Paul’s debut album, Feelin’ Good At The Cadillac Club, paid homage to one of North Philly’s famous performance venues. The record wasn’t a success and was followed by two other releases with Philadelphia International Records honchos Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff. But it wasn’t until 1972’s 360 Degrees of Billy Paul did the singer become a household name.

With the lead single “Me and Mrs. Jones,” Paul won a Grammy and sold two million copies.

However, Paul lost momentum with the follow-up single, “Am I Black Enough For You?” which he didn’t think was a smart single to issue. However, the song, full of Black Power pride and themes, stands today as one of the strongest records in Paul’s catalog. His career continued and he charted singles on the R&B and soul charts here and there before fading into relative obscurity. But years later, interest in Paul’s music was revived, and he enjoyed long tours around the world while his health permitted.

Paul had been battling pancreatic cancer according to his manager, and he passed last Sunday at his New Jersey home. Along with his lone Grammy win, Paul has also won an American Music Award, an NAACP Image Award and several other honors across the nation.

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Little Known Black History Month: Billy Paul  was originally published on blackamericaweb.com

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