The music industry is mourning the passing of singer and keyboardist Booker Newberry III, best known for this 1983 smash solo hit “Love Town.” He was 67.

The Youngstown, Ohio native first made waves as part of the Philly soul group Sweet Thunder, landing the hit “Baby I Need Your Love Today” and a handful of moderately successful albums on the Fantasy label. From there Newberry briefly joined the dance group Impact before embarking on a solo career.

Signed to the Neil Bogart’s Boardwalk label, Newberry worked on his solo debut with such notable Philly producers as Bobby Eli and Nick Martinelli and delivered a soulful dance album that showed off his rich voice amid straight up early 80s production. Sounding a bit like jazz legend Arthur Prysock, Newberry possessed a baritone that could melt wax. His song “Love Town” became an international hit, and one of the most infectious songs of the era. Unfortunately, the accompanying album didn’t get the attention it deserved, and never really took off on the charts.

Newberry continued to record from time to time with less success through the 80s and 90s, later landing on the Malaco blues label. In 2011, Newberry’s 1996 recording Power People, finally hit streaming services, sounding as good as ever. 

Booker Newberry III was one heckuva singer whose music is worth seeking out. We’ll be listening and remembering tonight.