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Tower of Power former lead singer Rick Stevens dies at 77

OAKLAND, Calif. — Rick Stevens, the former lead singer of Oakland’s Tower of Power rhythm and blues band who spent 36 years in prison, has died. He was 77.

KTVU-TV reported that Stevens died Tuesday after a short battle with cancer. Stevens joined the band in 1969 and sang lead on the group’s first two albums, including on the hit songs “Sparkling in the Sand” and “You’re Still a Young Man.”

But Stevens was convicted of murder for killing three people in 1976 during a drug deal gone wrong. He was paroled in 2012.

In a message posted on the band’s Facebook page , current bandleader Emilio Castillo called Stevens a soulful singer who had a strong personality.