Songwriter Bobby Charles dies at 71

Fri Jan 15, 2010 10:21am EST
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - American singer-songwriter Bobby Charles, who wrote hits in the 1950s and 1960s for artists such as Fats Domino and Bill Haley and the Comets, has died, entertainment paper Daily Variety reported. He was 71.

Charles died at his home in Louisiana on Thursday, said Daily Variety, citing Charles' spokeswoman. The cause of death was unknown.

The Louisiana Cajun, whose real name was Robert Charles Guidry, wrote and first recorded the rock 'n' roll song "See You Later, Alligator" in 1955, and soon after it became a hit for Bill Haley and the Comets.

In 1960 he wrote "Walking to New Orleans" for rock 'n' roll and blues pianist Fats Domino, who had previously recorded songs for Charles.

Charles helped pioneer the Louisiana musical genre known as swamp pop and was more successful as a songwriter than vocalist. He kept writing and recording songs until late in his life, releasing the album "Homemade Songs" in 2008 and has another completed album awaiting release, Daily Variety said.

(Reporting by Christine Kearney, editing by Bob Tourtellotte)