Though details are sketchy, it’s being reported that soul multi-tasker EDWIN BIRDSONG died on Monday 21st January. He was 77. The news was posted on Facebook by his son and ex wife.

Born in Los Angeles in 1941, Edwin Birdsong began as a gospel singer. (His father was a minister). After serving in Vietnam he worked as an entertainer at US military bases before studying composition at the Manhattan School of Music and Juilliard.

In 1971 he signed to Polydor and released a series of experimental albums that both Prince and Lenny Kravitz acknowledged as influences on their work. Birdsong’s most famous outing was ‘Cola Bottle Boy’ (a track, on his self-titled fourth album). He said it was written as a tribute to the “beautiful black women” whose spirituality “got us through” slavery. The song’s fame comes from the number of times it’s been sampled – most notably by Daft Punk who used it on their ‘Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger’. The song has also been used by Kanye West. Others who have sampled Birdsong’s music include De La Soul, Gang Starr, Snoop Dogg and The Chemical Brothers.

Edwin Birdsong also recorded for labels like Bamboo and Philadelphia International, was a prolific session player and collaborated with Roy Ayers (he co-authored ‘Running Away’) and Stevie Wonder.