Leroy ‘Sugarfoot’ Bonner, frontman for Ohio Players

Mr. Bonner’s band played brassy dance music.
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Mr. Bonner’s band played brassy dance music.

CINCINNATI — Leroy ‘‘Sugarfoot’’ Bonner, frontman for the hit-making funk band the Ohio Players, has died. He was 69.

The Ohio Players, known for their brassy dance music, catchy lyrics, and flamboyant outfits, topped music charts in the 1970s with hits such as ‘‘Love Rollercoaster,’’ ‘’Fire,’’ “Skin Tight,’’ and ‘‘Funky Worm.’’

A spokeswoman for a Newcomer Funeral Home in the Dayton suburb of Kettering said Monday morning that the family had not scheduled any public services. No other information was released immediately about his death Saturday.


Born in Hamilton, Mr. Bonner teamed up in the 1960s with core members of a group called the Ohio Untouchables to form the Ohio Players. The band had a string of Top 40 hits in the mid-1970s and continued to perform for years after that. He had remained active in recent years with a spinoff band called Sugarfoot’s Ohio Players.

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‘‘Humble yet charismatic, soft-spoken and of few words, the weight of his thoughts, lyrics and music has influenced countless other artists, songs and trends,’’ stated a posting attributed as an ‘‘official family announcement’’ on the Facebook page of Sugarfoot’s Ohio Players. ‘‘He will be missed but not forgotten as his legacy and music lives on.’’

Mr. Bonner had said he learned about music in Hamilton, where he was the oldest of a large family, playing harmonica, learning guitar, and sneaking into bars as an adolescent to play with adult musicians. He said he ran away from his home some 20 miles north of Cincinnati at age 14.

He wound up in Dayton, where he connected with the players who would form the band. Their lineup changed at times, but featured horns, bass, guitar, drums, and keyboards.