Luther Ingram, the R&B soul singer and songwriter best known for his hit, “If Loving You Is Wrong (I Don’t Want to Be Right),” has died. He was 69. Ingram died Monday at a Belleville, Ill., hospital after suffering for years from diabetes, kidney disease and partial blindness, his wife, Jacqui Ingram, said Tuesday. He had undergone a kidney transplant several years ago. Born in Jackson, Tenn., Ingram moved to New York in 1966 to record with producers Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. Relocating to Memphis two years later, Ingram began scoring a string of hits on the Koko label. The label was owned by producer Johnny Baylor and distributed by Stax, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Ingram became one of Stax’s chart mainstays. Notching his first top 10 R&B hit in 1970, “Ain’t That Loving You (For More Reasons Than One),” he enjoyed his biggest showing (No. 1 R&B; No. 3 pop) with “(If Loving You Is Wrong)…” “His instrument was his voice; his heart and head were his inspiration,” said friend Bernie Hayes, a St. Louis journalist, disc jockey and author of “The Death of Black Radio.” “He was a big name until (singer) Luther Vandross came onto the scene,” when younger audiences started to confuse them, he said. A “musical visitation” will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday at St. Augustine Catholic Church in East St. Louis. He’ll be buried Monday at Mount Carmel Catholic Cemetery in Belleville. In addition to his wife of 46 years, Jacqui, Ingram is survived by sons Eric Luther and Kenneth Knight, and two grandsons.
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