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Soul singer Sam Moore celebrates 75th birthday in D.C.

Sam Moore hugs his wife Joyce at his 75th birthday party, 2010. (Amy Argetsinger/The Washington Post)

You always wonder when someone travels to D.C. for a party, as with soul legend Sam Moore's 75th birthday this week. Sure, we love it, but who really comes here for fun?

They seemed to have a rollicking time Wednesday, the crew of 50 pals who feted Moore, visiting from Scottsdale, Ariz., at the whimsically opulent Mansion on O in Dupont Circle. The now-solo, lone survivor of the scorching '60s duo Sam & Dave ("Soul Man") groaned and sighed during his "roast" by friends like rock critic Dave Marsh and Doobie Brother-turned-defense-consultant Skunk Baxter. (The time Moore insisted on singing "When Something Is Wrong With My Baby" . . . on a March of Dimes telethon! Or fired a young Jimi Hendrix from his band.) Also, video tributes from Sting, Jordin Sparks and (random!) women's basketball pioneer Nancy Lieberman. Then a hypnotist came out and convinced Moore he was Bruce Springsteen . . . you had to be there.

But it's Washington, so of course it turned to business. Moore's wife-manager Joyce announced a new foundation ("Soul Arts and Music," obvious anagram) and made a plea for legislation that would get musicians -- not just composers -- royalties for radio play. Too many R&B greats are destitute, she said, working until death, like Solomon Burke, who died in-flight last week while touring Europe: "How long was he on that plane in that condition? . . . He was having to leave the United States to go where he was still respected in order to make a living." (Moore still performs, too, mostly corporate gigs.)

Singer Sarah Dash tried to rouse the room into a chorus of Moore's signature "Hold On," but couldn't get it going. "There are no singers," she sighed. "All lawyers."

From 2006, read also: This Time, He's a Solo Man: Sam Moore Hopes to Be Just as Sensational Without Dave

By The Reliable Source  | October 15, 2010; 1:03 AM ET
Categories:  Parties  
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