joe simon

Bishop Joe Simon

*Former rhythm & blues singer/legend Joe Simon– known for such hits as “Drowning In The Sea Of Love,”  “Chokin’ Kind,” “Misty Blue,” and “Power Of Love” – narrowly escaped death as he recently underwent quadruple bypass surgery.

He said “I was working in the studio…nobody knew what I was feeling. I didn’t tell my family or friends…but my heart did hurt and I could feel pain in both of my arms.”

Simon who is now an ordained minister – Bishop Joe Simon– says he never smoked, and could not get into the alcohol/drugs scene when he was popular out there on the tour circuit. He was living a clean and healthy life but says as he was out walking his dog he would be taking three steps forward and two steps back. He said he felt like the bands of the transmission on a car were slipping and putting him in neutral. Aches, chest pains and shortness of breath continued for weeks, but he continued working and going on road trips with his ministry.

About a month ago in early March, after trying different over-the-counter medications, one day he called his wife Melinee and said “Mello, come take me to the hospital…I’m having severe chest pain.” She told him she was on her way and was going to call 911, but he insisted on not having an ambulance to keep the matter private. She arrived and took him to a local hospital emergency unit.  After an evaluation he was transferred to the Illinois Loyola University Medical Center where specialists in heart and vascular medicine tended to him. His wife Melinee explains, “While the doctors were going over the details of open heart surgery, Joe cut them off and said…”Let’s get it on…my faith is in God, the one who created you.” His life and disposition in the balance he added, “Nothing happens without the consent of my wife and kids.”

Looking back Simon realizes that his heart was giving him distress signals long before he sought medical help. He says, “Nobody has time for a heart attack, but I know now I should have paid attention much sooner.”

Simon says he is grateful for the medical care he received at Loyola. He’s already advanced in his rehabilitation program and understands the challenges ahead, but ever the optimist he says, “When I tell my [full] story, it will help people see that God is with them and looks after them…but I’ll also tell them that when their heart speaks they need to pay attention.” As of this report, Simon appears to be doing  just fine.

Larry Buford is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer. Author of “Things Are Gettin’ Outta Hand” (Steuben Pub) Available at Smiley’s Bookstore in Carson CA, Skylight Books, Los Angeles, and Chaucer’s in Santa Barbara CA. Visit the author at (213) 220-8101.