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James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III

Music producer and songwriter James “Jimmy Jam” Harris, III was born on June 6, 1959 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Harris grew up in Minneapolis where he met Terry Stevens Lewis while attending a college preparatory program on the University of Minnesota campus. Harris and Lewis formed a band called, “Flyte Tyme,” which later changed its name to, “The Time.”

In 1981, Harris began touring with music artist Prince as his opening act. As a member of The Time, Harris contributed to three of the group’s four albums including The Time, What Time is It, and Pandemonium. Then, in 1982, Harris and Lewis met Dina R. Andrews, who would later assist the duo in establishing Flyte Tyme Productions, a business entity. Flyte Tyme Productions joined with A & M Records in 1991 to create Perspective Records, which, from 1993 to 1996, released most of A & M Record’s urban acts. In 1998, Perspective Records closed its doors and Harris and Lewis opened the Flyte Tyme Recording Studio in Minneapolis, Minnesota. They signed a three-year, joint venture with Arista Records in 2000, and then, in 2004, the duo relocated their recording studio to Santa Monica, California and renamed it Flyte Tyme West. On January 30, 2013, Harris and Lewis signed an exclusive worldwide publishing administration agreement with Universal Music Publishing Group.

Harris and Lewis have produced more number one songs and award winning albums than any other songwriting and production team in history. They have been credited with over one-hundred Billboard top ten songs, twenty-six number one R & B hits and sixteen number one Hot 100 hits with artists such as Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, Boyz II Men, and Johnny Gill. In addition, Harris and Lewis have received five Grammy awards and one-hundred ASCAP awards for songwriting and song publishing. In 2005, they became the first recipients of the Heritage Award who were producers as well as songwriters. Harris and Lewis were honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2010, and the duo was inducted into The Soul Music Hall of Fame at SoulMusic.com in December of 2012.

James “Jimmy Jam” Harris, III was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 19, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.353

Sex

Male

Interview Date

12/19/2013

Last Name

Harris

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Organizations
Schools

Eugene Field Community School

Bryant Junior High School

Washburn High School

Justice Page Middle School

First Name

James

Birth City, State, Country

Minneapolis

HM ID

HAR46

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Minnesota

Favorite Vacation Destination

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Favorite Quote

Better To Have It And Not Need It Than To Need It And Not Have It.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

6/6/1959

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Hamburgers

Short Description

Music producer and songwriter James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III (1959 - ) , along with partner, Terry Lewis, has garnered more awards than any other music producers in history. The recipients of five Grammy awards, Harris and Lewis were honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2010.

Employment

The Time

Flyte Tyme Productions

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III talks about his parents' occupations

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III describes his likeness to his parents

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III recalls his early neighborhood

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III recalls the demographics of his early community

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III remembers his early education

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III talks about his elementary school music program

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III describes his early religious experiences

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III recalls attending Bryant Junior High School in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III remembers meeting Prince at Bryant Junior High School

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III remembers meeting Terry Lewis

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III talks about developing a musical relationship with Terry Lewis

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III remembers attending Alexander Ramsey Junior High School in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III recalls performing with his high school bands

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III talks about his early musical interests

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III recalls recording with Mind and Matter

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III talks about his parents' separation

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III recalls his decision to leave high school

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III remembers his rivalry with Terry Lewis

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III recalls joining Flyte Tyme

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III describes the close knit music community in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III talks about the 1970s music scene of Minneapolis, Minnesota

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III remembers his first tour with Prince

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III describes working with Prince

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III recalls his touring experiences with Prince and The Time

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III talks about performing live with The Time

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III remembers deciding to travel with Terry Lewis to Los Angeles, California

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III describes his experiences in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III recalls Prince's reaction to his work with Terry Lewis

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III remembers the start of his working relationship with Clarence Avant

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III recalls being fired by Prince, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III recalls being fired by Prince, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III recalls being fired by Prince, pt. 3

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III talks about leaving The Time

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III describes the careers of The Time's band members

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III remembers Jerome Benton, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III remembers Jerome Benton, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III describes the relationship between Prince and The Time

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III remembers his first gold records

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III remembers meeting music executive John McClain

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III describes his first project with Janet Jackson, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III describes his first project with Janet Jackson, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III talks about the inspiration behind Janet Jackson's album 'Control'

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III describes his partnership with Terry Lewis, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III describes his partnership with Terry Lewis, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III talks about using technology as a producer, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III talks about using technology as a producer, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III remembers writing the song 'Tender Love'

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III describes the relationship between an artist and songwriter

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III remembers working on 'Rhythm Nation 1814,' pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III remembers working on 'Rhythm Nation 1814,' pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III talks about his goal as a producer

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III talks about being recognized as a celebrity

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris III remembers winning his first Grammy Award, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III remembers winning his first Grammy Award, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III recalls reuniting with The Time

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III talks about establishing a partnership with A&M Records

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III remembers working with The Human League

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III recalls his attempt to buy the Minnesota Timberwolves, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III recalls his attempt to buy the Minnesota Timberwolves, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III remembers Kirby Puckett

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III talks about his projects in the late 1990s

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III recalls producing Yolanda Adams' 'Open My Heart'

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III remembers producing the NBA theme music

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III describes meeting his wife Lisa Padilla Harris, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III describes meeting his wife Lisa Padilla Harris, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III remembers working with Arista Records

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III talks about the 2002 Grammy Awards

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III recalls moving to Los Angeles, California

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III remembers the Janet Jackson album 'Damita Jo'

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III describes the Flyte Tyme Productions, Inc. studio in Santa Monica, California

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III remembers working with Chaka Khan

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III talks about Chaka Khan's singing talents

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III recalls playing with The Time for the 2008 Grammy Awards, pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III recalls playing with The Time for the 2008 Grammy Awards, pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 9 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III remembers reuniting with The Time in Las Vegas, Nevada

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III recalls forming a deal with Universal Music Publishing Group, pt. 1

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III recalls forming a deal with Universal Publishing Group, pt. 2

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III talks about his children, pt. 1

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III talks about his children, pt. 2

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$5

DAStory

4$9

DATitle
James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III remembers Jerome Benton, pt. 2
James "Jimmy Jam" Harris, III describes his first project with Janet Jackson, pt. 2
Transcript
So, of course, we get in there and start rehearsing, and the first thing that happens is, "Man, I'm thirsty, man. Can I get some of that juice, man?" "Hey, man, don't mess with that juice machine." It's like, "Naw, naw, Weaver [ph.] ain't going to know. He ain't going to know." Next thing you know, we've drank like all the juice like down to about that much. So, now Jesse [Jesse Johnson] is taking water and trying to pour water in to fill it up so it looks like it's all filled up again. So, as we're rehearing and during, during the rehearsal and stuff, Prince comes to, Prince comes to one of the rehearsals. And, in a couple of the songs Morris [Morris Day] says, "Somebody bring me a mirror," right. So, Prince is watching. Morris says, "Somebody bring me a mirror." Out of nowhere, Jerome [Jerome Benton] grabs this big mirror. And, I'm talking about a big, like a wall mirror, off the wall, right. Yanks it off the wall, knocks over a titty lamp, brings it in front of Morris, Morris turns around and looks at him a goes, and starts primping. Prince falls out of his chair on the floor. He say, "Oh, my god! That's it, we got to add that to the act. We got to add that to the act." So, Jerome was a roadie no more. He was Morris' valet, at that moment, right. So, anyway (laughter), Jerome now goes, after--now the rehearsal's over. Jerome's coming now, he's trying to tape the titty lamp back together, right. So, he puts it and he kind of hides it, and you can see like a little crack. But, he kind of tilts it just a little bit so, you know, you can't see it, right? In walks Weaver. Weaver walks in. He goes, "How's it going guys?" We're like, "Hey, good Weaver. Great man, great." He walks in. (Pause), "Man, who been in my juice machine? Man, somebody been in my juice machine." We started cracking up. We said, "What are you talking about, man?" "I told you not to go in my, in my juice machine." And, then he looks around and goes, "My titty lamp! Somebody broke my titty lamp." We were kicked out of there. We, we didn't rehearse, we had no more rehearsals at the YAASM, man. It was, it was over, you know, 'cause did the--you broke the sacred trust, man. The juice machine and the titty lamp, you can't break it. So, that was it. We started rehearsing in a warehouse [in Minneapolis, Minnesota] after that. But, anyway, I tell that story because that, first of all, I tell that story 'cause that was, that was just kind of summed up the group [The Time], right. But, also, 'cause that's how Jerome became Jerome the valet. Because he was Jerome the roadie, you know. But, in that instance when he pulled that mirror off the wall, and I don't know whether, I haven't asked him to this day, had he thought about that before or was it just because he had watched us run the show so many times. He just one day say, "I'm just going to take that mirror off the wall." And, the mirror was so huge (laughter). It was a joke. We said, "We got to get you a proper size mirror, man." It was so crazy.$And, so, finally, on like the fifth day she says, "When are we going to get to work?" And, we said, "Oh, we're working. We're working." And, we whipped out the lyrics to "Control." And, she said, "Wow." She said, "This is what we've been talking about." And, I said, "Yeah." And, she said, "So, wait a minute. So, the album's ['Control'] going to be just whatever we talk about, that's what the album going to be?" And, we said, "Yeah." Well, it was like a lightbulb went off in her head. Because if--on her two albums before, she just went in and sang. Somebody gave her lyrics. Somebody gave her a song. Nobody asked her her opinion. The albums weren't personal, right. All of a sudden she realized that, wait, we can make a personal record here? It's like, "Yeah." So, then there was a thing at the club, we went to one of the clubs. There was these guys talking to her. They were bothering her. She kept looking over at us like, come rescue me. And, you know, some of our friends were like, "Hey, go help Janet [Janet Jackson]." We're like, "She's fine. We're standing right here. Ain't nobody going to do nothing. This is Minneapolis [Minnesota]. Nobody's going to do nothing to her," right. So, afterwards she comes over, and she said, "Did you see those guys talking to me?" And, we said, "Yeah." She said, "Those guys were nasty." We said, "Really?" "Yeah. Why didn't you come help me?" And, we said, "Well, you're standing here now, so obviously you were fine, handled yourself just fine." She said, "Oh, yeah, I guess I did, didn't I." So, it got her out of her shell, you know, out of her kind of insulated shell that she had grown up in. And, we, you know, we were ourselves around her too. We'd like, cussed. She'd charge us twenty-five cents every time we cussed, you know. We'd say, "Hey, Janet, oh yeah, oh fuck that Janet." She'd go, "Oh, twenty-five cents, twenty-five cents," like she was the police. It was like okay, cool. But, we had a great relationship. And, so, the thing that happened at the club with the guys turned into "Nasty," into the song "Nasty." And, that was sort of the way the recording of the record happened. She was engaged. She was excited about it. And, it was a different Janet than--we were fortunate because the Janet we got was a Janet who was now excited about singing and about creating as opposed to, "I'm just doing this 'cause my dad [Joe Jackson] wants me to do this." This was the first time she was doing it 'cause she was passionate about it. So, we, we were good to be a part of that. I mean, we, we were fortunate. So, at the end of the project, we figured that we're done with the project, right. And, I always have a saying about A and R [artists and repertoire] people. A and R people, at record companies, basically the only thing they ever do, is they come in and they always say, "I just need one more," right. That's--so, John McClain, so we're riding around--no, we're not riding around with John McClain. John McClain comes to the studio [of Flyte Tyme Productions, Inc.], we play him the whole record 'cause we've recorded in Minneapolis so nobody's interfered with us. We play John the whole record, and he says, "Man, I really love the record. I just need one more." And, we said, "Oh, here we go. What do you need, John?" "Man, I don't know man, I just, it's really great. I just need one more." So, we said, "Okay, cool, John. Okay, fine. All right. Well, we'll figure out what that is." So, I remember we were riding around in the car, and we said, "John, hey, you know, me and Terry [Terry Lewis] are working on our own album." And, he said, "Oh, that's cool. Can you play some stuff?" Said, "Yeah, yeah." So, we started playing him tracks from what's going to be me and Terry's album. And, one of the tracks comes on and it comes on (singing). And, John goes, "Wait a minute. What is that?" And, we said, "Oh, just a song. We don't know what it's going to be yet." He said, "That's the song I need." We said, "No, no, no, no, no, no. That song is for our album." He said, "No, no, no. That's the song. I swear to God. That's the song I need. That's the song I need." So, after we argued about it a little while, we said, "Okay, here's, here's what we're going to do, John. When Janet comes to the studio tomorrow, we're going to just play the record. If she likes it, she can have it. If she doesn't say anything about it, we're going to keep it." And, so, she's sitting on a couch out in the room, we put the record on, she walks in the room, she goes, "Who's that for?" And, we said, "You, if you want it." And, she said, "I want it," "What Have You Done for Me Lately," first single.

Leon Huff

R&B record company owner Leon Huff was born in Camden, New Jersey on April 8, 1942. Huff was first exposed to music through his mother, who played the piano and the organ for the 19th Street Baptist Church choir. Huff began playing the piano at the age of five; he received basic lessons from his mother as well as formal teaching through the school system and private lessons. As a teenager, Huff participated in several “doo-wop” music groups throughout Camden. One of his groups, “The Dynaflows,” auditioned for the popular television show, Ted Mack’s Original Amateur Hour.

In 1950, Huff and Kenneth Gamble came together in a vocal group called “The Romeos.” Huff had already worked in sessions with music producer Phil Spector in New York, including the Danny and the Juniors hit “Let's Go to the Hop.” Returning to Philadelphia, Huff did sessions for local label Cameo who were already successful with Chubby Checker and Bobby Rydell. Fellow Romeo, Kenny Gamble, co-wrote a song for Candy and the Kisses on which Huff performed. In 1966, Gamble and Huff formed Excel Records; and, in 1967, they produced the Soul Survivors’ hit single, “Expressway to Your Heart.” They continued working as independent producers with acts like Archie Bell and the Drells and Jerry Butler. They also had their own Neptune Label (through Chess Records) and Gamble records.

In 1971, Gamble and Huff formed their own label, Philadelphia International Records, and secured a distribution deal with CBS. The label produced #1 R&B hits such as The O’ Jays’ “Love Train,” Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes’ “If You Don't Know Me By Now,” Lou Rawls’ “You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine,” and “TSOP,” which became the theme to the TV show Soul Train. Their signature sound incorporated sophisticated touches like strings, horn sections, and an always-insistent groove. A precursor to disco, when the clubs started playing an important role in the music business, Philadelphia International helped shape the direction with hits like 1974’s “TSOP,” which became the theme to the TV show Soul Train. During the 1980s, Huff continued to collaborate with Gamble, writing and producing tracks for Patti LaBelle, Phyllis Hyman, Lou Rawls, and The O’ Jays.

