Bobby Womack was born and raised in Cleveland, the third of five brothers. Their mother played organ in the church; their father was a minister and musician. One night, eight-year-old Bobby, who often played his father's guitar when he wasn't around, broke a guitar string. After his father replaced the string with a shoelace, he let Bobby play the guitar for him. The man was shocked by his son's talents as well as the talents of his other sons. Soon afterwards, he bought Bobby his own guitar and they formed The Womack Brothers. The group toured the gospel circuit with their parents.
He started his career as the lead singer of The Valentinos and as Sam Cooke's backing guitarist. Womack's career spanned more than 50 years and included a repertoire in the styles of R&B, soul, rock and roll, doo-wop, gospel, and country.
Womack wrote and originally recorded the Rolling Stones' first UK No. 1 hit, "It's All Over Now" and New Birth's "I Can Understand It" among other songs. As a singer he is most notable for the hits "Lookin' For a Love", "That's The Way I Feel About Cha", "Woman's Gotta Have It", "Harry Hippie", "Across 110th Street" and his 1980s hit "If You Think You're Lonely Now".
Here are a few tracks.
And if you've got time, here's a BBC documentary about his life.