Tim Mosenfelder/Getty ImagesGrammy-winning jazz, pop and R&B vocalist Al Jarreau, perhaps best–known to non-jazz audiences for singing the theme song to hit ’80s TV show Moonlighting, has died. He was 76. In recent days, he’d been hospitalized for exhaustion, according to his Twitter feed, and announced he was retiring from live performing.
A statement on his official website reads, “Al Jarreau passed away today, February 12, 2017. He will be missed…his 2nd priority in life was music. There was no 3rd. His 1st priority, far ahead of the other, was healing or comforting anyone in need. Whether it was emotional pain, or physical discomfort, or any other cause of suffering, he needed to put our minds at ease and our hearts at rest.”
The statement goes on to say, “To everyone who attended his concerts, and listened to his albums: He needed you, and you always were there for him, for more than 50 years. He was thankful for you every day, and did his best to show that to each of you.” It also thanks all the musicians, songwriters and promoters he worked with over the years.
The statement concludes by saying, in part, “From you, Al asks a favor. Please find any artistic thing that you can do with passion, and do it. With art in your life, you will be a better family member, neighbor, friend, and citizen.”
Jarreau, one of the few vocalists to win Grammy awards in the jazz, pop and R&B categories, started his jazz career in 1968 and signed his first recording contract in 1975. His notable TV appearances included singing on the 13th episode of the then-new TV show Saturday Night Live. One of his biggest albums, 1981’s Breakin’ Away, included his hit “We’re in This Love Together.” He scored another hit in 1984 with the song “After All.”
In 1985, Jarreau wrote the lyrics for, and recorded, the theme song for the Cybill Shepherd/Bruce Willis ABC comedy detective show Moonlighting. In 1987, the song was released as a single — it received two Grammy nods and made the top 30.
Jarreau was also featured on the 1985 #1 charity hit “We Are the World.” In 1996, he appeared on Broadway in Grease in the role of Teen Angel, and on American Idol season five, he performed with finalist Paris Bennett on the season finale.
Jarreau is survived by his wife, Susan, and son Ryan.
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