Robert “Pops” Popwell, who played with The Young Rascals and The Crusaders, has passed away. He was 70 years old.
Born in Daytona Beach, Florida in 1946, Popwell started his career in the ’60s. He quickly got work in the jazz and R&B worlds. In 1970 alone, he recorded with Doris Duke, Hubert Laws, Deryll Inman, The Atlanta Disco Band, Johnny Jenkins, and Livingston Taylor. The early ’70s also saw him recording for The Rascals on their albums Peaceful World and The Island of Real and joining the fusion group The Crusaders, with whom he would record for most of the decade.
Popwell’s other recording credits include Aretha Franklin, B.B. King, Bob Dylan, Smokey Robinson, Al Jarreau, George Benson, and more. Showing his versatility, the bassist also toured with artists like Bette Midler and Olivia Newton-John. He’s featured in the film Hard to Hold with Rick Springfield.
Check out Popwell with The Crusaders performing “Spiral” (monster bass solo at 3:40):
Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Robert “Pops” Popwell.