The jazz singer died today of lung and brain cancer, so I thought it fitting to make him our "Va Va Voom" Star of the Day.
The Grammy-award winning artist had a unique, smooth vocal style. Frank Sinatra once said that Rawls had "the classiest singing and silkiest chops in the singing game."
For a time he performed what some people have called "pre-rap." Rawls said this type of style grew out of necessity. "I was working in little joints where the stage would be behind the bar. So you were standing right over the cash register and the crushed ice machine. You'd be swinging and the waitress would yell, 'I want 12 beers and four martinis!' And then the dude would put the ice in the crusher. There had to be a way to get the attention of the people. So instead of just starting in singing, I would just start in talking the song." His "raps" were so popular that 1967's Dead End Street won him his first Grammy for Best R&B Vocal Performance.
Epitomizing class and soul, I've always thought his singing style is almost self-depreciating; an everyday-man-type of charm mixed with that jazzy sound. He will definitely be remembered in music history.
His official website can be found here, although I had trouble loading up the main frame page.