The Associated Press reports that Leroy “Sugarfoot” Bonner, frontman for the flamboyant and hugely popular mid-’70s dance-funk band the Ohio Players, has recently died. No cause of death has been reported. He was 69.
Bonner grew up poor outside Cincinnati before running away from home as a teenager and ending up in Dayton. In the early ’60s, he began playing guitar for a local band called the Ohio Untouchables. That group eventually became the Ohio Players, and Bonner became the frontman. In 1973, they scored a national hit with their song “Funky Worm,” and they went on to score even bigger hits with songs like “Love Rollercoaster” and “Fire.” Bonner continued to tour and lead a version of the group until his death.
Below, check out a video of Bonner and the band playing “Fire” on The Midnight Special in 1975.