Gamble and Huff have been awarded the highest accolades in the music industry. In 1993, Huff, along with his songwriting and producing partners Kenny Gamble and Thom Bell, was inducted into the Philadelphia Music Foundation’s Walk of Fame; brass plaques with their names were placed on the sidewalk of Broad Street’s Avenue of the Arts in Philadelphia not far from Philadelphia International studios. Gamble and Huff were inducted into the National Academy of Songwriters’ Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 1999, they received the Trustees Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

Musician Leon A. Huff was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 26, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.085

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/26/2013

Last Name

Huff

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Charles Sumner Elementary School

Cooper B. Hatch Middle School

Camden High School

First Name

Leon

Birth City, State, Country

Camden

HM ID

HUF01

Favorite Season

Summer

State

New Jersey

Favorite Vacation Destination

Miami, Florida

Favorite Quote

The Beat Goes On.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New Jersey

Birth Date

4/8/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Moorestown

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fish, Rice, Broccoli

Short Description

Music producer Leon Huff (1942 - ) cofounded the Philadelphia International Records label, which produced #1 R&B hits like The O’ Jays’ “Love Train,” Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes’ “If You Don't Know Me By Now,” Lou Rawls’ “You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine,” and “TSOP,” which became the theme to the television show Soul Train.

Employment

Delete

Philadelphia International Records

Excel Records

Golden Fleece Records

Uncensored Records

Favorite Color

Brown

Timing Pairs
0,0:363,7:718,15:1286,24:1925,34:10749,108:14996,147:22528,208:23184,219:27617,294:41310,512:43436,548:44010,557:44502,564:45650,598:46306,608:46716,614:56865,707:62536,731:69740,772:70060,777:70940,792:78894,903:84108,963:93840,1062:96653,1108:111320,1344:111835,1350:112865,1367:132482,1688:137350,1729$0,0:270,10:3060,110:8280,199:20094,334:26383,389:28029,397:29238,426:34911,535:38548,553:40665,604:40885,609:44059,658:45440,663:45902,672:49334,742:54746,898:55670,915:64592,1067:71070,1153:90840,1383:91400,1449:96120,1626:103514,1729:105826,1823:109226,1895:109906,1911:110178,1916:110722,1926:118096,2006:119590,2041:120005,2047:121084,2072:124265,2099:138280,2344:138924,2352:142610,2391:157844,2582:160702,2601:163294,2653:178030,2918
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Leon Huff's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Leon Huff lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Leon Huff describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Leon Huff talks about his early exposure to music

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Leon Huff remembers his mother's career

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Leon Huff describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Leon Huff talks about his paternal family's migration to Camden, New Jersey

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Leon Huff talks about his father's career

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Leon Huff describes his likeness to his parents

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Leon Huff describes his earliest child memory

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Leon Huff remembers playing drums in the school band

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Leon Huff recalls playing piano at the Tenth Street Baptist Church in Camden, New Jersey

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Leon Huff describes his mother's role in his early education

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Leon Huff remembers his father's barbershop

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Leon Huff recalls playing in the marching band at Camden High School in Camden, New Jersey

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Leon Huff remembers his early musical influences

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Leon Huff describes his neighborhood in Camden, New Jersey

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Leon Huff describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Leon Huff talks about his early influences

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Leon Huff remembers forming The Dynaflows

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Leon Huff remembers watching 'American Bandstand'

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Leon Huff remembers the music venues in Camden, New Jersey

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Leon Huff remembers Lola Falana

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Leon Huff talks about his extracurricular activities

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Leon Huff recalls the entertainment of his childhood

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Leon Huff remembers the music of The Dynaflows and The Lavenders

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Leon Huff remembers the black radio stations in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Leon Huff remembers his aspiration to become a studio musician

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Leon Huff recalls joining Kenny Gamble and the Romeos

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Leon Huff talks about his time with Kenny Gamble and the Romeos

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Leon Huff remembers meeting Kenny Gamble

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Leon Huff remember working with Phil Spector and The Ronettes

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Leon Huff describes his challenges during his early recording career

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Leon Huff talks about his income as a songwriter and musician

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Leon Huff remembers writing 'Mixed Up, Shook Up Girl'

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Leon Huff talks about developing Gamble and Huff's unique sound

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Leon Huff recalls writing for the Soul Survivors and The Intruders

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Leon Huff remembers producing records for Archie Bell and the Drells

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Leon Huff recalls writing songs for Jerry Butler and Dusty Springfield

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Leon Huff describes his songwriting process, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Leon Huff talks about Thom Bell's work with The Delfonics

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Leon Huff recalls writing 'Drowning in the Sea of Love' for Joe Simon

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Leon Huff remembers meeting The O'Jays

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Leon Huff describes his songwriting process, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 13 - Leon Huff remembers discovering Teddy Pendergrass

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Leon Huff describes the music of Melvin and the Blue Notes

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Leon Huff talks about The O'Jays' album 'Ship Ahoy'

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Leon Huff remembers producing the MFSB orchestra

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Leon Huff talks about the songwriting process at Philadelphia International Records

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Leon Huff describes the formation of Philadelphia International Records

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Leon Huff recalls working with Wilson Pickett

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Leon Huff remembers recording with Michael Jackson

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Leon Huff remembers Patti LaBelle

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Leon Huff reflects upon his favorite group to produce

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Leon Huff talks about his favorite composition

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Leon Huff recalls recording the long cuts of 'I'll Always Love My Mama' and 'Wake up Everybody'

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Leon Huff remembers Teddy Pendergrass' car crash

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Leon Huff talks about his mentor, Quincy Jones

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Leon Huff remembers signing a production contract with Columbia Records

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Leon Huff talks about the challenges of songwriting

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Leon Huff describes the impact of rap on his record sales

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Leon Huff talks about the recording sessions at Philadelphia International Records

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Leon Huff recalls the effects of his career on his family life

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Leon Huff reflects upon his life

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Leon Huff talks about contemporary music

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Leon Huff talks about his favorite music

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Leon Huff reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 12 - Leon Huff talks about his interest in producing a Broadway musical

Tape: 6 Story: 13 - Leon Huff remembers meeting Berry Gordy

Tape: 6 Story: 14 - Leon Huff talks about his admiration of other black music producers

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Leon Huff remembers the payola investigations

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Leon Huff talks about the founding of the Black Music Association

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Leon Huff reflects upon the impact of his music

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Leon Huff describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Leon Huff narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$4

DAStory

10$8

DATitle
Leon Huff describes his earliest child memory
Leon Huff describes his songwriting process, pt. 1
Transcript
Do you have an earliest childhood memory?$$An earliest?$$Um-hm.$$Yeah, yeah, being curious about that piano that was sitting in my living room. I sort of, like--because I was, I was, I started being curious about that piano. And my mother [Beatrice Alberta Huff] used to tell me, she used to pick me up--because the piano stool was so high, she used to pick me up and put me on the piano stool. And she used to tell me I used to like bang on it. You know, I was a kid, just banging on it. But, so the way I look at it, I must have got curious with the sounds that was coming from out of those white and black things I was beating on as a child. And I figured the more I did that, the more I developed that gift of wanting to play it. I started playing by ear. And five years old, six years old, I was playing the boogie woogie. I was playing, I was playing, I was playing stuff that I was just making up. And then my mother took me to the Apollo in New York [New York], and she, and she took me to see a young guy named Sugar Chile Robinson who played piano. And he just tore the house up, Apollo Theater. And that was an experience I never forgot. And I was learning (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Sugar, Sugar Chile Robinson?$$Yeah.$$Okay. And how old were you then?$$Oh, I was like a preteen. I must have been like seven or eight years because my grandfather [Herbert Alberta] had a sister that lived in Harlem [New York, New York], and my mother used to visit my aunt [sic. great-aunt]. And she would take me and my sister [Jean Huff] to the Apollo when we would go there and visit, and that was wonderful. I got a chance to experience that Ha- Harlem, Apollo vibe early; and it was fantastic, those shows.$So during this period of time it seemed like there's so--how many--back to the songwriting process. I've read that in a day, you all would maybe write ten songs in a day.$$So- yeah, sometimes it was like that sometimes. What we used to do is--okay, we're going to plan a writing session. Say, we're going to, going to plan a writing session for, say, Thursday. So we'll compile a lot of titles, ideas, you know, put them on paper. Then we'll, we both will bring them to the session and we'd just compare notes. I had, I might have about maybe fifty titles, and Gamble [HistoryMaker Kenny Gamble] the same thing. And we'll pick, out of those fifty we'll pick which we think is interesting to write about and--$$So you picked them by--you choose the title first of all?$$Yeah.$$And then you try to flesh it out?$$Then we just--I started playing it. Sometime, sometimes, you know, sometimes I'd come in Gamble's office and I'd just start, just playing. I could sit down, I could just play whatever comes to my head. I'd just play it. And Gamble might say, "Oh, that sounds good. What is that?" I'd say, "Oh, no, ain't nothing, really." And the next you know, we're sitting down and we done put some meat to that music. And, or we'd both sit down and I'd just start jamming, Gamble would just start free styling. But at the same time we're doing that, the tape recorder is running, so everything is recorded.$$Okay. So you can always run back to whatever--if you miss something (unclear) (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Yeah, we'd get into a zone. Just say--well, say we're in a writing session and we're going to write a song, and 'For the Love of Money' was on that list. And we'll get into a jam, for the love of money, you know, and I'd come up with a bass line or whatever kind of groove I'm going to get into. And Gamble would start free styling a song about for the love of money. And the next thing you know, we're in the studio cutting it with The O'Jays.$$Okay.$$That's how we was rolling, you know. The studio was right next to--after we bought that building--that at one time we weren't allowed to go in, on 309 Broad Street [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania]--the studio was right next to Gamble's office. So, we'll rehearse and go get the musicians, and it was like this (snaps fingers). It was like (snaps fingers) a process that just--from Gamble's office to the studio and then record the record.$$Okay.$$That was the process.$$Now another white artist you worked with was Laura Nyro.$$Laura Nyro.$$Nyro, okay.$$It was great.$$Yeah.$$Laura was, she was different. And we also had Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles doing the background, and that was a great, great album. It's a classic album. Working with Laura was, I learned a lot from her songwriting--$$This is 'Go- Gonna Take a Miracle' ['It's Gonna Take a Miracle'].$$--structure. Yeah, it was great.$$Nineteen seventy-one [1971].

Gene Barge

Saxophonist, music producer and song writer Gene “Daddy G” Barge was born in Norfolk, Virginia on August, 9 1926. He graduated from Booker T. Washington High School and played clarinet in the school band. Barge then attended West Virginia State College where he first majored in architecture, but quickly switched to music because of his interest in the saxophone. After receiving his B.A. degree from West Virginia State College in 1950, Barge returned to Norfolk, Virginia and played with a number of bands and singing groups including the Griffin Brothers and the Five Keys.

In 1955, Barge recorded his first saxophone instrumentals entitled “Country” and “Way Down Home” on Chess Records’ Checker Label. He taught music at Suffolk High School while playing and singing in bands and touring with both Ray Charles and the Philadelphia vocal group The Turbans. In 1957, Barge played the saxophone on Chuck Willis’ “C.C. Rider,” which became a number one R& B hit. In 1960, he recorded “A Night with Daddy G” with his band the Church Street Five on Norfolk’s Legrand Label. From 1961 to 1962, Barge collaborated with Gary U.S. Bonds on a number of hit records including "School Is In," "School Is Out," "Dear Lady Twist," "Twist Twist Senora," "Copy Cat" and the number one pop hit, “Quarter to Three.” In 1964, Barge was hired as a producer, arranger, and saxophone player for Chess Records in Chicago, Illinois and played on Fontella Bass’ “Rescue Me” in 1965. Chess Records closed in 1971 and Barge was hired by Stax Records in their gospel division, Gospel Truth. Barge produced Inez Andrews’ “Lord Don’t Move the Mountain” and The Beautiful Zion Baptist Church's "I'll Make It Alright.” In 1974, Barge began working with pianist, Marvin Yancy and Charles Jackson. He was hired to do demos with Natalie Cole. He went to win a Grammy Award for co-producing Cole’s “Sophisticated Lady” in 1977.

Barge has toured with Fat Dominos, Bo Diddley, Chuck Willis, The Rolling Stones and Natalie Cole. He has had roles in many major motion pictures including Code of Silence, Above the Law, Under Siege, The Package and The Fugitive. Barge consulted for Martin Scorsese’s 2003 PBS documentary, The Blues. He also appeared in a 2010 episode of the TV documentary series Legends, entitled "Roll over Beethoven - The Chess Records Saga." Barge lives in Chicago, Illinois.

Gene Barge was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 20, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.043

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/20/2012

Last Name

Barge

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widower

Schools

Booker T. Washington High School

West Virginia State University

J.C. Price Elementary School

First Name

Gene

Birth City, State, Country

Norfolk

HM ID

BAR12

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Look Alive.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

8/9/1926

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Saxophonist, songwriter, and music producer Gene Barge (1926 - ) played on Chuck Willis’ pop hit, “C.C. Rider,” co-wrote with Gary U.S. Bonds “Quarter to Three” and received a Grammy Award for co-producing Natalie Cole’s “Sophisticated Lady.”

