Lenny Williams (By: Barry Zepel)
Lenny Williams performs Tower of Power's 1973 hit, So Very Hard To Go, to a standing crowd of thousands of cheering graduates and guests at a June 16, 2012, Cal State East Bay commencement ceremony in CSUEB Pioneer Stadium.
Williams was honored with an honorary doctorate degree of Humane Letters from The California State University and California State University, East Bay.
As a soloist, Williams had several hit recordings, including “Choosing You” in 1977 and “ ‘Cause I Love You” in 1978. He later recorded hit songs and albums into the 1980s.
After moving from Little Rock, Arkansas, to Oakland as a youngster, he learned to play the trumpet. His skills as a vocalist developed while singing in gospel choirs and groups around the Bay Area, where he worked with other notable singers such as Sly Stone, Andrae Crouch and Billy Preston. After winning a number of area talent contests, he signed his first recording contract with Fantasy Records.
Williams continues to perform as a solo artist for albums and concerts, touring the United States, Europe and South Africa. He has shared stages with Aretha Franklin, The Whispers, Rick James, Boney James, Bobby Womack, Ohio Players, Al Green, Usher, K-Ci and JoJo, Alicia Keyes, Anthony Hamilton and Frankie Beverly, and Maze.