It’s been nearly nine years since the tragic death of Gerald Levert. Born in 1966 to Eddie Levert, the incredible lead singer of the iconic group The O’Jays, the younger Levert became one of the great soul artists during the eighties with the group LeVert which comprised his brother Sean, and friend Marc Gorden. Together the group would release seven albums, four of which went platinum. In the early nineties Gerald went solo producing the classic jam ‘Private Line’, and would team up with fellow soul stars Johnny Gill and Keith Sweat to create the super-group LSG.
As well as a sought after producer and writer, Gerald also found the time to perform and record with his father Eddie, recording and releasing a brilliant album in 1995 entitled Father & Son. Listening to that album is a real treat for all soul fans with father and son in perfect soulful harmony, and as performances between the two demonstrate, working together was clearly an emotional yet beautiful thing they shared.
Then in the November of 2006 Gerald Levert’s life would be cut short after he died of an overdose of prescription drugs, and his great voice was silenced forever. A year later, with the blessing of his father, a collection of duets between the two was released on the album Something to Talk About. The album is all the more poignant given Gerald’s untimely death, and the combination of the two Levert voices is heavenly, combining the Philly Soul and classic R&B influences of Eddie Levert and the more contemporary sounds his son developed. Given the power and raw strength of Eddie Levert, Gerald Levert hold his own, and both resist the temptation to out-sing one another.
The opening song on the album is a mid-tempo, neo-soul influenced number entitled ‘SOS‘. It’s infectious beat and keyboard riffs are delightful, but with these two incredible vocalists it’s not the production of the backing that is important, rather it is the brilliant chemistry father and son have, each at their very best. The album is a testament to both Eddie and Gerald Levert.
Clips of memorial services and performances for Gerald after his death show Eddie Levert understandably racked with sadness, yet throughout he continued performing and singing, even when the unthinkable happened again in 2008 when Sean Levert died in prison. Yet, Eddie Levert remains performing today, pleasing crowds with his classic O’Jays hits as well as releasing a well received solo album in 2012. Eddie Levert is not only one of the best singers to have ever lived, but he is an incredible man, overcoming unimaginable tragedy and pain to continue performing his music.