MIAMI - Carlton "King" Coleman, a pioneer in American rhythm and blues, died yesterday morning from heart failure at a Miami hospice, his son said. He was 78.

Coleman was known for providing the lead vocals on the 1959 hit "(Do The) Mashed Potatoes," recorded with James Brown's band.

According to a 2003 Miami New Times article, Brown had initially planned to do the vocals himself, but a dispute with his record label made that impossible.

To avoid any lawsuits from Brown's label, a Miami producer had Coleman sing on the mostly instrumental track, while the group officially credited with the song was "Nat Kendrick and the Swans," named for Brown's drummer.

Besides working with Brown, Coleman also released numerous singles of his own during his singing career, including "Mashed Potato Man" and "The Boo Boo Song."

Coleman also performed with many other rhythm and blues legends, such as B.B. King and Jackie Wilson.

- AP

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