New Bedford music icon Ralph Tavares has passed away. The oldest brother in the Grammy-winning Tavares act was 79 and would have turned 80 on Friday.
The cause of death has not yet been determined.
In fact, Ralph Tavares was the fifth of 10 Tavares siblings, born December 10, 1941. He rose to prominence in the 1970s with brothers Pooch, Chubby, Butch and Tiny – Ralph was the only member of the group. without nickname – become one of the best R&B groups in the world.
Their version of “More Than a Woman” appeared on the Saturday night fever soundtrack, one of the best-selling albums of all time and Grammy winner for Album of the Year in 1979.
The Tavares family grew up in the Fox Point neighborhood of Providence and began performing there in 1959 as Chubby and the Turnpikes, before moving to New Bedford for good in 1962. At that time, Ralph joined the military while his brothers continued to try to be a part of the local music scene. He returned home in 1965 and joined his brothers at Chubby and the Turnpikes, later renamed Tavares in the early 1970s.
In addition to their version of “More Than a Woman”, Tavares also had many other hits including “Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel”, “It Only Takes a Minute”, “She’s Gone”, “Don’t Take Away the Music “and” Whodunit “. Their songs have often topped the R&B and dance charts.
Ralph Tavares left the group in 1984 for family reasons, but joined in 2014 after Pooch suffered a massive stroke. Pooch recovered, but chose to retire, and Ralph stayed with the group as they continued to perform, including in a 2017 Grammy tribute to the Bee Gees.
Ralph Tavares was a resident of Dartmouth who, during his absence from the music world, spent over 30 years working as a bailiff in New Bedford and Fall River.
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