Al Jarreau, the buttery-voiced, seven-time Grammy-winning pop and jazz singer, has died, just days after announcing his retirement. The 76-year-old vocalist, whose opening for the Bruce Willis-Cybill Shepherd series Moonlighting was among the 1980s’ most popular and best remembered TV theme songs, was hospitalized in Los Angeles two weeks ago for exhaustion.
His death was confirmed via his official Twitter page. “He was in the hospital,” the announcement stated, “kept comfortable by his wife, son, and a few of his family and friends.”
Jarreau’s 1981 album Breakin’ Away, with its title song and its now-standard single “We’re In This Love Together,” established the singer as a leader of the smooth, jazzy pop then just gaining momentum. Like his friend George Benson, he quickly crossed over into the culture’s musical mainstream, participating in 1985’s celebrity sing-along “We Are The World” and, the same year, lending a breezy sophistication to the comic sleuthing of Moonlighting (“Some walk by night/some fly by day…”). Listen to it below.
With nearly two dozen albums to his name, Jarreau won seven of the awards that will, no doubt, pay him tribute tonight. Already, Hollywood has begun its respects.
Jarreau is survived by his wife Susan; son Ryan; and two brothers and a sister. The family has requested no flowers, pointing fans instead to a favored music foundation.
Give a listen to Jarreau’s Moonlighting theme.