Member of Cameo (b. March 14, 1955 - d. Sept 22, 1984)
Wayne Cooper (March 14, 1955-1984)
Wayne Cooper was the lead vocalist for the '70s/'80s R&B Funk band Cameo, which were best known for the songs, I Just Want to Be amongst others. He began on the "We All Know Who We Are" album until the "Cameosis" album.
Not much is available on Wayne and his life except that he was born in the northern New York City suburb of Poughkeepsie, New York and was a member of Cameo from approximately 1977-1980. He passed away from A.I.D.S. presumably though some say Leukemia in 1984. It's not clear whether his departure from the group was caused by his illness.
Please post below if you can provide more information on Wayne such as date of birth, career notes or to leave your memories of his musical legacy.
Photo of Cameo below submitted by Cameosis
Left to right Gregory Johnson, Wayne Cooper, Anthony Lockett Eric Durham, Tomi Jenkins And Gary Dow.
Listen to I Just Want to Be:
Listen to Give Your Love a Chance:
Listen to It's Over:
Listen to Wayne Cooper on backing vocals on this M-Zee track:
I have always loved Wayne Cooper. Yes, Cameo is a phenomenal band from the conception of Mr. Larry Blackmon with the most awesome music; funk jams, dance jams, ballads, instrumentals, beautiful singing( yes they could sing) and choreography. They were exciting to watch). But what made Cameo stand out from the rest? The difference was Wayne Cooper. He sang like no other. It is his voice that fills me with sweet memories. Simply put, the man could sing! Let us please respect Mr. Cooper and his memory. Derogatory statements are irrelevant. Don't hate!. Yes, we ladies couldn't get enough of that voice. R.I.P. Mr. Wayne Cooper.
I grew up with the entire Cooper family
Wayne was my babysitter, I can still hear him singing to me while combing my hair. He GREAT then. There is no comparison, Wayne was the best and in my opinion Cameo was never the same after he left. I was blessed to have Wayne live with me for a short time before he passed, it was time I will cherish forever. I Love and miss you, as I drop my tears let me close by saying May you rest in eternal peace.
This man is loved! All of these beautiful comments have really touched my heart about this unsung hero. His voice is so many things combined. I so love the comment that his voice was like a quivering leaf on a cold winter day. That hit the nail on the head. I always enjoy watching the We're Goin Out Tonight Video. His voice gives me a natural high. I pray that his sister can get his songs published. And I bet not just us old schoolers would impressed, but it would start a trend for the new breeds to learn to sing about love. Now that would be something!
Wayne Cooper was and still is; among the best!!! Cameo had its time; but, they will always be what true music is about; Soul and raw Talent!!! Very, very few singers today would have made it successfully back in the day when put up against the likes of Cameo, Marvin Gaye, The Spinners, Harold Melvin, Metume, and so forth. So, if you want to honor these wonderful people and their memories; play their music loud and play it proud!!! Btw, who cares what their sexual background was. Hell, tell me who hasnt messed around...
I totally agree with you about the song, "We're Going Out Tonight". When he gets to, "I'm in paradise", oh my word, can the brother get any higher?.....lol
ACTUALLY, you should go listen to "Were Going Out Tonight" by cameo ... listen to Wayne's range ... I also forgot Barry Gibb.
Best falsetto It is clearly Phillip Bailey by far. Wayne Cooper also was one of the best w/ his range. I witness a sound check he did before a Cameo show he just floored me and a friend I was with,. he was warming up with this operatic collection no music just him in front of the stage, simply amazing. He left a lasting impres. on alot of us. Out side of Wayne C. P. Bailey's falsetto is not only high ranging but also the strongest. listen to him singing (Imagination) (I write a song) (Sparkle) PLEASE listen with head phones only, then rate the fallsetto singers in history. You will rethink your list Tony Neal. my regards Cliff D.
I could care less if Wayne was gay, straight, alien, etc. His voice was out of this world. I saw Cameo in concert many times when he was with them. Didn't care too much for Cameo when he was gone. :( I loved him...period!!!!
