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Charles Connor

Musician Charles Connor was born on January 14, 1935 in New Orleans, Louisiana to Viola and William Connor. He began playing drums at age five. His first professional work as a drummer came in 1950 when he was hired by Roy Byrd (“Professor Longhair”) to play with him at a New Orleans Mardi Gras program.

He went on to perform with Smiley Lewis, Guitar Slim, Jack Dupree, and Shirley and Lee. At age eighteen, Connor became the drummer of Little Richard's road band, The Upsetters. Connor was a drummer for Little Richard throughout the 1950s, on records such as "The Girl Can't Help It", "Keep A-Knockin'", "Ooh! My Soul", and popular feature films as Don't Knock the Rock and Mr. Rock 'n' Roll. He was credited for creating the unique "Choo Choo Train" style of successive eighth notes with a loud back beat used by nearly all subsequent Rock 'n' Roll drummers. When Connor was not working with Little Richard, he worked with James Brown and The Famous Flames. In 1957, he toured with performer Sam Cooke. He also performed with other artists like Jackie Wilson, the original Coasters, and “Big” Joe Turner. He recorded with “Champion” Jack Dupree, Larry Williams, Don Covay, “Papa” George Lightfoot, Christine Kittrell, Larry Birdsong, and Dee Clark.

In 1994, Connor received a Certificate of Special Recognition from Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA). In 2010, Connor was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame. Connor released his second album in 2013, “Still Knockin'”, which debuted an original song written and sung by him, "Beginning of Rock n' Roll," including new recordings featuring the voice of Kate Flannery. Connor was featured in the 2015 documentary miniseries for BBC Music TV’s Rock N Roll America “Episode 1: Sweet Little Sixteen," exploring the genesis, explosion and legacy of rock 'n' roll in America. He published his autobiography, Keep A Knockin the Story of a Legendary Drummer," in August 2015 with Waldorf Publishing. Connor is also featured in BBC Four's 2017 documentary Sharon Osbourne Presents Rock 'n' Roll's Dodgiest Deals. Connor’s drumsticks are on display at the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland, Ohio.

Charles Connor was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 13, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.107

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/13/2019

Last Name

Connor

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Organizations
First Name

Charles

Birth City, State, Country

New Orleans

HM ID

CON09

Favorite Season

June

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii, Philippines, and New Orleans

Favorite Quote

Don't Give Up Your Dream, You Can Be A Winner Too

Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

1/14/1935

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Favorite Food

Gumbo

Short Description

Musician Charles Connor (1935- ) was the original drummer for Little Richard's road band, The Upsetters. He performed with Sam Cooke, James Brown, Jackie Wilson, The Coasters, Big Joe Turner, Larry Williams, Don Covay, George Lightfoot, and Dee Clark.

Employment

The Upsetter

The Famous Flames

Favorite Color

Blue

Joshie Jo Armstead

Singer and songwriter Joshie Jo Armstead was born on October 8, 1944 in Yazoo City, Mississippi to Wilton Armstead and Rosie Lee Armstead. As a youth, she sang in the church choir and was introduced to blues music by her grandfather. Armstead’s first performance was with Bobby “Blue” Bland in Mississippi, before joining a local band, Little Melvin & The Downbeats.

Armstead began her singing career when she joined the Ike & Tina Turner Revue in 1961, as one of the original touring Ikettes along with Eloise Hester and Delores Johnson. She toured with them from 1961 to 1963, and recorded the Ikettes record “I’m Blue (The Gong Gong Song).” Released in 1962 and featuring Tina Turner singing backing vocals, the song reached number nineteen on the Billboard Hot 100 and number three on the R&B chart. After leaving the Ikettes in 1963, Armstead moved to New York City and began recording music under the name Deena Johnson. There, she met Valerie Simpson and Nick Ashford and formed the writing trio of Armstead, Ashford, & Simpson. The trio wrote tracks for artists such as Chuck Jackson, The Shirelles, and Doris Troy, but their greatest success came when they wrote Ray Charles’ 1966 #1 hit “Let’s Go Get Stoned,” and the follow up single “I Don’t Need No Doctor.”

