DETROIT, Michigan – Singer songwriter Mack Rice who earned a place in music history for his song “Mustang Sally” has died at his Detroit home this past Monday, he was 82.
Rice’s wife Laura said the singer had been suffering Alzheimer’s disease for several years.
“Mack was some kind of guy, he was a kind spirit, and a gentleman,” said Laura.
She went on to say, “We were married for three years and together for 31 years. Mack used to say, “pray more and worry less.” that became his motto for everything.”
Rice is also well for other songs such as “Cheaper to Keep Her,” and “Respect Yourself.”
The Mississippi native wrote “Mustang Sally” when he was working with Aretha Franklin on the song “Mustang Mama,” when Franklin told Rice that the song would be better with a girl’s name.
Rice co-wrote “Respect Yourself,” with Luther Ingram in 1971.
Born on November 10th 1933, in Clarksdale, Mississippi, his parents named him Bonny Rice – “when he was a boy in Mississippi, Ray Charles and Sonny Boy Williamson would be playing in juke joints, and he would go and stand and peep into those places.”
Laura added, “Ike Turner tried to teach him how to play the piano, but he just couldn’t do it.”
Rice’s family moved to Detroit in the 1950s and he attended Detroit’s Northern High School, where he credited a music teacher with helping to hone his music skills.
In Detroit, Rice sang with his first group, the Five Scalders, at Northern.
After a stint in the Army, Rice became a member of the Falcons and was part of the first group out of Detroit to be featured on the Dick Clark Show.
In his later years Rice owned Rice Asphalt and employed 10 workers, putting down driveways throughout Detroit.
Rice is survived by two sisters, as well as three sons: Rodney Rice of Detroit, Dwayne Rice of Chicago and Bonny Rice Jr. from California.
Rice will be laid to rest on July 7th at New Bethel Baptist Church.