David Peaston, whose golden voice serenaded and wowed the “Showtime at the Apollo” audiences in the late ’80s, passed away Wednesday at age 54. The actual cause of death has not been officially announced.
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Peaston, whose stratospheric tenor voice was smooth and silky, managed to bring the Apollo house down with a song, “God Bless the Child,” that would eventually become his trademark.
After managing to continuously tame the wild Harlem landmark’s audiences with his hypnotic crooning for several weeks, Peaston, a former St. Louis teacher, literally became an overnight sensation with his 1989 premier album, “Introducing … David Peaston.” The album spawned the chart-toppers “Can I?” and “Two Wrongs (Don’t Make It Right).”
The son of Clara Ward Singers‘ Martha Bass, Peaston went on to win the coveted “Soul Train Music Award for Best R&B/Soul or Rap New Artist” in 1990. The following year, the five-octave range singer came out with another album, and it was then that he began the whirlwind tour across the globe with Gladys Knight and Gerald Alston. In 1993, he recorded a gospel album, “Promises: A Family Portrait Of Faith,” with his mother and sister R&B singer Fontella Bass. Soon after, due to a total lack of promotion, Peaston’s star began to fade.
Over recent years, Peaston released another album “Song Book: Songs of Soul & Inspiration,” which fell under the radar. He soon resorted to traveling with urban theatrical shows across the United States. He created his own production company, Pea-Stain, and remained active, participating in various gospel events throughout his hometown of St. Louis.
Peaston developed diabetes and became a double-amputee. As to whether his death was a result of his chronic condition, there has been no confirmation. Peaston’s ”road dawg,” friend, and singer Cheryl Pepsii Riley dedicated the following on her Facebook page:
I’m so saddened by the news, my friend David Peaston has passed. This hurts so much. He had an Incredible Voice and the Best sense of Humor! David Peaston and I were the only secular artists doin Gospel plays in the beginning. I first met him on the show “Momma Don’t”. And then we did Several other shows together, So we became Road Dawgs! :-) We could not see each other for years and get together… and it be like we just saw each other the day before. Just picked up from where we left off. He was such a Beautiful person. So much Fun, and a Really Good Man! Such a Talent, but even more than that, He was a Friend! My Dear, Crazy, Wonderful, David …. Or Unka Peasters as I called him…and he called me Tabby (from a show we did and I played his daughter), You Will Be Missed and I Shall NEVER EVER Forget You! RIP DAVID PEASTON, I Love You!