Cecil got his start singing gospel with Bobby and his other brothers, Harry, Friendly, and Curtis. They toured the gospel circuit throughout the 1950s until Sam Cooke saw them perform and promised to help the brothers’ careers. He did just that in 1960 when he signed the Womack Brothers to his SAR Records label. Once there, they became The Valentinos and began performing more secular work. Alas, SAR Records folded with Cooke’s death, and the group struggled to make an impact after that. Cecil quit in 1966 to marry Motown singer Mary Wells, after which he began a new career as a songwriter and producer.
Cecil returned to performing in 1983 with his second wife, Linda Cooke (daughter of Sam). Together, they released Love Wars, which became a big hit in the United Kingdom with the singles “Love Wars” and “Baby I’m Scared Of You.” The two continued recording even after they moved to Nigeria to reconnect with their ancestral African roots. Their last album, Circular Motion, was released in 2007.
Cecil Womack is survived by Linda and his four children; three from his marriage to Mary Wells, and one from a prior relationship.