When Ashford & Simpson signed with Motown Records in 1966, Armstead left the trio and moved to Chicago, where she married music producer Melvin Collins and the couple founded their own record label, Giant Productions and wrote songs for Garland Green, Ruby Andrews, Syl Johnson and many others, also collaborating with famous music arranger Andrew “Mike” Terry. She returned to New York in 1970, following the collapse of Giant Productions and her marriage to Collins. She sang back up in Bob Dylan’s 1971 single “George Jackson,” and performed in B.B. King’s Live in London show, Melvin Van Peebles’ Broadway show, the film Don’t Play Us Cheap and the Broadway musical “Seesaw.” Armstead also recorded singles with the Stax offshoot label Gospel Truth, and sang backup vocals for Burt Bacharach’s LP “Features,” before returning to Chicago in the early 1980s and starring in Oscar Brown Jr.’s musical “Journey Through Forever.” Armstead’s songs include “Stumblin Blocks, Steppin’ Stones,” “I’ve Been Turned On,” “A Stone Good Lover” and “I Feel An Urge Coming On.”

Josephine “Joshie Jo” Armstead was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 15, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.002

Sex

Female

Interview Date

07/15/2016

Last Name

Armstead

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widower

Occupation
Schools

Yazoo City High School No. 2

The New School for Social Research

First Name

Josephine

Birth City, State, Country

Yazoo City

HM ID

ARM02

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

The Islands and the Caribbean

Favorite Quote

Never Let Them See You Sweat.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

10/8/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Turnip Greens, Fried Chicken, Hot Water Corn Bread and Sliced Tomatoes

Short Description

Singer and songwriter Joshie Jo Armstead (1942 - ) was one of the original Ikettes with the Ike & Tina Turner Revue, and later formed the writing trio Armstead, Ashford & Simpson with Valerie Simpson and Nick Ashford.

Employment

The Ike & Tina Turner Revue

Motown Records

Warner Brothers

Universal Music Group

Stax Records

Atlantic Recording Corporation

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
0,0:732,5:2074,24:8830,100:11770,131:12190,136:16445,161:17570,186:19595,218:19895,223:23163,239:23391,244:24018,260:28130,290:28514,295:29474,313:30146,321:30818,330:32258,353:32834,360:33506,369:41929,442:45520,455:52680,515:55913,537:56405,542:59984,556:62151,574:64720,597:66965,615:70803,649:71167,654:73377,673:81305,754:85250,795:85970,805:86610,823:95649,925:97215,952:105461,1000:106113,1005:111988,1047:113164,1066:113836,1075:119561,1107:120364,1119:123770,1128:126486,1149:127074,1158:138949,1261:140373,1282:141085,1291:146972,1310:147896,1324:148568,1337:158360,1387:159240,1399:164970,1451:167248,1472:170695,1488:172120,1511:172690,1518:176680,1577:177060,1583:177440,1588:187842,1670:189191,1698:193996,1732:194752,1740:197452,1777:202461,1811:202923,1818:203462,1827:208872,1889:212092,1904:212666,1912:215864,1992:216602,2004:217176,2013:222090,2047:222580,2055:228832,2082:245794,2230:247198,2254:250097,2293:251069,2307:252689,2331:253175,2340:253823,2349:254957,2378:256253,2415:256901,2426:260862,2442:262946,2461:263378,2468:264026,2480:270290,2539:272162,2556:272624,2564:274087,2588:276480,2613$0,0:348,6:1827,25:2523,36:6930,71:13824,129:18742,160:19070,165:19726,173:20382,182:20710,187:21284,195:22022,206:22842,219:23334,226:29970,262:30290,267:33730,320:39521,376:39853,381:40683,393:41264,413:41928,423:42675,433:45912,491:53170,563:54249,585:54996,596:58872,641:65844,690:66460,698:67252,714:74015,734:74987,750:75635,759:83420,840:84620,856:88724,901:93620,928:93980,933:98750,1054:104780,1077:105260,1083:106430,1088:107270,1099:108446,1120:143572,1424:144349,1432:145126,1440:147561,1455:148365,1475:160598,1598:169490,1714:171658,1723:172230,1746
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Joshie Jo Armstead's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Joshie Jo Armstead lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Joshie Jo Armstead describes her mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Joshie Jo Armstead describes her mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Joshie Jo Armstead describes her maternal family in Yazoo City, Mississippi

