R.I.P. Leroy “Sugarfoot” Bonner of the Ohio Players
Leroy “Sugarfoot” Bonner, the flamboyant front man of the Ohio Players, has died. As the lead guitarist and vocalist on many of their biggest hits, including “Love Rollercoaster,” “Fire” and more, Bonner was among the most respected and beloved funk men of the 70s and 80s, and he continued to perform well into the 21st Century. He will be missed.
One of the funkiest groups in the funkiest decade, the Ohio Players became the template for a generation of Midwest jamming groups. Formed in Dayton, Ohio in 1959 as the Ohio Untouchables, the group initially included members Robert Ward (vocals/guitar), Marshall “Rock” Jones (bass), Clarence “Satch” Satchell (saxophone/guitar), Cornelius Johnson (drums), and Ralph “Pee Wee” Middlebrooks (trumpet/trombone). When Ward, the group leader, broke the act up in the early 60s, the remaining members reformed with additions Gary Webster (drums) and the auspicious young guitarist, Leroy “Sugarfoot” Bonner, and later added trumpeter Bruce Napier, trombonist Marvin Pierce, and keyboardist Walter “Junie” Morrison.
The Ohio Players signed with the Detroit-based Westbound label in 1971 and began a string of three successful albums, each punctuated by a loose, funky sound and erotic album covers that brought added attention. They hit with the single “Pain,” and became an R&B staple. However, upon their signing with with Mercury Records in 1974 and the addition of keyboardist Billy Beck and drumer Jimmy Williams, they reached new heights…. Read Full Biography
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