*It isn’t until some of the greats leave us that we recognize the volume of their work and the mark they have left on the world. Although, they have been with us “Right Here All Along,” its not until their passing that we recognize how blessed the world was/is by their remarkable talent.
It’s often said that people leave the world in “threes” and in recent days we have seen the loss of actors Gary Coleman (Friday, May 28), Dennis Hopper (Saturday, May 29) and now singer/actor Ollie Ali Woodson on Sunday, May 30, after struggling for years with leukemia. Woodson died in California where he resided.
Ollie Ali Woodson was one of the great voices of our time and captured the attention of audiences throughout the world. Best known as a member of the Temptations, he was not among the original Temptations which consisted of David Ruffin, Eddie Kendricks, Paul Williams, Melvin Franklin and Otis Williams. Only Otis Williams presently survives as part of the original Temptations. However, after the departure of David Ruffin and Dennis Edwards, Woodson stepped in as lead singer bringing the Temptations to the next level of their incredible success and fame. Woodson wrote and contributed new material that kept the Temptations on top of the Pop and R&B charts with songs like “Treat her like a Lady,” which eventually went gold.
Woodson also performed with “The Drifters’ in the early 1970’s, and sang with The Blue Notes after Teddy Pendergrass left the group.
“I believe Ali joined the Temptations in 1984. All and all, Ali may have been with the group until 1991. He came, departed and then returned. He wrote the song and sang the lead on their hit “Treat her like a Lady.” In fact, that was a pretty big hit for them,” recalled Evan Wills of the singing group Persuaders Review. “In later years, he did a solo project. “Right Here All Along.” It never became a big hit but “Right Here All Along,” was still one of his worthwhile projects which highlighted his talent and tremendous singing style,” continued Wills. “You know, he did more than sing. He was a musician in his own right and played the keyboards, bass, and drums,” remarked Wills of Woodson who was also a composer, arranger, lyricist and producer.
“I don’t know if everyone knew this but Ali Woodson was also an actor,” stated Evan. “He had a bit part in the “Little Richard” movie with Leon. He also did R&B plays throughout the country. He will be truly missed in the music industry and by the world,” said the Persuader.
Mr. Woodson also appeared in several episodes of “Amen” and on “The Jamie Fox Show.”
Born in Detroit, Woodson was already singing in the church choir by the time he was 4 years old. By 7, he won his first talent show and went on to win kudos and accolades throughout his career. His talent put him in the company of such great performers as James Brown, Bobby Womack, Rachelle Ferrell, The Four Top, Chaka Khan, The Gap Band, Patti Austin and Aretha Franklin, et al. He even appeared at the Paradise Theatre in the Bronx with Dennis Edwards as part of the Temptation Review.
Ollie Ali Woodson was well thought of in the business and was seen as a gentleman by everyone who had the good fortune to meet him. He will be missed.
At press time, funeral arrangements were still in the planning stages.