Employment

Suffolk High School

Charlotte-Mecklenburg School System

Stax Records

United States Air Force

United States Navy

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
0,0:1846,38:21380,219:25447,352:38678,533:46204,724:46488,729:57540,824:64380,963:69530,989:70310,1008:70778,1015:90170,1299:110530,1517:144300,1971:147154,2002:147522,2007:160872,2229:161484,2236:167797,2284:169645,2318:178808,2569:214540,3202:231460,3359:248640,3564:265297,3935:265735,3942:266903,3966:267341,3973:269604,4023:272490,4070$0,0:252,10:1092,23:2016,69:14430,244:21672,289:27036,353:29956,426:42430,568:54586,702:70215,857:94490,1108:100695,1167:131958,1655:132638,1687:133182,1696:135494,1764:143885,1818:147795,1917:149665,1955:155252,1977:156072,1990:167599,2163:167947,2215:168382,2221:169165,2318:196338,2514:202462,2606:212255,2723:218768,2816:220660,2847
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Gene Barge's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Gene Barge lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Gene Barge describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Gene Barge describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Gene Barge talks about the legacy of slavery in Fayettesville, North Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Gene Barge talks about his father's career

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Gene Barge describes his father's musical interests

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Gene Barge remembers his parents' relationship

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Gene Barge talks about his relationship with his paternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Gene Barge describes his likeness to his parents

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Gene Barge describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Gene Barge talks about his experiences at J.C. Price Elementary School in Norfolk, Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Gene Barge recalls the competitiveness of the local high schools

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Gene Barge describes the geography of Tidewater Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Gene Barge talks about the black community in Tidewater Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Gene Barge describes the prominent African Americans from Tidewater Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Gene Barge remembers meeting Fats Waller

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Gene Barge talks about the musicians from Norfolk, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Gene Barge remembers joining the Booker T. Washington High School band in Norfolk, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Gene Barge describes the political events during his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Gene Barge remembers an influential teacher

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Gene Barge recalls preparing to join the U.S. Army Air Forces

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Gene Barge remembers his time in the U.S. Army Air Forces

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Gene Barge remembers his first saxophone

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Gene Barge describes his transition to West Virginia State College in Institute, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Gene Barge talks about the alumni of West Virginia State College, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Gene Barge remembers Tuskegee Airman John Whitehead

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Gene Barge talks about the alumni of West Virginia State College, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Gene Barge remembers his mentors at West Virginia State College

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Gene Barge talks about Eleanor Roosevelt's civil rights activism

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Gene Barge recalls his work experiences after graduating from college

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Gene Barge talks about the history of rhythm and blues

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Gene Barge remembers his early records

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Gene Barge talks about his recordings with Gary U.S. Bonds

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Gene Barge describes the influence of Charles Manuel "Sweet Daddy" Grace on his music

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Gene Barge talks about his half sisters

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Gene Barge remembers the Norfolk Seventeen

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Gene Barge recalls the discrimination against black artists in the recording industry

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Gene Barge describes the musicians he met at Chess Records

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Gene Barge talks about the 'Cadillac Records' movie, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Gene Barge talks about the 'Cadillac Records' movie, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Gene Barge remembers Etta James

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Gene Barge remembers Cash McCall and Billy Stewart

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Gene Barge describes Little Walter's personality and character

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Gene Barge talks about Muddy Waters' jingle for Hamm's Brewery

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Gene Barge recalls recording albums with Howlin' Wolf

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Gene Barge remembers recording doo wop and gospel music

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Gene Barge describes his work with Natalie Cole

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Gene Barge talks about his acting career

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Gene Barge remembers touring with The Rolling Stones

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Gene Barge describes the members of The Rolling Stones

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Gene Barge recalls his acting role in 'The Guardian'

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Gene Barge describes 'The Blues' documentary television series

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Gene Barge talks about his saxophone style

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Gene Barge recalls his efforts to credit studio musicians

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Gene Barge remembers his influences and his influence on the music industry

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Gene Barge shares his advice to young musicians

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Gene Barge reflects upon his life

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Gene Barge reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Gene Barge talks about his family

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Gene Barge remembers playing in the Breadbasket Band

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Gene Barge describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

7$9

DATitle
Gene Barge recalls preparing to join the U.S. Army Air Forces
Gene Barge remembers his early records
Transcript
So you, you did con- keep playing the clarinet on some level even though you played football (unclear) (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Well, I wasn't very good, but I played. Hey, I'd never seen a clarinet before and then Mr. Mc- McPherson [ph.], you know, got us all started. But it started at--how I got to play saxophone was I had--I was in high school [Booker T. Washington High School, Norfolk, Virginia] and I had gotten out of the [U.S.] military.$$Okay. Now wait a minute let me--let--then let's take you to the military first and then we'll get you back to high school.$$Okay.$$So how did you end up getting involved in the military, what happened?$$Well, what happened was when I was, when I was a teenager in high school, we used to go, we used to go when I was a kid, we used to go around the neighborhoods, white neighborhoods about a mile away, quarter of a mile away, and try to go into the alleys and the back of the houses and find metal and scraps and wood and stuff because times were really tight. And we'd find copper or whatever and take it to the--and lead and stuff and some of the guys used to melt it down, melt the metal down and we'd go to the junkyard and sell it. So we stumbled upon a guy--can't think of his name, Mr. West [ph.] or something, who was making an airplane in a garage in his house. And, so we went--so he saw us standing out there looking, so he invited us in, in the garage. And the plane had no wings on it, just a fuselage was in the--so he was putting in the cables for the pedals for the rudders and the stabilizers and you had to put so much of a--so he'd put us in the cockpit and says, "Okay. Now push this pedal, push this pedal." Because he was working by himself. And he was teaching us the names of all the parts of the plane.$$This is a white guy?$$Yeah.$$Okay.$$And I think his name was Willoughby [ph.].$$Um-hm.$$And that's when we got introduced to aviation. So when he says, "Okay, when I finish this plane I want to give it a test flight," and we said, "Well, when you gon- Mr. Willoughby when are you going to put the wings--." "I can't put the wings on in here. I'm going to move it and then we'll put the wings on." And, so sure enough later, some months later, he finished that plane and just a spread with the outside of the plane was like canvas or some kind of material, it wasn't metal. They spray it with what you call dope and it would harden up and tighten up. And he flew it across our neighborhood and buzzed the neighborhood. I was so impressed with the flying aspect of it that I wanted to be a pilot. So when--so I began, during the war [World War II, WWII] I began to study the silhouettes of all the planes around the world and what the Japs [Japanese] were using, the Zero [Mitsubishi A6M Zero], the German (pronunciation) Luftwaffe, Luftwaffe planes, the (pronunciation) Fox Wolf 109 [Focke-Wulf Fw 109] and the Mr. Smith [Smith DSA-1 Miniplane] and the American planes, the P38s [Lockheed P-38 Lightning] and all of those planes. So you would have to idenn- a pilot would have to identify just the silhouettes of the planes in order to pass the test and all of this stuff. So we were--I was up on that and I--we had a teacher, a great, a great math teacher named Surelda James [ph.], she was my math teacher. And I went to her and asked her, "Would you teach me a course in pre-flight math?" She says, "You want to--." I said, "Yeah." And her sister was teaching me French, and they also went to First Baptist [First Baptist Church, Norfolk, Virginia], so they saw me in the Sunday, high, in the Sunday school band. So they kind of got to know me, aside from being my teachers. So she did, she set up a course in pre-flight math. Wasn't nobody in the class but me and another guy. And so we took the class and to get me ready to take the entrance exams for the Air Force [U.S. Army Air Force; U.S. Air Force].$$So you were really serious.$$Hm?$$You were really serious.$$Yeah.$$You knew exactly what you had to learn to--$$Yeah.$$--pass the test and--$$Yeah.$Now what, what was the first record that you appeared on?$$The first record I appeared on was with The Griffin Brothers, and I can't remember the title of the tune, but we recorded in Washington, D.C. in a studio. We only recorded about three songs with him. And I appeared--I played on that session with The Griffin Brothers.$$Okay.$$This was around fifty- '53 [1953], somewhere up in that area of time.$$Okay. Now what I have here is that it was on the Dot [Dot Records] label?$$Yeah, on Dot.$$On Dot, okay. Okay. And, okay, so you--so at the time it says here that they just needed a sax player because the regular sax player at--wasn't available?$$Yeah they had a guy, sax player named Virgil Wilson.$$Um-hm.$$And he couldn't make it, so they got me.$$Okay, all right. So, now how did you meet Gary U.S. Bonds?$$Well, for one thing he lived in my neighborhood (laughter). And he used to be in the neighborhood as a little kid. And mother used to bring him to the store; I used to see him down there with his mother [Irene Bonds] at the store. But what happened was I had done a recording in New York with Chuck Willis, a guy came and got in my house and heard about me and came and said Chuck Willis needed a saxophone player, this was around '56 [1956], '57 [1957]. And around '56 [1956], and he came and found me and said Chuck--so I didn't have a job and I just went over to Newport News [Virginia] and joined the band and went to New York with Chuck Willis and we made a demo, 'C.C. Rider' and then later Atlantic Records got, brought me into New York and I did the session, I played the solo on this segment, it became a big hit, 'C.C. Rider,' Chuck Willis.$$Right, I remember that, yeah.$$Well, I played the solo on it and then they brought me back and I played 'Dupree Blues' later. And so after that, things kind of quieted down for me and then Guida [Frank Guida], this guy that owned Legrand Records where U.S. Bonds was the maj- major artist for him, offered me a chance to record so I went with him. And then Gary was on that label and that's when I met Gary.$$Okay. Now I may have jumped ahead too far, but we'll get back to it, but your first recording that you--$$My first, yeah, my first recording was around fifty- 1955.$$Uh-huh.$$And I sent a, sent a--sent this record in, this tape into Chess Records and they liked it and put it out, a thing called 'Country.'$$Okay. This an instrumental, instrumental?$$Instrumental.$$Okay. And did it do pretty good?$$It went to number one hundred on the national charts, but what killed it was 'Honky Tonk.' So that instrumental, that instrumental grabbed all the attention of all the instrumentals that came out during that little period, during that year.$$Now that's Bill Doggett.$$Bill Doggett.$$So, okay, 'Honky Tonk' and that was the biggest instrumental that year.

George Duke

George Duke was born George Mac Duke on January 12, 1946, in San Rafael, California. Duke was raised in Marin City, a working class section of Marin County. After his mother took him to see Duke Ellington perform, he started studying the piano and began absorbing the roots of black music in his local Baptist church. Duke attended Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley. By the age of sixteen, Duke was playing with a number of high school jazz groups. He received his B.A. degree in music from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, majoring in trombone and composition with a minor in contrabass. He then obtained his M.A. degree in composition from San Francisco State University.

Duke first captured the attention of the jazz world with his collaboration with Jean-Luc Ponty and the album The Jean-Luc Ponty Experience with the George Duke Trio. In the early 1970s, Duke became known for his solo work as well as for his collaborations with other musicians, particularly Frank Zappa. Duke joined veteran jazzman Julian "Cannonball" Adderley in 1971. Through “Cannonball”, he was given the opportunity to meet and work with artists such as Nancy Wilson, Joe Williams, Dizzy Gillespie, Stanley Clarke, Flora Purim and Airto Moriera. In 1973, Duke rejoined Zappa and brought Jean-Luc Ponty with him. That band stayed together for the next three years, until Duke left to join forces with drummer Billy Cobham. In 1976, Duke became a solo artist and enjoyed success with a series of fusion-oriented LP's such as, From Me To You. In 1978, Duke’s funk heavy album Reach For It went gold and propelled him to the top of the music charts. A year later, he recorded his best known album, A Brazilian Love Affair. About the same time, Duke decided to begin a career in music producing. His breakthrough in producing came with an album by A Taste of Honey. The single, "Sukiyaki," went to Number 1 on the pop, adult contemporary and R & B charts, ultimately selling over two million copies. Duke went on to produce and collaborate with such artists as Jeffrey Osborne, Deniece Williams, Stanley Clarke, Barry Manilow, Smokey Robinson, The Pointer Sisters, Gladys Knight and Anita Baker. In addition, Duke has acted as musical director for numerous musical television specials, including the Soul Train Music Awards. During the 1990s, Duke also established a career in television and film scoring, working on the music for such films as The Five Heartbeats, Karate Kid III, Leap Of Faith, Good Fences and Never Die Alone. In 2001, Duke won a Grammy Award for producing the Best Jazz Vocal Album: Dianne Reeves’ In The Moment. In 2005, Duke served as artist and emcee for a special series of concerts in India as part of a delegation of American jazz musicians sent on a State Department tour to promote HIV/AIDS awareness.

Duke continues to both produce and release new albums, his latest being Dukey Treats in 2008. Duke is the recipient of numerous awards including multiple Grammy nominations, the Edison Life Time Achievement Award, and Keyboard Magazine’s "R&B Keyboardist of The Year."

George Duke passed away on August 5, 2013.

Accession Number

A2008.112

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/17/2008

Last Name

Duke

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Tamalpais High School

San Francisco Conservatory of Music

First Name

George

Birth City, State, Country

San Rafael

HM ID

DUK03

Favorite Season

Summer

State

California

Favorite Vacation Destination

Home

Favorite Quote

Be Still, And Know That I Am God.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

1/12/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pasta

Death Date

8/5/2013

Short Description

Jazz pianist and music producer George Duke (1946 - 2013 ) won multiple Grammy Awards. He worked with Frank Zappa and Jean-Luc Ponty before becoming a solo artist. Duke then collaborated with artists like Barry Manilow, The Pointer Sisters, Gladys Knight and Smokey Robinson. Duke composed film and television scores, and was musical director of the Soul Train Music Awards.

Employment

George Duke Productions

Epic Records

MPS Records

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:2475,63:7725,168:11550,252:11925,260:13050,278:29400,497:30040,583:37720,674:49574,839:56198,972:74095,1270:89820,1528:92784,1591:110554,1919:112845,1963:113398,1979:116242,2024:116716,2031:122009,2217:132687,2379:136968,2539:172540,3009:193895,3380:212347,3736:213400,3761:229750,4071:234950,4189:236630,4221:243006,4319:253818,4490:273280,4762$0,0:300,20:4875,149:5250,155:17686,353:28614,558:39627,712:42386,773:52455,1172:59595,1301:61125,1342:82150,1494:87460,1639:93726,1705:103798,1843:110428,2093:110740,2098:121146,2215:121458,2221:122004,2231:126294,2335:129492,2438:144460,2710:149465,2779:149850,2785:163670,2932:164144,2991:170701,3176:173390,3187
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of George Duke's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - George Duke lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - George Duke describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - George Duke describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - George Duke talks about the lynching of his maternal great-grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - George Duke describes his mother's education

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - George Duke describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - George Duke remembers his father's alcoholism

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - George Duke describes how he takes after his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - George Duke talks about his maternal relatives, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - George Duke talks about his maternal relatives, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - George Duke remembers seeing Duke Ellington in concert

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - George Duke remembers his early exposure to jazz

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - George Duke describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - George Duke describes the community of Marin City, California

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - George Duke talks about the instruments he played as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - George Duke remembers Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley, California

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - George Duke recalls enrolling at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - George Duke remembers the San Francisco Conservatory of Music

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - George Duke talks about the importance of musicianship

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - George Duke remembers the jazz scene in the San Francisco Bay Area, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - George Duke remembers the jazz scene in the San Francisco Bay Area, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - George Duke remembers his collaborations with Jean-Luc Ponty

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - George Duke talks about working with Frank Zappa and Cannonball Adderley

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - George Duke remembers meeting Brazilian musicians

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - George Duke remembers his collaborations with Billy Cobham

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - George Duke describes his early musical influences

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - George Duke remembers his early records

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - George Duke recalls his foray into funk music

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - George Duke remembers his transition to music production

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - George Duke remembers producing 'Let's Hear It for the Boy'

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - George Duke recalls working with Anita Baker and Luther Vandross

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - George Duke remembers his career in music production

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - George Duke remembers producing songs for Dianne Reeves and Miles Davis

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - George Duke remembers Miles Davis

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - George Duke reflects upon the significance of lyrics, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - George Duke remembers Bootsy Collins

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - George Duke reflects upon the significance of lyrics, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - George Duke remembers composing film scores

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - George Duke recalls composing music for television programs

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - George Duke talks about the jazz music industry

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - George Duke reflects upon his life

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - George Duke reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - George Duke talks about his family

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - George Duke describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - George Duke narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$4

DAStory

3$7

DATitle
George Duke remembers his transition to music production
George Duke remembers producing songs for Dianne Reeves and Miles Davis
Transcript
I started doing records with Stanley Clarke. Came up with the idea of this song called "Sweet Baby," which became the biggest hit I've ever had overall. It's kind of like a pop song. And of course my relationship with Stanley has developed over the years. We've done, what, three albums to the present, solo records. But at the same time--you see, all of this was going on kind of simultaneously--I began producing records. And so what happened is essentially I began by--early on, in 1968, actually, working with a group of Filipino girls. There were five of them. And they were like s- eleven to seventeen, and they were called The Third Wave. They have a record called 'Here And Now,' and I produced an album for them which came out only in Germany. And I said, man, I think I got a future in this. And so, fortunately I was able to do a record with, from--what's his name? [HistoryMaker] Larkin Arnold, who was then at Capitol Records, asked me to produce this guy who was a trombone player. I said, would be great. His name was Raul de Souza. And I had been working with Raul de Souza with Flora Purim. So I said, "I'd love to do it." So I did two albums with Raul. And I was a trombone player, so I understood. We, we, kind of had, we had a hit record, man. It was a thing called 'Sweet Lucy' in Germany, and became a big record, you know. And so we got a chance to do a second record. And then I was asked by a guy named Don Mizell to produce a vocal act who was [HistoryMaker] Dee Dee Bridgewater, which was the first vocal act I'd ever produced outside of The Third Wave, the vocal group. I really wasn't ready to do that. You know, musically I'd never done it, and I wasn't sure. And I apologized to Dee Dee over the years. But we did what we did. And then the big break came, I mean, the real big break, by a guy named Bobby Colomby, who was a former drummer with Blood, Sweat and Tears, who actually offered me to produce A Taste of Honey, which was a big disco group. Now, disco had become very strong at this time, and the funk thing had kind of died down. So I figured this whole producing thing might be a way for me, an alternate way for me to make a living.$$So this is like in the late '70s [1970s]?$$This is '80 [1980] now.$$Eighties [1980s], '80s [1980s]. Okay, Taste of Honey.$$Yeah, Taste of Honey, right after--what year did that record come out? It would have been seventy--I would say '78 [1978]. Yeah, yeah, '79 [1979] or '80 [1980], '78 [1978], '79 [1979], '80 [1980]. And they already had 'Boogie Oogie Oogie,' which was their big hit. So, Bobby Colomby, we were going to produce this record together, he decided to bow out. He said, "Yeah, I got other things to do. I'm a big record exec. You do this. You can do this." I was scared to death. I mean here I am working with a platinum selling artist, platinum. I had never--you know, I'm working with jazz artists; you don't sell those kind of numbers. So I walk in the studio, scared to death. Do the song. First single comes out, nothing happens. The second single comes out, nothing happens. So I'm like, oh, god, I've blown my career. Third single--Janice [Janice Marie Johnson], who was the bass player, kind of leader of the group, was a song called "Sukiyaki," which became a huge hit. It sold 2 million records. She says, "I know this is a hit record." And she had, she made the company sign a paper or something saying that if these first two singles come out and they don't happen, you must agree to put this record out, because I know it's a hit record. They said, "You're out of your mind." I thought she was out of her mind. Record came out and became a huge hit, and launched my production career. All of a sudden when you have a record--you know, it was a single--comes out and you sell those kind of numbers, the phone starts ringing. I got a call from Jeffrey Osborne. Jeffrey says, "I want you to come produce my album, man. I'm leaving L.T.D." And I'd known Jeffrey because we'd done some dates together, you know, with one of those funk tours, you know, where they have all of the R and B bands. And I was kind of the only kind of jazz R and B band in that, that crew. So, we did several records. One was 'On the Wings of Love,' (unclear) love, those kind of records, which were very strong for Jeffrey. I did 'Stay with Me Tonight,' and one other record after that. So we did three very, very, strong records, all of them Gold records. I think one of them went Platinum, or two. Don't remember now. Deniece Williams, we got, I started working with her. We did a song called, "Let's Hear It for the Boy," which became a huge hit. Thirteen million records later, now my phone's even ringing more.$And of course, I've always enjoyed working with my cousin, Dianne [HistoryMaker Dianne Reeves]. Now Miles was deep, too, producing these tracks for Miles Davis. You know, Miles called me on the phone one day and said, "Hey, hey, George [HistoryMaker George Duke]." I said, "Who is this?" He said, "This is Miles." And then he swore at me. I won't swear right now. He swore at me. I said, "Okay, what's up?" He says, "I want you to write me a song." I said, "Okay." He said, "I'm going to send you a tape, and I want you to write me something like that. Bye." And hung up. And he sent me this tape, and I listened to the tape. And I did this thing-- interesting thing. I did this thing, and I was working on it and Dianne Reeves walks in. She says, "What's that?" I said, "It's a track I'm putting together for Miles." She said, "Oh, no, no, no, this is going on my album." She said, "I need a track like this on my album." I said, "No, I'm writing this for Miles." She said, "Well, you got to call and tell him he can't have it. We family." I said, "You call Miles and tell him he can't have it." And so she said, "Come on, come on now." She put that Burrell charm on me. So I went out, called Miles on the phone. I said, "Miles?" He said, "Yeah. You finish my song?" I said, "Yeah, man, I got it. But there's only one problem." He says, "What?" I said, "You know Dianne Reeves? You know she's a--you know, she's a--." "Yeah, I know her." I said, "Well, she heard me while I was working on it." I said, "I got this other song for you." I said, "But this one, she really wants to use." He said, "Tell that bitch to get her own song." I said, "You know, Miles, look, this is family." I said, "Can you--?" Shit. Oh, he went off on her, you know, and then finally he gave it up. I said, "I got this," I said, "I got this other song, I'm going to send it to you later. If you don't like it, then I'll get this other song back for you." So he said, okay, he hung up. I gave the song to Dianne, it was nominated for a Grammy [Grammy Award], actually, a song called "Fumilayo." It didn't win, but it was nominated. And then I sent Miles the other song and he wound up using that, which was called "Backyard Ritual," which was a song that was on the 'Tutu' album, which kind of set the tone for what that album was going to be. Because he was looking, Miles was looking for something. And though that was a demo--you know, I sent it to him in a demo form. And I thought we'd go in the studio and record it, and Miles--I said, I asked him when he was going to go and record it, and he said, "I'm done." I said, "Done?" I said, "We ain't recorded it yet." I said, I said, "What I sent you was a demo." He said, "I like it, because it sound funny." I said, "Yeah, Miles, but that's, that's a demo," you know, those little old stupid saxophone synthesizer sound. He said, "I like it, it sounds funny. I'm going to leave it like that." So I was like, oh, my god. My first time--my hero, working with Miles Davis, and he's putting a demo on the album. I couldn't believe it. And that's exactly what happened. So, it was an odd experience.

Camara Kambon

Music composer and music producer Camara Yero Kambon was born on February 4, 1973, in Baltimore, Maryland to Anana Maisha Kambon, a preschool teacher, and Kwame Sietu Kambon, an artist. At the age of two, Kambon started studying drums. He moved to the piano at age four and composed his first musical riffs by the age of six. While living in Baltimore, Maryland, Kambon attended Cross Country Elementary and attended Fallstaff Middle School where he began to play other instruments besides the piano. After graduating from middle school, Kambon attended St. Paul's School for Boys in Lutherville, Maryland. In 1983, Kambon enrolled in the Peabody Preparatory School in Baltimore, studying jazz, classical piano and composition. Kambon graduated from Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts in 1994 where he studied music production, music engineering and film scoring. While there, he composed music for the Emmy nominated films, Dancing: New Worlds, New Forms and Malcolm X: Make it Plain.

In 1996, Kambon won an Emmy Award for the music he composed for the HBO film, Sonny Liston: The Mysterious Life and Death of a Champion. At the age of twenty-three, he was the youngest composer ever to receive a national Emmy Award. Kambon then became head of Inflx Entertainment, a musical production company in Hollywood, California, specializing in film, television and records. Kambon has worked as the composer for two television series, A Different World and Living Single. He has also worked as a keyboard player for producer and rapper, Dr. Dre. In addition, Kambon composed Korikabaya, which was performed by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.

In 1998, Kambon received his second Emmy nomination for the HBO documentary, Where Have You Gone Joe DiMaggio? Kambon received three Grammy nominations in 2001 for co-writing the Mary J. Blige hit, Family Affair; for his keyboard work on Nelly Furtado’s Whoa, Nelly!; and for his contribution to Eve’s album, Scorpion. Two years later, Kambon received another Emmy nomination for A City on Fire: Tigers of ’68.

Camara Yero Kambon was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 18, 2008.

Accession Number

A2008.111

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/17/2008

Last Name

Kambon

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Cross Country Elementary

Fallstaff Elementary

St. Paul Lutheran School

Berklee College of Music

First Name

Camara

Birth City, State, Country

Baltimore

HM ID

KAM02

Favorite Season

January, February

State

Maryland

Favorite Vacation Destination

Mexico

Favorite Quote

Follow Through.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

2/4/1973

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Tofu

Short Description

Music composer and music producer Camara Kambon (1973 - ) was nominated for both Grammy and Emmy Awards for his musical compositions. He worked with Dr. Dre, Mary J. Blige, and Nelly Furtado and won Emmy Awards for his musical work on the HBO film, "Sonny Liston: The Mysterious Life and Death of a Champion," and the HBO documentary, "Where Have You Gone Joe DiMaggio?"

Employment

Inflx Entertainment

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
0,0:246,3:574,8:1230,22:5084,89:5494,95:7544,124:10086,184:17074,240:17662,247:19260,254:27602,379:28666,396:31056,420:35796,458:41203,515:50580,645:62636,771:63133,780:65831,840:66186,846:111520,1232:111900,1237:116555,1302:117695,1318:122248,1348:122643,1354:123196,1362:123591,1369:125408,1401:127640,1416:128270,1424:133032,1467:133356,1481:133923,1490:134490,1499:135381,1508:136677,1530:140160,1584:140646,1591:141537,1604:146300,1618:148825,1631:149275,1639:150400,1662:150850,1669:151900,1686:160570,1780:165590,1813:167110,1839:168790,1869:169270,1876:171190,1906:171510,1911:172070,1920:172390,1925:173910,1952:174470,1960:175190,1990:179625,2014:180401,2025:185057,2114:185542,2139:193640,2199$0,0:2376,86:7704,224:23260,451:24052,463:24340,468:25564,489:26140,506:26572,513:28300,535:28876,543:29452,552:41690,618:41990,623:42290,628:42590,633:43115,641:45965,708:47690,733:50915,783:51440,792:52490,816:52790,821:57574,847:57890,852:58680,863:59312,872:60813,884:61524,894:62156,904:63690,910:64380,917:68977,974:69847,986:70978,1003:71413,1010:73501,1039:74284,1049:76807,1097:80700,1122:81190,1134:81540,1140:82100,1150:83780,1177:84200,1184:84550,1190:85390,1209:88680,1281:89100,1288:89450,1294:89730,1299:90010,1304:91550,1339:91830,1344:95610,1427:97850,1470:98480,1482:98760,1487:99950,1513:100580,1523:107700,1558:109260,1578:110664,1596:111756,1613:112614,1625:115500,1692:115968,1699:127968,1882:128280,1887:132258,1956:134832,2007:135768,2020:136158,2029:137094,2035:137874,2052:138576,2062:144760,2074:147130,2121:147525,2127:155490,2241:156843,2254:158690,2301:159140,2309:159815,2320:160640,2332:163040,2377:163490,2384:165065,2416:165440,2422:166490,2432:166790,2437:167690,2461:168140,2468:168590,2475:171215,2528:171590,2534:178666,2598:181491,2631:186011,2702:189627,2755:205554,2968:207490,2998:208018,3006:236870,3292
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Camara Kambon's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Camara Kambon lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Camara Kambon describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Camara Kambon talks about his maternal family's origin in Prince George's County, Maryland

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Camara Kambon describes his mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Camara Kambon describes his mother's religious upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Camara Kambon talks about his mother's political activism

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Camara Kambon describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Camara Kambon describes his relationship with his father's family

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Camara Kambon talks about his parents' involvement in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Camara Kambon describes how his parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Camara Kambon describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Camara Kambon describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Camara Kambon remembers his neighborhood in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Camara Kambon describes his early interest in music

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Camara Kambon recalls the music of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Camara Kambon remembers learning to read music

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Camara Kambon talks about studying the Agnihotra

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Camara Kambon remembers his music lessons

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Camara Kambon recalls his early musical performances

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Camara Kambon remembers meeting Alice Coltrane

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Camara Kambon talks about his influential male relatives

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Camara Kambon remembers his grade school experiences

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Camara Kambon recalls performing with Dizzy Gillespie, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Camara Kambon recalls performing with Dizzy Gillespie, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Camara Kambon talks about his musical influences

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Camara Kambon recalls his family's support of his musical endeavors

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Camara Kambon recalls studying classical and South American music

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Camara Kambon remembers St. Paul's School in Brooklandville, Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Camara Kambon describes his extracurricular activities

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Camara Kambon remembers his musical mentors

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Camara Kambon recalls performing in New York City

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$1

DAStory

4$7

DATitle
Camara Kambon recalls performing with Dizzy Gillespie, pt. 2
Camara Kambon talks about his mother's political activism
Transcript
At that time I didn't realize that you know jazz musicians you could go through you know three sets before--and that's your show. You usually do those three sets and then that's your show. You know so when we get to the second set or the second break, after I'm like oh he's not gonna call, he's not gonna--maybe he forgot all about me. He's not gonna ask me up. Well at the beginning of the third set, he says, "At this time I'd like to bring one of my friends up," and he mispronounces my name, but it didn't matter well because he called me up on the stage. He says, "He's gonna play 'St. Thomas' for us." And so I get up and hear, now this is a hardcore jazz crowd like I mean Dizzy [Dizzy Gillespie] has been swinging you know like the whole night you so here this kid comes up eleven years old and you can hear rumblings in the crowd like, "Oh we don't really wanna hear a kid, we're here to see Dizzy," you can hear. Nobody's really saying anything but you can hear the rumblings. And so he looks over to me and turns to his right, he give me a signal, "Go ahead." And I'm like but there's nobody playing, there's nobody playing. "Go ahead." So I start (humming) and the band comes in on the bridge, (humming) and then they put the little Afro Cuban thing klink, klink it was, it was magical, it was magical. And that was one of those moments that I think, when I think about it in retrospect was totally consistent with how I would manage to move from point to point to point to point in search of you know in reaching and excelling to achieve my goals you know. Taking advantage of opportunities that you may have an expectation or not but taking advantage of the opportunity puts you in the right frame of mind to, to, to reap benefits from it and being at that show the weekend before and going up to the owner and asking if I could perform and coming back and following through to come back the next time and having the strong support from my mother [Anana Kambon] also was invaluable and that was a story you know that when I told so many people this story you know but it's definitely a story that I would feel, that I feel defines the path that, that I've taken you know.$Well, are there any stories that your mother [Anana Kambon] shared with you about her life growing up or what it was like for her in the--$$As far as?$$Growing up in Baltimore [Maryland]? I mean did, you know, what did she like to do? Did she have any particular talents, gifts or, or what her friends were like or anything?$$Well I mean there was--her experience was, was pretty diverse. I mean I think that probably one of the things that's more significant than anything is the fact that there was a strong connection in, in the African American community and that's something that's we, we don't tend to see as much like that anymore where the support. I mean when you think of things like the Harlem Renaissance and you hear about the camaraderie and the kind of family unit that was established during that time between artists, a lot of that existed in families because the political climate I think really encouraged us to be that way you know. Encouraged us to support one another you know from a family unit you know and the political dynamics you know really encouraged that. So I think that when, when my mother ever talks about her experience growing up, she always talks about you know the kinds of you know interaction she had with her cousins you know and the family units that were always there, going here, going on this trip with the cousins and everybody was together and then, and then she would talk about how she would have that but then she would go to high school where it was a lot different because you know you had, it was a predominantly white school and so the dynamic was, was drastically different than you know being, being at home or being around your, around your cousins.$$Okay.$$Um-hm.$$Now she, she came of age during the time of the urban rebellions, death of Dr. King [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.]--$$Um-hm.$$--you know did she talk about that kind of thing to you about you know did she?$$Yeah I mean there was no way that you couldn't be affected you know, by the time. I think that my mother's political involvement really happened in the '70s [1970s]. I mean I think that the '50s [1950s] and the '60s [1960s] it was her time when she was--well the '60s [1960s] she was a teen but that was her parents' [Yolanda Proctor and Leon J. Proctor] time to really get politically active. It was in the '70s [1970s] that she really started to hone in. I mean the early twenties, late teens you know when she really became active and really started to articulate you know her voice politically you know. And you know that was yeah that was just after you know Malcom X was, was assassinated and there were a lot of things that were happening in the late '60s [1960s] and that encouraged her to, to get involved.$$Yeah Malcom X in '65 [1965], Dr. King in '68 [1968].$$Yeah.$$I know there were riots in Baltimore right after Dr. King was killed. I just wondered what you know her impressions of some of those things were. But, tell us, tell now tell us about your--oh what year did your mother graduate from Mercy [Mercy High School, Baltimore, Maryland]? Was it about '71 [1971] or so?$$Maybe '70 [1970], maybe I couldn't tell you for sure. Yeah I couldn't tell you for sure.$$Fifty-three [1953] seems like it would be about '71 [1971].

