Home > News & Advice > News Obituaries > Phil Phillips (1926–2020), “Sea of Love” singer

Phil Phillips (1926–2020), “Sea of Love” singer

by Linnea Crowther

Phil Phillips was a singer and songwriter best known for his 1959 hit “Sea of Love.” The song was a million-seller that was later covered by other artists, including popular versions by Del Shannon in 1981 and the Honeydrippers in 1984.

We invite you to share condolences for Phil Phillips in our Guest Book.

Died: March 14, 2020 (Who else died on March 14?)

Advertisement

Details of death: Died in Lake Charles, Louisiana at the age of 94.


Is there someone you miss whose memory should be honored? Here are some ways.


Phillips’ career: Born John Philip Baptiste in Crowley, Louisiana, Phillips recorded his most famous song in 1959 with his backing group, the Twilights. “Sea of Love” gained momentum after a Baton Rouge DJ gave it heavy airplay, and it eventually topped the R&B chart and made it to No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. But Phillips never released it on an album, having been offered a record deal that he was unhappy with, and he only received $6,800 in royalties for the song. Phillips’ other songs include “What Will I Tell My Heart” and “The Evil Dope,” an anti-drug spoken word that became a cult classic.

What people said about him: “What a loss. Such a talent. Forever the voice of romantic love.” —author Peter La Chapelle

“We lost a Swamp Pop musical legend, Phil Phillips, last Saturday at the age of 94. He gave us ‘Sea of Love,’ a Swamp Pop classic. I am glad we honored him last year with his children present at the Swamp Pop museum.” —Twitter user @oldies925

Full obituary: KPLC News

Related lives:

  • Ben E. King (1938 – 2015), lead singer for the Drifters, known for “Stand By Me”
  • Ray Charles (1930 – 2004), legendary soul musician
  • Otis Redding (1941 – 1967), “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” singer

Related Stories