Celebrating The Legacy of Cuba Gooding Sr.
Cuba Gooding Sr. was born April 27th, 1944, in Harlem, New York City. His parents were Dudley MacDonald Gooding and Addis Alston. The elder Gooding was a native of Barbados. He fled the islands in 1936 to Cuba, where he met and married a woman. She was murdered because of her affiliation with Pan Africanist leader Marcus Garvey. Dudley Gooding promised his wife that he would name his first son Cuba. Cuba Gooding Sr.’s father died when he was 11 years old. Gooding’s father was a taxi driver in Manhattan.
Cuba Gooding Sr. started his singing career in 1964 and in 1966 he married his wife Shirley Sullivan, a singer. They had four children, actors Cuba Gooding Jr., Omar Gooding, April Gooding, and musician Tommy Gooding. Gooding moved from the Bronx to Southern California in the 1970’s. Gooding Sr, separated and divorced his wife in 1974. In 1995, after 21 years the couple remarried. They were together until he passed.
Gooding Sr. was also the leader of a soul group named, The Main Ingredient. He joined the group as a backup vocalist, however; when the leader Donald MacPherson died in 1971, he stepped up and filled the lead position. Bitter Sweet was the first album released by The Main Ingredient with Gooding Sr. as the lead singer. The groups most recognized hits were “Everybody Plays The Fool”, which peaked at #2 on the R&B charts and #3 on the Pop charts.
In 1973, the album entitled, Afrodisiac was released featuring several songs co-written by Stevie Wonder.
After much success, Gooding left The Main Ingredient in 1977.
From there he transitioned to a solo career on Motown Records during the late 70’s and the early 80’s, releasing 2 albums. The first was entitled The First Cuba Gooding Album. His biggest international success was Brian Augers “Happiness Is Just Around The Bend” in 1983. In 1980 Gooding returned to The Main Ingredient and made 2 more albums.
In 2009, Gooding Sr. released the single, “Never Give Up”, which he performed at the inauguration.
Gooding was also developing a film project entitled Everybody Plays The Fool: The Cuba Gooding Story. The film highlights 3 generations of the Gooding Family men, Dudley “Cuba” Gooding, Cuba Gooding Sr., Cuba Gooding Jr., and Omar Gooding.
Gooding was featuring in two films himself, Roscoe’s House of Chicken N Waffles and The 70’s Soul Jam: Volkswagen 2.