H. B. Barnum

Legendary music producer and arranger H. B. Barnum has worked with an extraordinary cross-spectrum of performers in his long career. Barnum was born Hidle Brown Barnum, Jr., on July 15, 1936, in Houston, Texas. At age four, he won a nationwide talent contest for his singing and piano playing, which launched a film and radio career that included appearances on Amos ‘n’ Andy and The Jack Benny Program. Barnum recorded his first solo album at the age of fourteen as Pee Wee Barnum. He attended Manual Arts High School in Los Angeles, California.

In 1955, Barnum co-founded the short-lived doo-wop group, The Dootones, at the request of Dootone label owner, Dootsie Williams. When the group broke up, he joined another doo-wop group, The Robins. Barnum began producing for The Robins in 1958, and also recorded a single on his own. Barnum had his first major hit as a producer when Dodie Stevens’ “Tan Shoes and Pink Shoelaces” reached the U.S. Top 5 in 1959. Although he recorded three albums during the 1960s – The Record, The Big Voice of Barnum – H. B., That Is, and Everyone Loves H. B. – Barnum, That Is – as well as the hit single “Lost Love,” his work as a producer and an arranger began to outpace his musical career. Barnum’s reputation flourished after he joined Capitol Records, where he often worked in collaboration with producer and longtime friend David Axelrod, forging an innovative orchestral jazz-funk sensibility much copied and sampled in later decades. Barnum has arranged for many notable musicians including Gladys Knight & The Pips, Johnny Bristol, Lamont Dozier, Jimmy Norman, Aretha Franklin, Count Basie, Etta James, Nancy Wilson, Martha Reeves, The Temptations, The Jackson 5, The Marvelettes, O.C. Smith, Frank Sinatra, Lou Rawls, The Supremes, Al Wilson, B.B. King and Puff Daddy. By the mid-1970s, Barnum switched from pop music to television, scoring countless series and specials in addition to composing numerous advertising jingles. He won international awards for his musical compositions for commercials. Barnum has claimed to be responsible for around 100 gold LPs and 160 gold singles.

Beginning in 1967, Barnum has held an annual Thanksgiving dinner for the homeless in his Los Angeles community. In 1981, he founded and began directing H. B. Barnum’s Life Choir, a large well-known gospel group that assists him in helping feed nearly one thousand needy people every Thanksgiving. Barnum has also served as minister of music at St. Paul’s Baptist Church of Los Angeles.

Accession Number

A2008.110

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/16/2008

Last Name

Barnum

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Manual Arts High School

Utah Street Elementary School

First Name

H.B.

Birth City, State, Country

Houston

HM ID

BAR11

Favorite Season

None

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Golfing

Favorite Quote

Praise The Lord.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

7/15/1936

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Cobbler (Peach)

Short Description

Music producer H. B. Barnum (1936 - ) has arranged music for many notable jazz, R & B and pop musicians over several decades, and has won international awards for his musical compositions for commercials.

Employment

Little Star Records

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
0,0:3880,52:14840,352:20376,470:38090,821:38525,827:46007,1025:46442,1031:51322,1123:74884,1610:83090,1676:86015,1766:86540,1775:91179,1818:92559,1849:96915,1898:97340,2010:101080,2088:114170,2394:116295,2433:131508,2625:149384,2892:155754,3030:160304,3148:169905,3297:171440,3305$0,0:12902,192:20376,569:30886,669:44400,861:45008,894:48580,1009:50328,1043:63790,1199:67054,1236:67418,1241:68055,1250:68692,1259:69420,1269:69875,1275:70239,1280:72787,1341:77920,1430:92640,1905:100760,2000
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of H. B. Barnum's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - H. B. Barnum lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - H. B. Barnum describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - H. B. Barnum talks about his mother's dreams and aspirations

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - H. B. Barnum talks about his father's family background and career

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - H. B. Barnum remembers leaving Texas with his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - H. B. Barnum remembers becoming a child radio actor in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - H. B. Barnum describes the Aliso Village in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - H. B. Barnum describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - H. B. Barnum describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - H. B. Barnum remembers his mother's jobs

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - H. B. Barnum rememberrs Eddie "Rochester" Anderson and Nick Stewart

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - H. B. Barnum describes his extracurricular activities

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - H. B. Barnum remembers Hollenbeck Junior High School in Los Angeles, California, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - H. B. Barnum remembers Hollenbeck Junior High School in Los Angeles, California, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - H. B. Barnum describes the fights between students at Hollenback Junior High School

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - H. B. Barnum recalls registering at Manual Arts High School in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - H. B. Barnum recalls meeting his childhood mentor

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - H. B. Barnum recalls his early musical talent

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - H. B. Barnum remembers playing on the football team at Manual Arts High School, Los Angeles, California

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - H. B. Barnum remembers his early aspirations

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - H. B. Barnum remembers playing in bands as a teenager

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - H. B. Barnum talks about H. B. Barnum and the Circats

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - H. B. Barnum remembers his early touring experiences

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - H. B. Barnum describes his experiences of racial discrimination in Tennessee, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - H. B. Barnum describes his experiences of racial discrimination in Tennessee, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - H. B. Barnum recalls being stopped by the police in Florida

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - H. B. Barnum describes an experience of discriminatory policing in Sanderson, Texas

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - H. B. Barnum remembers performing with The Dootones

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - H. B. Barnum remembers his start as a music arranger

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - H. B. Barnum talks about his record labels

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - H. B. Barnum remembers writing the arrangement of 'Pink Shoe Laces'

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - H. B. Barnum recalls his attempt to play at country music club in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - H. B. Barnum remembers his recordings in the late 1950s

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - H. B. Barnum talks about his music's popularity in Europe

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - H. B. Barnum remembers serving as Dinah Washington's pianist

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - H. B. Barnum remembers recording Lou Rawls' 'Live!' album

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - H. B. Barnum recalls recording the music of O.C. Smith

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - H. B. Barnum remembers his work with the O'Jays

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - H. B. Barnum recalls buying a home in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles, California, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - H. B. Barnum recalls buying a home in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles, California, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - H. B. Barnum talks about his annual Thanksgiving dinner

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - H. B. Barnum remembers his paternal aunt

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - H. B. Barnum talks about writing musical arrangements for commercials

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - H. B. Barnum remembers establishing the LIFE Choir

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - H. B. Barnum describes the LIFE choir

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - H. B. Barnum reflects upon the lessons of older generations

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - H. B. Barnum talks about his musical arrangement clientele

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - H. B. Barnum remembers learning to write music arrangements

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - H. B. Barnum reflects upon the universality of music

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - H. B. Barnum remembers conducting the Cincinnati Orchestra

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - H. B. Barnum recalls meeting Placido Domingo's conductor

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - H. B. Barnum talks about the politics of musicians' contracts

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - H. B. Barnum describes his sister's career

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - H. B. Barnum talks about his early musical performances

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - H. B. Barnum remembers an Aretha Franklin show in Paris, France, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - H. B. Barnum remembers an Aretha Franklin show in Paris, France, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - H. B. Barnum remembers dealing with gangsters at Aretha Franklin's concerts

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - H. B. Barnum reflects upon his life

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - H. B. Barnum reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - H. B. Barnum talks about his family

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - H. B. Barnum describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$5

DAStory

2$2

DATitle
H. B. Barnum recalls his early musical talent
H. B. Barnum remembers recording Lou Rawls' 'Live!' album
Transcript
So, the next thing that happened was (makes sound), that tuba I was carrying was heavy and cold--that old tuba, you know, and I only weighed 125 pounds. So I went up to Mr. Ferrar [John Ferrar (ph.)], "Mr. Ferrar," I say, "I don't wanna play the tuba anymore." He say, "Why not?" I say, "Because I, I wanna play something else." He say, "Well, you can't play anything else." I say, "But I could learn something else." He said, "How you gonna learn it?" I said, I said, "Can I, can I take something home and learn?" He say, "Yeah. Are you gonna learn by yourself?" I say, "Yes, sir." He says, "What are you wanna learn?" I say, I say, "What do you need in the band?" He say, "We need clarinets." I say, "Can I, can I take a clarinet home?" He say, "Yeah, you can take it home." He just laughed, you know. About three weeks later, somebody else was carrying the tuba, and I was playing with the clarinets. I mean I went home and just got that thing and looked at the book and (demonstrates). So this began a whole thing with me because Mr. Ferrar, he would challenge me to things, you know. Like, like he would say, "Aw, look, they need a--there's gonna be an opening in the all-city orchestra for French horn next semester." I say, "Ooh, you think I could do it?" He said, "Nah, you couldn't do it." I say, "Well, can I borrow a French horn?" "Yes, sir." And next year, I was in this all-city orchestra playing French horn. And that's the way I learned how to play different instruments; it was almost like, it was almost like somebody learning languages; I could learn instruments by myself, and I could've just played in the orchestra at school and then play in the all-city orchestra and, and I, I developed piano playing by just sitting down and learning, and it was, it was almost like a game, you know. But I can see what he did--now I can see it; I couldn't see it then. So--and I used to hate him 'cause sometime he'd make me feel--I mean he--you know, he'd say, "How do you think you're gonna learn that? It takes people years to learn something like that," you know. I say, "Well I--can I, can I take it home?" I even took a bass home one time, and I didn't get home 'til almost eleven o'clock 'cause nobody would pick me up in--hitchhiking, you know. So I had to wait 'til almost eleven o'clock 'til a guy on the bus--streetcar let me get on with the, with the bass. 'Cause when I was with people, you know, he would make it--so I really--I mean Mr. Ferrar was a guy that just, just drove me, drove me, drove me, and drove me.$$Now, how many instruments did you learn how to play?$$Well, in high school [Manual Arts High School, Los Angeles, California] I learned how to play French horn, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, harp, all--the percussion stuff was easy 'cause just a matter of (demonstrates), you know. So, I could basically play anything that there is to play, you know. So--and I got good enough where I could, you know, I couldn't do no, no solos, but if I had to sit in a section and play a part, I could do that 'cause I could read very good, you know--read the music very good. So that, that kind of got me through school, you know--that and playing a little football, running a little track and stuff. I didn't have to go to too many classes.$I've had some, you know--Lou Rawls. I mean Lou and I met--Lou--I knew Lou but I didn't really know him. I knew who he was and everything. He was coming out of Capitol [Capitol Records] one night and--on the elevator, and he, he gets on the elevator, you know, "Hey, man, how you, how you doing?" You know. And he was looking a little sad. I said, "What's the matter?" He said, "I just got dropped from Capitol." This is after he was on an album with Onzy Matthews--good album, but he wasn't selling any records. Lou--I say, "Well, man, you can't drop you like that; come on back upstairs." This was--my friend, Dave Axelrod [David Axelrod] had just got hired that day at Capitol, A and R [artists and repertoire] man. So I went up and said, "Hey man, Dave, you--man, they dropped my man; you gotta take of him, man." I didn't really know Lou. Dave said, "I can't sign him at--man, they just dropped him. I'll sign him, I'm just here--they'll fire me the first day." I said--and Dave and I have been friends for life, and we're, we're like brothers now. I said, "Man, are you my friend or not?" Dave said, "Man." So Dave came up with a great idea. "We'll cut a demo, just use four musicians." And that way he can get some money to save his house and stuff like that, you know. And the money from the demo'll take care of that. And throughout the thing, we got to talking and thought about inviting people in, some of them--had people sit around and be there; it was a live album--biggest album he ever had.$$Now, that, that Lou Rawls album, 'Live!' where he talks and that sort of thing, about Walgreens [Walgreens Company] (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) That's right, that's right, that's right.$$--and Chicago [Illinois], the hawk, and all that?$$And all that stuff--that talk and stuff didn't--that's not Lou's stuff; that stuff came from Johnny Watson. Johnny Watson was doing that long before--you know. But they, they were great friends, it's, it's all right, you know.

BeBe Winans

Music producer, R&B singer, songwriter and gospel singer BeBe Winans was born Benjamin Winans on September 17, 1962 in Detroit, Michigan. He, along with his nine siblings, started singing in the choir at Mount Zion Church of God and Christ in Detroit. All of the Winans brothers and sisters were talented singers and contributed greatly to the church choir, in which both Winans parents also performed.

Winans began his career as a background singer for his famous brothers,The Winans. He and his sister, CeCe, joined the television show Praise the Lord as the “PTL Singers” in 1982 and released their first record, “Lord Lift Us Up”, in 1984. BeBe and CeCe Winans eventually recorded five albums together including the self titled BeBe & CeCe Winans (1987), Heaven (1988), Different Lifestyles (1991), First Christmas (1993), and Relationships (1994). BeBe recorded numerous solo albums including BeBe Winans (1997), Love & Freedom (2000), Live and Up Close (2002), My Christmas Prayer (2004), and Dream (2006), which features the single “I Have A Dream.” The song uses samples from the historic speech by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the 1963 March on Washington along with Winans’ singing of some of its passages. Winans has also recorded songs with such entertainers as Stevie Wonder, Brian McKnight, Whitney Houston. In 2004, Winans made his film debut with a role in the remake of The Manchurian Candidate, featuring actors Denzel Washington and Meryl Streep. He also starred in the off-Broadway touring musical production of King Solomon Lives, A Nubian Love Story. Winans previously starred on Broadway in the shows Civil War and Don’t Get God Started and the national tour of What’s On the Hearts of Men.

