Passings: Jo Jo Benson (1938 - 2014)

Jo Jo Benson, the R&B singer who found fame with his recording partner Peggy Scott in the late 60's, died on Tuesday at the age of 76.

According to authorities, Benson was found dead at the Motel 6 in Columbus, GA. The medical examiner has determined that Benson died of natural causes although some sources are reporting a heart attack.

Benson was born in Phenix City, Alabama and began his music career singing in area nightclubs as a teen. In the early 60's, he started touring with Chuck Willis as a backup singer and later worked with B.B. King and Smokey Robinson.

In 1968, producer Huey Maux brought Benson together with Peggy Scott, who had previously toured with Ben E. King, and got them signed to Shelby Singleton's SSS International label. Their first single, Lover's Holiday, went to number 8 on the R&B chart and 31 on the Hot 100. They followed later that year with Pickin' Wild Mountain Berries, another number 8 R&B hit (#27 on the Hot 100).


In 1969, the duo recorded their second album which included the singles Soul Shake (#13 R&B / #37 Pop) and I Want to Love You Baby (#24 R&B / #81 Pop). Soul Shake also went on to be a minor hit for Delaney and Bonnie in 1970.


The Benson and Scott partnership split in 1971 with Benson going on to own a number of clubs in the Chattahoochee Valley area of Georgia. In 1979, he was wounded in a shooting in Phenix City when heavily armed men raided a high-stakes poker game.

In the mid-80's, Scott and Benson reunited for an album and, in 1999, Jo Jo returned to music to record the album Reminiscing in the Jam Zone, which included a duet with Scott, and followed it two years later with Everybody Loves to Cha Cha Cha.

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