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Ralph Tavares of the popular 1970s R&B/disco group Tavares dies at age 79

Kevin Winter/WireImage

Ralph Tavares, the oldest member of the sibling R&B and disco group Tavares, has died, just days shy of his 80th birthday, which would have been this Friday.

Ralph's passing was reported by Massachusetts newspaper The Standard-Times. No cause of death was given.

Ralph began performing with his brothers during the 1950s. The siblings' group underwent various name and personnel changes over the years, eventually changing its moniker to Tavares in the early '70s.

In 1973, Tavares scored its first top-40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 with "Check It Out." The following year, the group topped the Billboard R&B singles chart with a cover of Hall & Oates' "She's Gone."

Tavares had its biggest Hot 100 hit in 1975 with "It Only Takes a Minute," which peaked at #10. In 1976, their single "Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel" reached #15 on the chart.

The group got some high-profile attention when their version of The Bee Gees' "More Than a Woman" appeared in the classic 1977 film Saturday Night Fever. The track, which also was featured on the movie's Grammy-winning soundtrack, peaked at #32 on the Hot 100.

Tavares' last top-40 hit on the Hot 100 came in 1982 with "A Penny for Your Thoughts," which also received a Grammy nomination in the Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal category.

Ralph retired from the group in 1984 and, according to The Standard-Times, he spent more than 30 years working as a court officer in Massachusetts cities of New Bedford and Fall River.

Ralph rejoined Tavares for a special reunion show in 2014. That same year, the group was inducted into the Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame.

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