Wayne died on Sept 22, 1984 at St Francis hospital in Poughkeepsie, NY. He had about a 4 octive range but his job in Cameo was to sing in the high falsetto range. I appreciate all of the kind comments about my brother but I do take exception to the ones about his sexual orientation, which is frankly none of anyone's business. It touches my heart that he is fondly remembered by so many 29 years after his death. Again, thanks for all of the kind comments.
Wayne Cooper ... THE BEST FALSETTO EVER followed by Ted Mills (of Blue Magic) & William L. "Billy" Griffin (Of the Miracles), Philip Bailey (EWF), Russell Tompkins Jr (Stylistics) & Bobby DeBarge (Switch) <-- in that order .. they did it with EASE, naturally
Yes Wayne did grow up in Poughkeepsie and WHY does it matter if he was gay or not??? He was a beautiful person as well as a phenomenal vocalist. I knew him and loved him as my friend. We actually would sing together in the 'hood and he once told me I could sing AND that was a huge compliment!
I knew Wayne personally. He was one of my best friends. We sang together for a few years @ People's Institutional AME Church on the choir. I remember him telling me how excited he was to be joining the group Cameo. I really missed him and I think about him from time to time. There is no other voice out there @ the present time that can reach or come close to his range.
Lina, thank you kindly for Wayne's date of birth. This page has been updated.
he was born Mar 14, 1955, he was 29
Does anyone out there know how wide Wayne Cooper's octave range was?
I have to chime in on this. The bottom line is Wayne Cooper was and STILL IS the natural BENCHMARK of vocal performers that ABSOLUTELY CANNOT AT THIS POINT BE TOUCHED. I love and enjoy those that have soulfully came with thier own stylings BUT, I myself sing and I know when there is something in someone that just "Oblitrates" everything that vocalists have ever tracked and based thier goalsetting standards by. WAYNE COOPER was and still is, in the opinion of common sense of vocal gifts, ALL THAT ! I too am very ol skool but, Phillip, Ted, Bobby, Russell, Will Hart, and all of the other gifted singers we had the honor to enjoy......This Kid Wayne was very huge and special. I personally would have loved to have heard the stuff that he had locked inside of him....ya' know, the stuff we didn't hear........but, OHHHHHHHHHHHH what he gave us while he was here will NEVER be outdone!! R.I.P. Wayne.
Why haven't they said more about wayne cooper they don't even say much about his life i can't find anything about him not even a good photo of him i really love the song why have i lost you one of the best songs ever i love it. but i really would like to read more about him i mean its stories of all these other people that died of aids over the years it only says that wayne cooper died in the 80's damn what year i mean we constantly hear about easy e the model gia, hughe hessnor and freddy mercury we always see blogs and things about him if anyone get more on wayne cooper plz post it.
the picture in the bio is wyane cooper he was a very good fried of mine.
I Remember The First Time I Heard Cameo I Was A Youngster In The 70's And I Was Drawn To This High Falsetto That Just Caught My Attention And I Was Hooked For Life After That.It Saddens Me Of His Passing But The Music Lives On Forever.People Are So Judgemental Because Some People Are Different In Character But That's The Beauty That Life Offers Us.Wayne Is One Of The Greatest Singers In R&B History And All People Can Say Is Gay,That Doesn't Matter His Life Was His And Only His To Live That's Between Wayne And God Not Us And Wayne.Please Be Respectful When Mentioning This Great Singer's Name Because He Is Worthy And Job Well Done Wayne.May God Love You Always.
prince is not gay he is a very religious man and anyone that is close to him will tell u the same thats one reason he never perform with mj
Yeah, the topic-picture is taken somewhere in the late 70's when Charlie Singleton wasn't even part of Cameo ! Charlie joined Cameo around 1981 after his single-release with Stargasm ("I Want To Boogie with You") in the same year. During the mid-late 70's Charlie had contributed on Billy Cobham's album "Simplicity of Expression, Depth of Thought" and was also touring with jazz-saxophonist Cannonball Adderly.
I have been listening to my old Cameo, Switch and Heatwave albums for the last few months now trying to determine who was the best vocalist between: Wayne Cooper, Bobby Debarge and Johnnie Wilder Jr.. However, I must admit that all three of these guys were absolutely amazing in terms of their range, control and ability to light up a ballad. Each one of them brought a uniqueness to the table, which so far has left me with a 3 way tie. It is unfortunate that all three of these under-appreciated greats are no longer with us today. And as much as I like Philip Bailey, I have to give him a forth place honorable mention.
w.Avery Hancock, You said it the best. I agree with everything you wrote about Cooper.....CASE CLOSED!
