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Thursday
Oct042012

"Take a Letter Maria" Singer R. B. Greaves Dead at 68

Atlantic RecordsR&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.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio