Passings: Cuba Gooding, Sr. of the Main Ingredient (1944 - 2017)

by VVN Music

Cuba Gooding, Sr., the lead singer of the group The Main Ingredient, was found dead in his car in Woodland Hills, CA on Thursday (April 20). He was 72.

Authorities found the singer and actor slumped over the wheel of the car. They do not suspect foul play. One source, the Los Angeles Times, reports that there was alcohol and drug paraphernalia found in the car.

Gooding was born in Harlem and received his unusual name from his father who had promised his first wife, who was murdered while the couple lived there over their support of Marcus Garvey, that he would name his son Cuba.

Cuba was originally a backup singer for The Main Ingredient, a group that had originally been formed in Harlem in 1964. The group had already established themselves on the charts with hits like I'm So Proud (1971 / #49 Pop / #13 R&B) and Spinning Around (I Must Be Falling in Love) (1971 / #52 Pop / #7 R&B) when lead singer Donald McPherson was diagnosed with leukemia and unexpectedly died.

Gooding was brought in as the new lead singer of the group and scored their biggest hit with his first single, Everybody Plays the Fool which went to number 3 on the Hot 100 and 2 on the R&B Singles. Three followup singles failed to ignite similar excitement but, two years later, they once again had a major hit with Just Don't Want to Be Lonely (1974 / #10 Pop / #8 R&B).

In 1977, Gooding left the group to record solo for Motown but returned two years later for two albums and again in 1986.

Gooding's solo output included three albums, The 1st Cuba Gooding Album (1978), Love Dancer (1979) and Meant to Be In Love (1993) which he recorded after interest in the Main Ingredient peaked with the release of Aaron Neville's cover of Everybody Plays the Fool.

Over the years, Gooding continued to tour both solo and as part of The Main Ingredient. Later in life, he also dabbled in acting.

Cuba and his wife, Shirley were married twice, once until 1974 while they remarried in 1995. They had four children, actors Cuba, Jr.,  Omar and April along with musician Tommy who was the musical director of his father's band.

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