Yes, They could all hit the high notes, But no one could hit the highs and hold the note and end it like Wayne Cooper.... Just listen to: Find my way-Were going out tonight- We all know who are- Two of us- Why have i lost you- Give love a chance- Its over- and the rest of the songs he was in.... Some times when it seems he has ended a note he is still going in the back ground....Thats what separates him from the rest.
Oh yeah, The Continental 4 was the bomb. DC sure loved those songs mentioned.
I read every comment on this page. And a lot of you had some pretty good ones. Yes, Wayne Cooper was the bomb. You guys got me sitting up her listening and comparing Wayne to Phillip Bailey, Bobby Debarge, Prince and Ted "Wizard" Mills of the Blue Magic and so on. I want to add another one to the list here. Now, I'm strictly old school here so bear with me. What about the brother from the group The Continental 4, Freddy Kelly? Talking about a falesetto. They did songs like, "I Don't Have You" and "Day By Day". Check it out, my friends.
Wayne cooper could out sing any of the other artists that were mentioned, I have heard Baily live and i have heard cooper live, Baily could not touch Cooper. I am not sure where all this gay talk came from because i partied with Cameo and Confunkshun in Oakland when CAMEOSIS first came out and i met Cameo & Cooper, he was all over the Ladies.I also read the artical in right on that said he died of Leukemia. Wayne Cooper and Anthony Lockett singing together put CAMEOSIS in my heart forever,owwwwww Funk Funk!
No Doubt Wayne Cooper was the best. I too have lost my voice singing we all know who we are, why have I lost you, it's over, etc. I still love his sound, way ahead of his time. I also liked Bobby Debarge. I love the comments about Wayne, I wished he got more credit. I remember an arguement me and a friend had over Heatwave's always and foreever and why have I lost you. I picked why have I lost you as the best falsetto. I am happy so many still remember him.
one of the best singer i ever heard should have song a song by himself never got no credit but we remember you Mr cooper
Wayne Cooper had one of the best voices around I witnessed him in concert Prince, Philip Bailey, Bobby Debarge, etc. and he is definitely in the same class anyone who disagrees should have a hearing test.
I gotta wit my man Haze80, when he said "and who let you back here?" For a few years, I would just listen to the intro to hear bro. Cooper say that part because he just hit my soul. Also if you want some good Wayne backing vocals listen to I Care For You off of Cameosis. I mean damn that kat was serious, listen especially to the vocals at around 1:42, that dude just killed it. Also listen to Friend To Me from Ugly Ego. I will also join in and say, so what about his orientation if it is even true, his voice was a gift that no only touched ya'll kats that were in your 20's in the 70's, but it touches kats like me, in our 20's in the 2000's. Love the music...
Wayne Cooper was off the chain. I was listening to "Insane" last night. Yes, I put him up there with Philip Bailey no doubt. If you all have "We All Know Who We Are" , he's tearing that one up as well. RIP Wayne. U R MISSED.
I am listening to Cameo right now and this dude known forever as Wayne Cooper, is destroying my auditory cortex. I mean dammit, he is to be mentioned with Bailey, Debarge and lets not forget Junie, he funked it up wit OP and P-Funk. For years I thought Tomi Jenkins was hittin' them high notes too. I knew that Wayne Cooper did it up, but damn, listen to Give Love A Chance... Damn, I am so sad to never be able to see him perform... R.I.P. sincerely DJ SC (reppin' '81)
I still listen to Cameo these days. Along with Switch and Blue Magic. My all-time favorite is Harry Ray from the Moments. I hate to have to choose between these great falsetto brothers to which only Ted"the wiz" Mills is still with us. God Bless Wayne Cooper his voice was so absolutely awsome!!!
Hey to all who read this and who have contributed it doesnt matter if Wayne Cooper was gay or straight what matter's is he made a whole lot of peoples lives better with that beautiful voice he had. Gosh to think of those high pitched squeals and squails still bring tears and goose bumps to me after all these years.