In 2007, Winans began hosting his own nationally syndicated radio program, The BeBe Winans Radio Show. As an R&B and Gospel vocalist, writer, and producer, Winans has won four Grammy Awards, ten Dove Awards, six Stellar Awards, two NAACP Image Awards and a Soul Train Music Award.

BeBe Winans was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 2, 2007

Accession Number

A2007.317

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/2/2007

Last Name

Winans

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Organizations
Schools

Macdowell Elementary School

Pasteur Elementary School

Samuel C. Smith High School

Beaubien Junior High School

First Name

Bebe

Birth City, State, Country

Detroit

HM ID

WIN06

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

Michigan

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii

Favorite Quote

I Can Do All Things Through Christ That Strengthens Me.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Tennessee

Interview Description
Birth Date

9/17/1962

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Nashville

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Music producer, songwriter, and singer BeBe Winans (1962 - ) was one of the premier contemporary Gospel singers in America. Winans was the winner of four Grammy Awards, ten Dove Awards, six Stellar Awards, two NAACP Image Awards and a Soul Train Music Award, and appeared in an assortment of movies, television shows, and Broadway productions throughout his career.

Employment

PTL Records

Capitol Records, Inc.

Atlantic Recording Corporation

Motown Records

Sparrow Records

Hidden Beach Recordings

Movement Group

Praise the Lord Club

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of BeBe Winans' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - BeBe Winans lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - BeBe Winans talks about his parents' marriage

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - BeBe Winans describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - BeBe Winans recalls his maternal grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - BeBe Winans describes his mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - BeBe Winans remembers his mother's career and how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - BeBe Winans describes his father's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - BeBe Winans describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - BeBe Winans remembers his neighborhood in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - BeBe Winans recalls his father's friendship with Sam Cooke and Lou Rawls

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - BeBe Winans describes the influence of his father's musical career

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - BeBe Winans lists his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - BeBe Winans recalls his sixteenth birthday celebration

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - BeBe Winans describes his home life

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - BeBe Winans recalls the role of religion in his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - BeBe Winans talks about his parents' musical talent

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - BeBe Winans remembers his influential elementary school teacher

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - BeBe Winans recalls his academic mentors, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - BeBe Winans recalls his academic mentors, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - BeBe Winans remembers his high school principal

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - BeBe Winans describes his early personality

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - BeBe Winans describes his aspiration to become a musician

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - BeBe Winans reflects upon his grade school experiences

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - BeBe Winans talks about his musical influences

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - BeBe Winans recalls his parents' support of his musical aspirations

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - BeBe Winans describes his musical training

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - BeBe Winans remembers his family's biannual holiday concerts

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - BeBe Winans talks about his family's musical groups

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - BeBe Winans recalls his move to Charlotte, North Carolina, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - BeBe Winans recalls his move to Charlotte, North Carolina, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - BeBe Winans remembers joining the Praise the Lord Club

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - BeBe Winans remembers managing his finances from an early age

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - BeBe Winans recalls purchasing his first car

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - BeBe Winans remembers recording 'Up Where We Belong'

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - BeBe Winans describes the success of 'Up Where We Belong'

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - BeBe Winans talks about his experiences with the Praise the Lord Club

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - BeBe Winans describes his relationship with his sister, Priscilla Winans Love

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - BeBe Winans remembers his social life in Charlotte, North Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - BeBe Winans recalls the formation of his act, BeBe and CeCe

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - BeBe Winans remembers the success of BeBe and CeCe

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - BeBe Winans talks about performing as BeBe and CeCe

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - BeBe Winans reflects upon his career with the Praise the Lord Club

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - BeBe Winans talks about his relationship with Jim Bakker and Tammy Faye Bakker

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - BeBe Winans recalls the responses to the success of BeBe and CeCe, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - BeBe Winans recalls the responses to the success of BeBe and CeCe, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - BeBe Winans remembers recording 'Heaven'

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - BeBe Winans reflects upon the support of his family

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - BeBe Winans describes his songwriting process

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

8$5

DATitle
BeBe Winans remembers his family's biannual holiday concerts
BeBe Winans describes the success of 'Up Where We Belong'
Transcript
One of the things, you know, we talked about the Grammy Awards and all those things, and aspiring to, to do that. One of the things my father [David Winans, Sr.] did, and you get asked by a lot of aspiring artists what to do. One of the things that was so important that I look back on it and say, my father is, you know, is due a lot of respect for was, he would take his hard earned money, hard earned money and he would put on concerts. He would put on local concerts, and we, we saw those local concerts build and build and build. Mother's Day, people would expect the Winans family going to give a family concert, and on Christmas we would give concerts, and it became regional concerts. And so, about time the national contracts came in to record we were ready. We knew how to stand on stage, we knew how to position ourselves and how to display what we felt. You know, I think it's so important that you feel what you sing. And so, my father did that. He sacrificed, like I said, they nurtured us. But other than outside of just nurturing they supported our talent. So--$$So your concerts were held every year at, was it seasonal (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Twice a year.$$--like Easter and Christmas, or?$$It was Mother's Day. You know, Easter we would--we had some Easter concerts, but Easter was most of the time we would be at church [Mack Avenue Church of God in Christ; Zion Congregational Church of God in Christ, Detroit, Michigan] and had different programs there. But we were known for Mother's Day concerts and Christmas concerts.$$And these were held where?$$These were held at Ford Auditorium [Henry and Edsel Ford Memorial Auditorium, Detroit, Michigan]. Sometimes--when we first started it was in high schools, and we just build, and build, and build.$$And you'd sell tickets?$$Sell tickets. My mother [Delores Ransom Winans] was so funny, too. My mother is the queen of worry, and what I mean by that is that we would have these concerts that at this point we would sell out all the time. And my mother--I remember one particular time, she was nervous. It was like the concert was sold out at one of the halls and she was like, "Well, Ma, it's sold out, you don't have to worry." She said, "I know, but you know, I wonder if the weather--." "Ma, it's going to be sunshine." "I know, but I wonder if they gonna really come." "Ma, when people buy tickets, they usually come," (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) They're gonna come.$$But she was always worrying for us.$$Now, was it just the Winans family that appeared on the concerts or did you hire other artists (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Most of--most of the time it was the Winans family because, understand, it was like three entities with the Winans family. There was my brothers, the older brothers, The Winans; and we were The Winans, Part Two, the younger siblings; and every now and then we would have various other gospel groups and singers from the Detroit [Michigan] area. Like, Vanessa Bell Armstrong and The Clark Sisters.$$So these concerts took place in what year? What year did they start?$$These concerts started in the '70s [1970s].$$Okay.$$I would say in 1975, '74 [1974] (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) So by then The Winans was a group already?$$Yes.$I remember people started calling in to PTL [Praise the Lord Club] and asking me and CeCe [Priscilla Winans Love] to come out and sing at various churches and various events, conventions, and it was, like, "Oh, man." So we accepted one and we, maybe three days before we left, we realized we didn't know any duet songs. None of the songs we had was duet other than the song, 'Love Lift Us Up' [sic. 'Up Where We Belong'] so we're like, "Oh, we gotta--we gotta create some duets." So we created some duets of songs that normally I would sing by myself or she would sing by herself. And we went to this one place in New Jersey. And right before we went on to sing, I looked at her, we were behind a--in the office--I looked at her and I said, "Okay, so you do all the talking." She looked at me saying, "No, I'm not talking, you do all the talking." I say, "I'm not talking."$$So you hadn't even discussed the show?$$Had not discussed anything. And we're going back and forth saying, "No, you, you, you." And then they said, "BeBe [HistoryMaker BeBe Winans] and CeCe" (laughter). And so we were going out there just saying, "Hi, I'm BeBe and this is CeCe, and we're going to sing some songs." That was it. It was, like, oh, this is scary.

Quincy Jones

An impresario in the broadest and most creative sense of the word, Quincy Jones’ career has encompassed the roles of composer, record producer, artist, film producer, arranger, conductor, instrumentalist, television producer, record company executive, magazine founder and multi-media entrepreneur. As a master inventor of musical hybrids, he has shuffled pop, soul, hip-hop, jazz, classical, African and Brazilian music into many dazzling fusions, traversing virtually every medium, including records, live performance, movies and television.

Quincy Jones was born on March 14, 1933, in Chicago, Illinois, and brought up in Seattle, Washington. While in junior high school, Jones began studying trumpet and sang in a Gospel quartet at age twelve. His musical studies continued at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, where he remained until the opportunity arose to tour with Lionel Hampton’s band as a trumpeter, arranger and sometime-pianist. He moved on to New York and the musical “big leagues” in 1951, where his reputation as an arranger grew. By the mid-1950s, he was arranging and recording for such diverse artists as Sarah Vaughan, Ray Charles, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, and Dinah Washington.

In 1957, Jones decided to continue his musical education by studying with Nadia Boulanger, the legendary Parisian tutor to American expatriate composers such as Leonard Bernstein and Aaron Copeland. To subsidize his studies, he took a job with Barclay Disques, Mercury’s French distributor. Among the artists he recorded in Europe were Charles Aznavour, Jacques Brel and Henri Salvador, as well as such visitors from America as Sarah Vaughan, Billy Eckstine and Andy Williams. Jones’ love affair with European audiences continues through the present: in 1991, he began a continuing association with the Montreux Jazz and World Music Festival, which he serves as co-producer.

Jones won the first of his many Grammy Awards in 1963 for his Count Basie arrangement of “I Can’t Stop Loving You.” Jones’ three-year musical association as conductor and arranger with Frank Sinatra in the mid-1960s also teamed him with Basie for the classic Sinatra At The Sands, containing the famous arrangement of “Fly Me To The Moon.”

When he became vice-president at Mercury Records in 1961, Jones became the first high-level black executive of an established major record company. Toward the end of his association with the label, Jones turned his attention to another musical area that had been closed to blacks--the world of film scores. In 1963, he started work on the music for Sidney Lumet’s The Pawnbroker, and it was the first of his thirty-three major motion picture scores. In 1985, he co-produced Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, which won eleven Oscar nominations, introduced Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey to film audiences, and marked Jones’ debut as a film producer.

In 1990, Jones formed Quincy Jones Entertainment (QJE), a co-venture with Time Warner, Inc. The new company, which Jones served as CEO and chairman, produced NBC Television’s Fresh Prince Of Bel Air (now in syndication), and UPN’s In The House and Fox Television’s Mad TV. He is also the publisher of VIBE Magazine (as well as founder), SPIN and Blaze magazines. Also in 1990, his life and career were chronicled in the critically acclaimed Warner Bros. film, Listen Up: The Lives of Quincy Jones, produced by Courtney Sale Ross.

In 1994, Quincy Jones led a group of businessmen, including Hall of Fame football player Willie Davis, television producer Don Cornelius, television journalist Geraldo Rivera and businesswoman Sonia Gonsalves Salzman in the formation of Qwest Broadcasting, a minority controlled broadcasting company which purchased television stations in Atlanta and New Orleans for approximately $167 million, establishing it as one of the largest minority owned broadcasting companies in the United States. Quincy served as chairman and CEO of Qwest Broadcasting. In 1999, taking advantage of the rapid escalation of broadcast station values, Jones and his partners sold Qwest Broadcasting for a reported $270 million. In 1997, Quincy Jones formed the Quincy Jones Media Group.

The laurels, awards and accolades have been innumerable: Quincy has won an Emmy Award for his score of the of the opening episode of the landmark TV miniseries, Roots, seven Oscar nominations, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, twenty-seven Grammy Awards, and N.A.R.A.S.’ prestigious Trustees’ Award and The Grammy Living Legend Award. He is the all-time most nominated Grammy artist with a total of seventy-nine Grammy nominations. In 1990, France recognized Jones with its most distinguished title, the Legion d’ Honneur. He is also the recipient of the French Ministry of Culture’s Distinguished Arts and Letters Award. Jones is the recipient of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music’s coveted Polar Music Prize and the Republic of Italy’s Rudolph Valentino Award. He is also the recipient of honorary doctorates from Howard University, the Berklee College of Music, Seattle University, Wesleyan University, Brandeis University, Loyola University (New Orleans), Clark Atlanta University, Claremont University’s Graduate School, the University of Connecticut, Harvard University, Tuskeegee University, New York University, University of Miami and The American Film Institute. Jones was also named a 2001 Kennedy Center Honoree, for his contributions to the cultural fabric of the United States of America.

In 2001, Quincy Jones added the title “Best Selling Author” to his list of accomplishments when his autobiography Q: The Autobiography of Quincy Jones entered the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal Best-Sellers lists. Rhino Records released a four CD boxed set of Jones’ music, spanning his more than five decade career in the music business, entitled Q: The Musical Biography of Quincy Jones.

Celebrating more than fifty years performing and being involved in music, Jones’ creative magic has spanned over six decades, beginning with the music of the post-swing era and continuing through today’s high-technology, international multi-media hybrids. In the mid-1950s, he was the first popular conductor-arranger to record with a Fender bass. His theme from the hit TV series Ironside was the first synthesizer-based pop theme song. As the first black composer to be embraced by the Hollywood establishment in the 1960s, he helped refresh movie music with badly needed infusions of jazz and soul. His landmark 1989 album, Back On The Block--named “Album Of The Year” at the 1990 Grammy Awards-- brought such legends as Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Miles Davis together with Ice T, Big Daddy Kane and Melle Mel to create the first fusion of the be bop and hip hop musical traditions; while his 1993 recording of the critically acclaimed Miles and Quincy Live At Montreux, featured Jones conducting Miles Davis’ live performance of the historic Gil Evans arrangements from the Miles Ahead, Porgy and Bess and Sketches of Spain sessions, garnered a Grammy Award for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Performance. As producer and conductor of the historic “We Are The World” recording (the best-selling single of all time) and Michael Jackson’s multi-platinum solo albums, Off The Wall, Bad and Thriller (the best selling album of all time, with over forty-six million copies sold), Jones stands as one of the most successful and admired creative artists/executives in the entertainment world.

Accession Number

A2007.340

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/27/2007

Last Name

Jones

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

James A. Garfield High School

First Name

Quincy

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

JON18

Favorite Season

None

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

3/14/1933

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Music composer and arranger, musician, and music producer Quincy Jones (1933 - ) has encompassed the roles of composer, record producer (#1 album of all time Thriller), artist (his albums include The Dude and Q's Jook Joint), film producer (The Color Purple), arranger, conductor, instrumentalist, television producer (Fresh Prince of Bel Air), record company executive, magazine founder (Vibe) and multi-media entrepreneur.

