Cecil Womack, who has died aged 65, was a soul singer whose easy-going sound found favour with stars such as Debbie Harry, The Beautiful South and Eric Clapton, all of whom covered his songs. However, he was most famous as one half of Womack and Womack, the band he formed with his wife Linda. Their greatest hit was Teardrops, whose bittersweet refrain "footsteps on the dance floor remind me baby of you" made it a hit in the summer of 1988.
Womack was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of a steelworker and gospel singer, and found music early, joining a band with his four brothers. So successful were The Womack Brothers that their father, Friendly, abandoned his own band to join them and they were soon singing in churches across the state. They got a record deal as The Valentinos, without their father, and had an R&B hit in 1964 with It's All Over Now.
After they disbanded, after another two hits, Cecil's brother Bobby established a successful career as a songwriter and solo artist. Cecil, meanwhile, had married the Motown singer Mary Wells, famous for the song My Guy, with whom he had three children. They eventually divorced in 1976.
A year later, Cecil married Linda Cooke and entered the most creative period of his career. The couple wrote hits for a number of artists including Patti LaBelle and Teddy Pendergrass, whose signature song was Love TKO, written by the Womacks.
In the early 1980s, the couple landed a record deal as Womack and Womack and their debut album in 1983, Love Wars, was a hit. However, it was the follow-up in 1988, Conscience, that made them famous. Teardrops, the first single from the album, went to No3 in the UK.
The song was to prove the peak of their career, although not the end. There was another album three years later called Family Spirit which was not a success. Two years after that, they released another album inspired by ancestral links they had discovered to the Zekkariyas tribe in Nigeria. Linda changed her name to Zeriiya and Cecil to Zekuumba and they released an album entitled Transformation to the House of Zekkariyas. This was also the beginning of a move to Africa where they settled with their four children. They had four children and settled in South Africa. Cecil is survived by Linda and his children.