He definitely had one of the greatest Falsetto's ever recorded, that's what count's. I know my cameo collection was and is part of my most prized possessions I'll always remeber the lead up to We always know who we are. and Wayne said in the back groud "and who let you back here"?
That may have been indicative of his habits and orientation, but that never has stopped me from loving his contribution's to what I consider the best era of music in our history! The Love song's were saying something and not just straight to the point sex! I'll end this with that.....
Wayne Cooper was definitely underrated. I agree, he had a much stronger voice than Phillip Bailey. There were a few with "that voice". The one closest to Wayne, in my opinion, is the lead singer from Enchantment. Today, Jesse Powell is the only singer that has the same falsetto range as Wayne. Stokley of Mint Condition is the falsetto king, but Jesse sounds exactly like Wayne.
Cameo,up until the late eighties when they faded had made the transition from pure funk to smooth R&B which mainly dominated the later era.Name another group that did also? Not many.Wayne Cooper had a voice that was undenialably as good as all the great falsettos of all time.But i cant say he was missed due to their success after he left.The sound,the sophisticated lyrics,Cameo was still Cameo either with 13 members or 3.Just know that.
Cameo made the 70's for me and whole lot of folks. Thank you to All of them-Wayne Cooper was special and very talented-stop judging please--I hate to open your closet door or even revisit mine for that matter..... he was a good person, a great talent and he shared that special voice.
Yes, Wayne Cooper and Bobby Debarge are two of the greatest, and most underrated signers of all-time. Cameo was still good after Wayne left, but never quite the same.
i'm thoroughly convinced if u were to put wayne cooper, phillip bailey, prince, bobby debarge and many of the greats (from the 80's) in a star search/ american idol type of setting, all competing for the best singer in the bunch; it'll be a shock to me if the late wayne cooper didn't finish in the top three. even if he won the entire competition would'nt shock me. wayne's voice control allows him to sing a note and close the same note like no one else i've ever heard sing a song.
u can say i'm jocking the brother too much but wayne cooper was a helluva singer who didn't get the recognition he deserved.
R.I.P. mr. cooper
my brothers and i have had this conversation many times before and to be honest, i'm shocked to see/hear how many other music listeners even know who wayne cooper is. he had one of the greatest singing voices ever recorded. phillip bailey had a style that was close to untouchable but even he was no wayne cooper, the same goes for prince, terry huff (the lead singer for special delivery) with i destroy your love, bobby debarge and eddie kendricks.
he murdered high notes with very little effort, when he sang; his voice quivered like a chilled leaf hanging from a branch in the winter. wayne was so far ahead of his peers during the 80's, even he didn't realize just how far ahead of them he was. no body and i mean nobody sings like the late wayne cooper.
RIP 2 an uncrowned legend.
You can hear Wayne Cooper all over the background of "Who's Funkin' You" by the M-Zee Band.
List of Gay and Bi singers..>>> Bootsy Coolin<< Bi_sexualman.. I met ((BOOTSY)) a few times my couzin played alot with Parliment/funkadelic! Jimi Hedrix: Bi_sexual male. Jackie Wilson: gay_male, Eddie Murphy Bi male. Rapper: Jah Rule: Bi sexual male. Rick James: R.I.P Bi sexual male. Prince: Bi_sexual male. Now! Thats just to name a few! The list gos on..
Yes there is no dought in my mine that cooper was not gay he was gay like me, but we should not forget that our best singer are gay, gays created lots of music trends. 70 percant of gospel songs is written by gays! You would be suprized at the numbers of gay black singers we dont know about! To: Word on The Street..
HAKEEN, Hell no it don't matter. I love Wayne. He was one of the best singers EVER.
cameo was a funk band not disco,and yes wayne cooper should be named with the garte legends.I`ve always loved cameo I thank thay fell off after the alligator woman lp
word on the street.. We all wore tight pants in 70s! That was the style, but Ron Isley and Al Green wore tight pants, but you can tell they where strait!! That is not the case with Wayne Cooper!! But do it matter!!? If he was gay? So what! To: Terren and Word On The Street
Can you please tell me the name of the guitarist playing a metal solo on candy'video by Cameo
In the 70's everyone looked gay. LOL. It was just the era. Does anyone remember how Ron Isley use to look? Al Green? They all wore those tight body suits. That whole disco era was crazy. Men just looked like that. Unfortunately Verdine White and Nick Ashford are still there. LOL
i knew wayne real well, he changed my diapers,assembled my kites, smith street projects,power kingdom,we love our wayne.
