Leroy “Sugarfoot” Bonner, the frontman for the Ohio Players, has died at the age of 69. The Ohio Players were a funk and R&B band popular in the 70s. The band is most famous for its number-one hits “Love Rollercoaster” and “Fire.”
Bonner is reported to have passed away “quietly” in his hometown of Trotwood, Ohio, a suburb of Dayton. Bonner was a current member of Sugarfoot’s Ohio Players, a spinoff band billed on its Facebook page as “a 9 piece band with 3 horns, lead and background vocals, keys, bass, drums, guitar, and a whole mess of funk.” The Facebook page is also where Bonner’s family announced the news of the death. From the announcement:
Yesterday, Leroy “Sugarfoot” Bonner passed away quietly in his hometown of Trotwood-Dayton, OH. While his family, friends, colleagues, and fans mourn his passing they celebrate fondly his memory, music, and legacy.
Sugarfoot, or Foot, or Sugar, was the founding and cornerstone artistic talent of OHIO PLAYERS and the face and sound of the OHIO PLAYERS brand, which he knit together and launched in 1964 with former members of The Ohio Untouchables. With a career spanning 56 years, he passed barely short of his 70th birthday.
Humble yet charismatic, soft spoken and of few words, the weight of his thoughts, lyrics, and music has influenced countless other artists, songs, and trends. He will be missed but not forgotten as his legacy and music lives on. More details and an official historical perspective of his career will soon be forthcoming.
For those who don’t recognize the songs “Love Rollercoaster” and “Fire” by their titles, the performances below will instantly jog the memory of anyone over 15. The two songs have pervaded pop culture for decades, and a cover of “Love Rollercoaster” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers was featured prominently in the soundtrack to the movie Beavis and Butt-head Do America.