Employment

Mercury Records

Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
0,0:5104,295:73950,1219:74925,1285:82934,1403:83930,1418:85175,1455:94502,1596:119418,2304:120282,2334:156990,2794$0,0:2225,25:21360,408:40249,689:49877,921:50458,929:62792,1067:67592,1109:73928,1257:87270,1409:87872,1431:89678,1464:101796,1613:111312,1888:124292,2062:135740,2189:145532,2479:145872,2485:150690,2602:167210,2831:188366,3247:205237,3488:210583,3568:217549,3736:226380,3804
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - 'An Evening With Quincy Jones' opens with credits

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - 'An Evening With Quincy Jones' opens with an introduction of host, HistoryMaker Gwen Ifill

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Gwen Ifill introduces Quincy Jones

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Quincy Jones talks about growing up in Chicago, Illinois and Seattle, Washington

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Quincy Jones remembers discovering his love of music during his youth in Seattle, Washington

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Quincy Jones recalls the music industry and important recording artists of his youth

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Quincy Jones shares his memories of Sarah Vaughan, Dinah Washington and Frank Sinatra

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Lesley Gore performs 'It's My Party' to honor Quincy Jones' career at Mercury Records

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Quincy Jones talks about producing 'It's My Party' at Mercury Records

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Quincy Jones talks about moving from jazz into pop

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Quincy Jones describes his career writing scores for film and television

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - HistoryMaker Bebe Winans performs Quincy Jones' 'Everything Must Change'

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Quincy Jones talks about suffering two brain aneurysms in 1974

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Quincy Jones talks about his admiration for Miles Davis

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - HistoryMaker James Ingram performs Quincy Jones' song 'Just Once'

Tape: 1 Story: 16 - Bobby McFerrin and HistoryMaker Herbie Hancock perform a medley of Michael Jackson songs to honor Quincy Jones

Tape: 1 Story: 17 - Quincy Jones reflects upon his enduring success in the music industry

Tape: 1 Story: 18 - HistoryMaker Herbie Hancock plays a piano instrumental to honor Quincy Jones

Tape: 1 Story: 19 - Quincy Jones reflects upon his life

Tape: 1 Story: 20 - 'An Evening With Quincy Jones' concludes with a group performance of 'I'll Be Good to You'

DASession

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Quincy Jones remembers discovering his love of music during his youth in Seattle, Washington
Quincy Jones recalls the music industry and important recording artists of his youth
Transcript
Tell me about lemon meringue pie and juke joints.$$Right across the street from our house was the [U.S.] Army camp [sic. Naval Station Bremerton and Naval Submarine Base Bangor; Naval Base Kitsap, Washington] with the barbed wire, fifty-caliber machine guns and there was a big armory next door that was our recreation hall for all of the whole community. And we had inside tracks on everything. You know, I'm telling you, we had our stuff together. And we heard that there was some lemon meringue pie was being shipped in on Monday (audience laughter) and some chocolate and vanilla ice cream. So we were ready on arrival. And we broke in there and ate as much as we could, and then we had pie fights. And I went and broke open the superintendent's office and saw a little spinet piano over in the corner and was getting ready to close the door 'cause it didn't look valuable to me. You know, I didn't know people played them. And somebody said, "Fool, go back," God's whisper, said go back in that room now (laughter). And I went back in there, and I slowly went over to that piano and touched it with my fingers. And every cell in my body said, this is what you'll do the rest of your life. And that, and that one move, it changed everything in my whole life, you know.$$Music for you was an escape. It was your form of rebellion.$$But music was more than an escape. It was a mother. I started out in Seattle [Washington] when you had to play a white tennis club dinner, with white cardigan jackets, and play dance music and so forth. Then we changed our uniforms and go to the black clubs, The Rocking Chair [Seattle, Washington] and the Washington Educational Social Club [sic. Washington Social and Educational Club, Seattle, Washington]. What a joke (laughter). And the proprietor was Reverend Silas Groves, please. Bring your own bottles--$$(Laughter).$$--play for strippers. We'd do comedy acts. Man, we'd do the works, steal--all the comics who'd come through there, we'd steal all their material, and (unclear), do all these nasty jokes. And we--wasn't supposed to be in clubs. I was thirteen, you know.$$Yeah.$$So we pretended like we're smoking and everything so we could get in the clubs and it was just lucky that the teachers didn't--I had one teacher, Parker Cook, that saved my life, 'cause he said, "You're doing what you're supposed to be doing," 'cause I didn't get finished playing till 5:30 in the morning. And I couldn't--[James A.] Garfield High School [Seattle, Washington] was right across the street, you know. That's where Jimi Hendrix went to. And I couldn't get there till eleven sometimes, you know, but he supported me though (laughter). In fact, I saw, I thought I saw him up there in one of those joints a couple of times (laughter).$Did it ever occur to you that you were in the middle of something revolutionary?$$No way. We were just--Ray Charles came to town. I was fourteen. I was, I couldn't believe him, you know. He came in, and he was sixteen or seventeen, but he was like a hundred years older than me because I was still staying at home with eight kids, you know, and two parents [Quincy Jones, Sr. and Sarah Wells Jones], and this raggedy stepmother [Elvera Jones]. And he had two suits, his own record player, two girlfriends, everything. I mean I couldn't believe it, and I was around him. I didn't do it like (unclear) did. I wasn't like that at all. And I wrote the dialogue for that, but I wasn't like that at all. In movies, they have to make up stuff, you know. This little cat was loud and cocky and talked. I never talked at all when I was little. I shut up and listened, 'cause I was around guys who knew what they were talking about, like [Count] Basie and Clark Terry. And there's one thing that Ray and I used to say every day to keep from being affected by the climate in this country at that time, and that, "Not one drop of my self-worth depends on your acceptance of me," 'cause we never wanted to--(applause), we never wanted an external force to decide what your identity was about. And we were really, really, really, really cognizant of that. And we stuck to it 'cause Ray was strong, boy. He says, "I'm gonna have three of my own planes in twenty years." In 1968, he had three planes, and Ray went, he'd land--he knew how to deal with money, everything because in the beginning, we didn't think about money or fame. We didn't--like today, the bling bling, forget that.$$There was no money.$$There was no bling bling (laughter). The biggest joke on Broadway when we were out there starving to death was in front of the Brill Building [New York, New York] was you'd see somebody being held by their ankles out of the thirty-three-story window, and the overcoat hanging all over his head. And they'd say, "What's that going on up there?" They said, "That's Jackie Wilson renegotiating his contract (laughter)."$$(Laughter).$$All of the booking agencies, the nightclubs, record companies, everything--were all owned by the gangsters, everything, the Copacabana [New York, New York], the Chez Paree [Chicago, Illinois], (unclear) and Fish [ph.] and stuff and boy, between them, Chicago [Illinois] and [Frank] Sinatra, I met all of 'em.$$Tell us the story of the first time you met Charlie ["Bird"] Parker.$$Oh, I almost had a heart attack, but you know, we're so--Bird was never aware that anybody was around 'cause he was, unfortunately, what happened, he came from Jay McShann's band. Dizzy [Gillespie] came from Cab Calloway's band, and they had this new idea, but they did not wanna be entertainers anymore. They didn't wanna have to roll their eyes or dance or entertain and dance for anybody anymore. Louis [Armstrong] had to do it, and I'll defend Louis to death 'cause Louis did what he had to do, and if it wasn't for Louis, we wouldn't be here. (Applause) Everybody did what they did and it's a sociological music. That's what I try to tell my brothers all the time. Man, you can't say to throw jazz and blues away just for hip hop because it's all part of a--made millions of people's sociological experience, a terrible one. And for the '50s [1950s] and '60s [1960s] black artists got wasted. I'm telling you. You cannot believe what I've--I'd record with LaVern Baker, they'd send the arrangement over to the other side of town. Georgia Gibbs would copy it. Fats Domino would do his tune. Pat Boone would take it on the other side and it was split--the markets were split in the black and white markets, you know. So, now, please, yeah what would Jay-Z make now?

Harold Wheeler

Producer and score composer for stage and film, Harold Wheeler, was born William Harold Wheeler, Jr., on July 14, 1943, in St. Louis, Missouri. Wheeler’s parents, William Harold Wheeler, Sr., and Roxetta McGee Wheeler, raised their child prodigy son in a three-room home. At Antioch Baptist Church, where the members included Chuck Berry and Ike and Tina Turner, Wheeler played the piano for Sunday school at age five. Wheeler attended Turner Branch Elementary School and graduated from Sumner High School in 1960. At Howard University, Wheeler met Roberta Flack, Stokeley Carmichael, Charles Johnson, Donny Hathaway, and his future wife, Hattie Winston. Graduating from Howard University in 1964, Wheeler earned his Master of Music degree from Manhattan School of Music in 1968.

From 1968 to 1971, Wheeler worked as an assistant program director for CBS-FM Radio in New York. In 1971, Wheeler left CBS in order to compose his own music and coach other performers. That same year, composer Burt Bacharach hired Wheeler for his new musical Promises, Promises, making him the youngest conductor on Broadway. Wheeler was soon working with Michael Bennett composing dance music for A Chorus Line; he went on to work with Bennett on Dreamgirls, Coco and SCANDAL. In 1971, Wheeler worked as musical director for Melvin Van Peeble’s groundbreaking musical Ain’t Supposed to Die a Natural Death, and for Don’t Play Us Cheap in 1972.

Nominated for six Tony Awards for his work on the musicals, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Hairspray, The Full Monty, Swing!, Little Me and The Life, Wheeler won the Drama Desk Award for Hairspray for Best Orchestrations. From 1971 to 1979, Wheeler composed jingles for Pepsi, Coca-Cola, TWA, United Airlines, McDonald’s and Folgers (The best part of waking up…). Wheeler’s motion picture credits include: Straight Out of Brooklyn; Love! Valour! Compassion!; Spanish Judges; Cotton Comes to Harlem; Fortune and Men’s Eyes; Hercules; City Slickers; Keeping the Faith; and The Kid. Wheeler was arranger and/or music director for special events such as the 1995 and 1996 People’s Choice Awards; Motown 30 “What’s Goin On?”; the 1996 Olympics; the 1996 and 2000 Democratic National Conventions; 2002 American Film Institute Awards; and the 2003 Academy Awards.

Wheeler has arranged and produced for Debbie Allen, Anita Baker, Peabo Bryson, Aretha Franklin, Della Reese, Nina Simone, B.B. King, Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross, Freda Payne, Kathleen Battle, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Al Green, Englebert Humperdinck, Irene Cara, Joe Cocker, Dizzy Gillespie, Gloria Gaynor, Chita Rivera, Whitney Houston, and Stephanie Mills, among scores of other performers. Considered one of the premier arrangers in the music business, Wheeler resides in Los Angeles with his wife, actress and musical star Hattie Winston.

Accession Number

A2005.224

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/3/2005

Last Name

Wheeler

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Turner Branch Elementary School

Charles H. Sumner High School

Turner Branch Big Picture Middle School

Manhattan School of Music

First Name

Harold

Birth City, State, Country

St. Louis

HM ID

WHE03

Favorite Season

Holiday Season

State

Missouri

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean, Bahamas

Favorite Quote

The Best Way To Gain Self Confidence Is To Try And Do Something That You Are Afraid To Do.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

7/14/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Short Description

Music composer and music producer Harold Wheeler (1943 - ) has been nominated for six Tony Awards. His film credits include, "Straight Out of Brooklyn," and "Cotton Comes To Harlem."

Employment

Self Employed

CBS-FM Radio

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:1350,27:9136,118:22338,358:33247,522:37081,592:37862,604:38501,614:38998,624:39495,632:48830,712:49758,721:53238,760:54282,770:69840,995:70428,1003:74208,1058:79750,1096:82410,1158:92140,1389:97680,1415:98020,1424:106095,1580:111065,1607:118545,1748:118885,1753:119565,1766:152019,2212:163261,2406:166330,2414$0,0:7850,244:26260,613:28260,637:31220,682:31860,699:32420,708:33860,732:49560,931:50040,938:50680,947:51160,954:53000,993:59000,1105:69160,1211:129961,2009:136171,2137:136585,2144:143974,2217:144302,2222:168960,2567:181270,2688:187600,2769
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Harold Wheeler's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Harold Wheeler lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Harold Wheeler describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Harold Wheeler describes his mother's childhood and move to St. Louis

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Harold Wheeler describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Harold Wheeler describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Harold Wheeler describes how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Harold Wheeler describes his childhood homes in St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Harold Wheeler describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Harold Wheeler describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Harold Wheeler describes his personality as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Harold Wheeler describes his education in St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Harold Wheeler describes his musical activities during high school

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Harold Wheeler recalls notable musicians from St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Harold Wheeler recalls his aspirations and gifts as a musician

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Harold Wheeler remembers his classical music education

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Harold Wheeler recalls his decision to attend Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Harold Wheeler recalls fellow classmates at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Harold Wheeler recalls his time at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Harold Wheeler recalls his jobs during college and his musical interests

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Harold Wheeler recalls living in Washington, D.C. during the mid-1960s

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Harold Wheeler recalls the Manhattan School of Music and working for CBS

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Harold Wheeler remembers his initial experience on Broadway

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Harold Wheeler remembers working with HistoryMaker Melvin Van Peebles

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Harold Wheeler recalls business lessons from HistoryMaker Melvin Van Peebles

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Harold Wheeler describes HistoryMaker Melvin Van Peebles' personality

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Harold Wheeler describes his disco music and his jingle writing company

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Harold Wheeler describes his work on 'The Wiz'

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Harold Wheeler describes his work on 'Dreamgirls' and other Broadway shows

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Harold Wheeler recalls his work for the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Harold Wheeler reflects upon African Americans' presence in the entertainment industry

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Harold Wheeler reflects upon the importance of role models

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Harold Wheeler describes his work as a record producer

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Harold Wheeler describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Harold Wheeler reflects upon his life, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Harold Wheeler reflects upon his legacy, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Harold Wheeler reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Harold Wheeler narrates his photographs

