Los Angeles, CA – Famous R&B singer R.B. Greaves passed away Thursday at the age of 68.
The singer’s death was confirmed by his son, Shiloh Greaves, reports Today. Greaves is probably best known for his 1969 hit “Take a Letter, Maria,” which reached No. 2 on the Billboard pop chart. Written by Greaves himself, the song tells a thoughtful story about a hard-working man dictating a “Dear Jane” letter to his secretary after coming home and finding his wife “in the arms of another man.”
Despite its somber subject matter, the song is more whimsical and peaceful in nature: “So take a letter, Maria, address it to my wife/Say I won’t be coming home, gonna start a new life,” and ending with the narrator asking out Maria for a date.
The song went gold, selling over two million copies and spending 15 weeks on the chart, reports The Celebrity Cafe.
The nephew of gospel and soul singer Sam Cooke, Greaves is also well known for a 1970 version of Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s “Always Something There to Remind Me,” and covers of James Taylor’s “Fire and Rain” and Procol Harum’s “Whiter Shade of Pale.”
After his initial success, Greaves moved to Los Angeles, eventually finding work in the technology industry after a failed attempt to revive his recording career in the late 1970s.
Here’s a YouTube video of R.B. Greaves’ “Take a Letter, Maria” in honor of the late R&B singer: