Introduction to Luther Ingram
Luther Ingram was an American R&B singer-songwriter, popular in the 1970s. He achieved his first R&B Top 10 hit with “Ain’t That Loving You (For More Reasons Than One).” Eventhough KoKo was a small label, it nevertheless achieved considerable R&B hits and some of them were performed by Ingram: “To The Other Man,” “I’ll Love You Until The End,” “Be Good To Me Baby,” “You Were Made For Me,” “I’ll Be Your Shelter,” “Always,” and his lone #1 R&B hit “(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don’t Want To Be Right” which also reached the top 10 pop chart in 1972. Ingram later recorded singles for Profile label, where he issued a few other minor R&B hits. Despite this, Ingram remained a popular concert attraction in his later years. He died in Illinois, in 2007 from heart failure; Ingram was 69 years old.
Early life and career
Luther Thomas Ingram was an American R&B/soul singer-songwriter, born in Jackson, Tennessee on November 30, 1937 (but other sources cite that he was born in 1944). Music was always his passion, and when he was younger he launched a singing group together with his siblings.
During the 1960s Thomas relocated to New York City, and signed to Decca label and then to a minor imprint Hurdy-Gurdy.
First taste of success
After releasing a series of unsuccessful singles, he then moved to another minor label KoKo Records in the late 1960s and issued another single titled “My Honey And Me.” (written by Ingram and John McFarland). That finally made a dent on the Hot 100 chart as well as a made a higher position on the R&B singles chart in 1970. Things were going better for Ingram as the follow-up single “Ain’t That Loving You (For More Reasons Than One) reached the Top 10 R&B (#6) and arrived at a position just outside the Billboard top 40 pop chart.
“My Honey and Me” and “Ain’t That Loving You (For More Reasons Than One)” both came from his 1972 LP I’ve Been Here All the Time, whose other tracks – “To The Other Man,” “I’ll Love You Until the End,” “Be Good To Me Baby,” “Missing You,” and “You Were Made for Me” all made it to both pop and R&B charts.
Ingram’s biggest hit with “(If Loving You Was Wrong) I Don’t Want to Be Right”
In 1972 Ingram reached the peak of commercial success when he released the single “(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don’t Want to Be Right” which garnered him his only Top 10 pop charts (at #3) and his only #1 hit on any charts (in this case, R&B). The song was written by Homer Banks, Carl Hampton and Raymond Jackson. On the pop charts, “I Don’t Want to Be Right” remained on the charts for 18 weeks, and it is said to have sold around four million copies.
Aside from being a singer, Luther Ingram also proved himself to be a gifted songwriter. His most successful venture from being a songwriter was the Staples Singers’ 1971 hit “Respect Yourself.” This classic song was co-written by Ingram and Mack Rice. In the coming years the song would be covered by other artists such as B.B. King, Joe Cocker, and even actor Bruce Willis (with the Pointer Sisters’ June Pointer).
But as Ingram was attaining fame, KoKo on the other hand was experincing financial hardships. As a result he ended up releasing only a handful of fine singles that were otherwise hampered by distribution and marketing concerns.
Ingram then recorded for small labels Profile and Ichiban, garnering minor hits such as his last charting single, a cover of Dylan’s “Gotta Serve Somebody” in 1987. Despite his lower charting hits later in his career, he remained a sought-after live act.
Ingram passed away in 2007, after years of battling kidney disease and diabetes. He was 69 years old.