Soul II Soul has had many downfalls since entering the music industry in 1987. They have stood the test of time, but not without heartbreaks and tragedies. For starters, one of their lead singers ended up completely poor and died an extremely tragic death. I’m talking a major-motion-picture-motion-picture-movie type of death.
Just before Caron Wheeler joined the group, Doreen Waddell was the lead singer for Soul II Soul and she was an important factor in the group‚Äôs initial success. She was featured on their songs, ‚ÄúFeel Free,‚Äù ‚ÄúHappiness (Dub)‚Äù and she sang backing vocals on other tracks, including their album Club Classics Vol. One, which were really sold over a million records in the UK. By the time the group was introduced to the U.S. market, Doreen was no longer with the group, therefore all most their U.S. fans were accustomed to seeing was Caron Wheeler singing lead for Soul II Soul. Although many of us weren‚Äôt too familiar with Doreen, like we said, she was still important to the group and she was tragically killed at the age of 36.
Her life abruptly ended after she was questioned by staff at a Tesco store in the UK Holmbush Shopping Centre on suspicion of shoplifting items, including some children‚Äôs items. She quickly became paranoid, ran through a rear fire exit, and attempted to cross the A27 nearby. She was hit by three vehicles, dying instantly on March 1, 2002. She left a four-year-old son behind.
After leaving Soul II Soul, Doreen allegedly became a heavy heroin addict and people who knew her personally say that she would often ask strangers for money and that if anyone recognized her as a former member of the group, she would say: ‚ÄúDon‚Äôt ask me about Soul II Soul ‚Äì that‚Äôs where I got mixed up in the drugs. That‚Äôs where all the trouble started.‚Äù
We‚Äôve heard many stories like this, where a group member who was there in the beginning but eventually leaves, only to watch their former members flourish in success from the sidelines. The ‚ÄúEddie Caine‚Äù character in the movie, Five Heartbeats was a good example of an all too real reality. It‚Äôs highly likely that Doreen had a really tough time dealing with the mega-international success that she witnessed Soul II Soul acquire after she was no longer with them, so she self-medicated to numb her pain. It‚Äôs a really tragic thing and we can only hope that Doreen‚Äôs son has adjusted to life without his Mother as best as he could. May she rest peacefully.
Now as far as the surviving members of Soul II Soul, they have been straight up killing the music game, even throughout the drama of what, at one point, seemed like a never ending rotation of new members. But now they seem to have a very stable line-up and if it‚Äôs one thing we all love to see here at ILoveOldSchoolMusic, it is to see Old School singers stepping out on stage to put the babies to sleep and show these youngins out here how it‚Äôs really done.