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Joe Simon (1936–2021), Grammy-winning R&B singer

by Linnea Crowther

Joe Simon was an R&B singer known for hit singles including “The Chokin’ Kind,” “Power of Love,” and “Get Down, Get Down (Get on the Floor).”

Musical career

After a poverty-stricken childhood and a time when he was homeless and lived in a chicken coop, Simon began singing professionally with the Golden West Gospel Singers in the 1950s. After going solo, he began charting hits in the mid-1960s and had a No. 1 R&B hit in 1969 with “The Chokin’ Kind,” which also reached the Top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100. Simon won a Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance for “The Chokin’ Kind.” His highest-charting single was 1975’s “Get Down, Get Down (Get on the Floor),” another No. 1 R&B hit that crossed over to reach the top ten of the Hot 100. Simon’s music was widely sampled; his “Before the Night Is Over” was sampled by OutKast in their hit “So Fresh, So Clean,” and his “It Be’s That Way Sometimes” was sampled in Lil Kim’s “Magic Stick.” In later years, he left the music world and was ordained as a minister.

Notable quote

“I went from the cotton field to the chicken coop to a superstar of rhythm and blues — you can’t tell me I ain’t gonna be nothin’.” —from the 2016 documentary “Looking Back with Joe Simon”

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Tributes to Joe Simon

Full obituary: Billboard

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