ST. LOUIS — Singer David Peaston, who had a string of R&B hits in the late 1980s and early 1990s, has died, his family said Thursday.
Peaston, 54, died Wednesday (Feb. 1) of complications from diabetes, his niece, Neuka Mitchell said.
Peaston was born into a St. Louis family with deep musical roots. His mother, gospel singer Martha Bass, was one of the Clara Ward Singers. His older sister, Fontella Bass, is a noted singer whose single "Rescue Me" reached No. 1 on R&B charts and No. 4 on pop single charts in 1965.
Peaston's highest charting song was "Two Wrongs (Don't Make It Right)," which reached No. 3 on the Billboard R&B chart in 1989. "Can I?" got to No. 14 R&B that year, and "We're All in This Together" reached No. 11 R&B and No. 45 on the dance charts in 1990. His first album, "Introducing ... David Peaston," reached No. 7 on the Billboard R&B album chart in 1989. At the height of his career, he toured with Gladys Knight.
Peaston earned a degree in elementary education and taught in his hometown of St. Louis before moving to New York to pursue a career as a singer. He began doing session gospel and R&B work. His career got a big boost after winning several competitions on the "Showtime at the Apollo" television show in the late 1980s, winning over fans and the judges with his powerful rendition of "God Bless The Child."
Singer Cheryl Pepsii Riley recalled traveling with Peaston on several shows.
"I soooooooooo loved this man with the hearty laugh, great sense of humor, that incredible voice, and he was the most amazing friend!!!" she said in a statement to the website eurweb.com. "This hurts so much. He had a gift that commanded the room. David will be sorely missed."
Despite a rich tenor voice that awed fans, crossover success eluded Peaston.
"He's the greatest unsung artist ever," Mitchell said. "Fabulous. A great father, husband, uncle. A great man."
Peaston's Facebook page described him as a "joyful independent double amputee." Both of Preston's legs were amputated below the knees due to diabetes.
Survivors include his wife of 24 years, his high school sweetheart Marilyn, and two sons. Funeral arrangements were incomplete.