70s Soul Star D.J. Rogers dies at age 72

(August 22, 2020) He never received the popular acclaim that his talent warranted, but for his many fans -- and his musical peers -- he was appreciated to the core. Today was say a sad goodbye to singer, producer and multi-instrumentalist DJ Rogers (born DeWayne Julius Rogers). He was 72.

(August 22, 2020) He never received the popular acclaim that his talent warranted, but for his many fans -- and his musical peers -- he was appreciated to the core. Today was say a sad goodbye to singer, producer and multi-instrumentalist DJ Rogers (born DeWayne Julius Rogers). He was 72.

Rogers had a string of popular R&B albums in the 70s and several songs that are revered more than four decades after their release, including the beautiful ballad “Say You Love Me” (later recorded by Natalie Cole) and the dramatic midtempo top 20 hit, “Love Brought Me Back.” During that decade he recorded on multiple labels, including RCA, Total Experience and Columbia, each time delivering his expressive vocals and perceptive, memorable songs that told stories about real human emotions and the connection of the physical and spiritual. He also worked with Deniece Williams, Maurice White and Patrice Rushen. However, no record label really appeared to have the right promotional plan to advance his music the way it deserved.

By the 90s and into the new millennium, Rogers was principally performing Gospel music. We last heard from him in 2012, when he contributed his recognizable vocals to the hit “Whoa to Wow” with Renee Spearman.

Rogers was part of a community of talented artists who brought both gospel and jazz sensibilities to 70s R&B, in many ways pre-dating the adult soul movement that would dominate much of mid-80s urban radio. His contribution was far more significant than his fame, and he is to be thanked for helping usher in a particularly rich era for soul music. He will be missed.

By Chris Rizik

 

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