Macon Music Legend Bo Ponder Passes Away

The beloved artist was 77 years old.

The Macon music scene is mourning the loss of another central figure, the great Arthur “Bo” Ponder.

Ponder passed away over the weekend of natural causes, according to Bibb County Coroner Leon Jones, who also called the soul singer, “a great man” and a “great musician.”

Ponder was a hard-working, respected, and beloved entertainer in the music business for over 55 years. The story of how he broke through as a performer feels like the stuff of show biz urban legend, yet it’s both real and completely cosmic, thanks to the King of Soul himself: Otis Redding.

Redding’s departure from the band “Johnny Jenkins & the Pine Toppers” to pursue a solo career created an opportunity for Ponder. At the tender age of just 16, Ponder joined the group and began to set out on his own path.

He later became a recording artist and had a moderate hit record, “Dr. Strange Love”, under Phil Walden’s Capricorn Records label in 1969. Some of his other releases included: “My Love,” “Sexy Lady,” and “Baby I’m For Real.” Ponder also recorded as the lead singer for the group “Sideshow” that he formed in 1985.

In 1987, Ponder represented the city of Macon, Georgia during memorial ceremonies in the city of Madison, Wisconsin in the memory of the great Otis Redding. He and his band did all of Otis Redding’s music and received high recognition from the Governor of Wisconsin. After returning to Macon, he appeared on the talk show ‘Ebony Speaks’ to discuss the success of his trip. 

In January 1995, Ponder was included in the Archives of The Georgia Music Hall of Fame Museum. The exhibit contains photos and publicity material representing his life and career. In September 1995, the “Georgia Jubilee Festival” and the “Georgia Music Hall of Fame” sponsored “Do You Like Soul Music” Revue where Arthur appeared as one of its feature artists. In March 1996, Ponder opened for the Architect of Rock & Roll, Little Richard at the Grand Opening of the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. In March 2008 and 2010, he was a headliner for the “Cherry Blossom Festival” held annually in Macon, Georgia.

Ponder continued recording and performing until the very end of his life. Nothing ever stopped him and very little slowed him down. Even when the appearances became fewer and the sets got shorter, he always delivered with his signature vocals that soared and his one-of-a-kind repartee with his audiences.

Tributes for Ponder began pouring in online from far and wide. We at The Creek send our heartfelt condolences to Ponder’s family, friends, and fans, and will continue to update this article as more details are announced.