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Gerald Levert picture, image, poster
Gerald Levert

Date of birth : 1966-07-13
Date of death : 2006-11-10
Birthplace : Cleveland, Ohio,U.S.
Nationality : American
Category : Famous Figures
Last modified : 2011-12-08

Gerald Levert was an American R&B singer. Gerald Levert sang with his brother, Sean Levert, and friend Marc Gordon in the R&B trio LeVert. He was also a part of LSG, an R&B supergroup comprising Keith Sweat, Johnny Gill, and Levert. His father, Eddie Levert, is the lead singer of the 1970s soul group The O'Jays.

Following his father's tradition, Gerald Levert has carved out a successful career as a writer, arranger, producer, and performer. The son of Eddie Levert Sr., vocalist and lead arranger of the long-standing R&B group the O'Jays, Gerald Levert produced a string of top-selling albums and singles, first as a member of the trio LeVert, then as a solo artist. After releasing five albums with LeVert--four of which achieved gold- or platinum-selling status--Levert began recording on his own. The artist's solo career is marked by such albums as Private Line, Groove On, Love & Consequences, and G. Levert "has such an incredible and creative way of expression, and it sounds like he's really lived what he's talking about," Michael Saunders, a radio executive at WJLB and WMXD, two Detroit R&B radio stations, told Billboard. "That's what people want today: They want to hear the truth."

Born on July 13, 1966, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which was homebase for the O'Jays, Levert was raised in Cleveland, Ohio. Fueled by the musical household he grew up in--and access to his father's fully-equipped studio--Levert formed a trio with his brother Sean and friend Marc Gordon. While still in high school, the group began performing at clubs in Ohio under the name LeVert. The group released its first single, "I'm Still," on the independent record label Tempre. In 1985 "I'm Still" peaked at number 70 on the Billboard R&B charts and led to a record deal with Atlantic Records the next year.

LeVert's Atlantic debut, Bloodline, produced a number one single, "(Pop, Pop, Pop, Pop) Goes My Mind," and the group became an instant success. All told, the group scored five number one, seven top ten, and four top twenty singles on Billboard's R&B charts, including the number one single, "Casanova." The group's albums, The Big Throwdown, Just Coolin', and Rope-a-Dope, were all top-sellers.

Levert made his solo debut in 1991 with Private Line. The album produced four R&B hits--the title song, plus "Baby Hold on to Me," "School Me," and "Can You Handle It." The success of the album was cemented by a 20-city headlining tour with R&B crooner R. Kelly in 1992. "I didn't feel comfortable at first going out without the group for the first time," Levert told Billboard, "but I must say the responses we got went way beyond what I expected." The album was certified gold in February of 1992 and peaked at number two on Billboard's Top R&B Albums chart. Although he went solo, Levert wasn't leaving the group in the dust. The trio regrouped to record the album For Real Tho', released in 1992, and The Whole Scenario, released in 1997.

One key to Levert's success was that he followed his father's lead in producing a string of tender and romantic songs which--compared to the raw hits of early 1990s R&B acts like Jodeci, Silk, and R. Kelly--left something to the imagination. Like his dad, he believes audiences, especially female fans, "want to be romanced and teased," he told Newsweek. He also credits the influence of Marvin Gaye on his soft approach. "Marvin was the master of romance and knew how to say it without saying it, which he did with 'Let's Get It On,'" Levert continued in Newsweek. "He was so smooth, he didn't have to say it because you knew what he meant."

Levert further cemented his reputation as an R&B writer and producer. In addition to selling more than nine million albums, he has produced or written more than 15 number one hits, including Barry White's "Practice What You Preach" and Chuckie Booker's "Games." Early in his career, he produced albums for new R&B groups Men at Large and Drama, a solo album for Rude Boys lead singer Joe Little, and tracks for a Barry White album.

