R&B singer and bass player Michael Henderson dies at 71

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    (July 19, 2022) He was a "double threat": a soul singer supreme who lit up the charts with "You Are My Starship" and more, and one of the great R&B bass players of our time. Tonight we are sad to report the death of Michael Henderson at age 71. Henderson had been admitted to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta last month ago for an undisclosed illness, and never recovered.

    Henderson’s Facebook page posted the following this evening:  Singer, Songwriter, Bass Innovator, Music Producer, Father and Son Michael Henderson has peacefully made his transition surrounded by family and loved ones today at his home, Atlanta Georgia... Bless his heart and soul... He touched the lives of many and returned that love through his many live concerts, music recordings, social media, interviews and incessant touring which he loved...

    (July 19, 2022) He was a "double threat": a soul singer supreme who lit up the charts with "You Are My Starship" and more, and one of the great R&B bass players of our time. Tonight we are sad to report the death of Michael Henderson at age 71. Henderson had been admitted to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta last month ago for an undisclosed illness, and never recovered.

    Henderson’s Facebook page posted the following this evening:  Singer, Songwriter, Bass Innovator, Music Producer, Father and Son Michael Henderson has peacefully made his transition surrounded by family and loved ones today at his home, Atlanta Georgia... Bless his heart and soul... He touched the lives of many and returned that love through his many live concerts, music recordings, social media, interviews and incessant touring which he loved...

    Henderson’s notable career began purely as a musician. Stevie Wonder met him in Chicago and was captivated by the deep sound of his bass guitar. He hired Henderson to tour with him, and the young bass guitarist was on his way. The exposure of the Wonder tour brought Henderson to the attention of jazz legend Miles Davis, leading to Henderson playing on several of Davis’s most revered fusion albums of the 70s. Henderson became a much sought-after musician, and he continued to play with such notable artists as Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin and Doctor John.

    But to most soul music fans, Henderson is known as a popular soul crooner who topped the charts on his own, as a duet partner with Phyllis Hyman and Jean Carn, and as a guest vocalist with Norman Connors. Henderson’s vocals on Connors’ “You Are My Starship” created one of the most revered soul music ballads ever, and his tantalizing duets with Carn (“Valentine Love”) and Hyman ("Can't We Fall In Love Again") are Quiet Storm staples.

    Henderson also scored major hits as a solo artist. The midtempo “Take Me I’m Yours” was a top 5 smash in 1978, and the even bigger “Wide Receiver” reassured R&B fans of his funk credentials. After eight albums and nearly a dozen R&B hits, Henderson stopped recording by end of the 1980s, but his songs lived on, many of which were covered or sampled by other artists for the next three decades.

    Henderson continued to perform regularly both on his own and in support of other artists after his Imperial Period as a recording artist was done, and his legend as both a pioneering bassist and as a soulful singer only grew with years. We are blessed to have a treasure trove of his music on record, but we will miss the man greatly.

    By Chris Rizik

     
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