Who was Darondo?
Darondo was a soul and funk singer from the San Francisco Bay Area, who performed in the 1970s under the name Darondo. He was born William Daron Pulliam in 1946 in Berkeley, California. He began making music as a child, after his mother bought him a guitar. He released three singles from 1972 to 1974, one of which, “Didn’t I”, became a cult classic among vinyl collectors and soul fans. He also opened for James Brown at Bimbo’s 365 Club in the early 1970s, and developed a unique sense of style, wearing a white fur coat and driving a white Rolls-Royce. He was rumored to be a pimp, but he denied this claim.
Why did he stop making music?
Darondo stepped away from music in the late 1970s, due to a financial dispute with his record label, Music City. He also wanted to quit his cocaine habit, which he had developed during his music career. He moved to Europe, where he spent time in London and Paris, and then worked as a guitarist on a cruise ship, traveling to places like Trinidad. He eventually returned to the Bay Area, where he became a physical therapist and a speech pathologist. He also hosted several shows on local cable television, ranging from a late-night show called Darondo’s Penthouse After Dark, to a children’s show called Tapper the Rabbit.
How did he die?
Darondo died of heart failure in 2013, at the age of 66. He had been ill for over a year, and had canceled a scheduled performance at Bonnaroo 2012 due to health concerns. His death was announced by his record label, Ubiquity, which had released one of his albums, Let My People Go, in 2006. The album featured songs that he had recorded in the 1970s, and that had been rediscovered by crate-diggers and DJs. One of his songs, “Didn’t I”, was featured on an episode of Breaking Bad, and was also covered by British singer Jack Peñate.
What is his legacy?
Darondo is remembered as a soul legend, who left behind a small but influential body of work. His music has been praised for its raw emotion, soulful voice, and funky groove. He has been compared to artists like Al Green, Curtis Mayfield, and Marvin Gaye. His songs have been sampled by hip-hop producers like Madlib and Jake One, and have been included on compilations by DJs like Gilles Peterson and Kon. His fans include celebrities like David Byrne, Questlove, and Erykah Badu. He has also inspired a documentary, Listen to My Song: The Story of Darondo, which was released in 2015.
According to Rolling Stone, Darondo was “a Bay Area soul singer best known for the song ‘Didn’t I,’ [who] has died, Spin reports. According to Fact Magazine, “Bay Area soul and funk vocalist Darondo has passed away. He was 67.