NPR logo Leroy 'Sugarfoot' Bonner, Frontman Of The Ohio Players, Dies

Music Articles

Leroy 'Sugarfoot' Bonner, Frontman Of The Ohio Players, Dies

Leroy 'Sugarfoot' Bonner of the Ohio Players plays a double-necked guitar during a concert performance in 1970. Bonner died Friday at age 69. Colin Fuller/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Colin Fuller/Getty Images

Leroy 'Sugarfoot' Bonner of the Ohio Players plays a double-necked guitar during a concert performance in 1970. Bonner died Friday at age 69.

Colin Fuller/Getty Images

Leroy "Sugarfoot" Bonner, leader of the funk band the Ohio Players, has died at the age of 69. No cause of death has yet been reported.

The Ohio Players had seven Top 40 hits in the 1970s, including "Love Rollercoaster," "Fire" and "Skin Tight," and helped define a movement that included Parliament Funkadelic and Kool & the Gang. The band's success stemmed partly from Bonner's playfully commanding lead vocals and gusto.

The oldest of 14 children, Bonner ran away from home as a young teenager and played the harmonica on street corners for change. A few years before he died, he took to his Twitter the night that a documentary about his band was broadcast on television.

"I am happy doing what I love," he wrote. "This IS pure heaven. The fans out there are like family to me. Every night is like a homecoming."

Ohio Players play "Fire."

YouTube

We no longer support commenting on NPR.org stories, but you can find us every day on Facebook, Twitter, email, and many other platforms. Learn more or contact us.