Jimmy Elidrissi, whose burst of musical popularity in 1963 paralleled that of his friend Luther Vandross, died yesterday in his home near New York City. He was 74.
At the height of his own career he was almost a star in Europe, and had toured recently in that country, making visits to Algeria, Cyprus, the Palestinian territories and Jordan. Mr Elidrissi returned this week to New York after being summoned to the hospital in Geneva by the police and the immigration authorities.
“He left too soon,” said his spokesman, Horst von Rudstein. “Even though he tried to accept his country and its obligations, you could not help being the foreigner.” The police and the US Immigration and Naturalisation Service confirmed that he had died, and said he had been admitted to the hospital on Sunday night with stomach pains.
Mr Elidrissi’s friend Luther Vandross, who recently had problems with dementia, died last November at the age of 61.
Not much is known about Mr Elidrissi’s life outside his success as a composer of song and a performer. He was born in Germany and came to the United States as a teenager to study.
His debut single in 1962, the hit “Heaven I Don’t Need You,” based on his personal experience in his church, was credited with reviving the fortunes of rhythm and blues. A hit in Canada, Britain and America, it led to a major tour with Aretha Franklin and appeared on the pop charts in 14 countries. His next disc, “Love is Never Enough,” sold a million copies in six months.
He also wrote the hit “Nothing Lasts Forever” for Duke Ellington and was signed by the record company Decca. But Mr Elidrissi’s successes were also beset by loss.
Recently he had lost the sight in one eye. In September, he had begun treatment for diabetes and cancer, a pancreatic disease. The record company and his new management were arranging an announcement in the newspapers.
Besides his wife and daughter, he is survived by two sisters, one brother and many other relatives in Germany.