Soul singer and frontman for The Main Ingredient, Cuba Gooding, Sr. has been found dead under unusual circumstances, adding shock to grief for the musician’s family and friends. The singer, father to actor Cuba Gooding, Jr., as well as Omar, April, and Tommy Gooding, was found in his car, which was discovered in the San Fernando Valley, California at 4:00 p.m. on Thursday. Reports indicate that the 72-year-old singer died of a drug overdose.
The Details Surrounding the Death of Cuba Gooding, Sr.
New York Daily News reports that Mr. Gooding’s car was discovered by police in the afternoon and that authorities are suspecting a possible drug overdose as the cause of death. Contributing to that assumption, police reported a collection of liquor bottles strewn around the inside of the car owned by Cuba Gooding, Sr.
The Gooding family hasn’t yet made a statement, concerning Cuba’s sudden passing, though Cuba Gooding Jr. spoke about his relationship with his father on a recent edition of Inside the Actors Studio.
Cuba said his earliest memory of his father was watching The Main Ingredient perform at Disneyland. After the band finished their set, Cuba Jr. says the park out be closed off to the general public, leaving the musicians and their families to enjoy the rides by themselves.
“He would pull me up on stage with him and make me finish the song because I’d seen him perform all the time in the household all the time,” recalled Cuba Gooding, Jr. “It was a lot of feeling like, ‘I come from royalty.'”
While police haven’t officially confirmed Gooding, Sr.’s death, they have released a statement that a dead body was found in the car. The statement adds that the county coroner is researching the cause of death and confirmation would be forthcoming.
Cuba Gooding, Sr. on Soul Singing and The Main Ingredient
On reporting of The Main Ingredient frontman’s passing, NPR has added details from a 2014 interview in which Cuba spoke about her career as a singer. He recalled growing up in Harlem, New York and feeling fortunate to be in that area, because New York City was the hub of the entertainment industry in those early days. Mr. Gooding, Sr. says the Cotton Club and Carnegie Hall were among the many venues in New York offering opportunities to up and coming soul singers.
Gooding, Sr. took full advantage of those opportunities, launching his singing career in 1964. Cuba did well enough in those early years, but it wasn’t until he joined The Main Ingredient that his career really took off. In the beginning, the group was led by Donald McPherson under the moniker of The Poets. The three-man band would later change their name to The Insiders, before taking the name The Main Ingredient in 1966.
Following McPherson’s illness and subsequent passing, Cuba Gooding, Sr. became the band’s new lead singer.
Under Gooding, Sr., The Main Ingredient achieved success and attracted a following with hits like “Everybody Plays The Fool” and 1974’s “Just Don’t Want To Be Lonely.” Later, The Main Ingredient would team up for collaborations with Stevie Wonder and Leon Ware.
Cuba Gooding, Sr. branched out on his own, delivering two solo albums for Motown Records, but the limited success of the endeavors compelled Cuba to return to The Main Ingredient.
When Cuba Gooding, Sr. reunited with The Main Ingredient in 1980, the band issued two more albums for RCA Records.
When fan interest again peaked in the 90s with the Aaron Neville cover of “Everybody Plays The Fool,” Cuba attempted one more solo album, entitled Meant To Be In Love, which saw a 1993 release.
[Featured Image by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images]