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R.I.P. Nathaniel Mayer, 1944-2008

November 3, 2008 |  2:32 pm

Nathaniel_mayer Aside from his sole top 40 hit, “Village of Love,” in 1962, Detroit R&B legend Nathaniel Mayer operated outside the spotlight of music history. Nevertheless, his vibrant, foot-stomping 1960s recordings on Motor City’s Fortune Records -- including “Leave Me Alone,” “I Had a Dream” and “I Want Love and Affection (Not the House of Correction)” -- have become beloved cornerstones for rock and roll historians and roots music enthusiasts.

On Saturday, Mayer passed away after a lengthy hospitalization for multiple strokes. 

His final years were buoyed by a career resurgence that kicked off in 2002. His energetic live shows at festivals and clubs drew new fans to his records, which included a live seven-inch from Norton Records, an album from Mississippi label Fat Possum entitled “I Just Want to Be Held,” and his swan song for Alive Records, “Why Don’t You Give to Me?”  Released in August 2007, the album featured the added talents of Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach, Outrageous Cherry’s Matthey Smith, the Dirtbombs' Troy Gregory and the Sights’ Dave Shettler.

Mayer will be missed, but his legacy lives on through his music.

-- Jason Gelt