I read in Jet Magazine in the early 80's that Wayne Cooper of Cameo died in a plane crash. I can't remember the issue or the specific year but I do remember reading about it. I can't find anything on the internet stating how he really died. I am confused.
Didn't WAYNE COOPER play Pro Football? Wasn't he a tight-end or a running back? I remember hearing and seeing his name on television , and it wasn't with CAMEO!! I think it was the 49ers! -- Does everyone remember that at the very beginning, CAMEO was a DISCO band? Then they became a full-speed-ahead R&B group. Remember THANK GOD ITS FRIDAY?? THAT WAS DISCO!! As for his voice, it was good, but putting it up there with some of the legends you guys mentioned is pushing it. You guys can't even figure out which picture is WAYNE?? Then there is reference to his sexuality? What is wrong with you guys, let him rest in peace, and enjoy what he left you behind. Forget the gossip, listen to his music!!
Terron! sometimes pictures don't give enough info about people's sexual orientation or attitude. 4 years ago a tribute concert to Cameo was held and I was there. I talked to group members about Wayne Cooper and they got that info on Right On magazine. It may be suspicious bout Cooper but the rest of the group members are very straight and some of them are married and some of them had girlfriend! Peace!
Wayne Cooper worked in studio with Charlie singleton of Cameo for Realised his solo album, but it never realised!!
Diane his sister Try to get it for realised Now!!!but many troubles with copyright.......
He died in 1984 at the age of 28. He left Cameo and was persuing a solo career, but unfortunately he contracted AIDS at a time when there was little known about it, and so he passed away. I great talent lost. Wayne always wanted to be a famous singer and I'm sure if his life had not been cut short he would have achieved his goal.
wayne cooper was gay, look at the pic above. saw them in person, quite a few memebers in the group were gay or on the DL. look at the pic hell he looks gay
We got informed that he had died of AIDS back in 81 but according to Right On magazine issued in 83 he had died of leukemia. People said he was openly gay though some sources stated that he was straight and even had a girlfriend around Cameosis era.. We missed you brother ,R.I.P.!
I had the good fortune to see Cameo when their were about a 13 piece band, and it was at the Cap Center in Landover Md with the Funkadelic. It was one of the greatest shows I ever went to. An the ticket price was just $8.00. Cmaeo was just slammin! Wayne did Why have I lost you and his voice was incredible. I would not say he was better than Phillip Baily but they were very close I would say even. Cameo went on to make some good hits but they never sounded as good as they did in the late seventies and early eighties and Wayne was a big part of that. He is missed!
Mr_Hill and Lou Dooba... y'all late.
The original photo up was Charlie Singleton... the current photo is truly Wayne Cooper, the cat that tore up that song ANNIE at that sound check back in the day. Play on New York City Players aka Cameo. We all know who we are....
The picture at the top is Wayne Cooper. Wayne had the longest hair of the group besides Nathan Leftenant. He wore it in braids and a fro. Look on the back of Secret Omen album and it shows the names next to the pictures.
Charlie Singleton didn't join the group until Knights of the Sound Table album. Wayne has this gap and overbite. They look totally different. But this is Wayne Cooper at the top of the page.
You guys are blind to say that is Charlie Singleton. Charlie Singleton wasn't even thought of when this picture was taking. If you see Charlie Singleton, then where is Aaron Mills ?... Aaron Mills joined the group before Charlie. Charlie Singleton did not perform with Gary Dow and Eric Durham. If you're a real CAMEO fan, you should know that.
wayne cooper appeared on Michael zager production M-ZEE BAND in 1981(background vocals)
If anyone is interested in viewing absolutely fantastic super ultra rare video from Cameo (with Wayne Cooper) go to youtube . "Were going out tonight" and "Shake Your Pants" taped in 1980.
Pics posted on bio are not of Wayne Cooper formerly of Cameo.
