5 things you didn't know about Walter “Bunny” Sigler

In the last two years, we've lost some great legends.from us. From David Bowie, George Michael, A Tribe Called Quest’s Phife Dawg, to Prince, and most recently the rockers Chris Cornell, Chester Bennington and Tom Petty, it's been really tough.

On Friday, Oct. 6, we lost another music icon, Walter “Bunny” Sigler, who died from a heart attack at the age of 76.

Singler’s career spanned more than five decades, and he got his start singing in churches and immersing himself in the local Philadelphia doo-wop scene. Along with the famed production duo Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, Sigler also helped create the Philly Sound, otherwise known as Philadelphia Soul; a sound that couples funk with lush strings arrangements.

Sigler also released nearly 20 albums of his own, some solo and others compilations and produced for artists like Patti LaBelle, Lou Rawls, Stephanie Mills and The Whispers just to name a few. He’s developed a devoted fanbase around the globe as well, and there's no doubt that music lost one its major pioneers earlier this month. 

So as we remember Walter “Bunny” Sigler, here are five things that you may not know about him:

1. As a youngster, Bunny used to court girls by singing to them.  

Bunny attended South Philly’s Bok Vocational High School in the ‘50s and would go to the homes of the girls that he found attractive. He would then stand on the sidewalk singing to them through to their windows, and according to him, the method usually worked well.  

“I could always get women to fall out,” he said in an interview published by Philadelphia Weekly. “It’s my high voice. Plus, I’m very emotional when I sing. I spent years singing Jerry Butler’s ‘Four Your Precious Love’ ... I hit notes with that song that make women crazy.”

2. Bunny has been sampled by a bevy of hip-hop artists

When Bunny died, The Roots’ drummer Questlove mentioned some of the people who’ve sampled his music, like JAY-Z for the song “The Ruler’s Back,” off his album The Blueprint.

But there are many others who've borrowed Bunny’s creations, including GOOD Music rapper Pusha T, who sampled his 1974 cut “Shake Your Booty” for his song “Numbers on the Boards.” Wu-Tang Clan's Method Man, Raekwon and Ghostface Killah were featured on a song called “Smooth Sailing” as well, that sampled Bunny’s 1979 cut “Half a Man,”  also used by Minnesota rapper Brother Ali for his song “Room With a View.”  

3. Bunny never cursed

After his passing, Bunny’s attorney and longtime friend Lloyd Remick spoke with Philly.com and said he was a terrific person to be around and never heard him utter a single curse word in the four decades of knowing him. Remick also said the singer was supposed to release a jazz album at the start of 2018.

“Bunny was an amazing musician but an even better person,” said Remick. “In 40 years I never heard him curse … We were the closest of close for 40 years. We spoke every day. Yesterday we spoke three or four times, and we were on a conference call about a new jazz album due in January.”

4. One of Bunny’s  favorite artists to work with was Patti LaBelle

During an interview on The Loudini Rock-N- Roll Circus, Bunny said LaBelle could sing anything he wrote, which wasn’t the case with every artist he produced for. Bunny also said that he and the R&B singer had a special trust with one another and sometimes she would ask him to sing background on her songs instead of her own backup singers.

Bunny stated that he loved LaBelle’s personality as well, which is another reason he loved to work with her. “She is a real happy person and a wonderful person,” he said.

5. Bunny didn’t have any other hobbies besides making music.

In a 2012 interview, the legendary crooner said that he once hurt his ankle while performing and had to see a physical therapist. In an effort to get Bunny to take some time off, the therapist asked him what other hobbies he had besides singing to which Bunny replied he had none.

Bunny told him that he spends all of his time on songwriting and making music, whether he’s working or not and besides swimming and traveling for shows, that’s all he’s ever been interested in. The singer also seemed to work up until very recently, releasing his album Bundino just two years ago.