Rick Stevens, Ex-Tower of Power Singer, Dies at 77

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‘Bump City’ featured the lead vocals of Rick Stevens

The singer who appeared on the first two albums by the Bay Area funk-rock group Tower of Power, Rick Stevens, died Tuesday (Sept. 5). Stevens, whose voice is heard on hits such as “Sparkling in the Sand” and “You’re Still a Young Man,” was 77. The cause was liver cancer.

Stevens joined Tower of Power in 1969—a year after the band’s formation—and sang one song on the 1970 debut album East Bay Grease (on Bill Graham’s San Francisco label) before becoming the full-time lead vocalist for 1972’s Bump City, their first for Warner Bros. Records.

In 1976, after leaving the band, Stevens made news for a different reason when he was convicted of murder for killing three people during what was described then as a drug deal gone wrong. He spent a total of 36 years in prison, where he kicked his addiction, and was paroled in 2012.

Tower of Power co-founder Emilio Castillo posted on his Facebook page, “Rick Stevens went to heaven today to be with the Lord whom he loved with all his heart. Rick was an extremely soulful singer and entertainer who had an engaging personality and a strong faith, which he shared with all he came in contact with. He sang on our first two recordings and his rendition of ‘Sparkling In the Sand’ and ‘You’re Still a Young Man’ were timeless classics that set our career in motion.

Related: Who shared the charts with Tower of Power in September 1972?

Rick Stevens montage from his Facebook page

“I remember talking with him when he was released and I was skeptical about his ‘prison salvation’ experience,” Castillo continued. I told him that I really hoped he would take advantage of the tremendous opportunity that God had given him to help people to avoid the pitfalls he had fallen into. He went above and beyond the call of duty and carried his message of faith and redemption to many.”

Castillo further commented, “The first time he sat in with us, after his release from prison, was a ‘once in a lifetime’ emotional experience for all of us. We loved him and we’ll miss him. I have faith that I’ll see him in heaven someday and together we’ll worship and glorify God together for eternity. Rick is there right now enjoying it!!!”

In 2014, Stevens began performing locally with a new group, Rick Stevens and Love Power.

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Watch Rick Stevens sing “You’re Still a Young Man” with Tower of Power for the first time in 40 years

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