After turning down the chance to cover the country song "I Swear," Levert watched as the group All-4-One took the single to number one. When offered another country song, "She'd Give Anything," he took it. The song was produced by Grammy Award-winning producer David Foster, renamed "I'd Give Anything," and released as the first single on Levert's second album, 1994's Groove On. Although lushly produced and retaining its country-western melody, the single was a hit among Levert's R&B fans and reached number two on Billboard's Top R&B Albums chart.

After performing live together on several occasions over the years, Levert and his father bowed to fans' requests and teamed up to record 1995's Father and Son. "People kept asking when were we going to record an album together because of the response we would get whenever I'd do a show and dad would join me on stage for a couple numbers," Gerald Levert told Billboard. The album featured the duo singing original material written expressly for them, as well as a selection of cover songs, including several originally performed by the O'Jays. "Actually we've always dreamed of making an album together," the senior Levert told Essence. "Of all my children, Gerald is most like me. We're both very opinionated workaholics. But we're both just happy that so many people look at the album as morally uplifting for the family." Soul and R&B fans alike were pleased, and the two toured together to support the album. Gerald and Eddie Levert had recorded together once before, on the duet "Baby Hold on to Me," which appeared on Private Line and reached the top of the American R&B singles chart in January of 1992.

In 1997, Levert joined forces with fellow R&B singers Keith Sweat and Johnny Gill to record the album Levert. Sweat. Gill. People critic Amy Linden called Levert. Sweat. Gill an "all-star" project that is "free of egomania and mighty fine on the ears." The album went platinum, led by the top-selling hit, "My Body All Over Your Body."

The 1998 album Love & Consequences was an exceptionally painful work for Levert. He wrote the album following a breakup so difficult he considered quitting the music business. "I was so devastated by the situation," he said in an interview with Ebony, "I didn't want to do music any more." Levert also told Ebony it was his fault the year-long engagement failed, and he said he poured his pain and regret into songwriting. Considering his admission of responsibility, it is somewhat ironic that, in the album's first single, "Thinkin' about It," Levert demands a cheating partner change her philandering ways. In any case, the album struck a chord with his fans--Love & Consequences was yet another platinum seller for Levert. In a review, Linden noted that Levert's voice is both tender and tough--"hallmarks of the great soul singers of the past."

Although he had not planned to release a new album so soon, Levert was ready with new material after tours with Patti LaBelle and as part of the Budweiser Superfest. Fearing his new songs would get stale, the artist told Billboard, he worked the recording for G into his already hectic schedule. Having recovered from the breakup that had fueled Love & Consequences, Levert recorded a slew of new and upbeat tunes. Songs like "Application (I'm Looking 4 a New Love)," "She Done Been," and the album's first single, "Nothin' to Somethin'," reflected Levert's new mood. By March of 2000, G had climbed to the number two position on Billboard's R&B album chart and to number eight on Billboard's 200 album chart, marking a career-high sales peak and the first time the artist had broken into the chart's top ten. The album's debut single, "Mr. Too Damn Good," also made it onto the charts. Levert released Gerald's World in 2001.

On November 10, 2006, Gerald Levert was found dead in his bed at his Newbury home when a cousin tried to wake him. Initial reports stated that Levert had died of an apparent heart attack. In February 2007, an autopsy report conducted by the Cuyahoga County coroner's office concluded that Levert's death was caused by a fatal combination of prescription narcotics and over-the-counter drugs.

Discography
Albums (Levert)
1985: I Get Hot
1986: Bloodline
1987: The Big Throwdown
1988: Just Coolin
1990: Rope A Dope Style
1993: For Real Tho
1997: The Whole Scenario

Albums (Solo)
1991: Private Line
1994: Groove On
1998: Love & Consequences
1999: G
2001: Geralds World
2002: The G Spot
2003: Stroke Of Genius
2004: Do I Speak For The World
2005: Voices
2007: In My Songs
2010: The Best of Gerald Levert

Albums (LSG)
1997: Levert-Sweat-Gill
2003: LSG2

Albums (Gerald & Eddie Levert)
1995: Father & Son
2007: Something To Talk About


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