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Issue Date: June 2007 Issue


Life According to Eddie Levert


Lynne Thompson
editorial@clevelandmagazine.com
The O’Jays still do a very high-energy show. Doing that has been very helpful
to me as far as my health is concerned. It keeps the heart rate pumping, keeps the blood pressure down, keeps the cholesterol and all of that stuff in check.

Because you are living in close quarters [on the road], you learn a lot about people. You learn there’s some things that they’re going to do no matter what, and you can’t change them. And you find out what a real friend is — someone who knows that you can be a real jerk, but is able to understand it and still keep loving you.

Staying up for three or four days in a row and not getting any sleep, just partying until I dropped — that was terrible. You talk about aging! Not getting enough rest will age you faster than anything else in the whole world.

I appreciated the time that I was able to be off work and at home with [my kids]. That was more precious than anything else that I could ever contribute.

I had five cars and no one to drive them but me and my wife. They would sit there, and the seals and the tires would go bad because nobody was driving them. That let me know that having things was not [important]. The most important thing is to have the happiness of the people that you love, to have their company and their camaraderie.

When I met Raquel, [my second wife], I had no intention of getting married. Never in my whole life had I ever played it straight with any one woman — even with Gerald’s mom, and I was married to her for 19 years. Then all of a sudden I said, “I’m going to finally be all I can be in a relationship. I’m going to try to play it as straight as I possibly can.” And I’m a much better person because of it. You might say I’m henpecked.

Gerald was a workaholic. He was constantly thinking about his next record, his next show, how well he was going to do, how well people accepted him, his presence and his presentation. It was all I could do to keep him from worrying about those things. In the end, the music took a toll on him.

When I first came out to Las Vegas, I was like, “Let me go up on the Strip! Let me go up on the Strip!” Then you discover: Well, if I keep going up on the Strip, I won’t be able to stay out here in the suburbs. Now, it’s almost like it doesn’t exist. It stops having any bearing on your life once you realize that if you keep going up there, you’ll be broke.

Nelson Mandela is a very funny man. When [Gerald and I] went to meet him, he was telling his secretary, “You’re just running around too much. Come and sit on my lap.” She said, “No, no, no, no.” We said, “Oh, you’re a woman’s man.” And he said, “No, not anymore.”

After you bling yourself out,
you look at it and say, “But what was it worth? Who did I benefit?”
I’ve gotten a little bit more urgency in what I have to do as far as solidifying the well-being of my family once I’m not around ... I’m not saying, “Well, I’ll do that tomorrow.”

The Word says that I will see Gerald again, that I will be able to smack him upside of the head and say, “Why did you do this to me.” That’s what’s getting me through.

Eddie and Gerald Levert’s “I Got Your Back: A Father and Son Keep it Real About Love, Fatherhood, Family and Friendship” (Harlem Moon, $18.95) will be released June 5.

Comments:
Wednesday, March 24, 2010 5:18:03 PM by michael williams
Eddie levert is one of the most admired talented R&B artist that I have had the pleasure of listening to & seeing in the 60's & 70's. The mighty OJS was right up there with the likes of James brown AL green Aretha. My heart goes out for Eddie though it is bad and traumatic enough to lose any one child(even adult children) but to lose two in the short spans of a couple of years is probably devastating to say the least. Hang in there Eddie because you are still the man
Sunday, October 31, 2010 2:49:02 PM by Rand
Thanks so much for the many of years of your service in the entertainment field. I was young and newly married, years ago (smile) when I first went to see the Ojays. Now Many of years later now a grandma, I was so honor to take my only grandson 7 and my younger son 15 to their first ever concert. The Nokia theather in L.A. , 10/2010. They stood dance and sang ever words of your songs. What a joy! Now words can convey. I shall pray for you and your family. Keeping God First does makes a differents.
Saturday, August 20, 2011 12:35:08 PM by Betty
I am a big fan . I have all your music . I play gearld son over and over . My son say mom Im too young to know this man music .Please play something esle . My car my music. Eddie some day you will see your son's again . Your smile make me smile when I am having a bad day . My friend think I am crazy .Keep smiling and know. God needed Gearld and Sean . Your stll needed here to brighten my day.
Monday, February 13, 2012 1:33:28 PM by quanterra
i am a big fan love him and will always keep in my prayers
Monday, February 20, 2012 5:51:28 PM by Anonymous
I have been a fan for over forty two years. I have learned so much about life from the Ojays music.I greatly admire the friendship and unity that Eddie and Walter have. God will forever bless them because they have suppress their egos for the betterment of the group.
Monday, July 30, 2012 12:33:59 PM by PJ
I am a very huge fan, I just saw the OJS here in Cincinnati on Saturday had the best time we party, I love them, they can sing to me all night long.
Tuesday, June 11, 2013 6:08:46 PM by adzua1
Eddie you are truly the voice of the O Jays, not taking anything away from the others. Of course all of you can sing your hearts out. Keep up the good work until GOD says it time to give it up. Until then I will listen to the O Jays forever, even see your shows when you are in town. Love You Guys.

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