Born in 1938 in Nashville to blind musician parents, Robert Von Hebb spent his childhood singing and tap dancing on street corners.
At 14, Bobby joined Roy Acuff’s Smokey Mountain Boys as a multi-instrumentalist, becoming the first black performer to appear at Nashville’s world-famous Grand Ole Opry.
When he wasn’t with Acuff, he was making R&B records for the Excello label, with tracks such as Love Love Love and You Want To Change Me eventually earning him a permanent star in the Northern Soul firmament.
His brother, Hal, (a member of The Marigolds) was killed in a mugging, which provided the inspiration for Bobby’s debut hit, Sunny, in 1966.
The song reached #2 in the US and #12 in the UK and landed him a support slot on The Beatles‘ final US tour in 1966.
Although Bobby returned to the UK charts seven years later, his crowning glory remained the sad and poignant tribute to his murdered brother.
After a long fight with cancer, Bobby Hebb died in 2010 at the age of 72.