Walter 'Bunny' Sigler, soul music legend and co-creator of Philly sound, dies at 76

The music world continues to lose its legends.

After people were still reeling from the passing of Tom Petty last week, Philadelphia singer-songwriter Walter “Bunny” Sigler died on Friday (Oct. 6) from a heart attack. He was 76 years old.

Besides releasing 13 studio albums and producing songs for everyone from Curtis Mayfield to The Roots, Sigler also helped to create the Philly Sound, also known as Philadelphia Soul, with the production team Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff.

The Philly sound, which created a string of hits in the '70s, combined funk with big, sweeping orchestral arrangements. Some of the more popular songs of that decade with that sound include Billy Paul’s “Me and Mrs. Jones,” McFadden & Whitehead’s “Ain’t No Stoppin Us Now” and Lou Rawls’ “You’ll Never Find Another Like Mine.”

Sigler's big break came when Huff introduced him to producers John Medora and Dave White at Cameo-Parkway Records. The singer would eventually release the song “Let The Good Times Roll," a remake from the group Shirley & Lee, and it reached No. 12 on the U.S. R&B Billboard charts.

After news of Sigler's passing surfaced, Gamble released a statement and talked about how important he was to the Philly sound and all of the hits he helped create.

“I am truly and deeply saddened by the passing of my very dear friend Walter ‘Bunny’ Sigler,” Game said. “He was one of the most talented, creative and great songwriters and music producers I have worked with. He contributed to so many great songs to our [Philadelphia International Records] artist roster from the beginning. Bunny also was a great singer and performed superbly on many of our hit songs as a background vocalist. More importantly, he was like family to us and he was the best.”

The Roots’ drummer Questlove also shared his thoughts on Sigler’s passing and listed some of the artists who’ve sampled his music.

“Brother Bunny … A pillar of the #SoundOfPhiladelphia community,” Quest wrote on Instagram. “He wrote classics that stood the test of time. [Justin] Timberlake’s “Don’t Hold the Wall," Tyler, [The Creator's] “Buffalo” were sampled from Bunny's compositions. That dramatic intro Hov (JAY-Z) used on “The Ruler’s Back" for Blueprint , Jackie Moore’s “If,” also written by Bunny.”