- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 3, 2011

KITTERY, 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.

“A Hundred Pounds of Clay,” McDaniels‘ first hit, peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard pop chart in 1961, the same year “Tower of Strength” hit No. 5. He also recorded “Point of No Return,” “Another Tear Falls” and other hits.

He later earned success as a writer whose songs were recorded by artists including Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Johnny Mathis and Ray Charles. Flack’s version of “Feel Like Makin’ Love,” McDaniels‘ most well-known song, hit No. 1 in 1974.

Although McDaniels hit it big on the pop charts, his first love was jazz, Karen McDaniels said. He continued working on musical 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.

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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