JD is right. That picture is of Charlie Singleton not Wayne Cooper. If you look at the picture below, Wayne is the person directly behind Larry with the longer hair.
Bros; Glad you all are fans, yet let me corect just a few thangs, OW! (-;
."lets talk about loneliness...".... Tommy Jenkins not Wayne did the talking part.
That photo is Charlie Singleton, baddest guitarist around, not Wayne Cooper.
I too caught Wayne at a Cameo show one of three or four yearly concert streaks in Rochester, think they were opening for Rick James this particular time. Anyway, Wayne did a sound check prior to the show and ate up "Tomorrow" from Annie. All of us that caught that were like: "DAYUM... did he sing what I think he just sang." Yeah, he was definitely underrated. RIP Mr. Cooper.
I loved Wayne Cooper. What a voice. I did not know he passed away. It reminds me of another great falsetto, Bobby Debarge of Switch. They are two of my alltime favorite singers. I have lost my voice many times trying to sing their songs. I'm glad I'm not the only one who remember them. It's a shame that such great talent never gets it just deserve. I still play the songs and will as long as im here.
Wayne first was on Background vocals on Eddie Kendricks lp around 1973-1974
Wayne sang Background vocals on 1 track Band LA Connection with All Cameo band in 1982 Larry blackmon production!!) on title "promise me"!!!
WAYNE COOPER was with Cameo Band on 2nd lp in 1977 for "we all know who we are" until Cameosis realised in 1979 & out in 1980, Stephen Moorereplace wayne just after for promotion & tour of Cameosis LP
Yes you can mention Wayne Cooper in the same breath with the likes of Phil Bailey of EWF, Eddie Holman, Smokie Robinson, Billy Brown and Harry Ray of The Moments, and the great falsetto singers of Blue Magic, Bloodstone, Con Funk Shun, Continental Four, The Delfonics, and The Stylistics. Wayne was truly underrated. Mr. Cooper you're gone but definately not forgotten!!!
I am only 27 years old, but I like old school music. I have always enjoyed Cameo's music. I bought Cameo: the ballads collection and I was surprised by what I heard. The singles of Cameo from 1977-1980 are the best because they have Anthony Lockett and Wayne Cooper. Sorry, Larry but Wayne high vocals made Cameo stand out from other groups. When the group lost Anthony and Wayne the group lost the soulful sound it had! A talent lost forever-Wayne Cooper. Can someone post more information about Wayne Cooper.
Another great talent, gone.
dude is a legend. he also got busy on "shake your pants" and "we're going out tonite". you guys are right he's up there with bailey, prince and all those great philly falsettos. possibly the best. the speech from "why have i lost you" is classic."lets talk about loneliness..." is anyone touching him today? maxwell? not sure.
back in 1970 I was going to school as a 9th grader in brooklyn at south shore high school. Early in the scool year we had a talent show. I performed with my brother, but there was a young man there my age who sang a gospel song solo and brought the house down...it was wayne cooper. we became friends and we sang together in the chorus....one day months later he never showed up for school and disappeared, and a few years later I pick up a album by cameo and he's on the back cover singing with the group. as they say it was another life time.
Wayne Cooper was an incredible vocalist. The guys range and vibratto was indeed second to none.
Yes, I would like to know if Wayne Cooper did any solo work on his own, or any other work that featured his voice. I think his voice was highly underrated, and in my opinion had a better voice than Phillip Bailey of EW&F. "Why Have I Lost You" is my all time favorite slow jam and he just blew that song away.
Dear writer ,
I met Wayne Cooper in Sprinfield , Massachussetts before a concert with Funkadelic , Cameo ( whom he sung with ) , and the Sugar Hill Gang .
We met in the train station in downtown Springfield . He was in route to the gig and the rest of the guys came from different directions . He saw I had something in my hand with the Cameo insignia on and he kindly approached me and talled with about 10 minutes , waiting for his cab to pick him up . I've told the other guys in the band years ago this story and they could'nt believe because he was such a private person . Oh well , I wish all the love and support to his family and friends . He was underrated and should have recognized like Phillip bailey of Earth , Wind & Fire is .
Also Wayne was from or born Poukippsee , New York. When he died , he was about 29years 30 years old . Love to the Cooper family .