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03/09/2011

Bernard St. Clair Lee, who sang 'Rock the Boat' with Hues Corporation, dies at 66

March 9, 2011 |  5:06 pm

 

Bernard St. Clair Lee, 66, a baritone singer and original member of the Hues Corporation, which had an early disco hit in 1974 with "Rock the Boat," died Tuesday at his home in Lake Elsinore, said Ava Dupree, a family spokeswoman. The Riverside County coroner’s office confirmed that the death was from natural causes.

The Hues Corporation, a soul trio whose name was a pun on Los Angeles aviation giant Hughes Corp., was formed in 1969 by Lee, soprano Hubert Ann Kelly and tenor Fleming Williams.

"Rock the Boat," written by band manager Waldo Holmes and performed in the YouTube clip above, shot to No. 1 on the Billboard pop charts in 1974. The group followed with another top 20 hit that year in "Rockin’ Soul."

 

Kelly later left the group to become a minister, and Williams died. Lee had recently been performing with Elaine Woodard and Bruce Glover as a reformed Hues Corporation.

Lee was born in San Francisco in 1944 and attended Santa Monica College.

According to Dupree, he is survived by his wife, Arlene; his mother, Jackie Austin; a son, Mark; two stepsons, Andre Goosby and Jody Benney; and a sister, Michelle.

A memorial service will be held March 19 at 11 a.m. at Palisades Lutheran Church, 15905 Sunset Blvd., Pacific Palisades. Kelly will give the eulogy.

 

 

-- Claire Noland

 

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