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The Story Behind Harry Hippie

The song "Harry Hippie" had special meaning to Bobby Womack because it was an ode to his brother Harry, who was found stabbed to death two years later.

As a follow-up to Bobby's first number One R&B hit, "Woman's Gotta Have It", United Artsits released Womack's cover of Neil Diamond's 1969 hit, "Sweet Caroline (Good Times Never Seemed So Good)" with moderate success. However, the black deejays played the flip side, "Harry Hippie", and it became the hit, reaching number eight on the R&B charts in 1973 and giving Womack his first certified gold single.

Bobby explains, "Harry was the bass player and tenor for the brothers when we were the Valentinos. He lived a very carefree life. As a child he always said he wanted to live on an Indian reservation. We used to joke about it, but when we got older he was the same way. He always thought I wanted the materialistic things and I said, 'I just want to do my music. My music put me into that comfortable territory.' He didn't want the pressure. We used to laugh and joke about the song when I'd sing it. When he was brutally killed in my home, it was by a jealous girlfriend who he'd lived with for five years. She fought a lot, violence. And in our home it was considered to be worth less than a man to fight a woman, so he didn't fight back and she stabbed him to death. At the time I was in Seattle doing a gig and he was going to join me when we got back. Previously I had hired a new bass player because I felt it would help Harry's relationship with his spouse if he wasn't on the road. And that turned out to be very sour. He ended up losing his life behind it. At that time, "Harry Hippie" wasn't a joke anymore; I had lost a brother. I still do that song in his honor today."