Robert Knight, the soul and pop crooner whose seminal hit “Everlasting Love” remains a beloved classic, died Sunday.
He was 72.
Knight had been battling a short, undisclosed illness, according to The Tennessean.
Before he exploded as a solo artist, Knight broke into the music business as the lead singer of a vocal group he started with high school friends called The Paramounts in 1959. The group did not last long, but they did come out with a popular single, “Free Me,” in 1961.
But Knight earned much more recognition as a solo act, particularly when he released “Everlasting Love” in 1967. The upbeat, country-soul track skyrocketed to the number 13 spot on Billboard’s Hot 100 list and has been covered by numerous artists over the years, including by U2, Gloria Estefan and Love Affair.
Knight, who was born in Franklin, Tennessee, worked with music execs Mac Gayden and Buzz Cason to create the timeless hit – which proved to be an influential achievement beyond its success on the charts.
“The original version of ‘Everlasting Love’ is a prime example of the successful musical exchange between black and white musicians during a decade of great racial upheaval and Civil Rights struggles in the South,” Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum historian Michael Gray told The Tennessean.
Knight had two other hits crack the Billboard Hot 100 – “Isn’t It Lonely Together” and “Blessed Are The Lonely” each peaked at 97 at different points in 1968.
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