax recording artist and current president of Soulsville, which operates the Stax Museum of American Soul Music in Memphis. “Arthur Conley, one of our most profound R&B ‘souldiers,’ will be missed.”