- Associated Press - Thursday, August 4, 2011

PORTLAND, MAINE (AP) - Gene McDaniels, who recorded the 1961 hit “A Hundred Pounds of Clay” and later wrote Roberta Flack’s chart-topping single “Feel Like Makin’ Love,” has died. He was 76.

McDaniels died Friday at his home in Kittery after a brief illness, his wife, Karen McDaniels, told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

During his career, he has had hits as a producer, writer and artist.

McDaniels‘ first hit was “A Hundred Pounds of Clay.” The song, which featured his take on the Biblical account of the creation of the first woman, peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard pop chart in 1961, the same year his song “Tower of Strength” hit No. 5. McDaniels also recorded other hits, including “Point of No Return” and “Another Tear Falls.”


As his success as a pop singer faded, McDaniels emerged as a successful songwriter. His most famous song, “Feel Like Makin’ Love,” went to No. 1 for Flack in 1974 and was also nominated for a Grammy. McDaniels‘ songs were also recorded by top artists like Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Johnny Mathis and Ray Charles.

In 1986, McDaniels received an award from BMI for his work on “Feel Like Makin’ Love.” His website says the song has achieved more than 6 million performances and has been recorded on 400 albums.

His song “Compared to What,” received new life recently when it was re-recorded and released by John Legend and The Roots on their 2010 album, “Wake Up.” Its socially conscious lyrics also led it to be used in eight motion pictures, including “The Ice Storm” and “Casino.”

Even though McDaniels is best known for music that made the pop charts, his wife, Karen, says her husband’s first love was jazz and he continued into the genre long after his pop career ended. He was working on music projects as a singer, writer and producer until his death, releasing an album of his own as recently as 2009.

“He is music. He cannot not do music. Every day was about music and his family,” Karen McDaniels said.

McDaniels also branched out into movies in his later years. According to his website, 15 years ago he got involved in writing and producing film and video. He also did video game and audio book voiceover work.

Born in Kansas City, Kan., McDaniels was raised in Omaha, Neb. His father was a minister and he sang in church choirs before leaving home for Los Angeles as a young man to break into the music business.

He moved to Maine about 25 years ago, his wife said.

McDaniels is survived by his wife, five sons, one daughter and a sister.

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Associated Press writer Oscar Wells Gabriel II in Washington contributed to this report.