DASession

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Harold Wheeler describes his work on 'The Wiz'
Harold Wheeler recalls his work for the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia
Transcript
We passed by 'The Wiz' for some reason. But, tell us about 'The Wiz.'$$During the, the, I guess the era when, I mean because all of these things are happening simultaneously. I mean, I'm doing jingles at the same time I'm doing disco at the same time I'm doing theater. You know, 'The Wiz' was a wonderful opportunity because it's a black composer, black producer for the show, all black show, you know, and since Melvin [HistoryMaker Melvin Van Peebles] shows, you know, there hadn't been--I had done music on 'Chorus Line' ['A Chorus Line'] and here comes 'The Wiz' and it's like it was wonderful. Stephanie Mills was fifteen years old, and Stephanie is still a good friend to this day, and it's, it was a pleasure working on it. It got bad reviews and partially because, I think, the white press was saying, "How dare you mess with 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz' ['The Wizard of Oz'] with Judy Garland and the whole thing." But we went on a campaign, which is something that the producers learned from Melvin Van Peebles, how to get the black audience into the theater, so we went into the churches. We started bussing them from Baltimore [Maryland], Washington, D.C., Philly [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania], everywhere, and giving the impression that this show was the biggest thing since you could name it. It took six months before we built up to the point where you couldn't get a seat, but the people that read the reviews first said, "I'm not gonna come out," they're white audiences. They're not really supporting the show, until the word was out that you can't get a seat. It's a hit. And we started to get the white audience in there, and then one of the critics from The New York Times agreed to come back and re-review it and one year later on the anniversary date of when he hated it, and he gave it a rave review. He gave it a rave review, realizing he--I, and he printed his old review at the top half of the entertainment section and it's a new one underneath, so you could even compare, you know, and then it was history.$$[HistoryMaker] Geoffrey Holder won a Tony [Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Theatre; Tony Award] for director.$$Geoffrey won, yeah. So, you know, it was my first theater experience with an all-black show on that level. You know, Melvin's show was a smaller show, you know, intimate, twelve people in the cast, but this was considered a big Broadway musical.$Tell us about the Olympics [1996 Summer Olympics, Atlanta, Georgia], too. That was '96 [1996] when you did the orchestrations for the Olympics (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Yeah. The Olympics--$$It took you three, we were talking about this before we started. It took you three years (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) The process of preparing for the Olympics, and it's for every Olympics too, not just '96 [1996] is, when the Olympics in '92 [1992] started, all the work began then for what we were going to do for '96 [1996]. My call came in '93 [1993]. They said we want you to be musical director for the opening ceremonies, and it's a huge job so I split it with one other person. There's just too much, you know, for one person to do, but we worked for three years deciding what it is we were going to do, what kind of music we were going to do, the kind of things we were going to hire. The talent pool, we used about twenty thousand people from Atlanta [Georgia] and surrounding areas to be a part of this pageantry; dancers, marching bands, and you know, the whole thing, and of course the orchestra was the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. And again, I come from a classical background, so this was something that I was not afraid of, and there were a couple of black members of the orchestra when I conducted my first big piece for them, and so forth, they were looking around and the rest of the orchestra was sounding fine and I looked back at one of the sections and I see a brother back there and he says, (gesture) he gives me the thumbs up and he's just so proud to see a brother, doing this, but it was a lot of work and it's very hot in Atlanta but I did a Martin Luther King [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] tribute, and we, a tremendous amount of the music that was, that was used, but it's a four-hour ceremony and I have a video tape of the whole thing and it's probably one of the highlights of my career, just because it's the Olympics. I mean, I've done a lot of things but this is a very special and the producers of the show who asked me to be a part of it had worked with me on other shows, Kennedy Center Honors, and lots of other shows, so they were calling me simply because, he's good at what he does and this is the Olympics and we only want the best, and they're not looking at black and white at all, the people that hire me in the industry, and I'm happy about that. They do not say, "We're fulfilling a quota." They say, "This guy is good." Now, I believe if there was somebody white that was better or just as good, that might get them, but they know what they get when they hire me. They know it's gonna be quality work and I feel the pressure always to give them quality work. I cannot slip. I cannot slip at all.

Dyana Williams

Dyana Williams, producer, artist development coach, former DJ, and founder of the International Association of African American Music (IAAAM), grew up in New York City. Williams’s mother, Nancy Williams Newman, was Puerto Rican, and her father, George G. Williams, was from Virginia. Williams attended P.S. 78 in the Bronx until she was 10 years old; she then moved to Puerto Rico where she attended Santa Rita Elementary School in Bayamon. Returning to the United States, Williams attended junior high school at Eleanor Roosevelt Intermediate School #143 in Harlem. An outstanding flute player at Washington Irving High School, Williams performed with Jimmy Heath and Hubert Laws. After graduating in 1971, Williams enrolled in the City College of New York where she became a DJ for the college radio station, WCCR.

By 1973, Williams had joined the staff of Howard University radio WHUR-FM. There, under the guidance of Bob “Nighthawk” Terry and John Paul Simpkins, Williams’s Ebony Moonbeams show attracted a strong following. In 1975, legendary DJ Frankie Crocker brought Williams to New York City’s WBLS radio; in 1976, she returned to Washington, D.C., where she became the first African American woman rock DJ at WRQX-FM. Williams worked as program director at WMMJ radio and as the host of television’s P.M. Magazine. After moving to Philadelphia in 1982, Williams established a show called Love on the Menu for WDAS radio. Williams also reported for Black Entertainment Television (BET), and worked as music consultant for The Soul of VH1. Closely associated with The Sound of Philadelphia (TSOP) and Philadelphia jazz and soul artists such as Patti LaBelle, Art Tatum, and Teddy Pendergrass, Williams produced the PBS special, The Philadelphia Music Makers in 1990. As a writer, Williams contributed to The Philadelphia Tribune, Billboard Magazine, and The Philadelphia New Observer.

In 1990, Williams and Sheila Eldridge launched the Association of African American Music (IAAAM) to promote and preserve black music. Williams co-wrote the House Concurrent Bill 509, which recognized African American accomplishments in music and helped establish Black Music Month. In 1997 Williams earned her B.A. degree in television, radio, and film from Temple University. Williams formed Creative Consultants for Soul Solidarity in partnership with Eldridge. In 2006 Williams received the Achievement in Radio Award for Best Weekend Show in Philadelphia. Williams was formerly married to music producer and activist Kenny Gamble; their union produced three children.

Dyana Willams was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 8, 2005.

Accession Number

A2005.041

Sex

Female

Interview Date

2/8/2005

Last Name

Williams

Marital Status

Divorced

Organizations
Schools

Washington Irving High School

Eleanor Roosevelt Intermediate School #143

P.S. 78

Santa Rita Elementary School

Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau Availability

Any

First Name

Dyana

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

WIL22

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

All

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - $1,000 - $5,000

Favorite Season

Spring

Speaker Bureau Notes

Honorarium Specifics: $2000-5000
Preferred Audience: All

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Brazil

Favorite Quote

Anything That The Mind Can Conceive And Believe, If You Truly Believe It, You Can Achieve It.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Pennsylvania

Birth Date

11/9/1953

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Philadelphia

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Plantains

Short Description

Talent management chief executive, radio personality, and music producer Dyana Williams (1953 - ) was the first African American woman rock DJ at WRQX-FM in Washington, D.C., served as program director at WMMJ radio in Washington, D.C., and creator of the show, "Love on the Menu," for WDAS radio in Philadelphia. Aside from her on-air presence, Williams co-launched the Association of African American Music, and co-wrote the House Concurrent Bill 509, which recognized African American accomplishments in music and helped establish Black Music Month.

Favorite Color

Turquoise

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dyana Williams' interview, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Slating of Dyana Williams' interview, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dyana Williams lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dyana Williams describes her maternal family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dyana Williams describes her mother, Nancy Neuman

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dyana Williams describes her mother's education

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dyana Williams describes her paternal family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dyana Williams talks about her father, George Williams

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dyana Williams describes being an only child

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dyana Williams describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dyana Williams describes the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dyana Williams talks about being independent and imaginative as an only child

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dyana Williams talks about attending church as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dyana Williams talks about living in New York City and Puerto Rico as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dyana Williams talks about her parents' divorce

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dyana Williams talks about her African American and Puerto Rican heritage

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dyana Williams talks about skin tone bias around the world

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Dyana Williams talks about Arthur Schomburg and HistoryMaker Charles Blockson

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Dyana Williams talks about the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Dyana Williams describes her school activities

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Dyana Williams talks about her cultural exposure while growing up in Harlem, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Dyana Williams talks about attending Washington Irving High School in Manhattan, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Dyana Williams talks about HistoryMaker Vy Higginsen

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dyana Williams talks about dating jazz flutist Hubert Laws

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dyana Williams talks about renowned flute players

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dyana Williams describes being involved with the radio station at City College of New York in Harlem, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dyana Williams talks about her radio and television work while attending City College of New York

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dyana Williams talks about being hired at WHUR-FM in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dyana Williams describes the programming of WHUR-FM

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dyana Williams talks about the people she met while working at WHUR-FM in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dyana Williams talks about Miles Davis

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Dyana Williams talks about meeting HistoryMaker Kenny Gamble, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dyana Williams talks about meeting HistoryMaker Kenny Gamble, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dyana Williams talks about her documentary called "Sound of Philadelphia"

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dyana Williams describes working at and leaving WBLS in New York City, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dyana Williams describes leaving WBLS in New York City, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dyana Williams talks about raising her children and her radio work in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dyana Williams describes the HistoryMaker Kenny Gamble's connection to the black community in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dyana Williams talks about working at WDAS in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Dyana Williams talks about hosting "PM Magazine" on television

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Dyana Williams talks about working at Magic 102.3 in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Dyana Williams talks about divorcing HistoryMaker Kenny Gamble

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Dyana Williams talks about managing musician Gary Taylor

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Dyana Williams describes founding the International Association of African American Music (IAAAM)

Tape: 4 Story: 13 - Dyana Williams talks about Black Music Month and the demise of the Black Music Association

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Dyana Williams talks about co-writing House Concurrent Bill 509

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dyana Williams talks about being an ambassador for black music

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dyana Williams describes writing for magazines and newspapers

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dyana Williams talks about being a VH1 reporter

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dyana Williams talks about producing the PBS special, "Philadelphia Music Makers"

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dyana Williams describes her decision to attend Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Dyana Williams talks about producing the IAAAM Diamond Awards

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Dyana Williams describes graduating from Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Dyana Williams talks about her professors at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Dyana Williams talks about her work in artist development and media coaching

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Dyana Williams talks about HistoryMaker Maxine Powell

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Dyana Williams describes her work at Influence Entertainment

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Dyana Williams talks about serving on an NEA review board

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Dyana Williams talks about her love of art and serving on the board of the Paul Jones Collection at the University of Delaware

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Dyana Williams talks about receiving three Liberty Bell Awards

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Dyana Williams describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Dyana Williams talks about HistoryMaker Gordon Parks

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Dyana Williams reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Dyana Williams talks about her future plans and the multiple homes she owns

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Dyana Williams describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Dyana Williams narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$5

DAStory

14$1

DATitle
Dyana Williams talks about HistoryMaker Vy Higginsen
Dyana Williams talks about co-writing House Concurrent Bill 509
Transcript
Okay. Now, what, I have a note here about Vy Higginsen [HM]. Now, tell me about--$$Vy Higginsen was a prominent radio personality on WBLS-FM in New York, a station where Frankie Crocker, who was this charismatic radio star program director and on-air talent, was in charge. And Vy Higginsen was the first black woman that I heard on the radio in New York. And I was mesmerized, enchanted, totally engaged hearing her. She had a very sweet, honey, honeyed voice, and just such a sexy, warm style in her presentation. And I heard her and I was like, that's what I want to do. I kind of started tinkering with the idea. First, I wanted to be a musician. I wanted to be a jazz musician. I wanted to be the first accomplished female on jazz, jazz flute, jazz flautist, but, boy, I lacked talent. I just wasn't good.$Yeah, we're talking--$$As I mentioned, IAAAM [International Association of African American Music] was a advocacy organization for black music. Sheila Eldridge and myself and our board of directors, which includes Cathy Hughes [HM] and some other prominent people, who are concerned and committed to black music and culture, we discovered, after writing President [Bill] Clinton that June was, in fact, not Black Music Month recognized by the White House. And we were like, no, no, wait, we presented all these papers from the BMA. President [Jimmy] Carter hosted this event. He said June is Black Music Month. And the folks at the White House said, we see all that, but he never signed a Presidential Proclamation, and there's nothing in the annals of the government of the United States recognizing it as such. So they suggested, they said, you know, you need to try to do something about that--get in touch with your congressman, your senator, and try to get some legislature enacted. Well, it sounded pretty simple, but I'd never done anything like that. So, here became where this was the beginning of my education about how legislature is enacted. And I contacted Congressman Chaka Fattah [HM] in Philadelphia [Pennsylvania] and explained the situation. I said, can you work with our organization? And then I reached out to Senator Arlen Specter, who is a Republican a little later, much later. But it was literally Congressman Fattah who championed our cause to establish legislature recognizing June as Black Music Month. Well, first, we call it the African American Music Bill that recognized the contributions of the African American Music industry as a multibillion dollar business, and one of America's exports around the world, and indigenous American music. What are the blues, jazz, hip hop, gospel? It started here. It came from the suffering and the joys and the tremendous experiences of people of color in the United States, and loved by many. You don't have to be black to love the blues. In fact, more white people seem to like the blues than black folks. If you go to concerts, you see more white people at jazz shows as well. So, we wanted to celebrate the music. I wrote the draft that became the actual language. They put the "Whereas" in Congressman Fattah's office, but I wrote the actual language celebrating--saying, why it was important to celebrate and recognize black music. Some years earlier, Congressman John Conyers [HM]from Michigan had written similar language regarding jazz, recognizing jazz as a national treasure. And that's been his--one of his causes that he has promoted during his tenure in Congress and the House. But I wrote the African American Music Bill. And when it first went up--oh, and it was a lobbying process. I had to go actually lobbying and get signatures, and encourage other congressman and women. I went to the Black Caucus and Latino Caucus. I went across the board--white congressman. I was on the Hill, on Capitol Hill. In fact, during that time, I met a women who would later become the head. She was like a page. Her name is Hilary Rosen. She was the head of the Record Industry Association of America. I would later work with her and do some projects.$$Now, I have a question in regard to that.$$Uh-hum.$$It's probably--was there any resistance to this bill?$$Yeah. Folks were literally like, why do you need it? What's, why, why do you have to say black music is great? You know, it's great. What, what, what? And I was like, well, we want it recognized by the American government. We want the President to recognize it. It deserves to be recognized by corporations. I felt that it would make it easier for us as an entity to raise money, to have across the board, recognition and respect. Why not? That was also part of my argument--why not? Why are you opposed to this? There are so many other pieces of legislature--quite frankly, many that are BS. Why can't we have one that says, this is indigenous American music. It should be recognized, celebrated--it should be studied. And that's what the bill says. But the first time out, they would not incorporate language--I said, "June is Black Music Month". So we had to go back to it later, and the bill number changed. Don't ask me what it is now. I've forgotten. But 509 was enacted and then later, Chaka added language that said, "June is Black Music Month".$$Okay.$$So, it was important. And now, guess what? June Black Music Month is celebrated by the President, President Clinton. President Bush has an annual event every year in the White House where they bring artists together of different genres and say, "June is Black Music Month". We need to study and celebrate. And it's probably what I'm most proud of. I think my parents are more proud of that than just about anything else that I've done because here I am, a little girl from the Bronx [New York City, New York] and Harlem, writing legislature that's been enacted in, in our government. I never thought I would do something like that, but it happened. And I was very proud to be a part of a movement. It was a movement. It was an effort. It took us a minute--take, make it happen. When I say a minute, I'm like black person's minute. It took us, you know, a couple of years. I wrote an editorial in "Billboard" magazine. I mean, I was champing and lobbying this cause hard. And the satisfaction of bringing it to fruition was tremendous, and a great education for myself and those of us in the IAAAM organization.