Cuba Gooding Sr.

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Cuba Gooding
CubaGoodingSrByPhilKonstantin (cropped).jpg
Gooding in 2008
Born(1944-04-27)April 27, 1944
DiedApril 20, 2017(2017-04-20) (aged 72)
Resting placeTrinity Church Cemetery
Years active1964–2016
Height6 ft (183 cm)
Shirley Sullivan
(m. 1966; div. 1974)

(m. 1995)
Children4, including Cuba Jr. and Omar
RelativesMason Gooding (grandson)
Musical career

Cuba Gooding Sr. (April 27, 1944 – April 20, 2017) was an American singer. He was the most successful lead singer of the soul group The Main Ingredient, replacing former lead singer Donald McPherson who was diagnosed with leukemia in 1971. According to Billboard, as the lead vocalist he scored five top 10 hits, most notably, "Everybody Plays the Fool" (1972), peaking at No. 2 for three weeks, and peaking at No. 3 on Billboard′s all-genre Hot-100 list. "Just Don't Want to Be Lonely" (1974), "Happiness Is Just Around the Bend" and "Rolling Down a Mountainside" were also top 10 hits on Billboard charts. He also recorded as a solo artist with hits of his own.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Born in Harlem, New York City, Gooding was a son of Dudley MacDonald Gooding (1890–1955) and his wife Addie Alston.[3] The elder Gooding was a native of Barbados who fled the island in 1936 to Cuba, and met and married a woman there. When she was murdered because of their affiliation with Pan Africanist leader Marcus Garvey, Dudley Gooding promised his wife on her deathbed that he would name his first son Cuba.[3] His father died when Cuba was 11 years old.[4] Gooding's father was a taxi driver in Manhattan.[5][3][6]


Gooding Sr. joined The Main Ingredient as a back-up vocalist.[6] He became the lead singer after lead singer Donald McPherson died of leukemia in 1971.[7] The 1973 album Afrodisiac featured several songs co-written by Stevie Wonder.[8] Gooding left The Main Ingredient in either 1977 or 1978.[3][6]1 He had a brief solo career on Motown Records during the late 1970s and early 1980s making two albums;[9] the first was titled The 1st Cuba Gooding Album.[6] His biggest international success was Brian Auger's "Happiness Is Just Around the Bend" in 1983, which has in recent times been sampled by several R&B artists, as well as hitting the charts again as a remix by UK Hardcore Rave group Altern-8 in 1991. In 1980, Gooding returned to The Main Ingredient and made two more albums for RCA Victor.[6] In 1991, samples from the song also featured prominently in Bizarre Inc's single "Playing With Knives". Gooding released a single called "Politics" in September 2007. He was also developing a film project called Everybody Plays the Fool: The Cuba Gooding Story. The film highlights three generations of the Gooding Family: Dudley "Cuba" Gooding, Cuba Gooding Sr., Cuba Gooding Jr. and Omar Gooding.[10]

On the Boat Trip DVD trivia track, it was stated that he was going to appear in the 2003 romantic-comedy The Fighting Temptations, which stars his son Cuba Gooding Jr., but he is not in the movie.

Gooding appeared on the Beach Music Super Collaboration CD, performing the Charles Wallert composition, "Meant To Be In Love". This led to the duo's project, “Never Give Up” (Bluewater Recordings), which debuted at the 2009 presidential inauguration.[11]

Personal life and death[edit]

Gooding moved from the Bronx to southern California in the 1970s.[5] Gooding and his wife, singer Shirley Gooding (née Sullivan) had four children: actors Cuba Gooding Jr., Omar Gooding, actress April Gooding and musician Tommy Gooding. Gooding Sr. later became a minor actor himself. Gooding Sr. separated from his wife in 1974. In 1995, the Goodings remarried.

In 2011, he had a residence in Rosarito Beach, Mexico where he performed at least one charity concert.[12] He also was a resident in Flagler Beach, Florida.[13]

On April 20, 2017, one week before his 73rd birthday, Gooding was found dead in his vehicle while parked on a street in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles. CPR was performed by the fire department but they were unable to revive him.[14][1] An autopsy determined he died of natural causes.[15]

He is interred at the Trinity Church Cemetery in Manhattan.[16]



  1. ^ BBC News gives the year as 1977. NPR gives the year as 1978.


  1. ^ a b Stutz, Colin (April 20, 2017). "Cuba Gooding Sr., 'Everybody Plays the Fool' Singer & Dad to Oscar-Winning Actor, Dies at 72". Billboard. Retrieved April 21, 2017.
  2. ^ "The Main Ingredient - Chart history". Retrieved April 24, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d Savage, Mark (April 21, 2017). "Cuba Gooding Sr found dead in LA". BBC News. London: BBC. Retrieved April 23, 2017.
  4. ^ Modzelewski, Eve (September 27, 2000). "Stage Preview: Acting takes Cuba Gooding Sr. on an inspirational tour". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. PG Publishing. Retrieved November 19, 2008.
  5. ^ a b "Cuba Gooding Sr., Soul Singer, Dies at 72". The New York Times. Associated Press. April 21, 2017. Retrieved April 23, 2017.
  6. ^ a b c d e Tsioulcas, Anastasia (April 21, 2017). "Cuba Gooding, Sr., Star Of The Main Ingredient, Dies At 72". NPR. Washington, D.C. Retrieved April 23, 2017.
  7. ^ Feldman, Kate (April 20, 2017). "Cuba Gooding, Sr. dead at 72 of possible overdose: report". New York Daily News. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
  8. ^ Baetens, Melody (April 20, 2017). "Cuba Gooding Sr. reportedly found dead in his car". The Detroit News. Digital First Media. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
  9. ^ Colin Larkin, ed. (1993). The Guinness Who's Who of Soul Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 102. ISBN 0-85112-733-9.
  10. ^ Persinger, Ryanne (February 29, 2008). "CIAA is rare homecoming for R&B legend". The Charlotte Post. Retrieved April 23, 2017.
  11. ^ "'Never Give Up' Reviewed by!". Bluewater Recordings. New York City: Bluewater Recordings, Inc. Retrieved April 23, 2017.
  12. ^ "Cuba Gooding Sr. Sings in San Felipe". Retrieved 2020-01-30.
  13. ^ Abbott, By Jim. "Cuba Gooding's Main Ingredient: Soul". Retrieved 2021-12-10.
  14. ^ Goldblatt, Daniel (April 20, 2017). "Cuba Gooding Sr., 70s Singer and Father to Cuba Jr., Dead at 72: Report". People. Time Inc. Retrieved April 21, 2017.
  15. ^ Ungerman, Alex (June 6, 2017). "Cuba Gooding Sr. Cause of Death Revealed, Medical Examiner Reports Natural Causes". ET Online. CBS Studios Inc. Retrieved October 23, 2017.
  16. ^ "Buried Here - Cuba Gooding, Sr - Lead Singer Of The Main Ingredient". 21 February 2018. Retrieved July 3, 2021.

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