Ohio Players frontman 'Sugarfoot' Bonner dies

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 28, 2013 at 11:17 am •  Published: January 28, 2013
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CINCINNATI (AP) — Leroy "Sugarfoot" Bonner, frontman for the hit-making funk music band the Ohio Players, has died. He was 69.

The Ohio Players, known for their brassy dance music, catchy lyrics and flamboyant outfits, topped music charts in the 1970s with hits such as "Love Rollercoaster," ''Fire," ''Skin Tight" and "Funky Worm."

A spokeswoman for a Newcomer Funeral Home in the Dayton suburb of Kettering said Monday morning that the family hadn't scheduled any public services. There was also a posting about his death on his current band's Facebook page. No other information was released immediately about his death Saturday.

Born in Hamilton, Ohio, Bonner teamed up in the 1960s with core members of a group called the Ohio Untouchables to form the Ohio Players. The band had a string of Top 40 hits in the mid-1970s and continued to perform for years after that. He had remained active in recent years with a spinoff band called Sugarfoot's Ohio Players.

"Humble yet charismatic, soft-spoken and of few words, the weight of his thoughts, lyrics and music has influenced countless other artists, songs and trends," stated a posting attributed as an "official family announcement" on the Facebook page of Sugarfoot's Ohio Players. "He will be missed but not forgotten as his legacy and music lives on."

Marshall Jones, the bass player and a founding member of the Ohio Players, called his bandmates "a bunch of the most creative people — especially Sugarfoot — that I have ever been around."

"It's kind of crazy," Jones, 72, told The Associated Press of Bonner's death. "I'm still feeling fragile."

Jones said after years of playing music, the band's sudden stardom, with No. 1 singles and huge crowds in venues such as the Superdome in New Orleans, was stunning.

"I sit back now, and it was all a brilliant blaze," he said. "I think 'Damn, did I do that?' It was just 'Zoom!' That was a starburst. And like all things like that, it fizzles."