R&B artist R. B. Greaves, who scored a #2 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1969 with the song "Take a Letter Maria," died of cancer on Thursday, September 27, in Granada Hills, California, the Los Angeles Times reports. The singer, who was a nephew of gospel/soul legend Sam Cooke, was 68.
According to The New York Times, Greaves was born in what is now Guyana and raised on a Seminole Indian reservation in California. In the early '60s, he moved to England, where he began his singing career. He eventually returned to the U.S. and recorded "Take a Letter Maria," which he wrote, at Alabama's famous Muscle Shoals studio. The single was certified gold in December 1969.
Greaves also had a top-30 hit in 1970 with a version of Burt Bacharach and Hal David's "(There's) Always Something There to Remind Me," which became a top 10 hit for Naked Eyes in 1983.
After his singing career stalled in the 1970s, Greaves moved to the Los Angeles area and worked in the technology industry.
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