Ugh. Just when we thought this most shitty of weeks was over, Philly soul legend Walter “Bunny” Sigler has died from a heart attack at the age of 76. Sigler was an immense and multi-faceted talent who shined as a singer, songwriter and producer over a career that began in 1959, and is best known for helping craft soul music’s famed “Philly Sound” with the team of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff.
Sigler made his bones and perfected that Philly Sound—which denotes soul music from the 1960’s and 70’s that blended funk and big band styles and was often peppered with lush string arrangements—working with the likes of Patti LaBelle, Barbara Mason, Lou Rawls and The O’Jays. Being an integral part of the soul, R&B and funk scenes of the 60’s and 70’s meant that Sigler’s work was beloved in the hip-hop community, and heavyweights like Jay-Z and Outkast sampled his work. Bunny also collaborated with the The on their Game Theory track “Long Time”, and earlier this year released two songs, “Till I See You Again” and “Angel Eyes” from a as-yet-unreleased record called Young at Heart.
Roots drummer Questlove mourned Sigler on Instagram:
Brother Bunny. Philadelphia quiet storm of class, style & hits. A pillar of the #SoundOfPhiladelphia community. He wrote classics that stood the test of time. Timberlake’s #DontHoldTheWall Tyler’s #Buffalo were sampled from Bunny’s compositions.That dramatic intro Hov used on #TheRulersBack for Blueprint? #JackieMoore’s “If” also written by Bunny. All you #CrazySexyCool owners that remembers #Busta’s interlude…yup another Bunny classic.—but his songs man: “Somebody Loves You” (Patti) “Your Body’s Here With Me, But Your Mind Is On The Other Side Of Town” & “When The World Is At Peace” (The Ojay’s) my all time fav by #InstantFunk “I Got My Mind Made Up” (key to Public Enemy’s “Terrordome” & De La Soul’s “Saturday’s”) & Chaka’s #TightFit. Prolly his most loved song was #LoveAndNeedAndWantYouBaby (Another Labelle Classic) famously sampled on 2 best selling records of 2003. I saw Bunny in my studio lookin like a million bucks w a custom sharkskin suit and I joked “Damn Bun don’t be so mean bruh! You lookin clean man!” He was like “That’s that Outkast (Ghettomusick–Love Below went diamond that year) & Nelly money talkin’ to ya baby! (“Dilemma” w Kelly Rowland sold MILLIONS) Brother Bunny blessed the Roots on #GameTheory singing on #LongTime. Definitely a highlight for us working with him. He was the DEFINITION of cool man. ALWAYS lookin clean. Whenever you needed him he was there (I asked him to sing at my dad’s services and he was like “say no more, you know we were almost in laws once” —-long family joke–) this cat will be missed man. Thank you for all you taught us. #BunnySigler rip
Remember this true master of modern music with some of his choicest cuts below, and blast them loud this weekend while you “Let The Good Times Roll & Feel So Good”, just as Bunny would have wanted it. RIP.