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Joshie Jo Armstead describes her mother's professions

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Joshie Jo Armstead talks about the origin of her family's name

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Joshie Jo Armstead lists her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Joshie Jo Armstead talks about her sister's relationship with Ike Turner

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Joshie Jo Armstead describes her experiences in Yazoo City, Mississippi

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Joshie Jo Armstead talks about southern blues singers

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Joshie Jo Armstead describes her family's home in Yazoo City, Mississippi

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Joshie Jo Armstead describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Joshie Jo Armstead recalls Yazoo City High School No. 2 in Yazoo City, Mississippi

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Joshie Jo Armstead remembers a racist incident from her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Joshie Jo Armstead describes her early interest in singing

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Joshie Jo Armstead talks about the birth of her daughter

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Joshie Jo Armstead recalls performing with Little Melvin and the Downbeats

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Joshie Jo Armstead talks about her mother's religious faith

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Joshie Jo Armstead describes the formation of The Ikettes

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Joshie Jo Armstead recalls joining The Ikettes

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Joshie Jo Armstead describes her touring experiences with The Ikettes, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Joshie Jo Armstead describes her touring experiences with The Ikettes, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Joshie Jo Armstead recalls The Ikettes' hit song, 'I'm Blue'

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Joshie Jo Armstead remembers leaving The Ikettes

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Joshie Jo Armstead recalls making a record in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Joshie Jo Armstead remembers moving to New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Joshie Jo Armstead talks about working with Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Joshie Jo Armstead recalls writing 'Let's Go Get Stoned' for Ray Charles

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Joshie Jo Armstead describes Valerie Simpson

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Joshie Jo Armstead describes her songwriting partnership with Valerie Simpson and Nick Ashford

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Joshie Jo Armstead remembers founding Giant Records

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Joshie Jo Armstead recalls discovering her ex-husband's copyright fraud

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Joshie Jo Armstead talks about her ex-husband

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Joshie Jo Armstead describes her experiences as a background singer in New York City

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Joshie Jo Armstead remembers working with Bob Dylan

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Joshie Jo Armstead talks about the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Joshie Jo Armstead recalls working as a studio backup singer

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Joshie Jo Armstead remembers acting in the play 'Don't Play Us Cheap'

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Joshie Jo Armstead recalls appearing in 'Seesaw' on Broadway

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Joshie Jo Armstead remembers signing a contract with Gospel Truth Records

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Joshie Jo Armstead talks about the decline of Stax Records

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Joshie Jo Armstead remembers Tina Turner

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Joshie Jo Armstead recalls working with Burt Bacharach

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Joshie Jo Armstead talks about living with her daughter in New York City

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Joshie Jo Armstead remembers working in the advertising industry

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Joshie Jo Armstead recalls becoming the first female boxing manager in Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Joshie Jo Armstead recalls working as boxer Alfonso Ratliff's manager

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Joshie Jo Armstead talks about her interest in fashion

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Joshie Jo Armstead remembers attending The New School for Social Research in New York City

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Joshie Jo Armstead talks about the culture of the music industry

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Joshie Jo Armstead remembers founding Preacher Rose Records

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Joshie Jo Armstead recalls her performance at Littlefield in Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Joshie Jo Armstead talks about her retirement

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Joshie Jo Armstead reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Joshie Jo Armstead shares her advice to aspiring musicians

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Joshie Jo Armstead reflects upon her life

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Joshie Jo Armstead narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

5$6

DATitle
Joshie Jo Armstead remembers a racist incident from her childhood
Joshie Jo Armstead remembers moving to New York City
Transcript
As a young child do you remember seeing the signs for colored bathroom and white bathroom and were, were the, what did segregation look like in your town?$$Yeah there were the white and colored signs especially in the post office, not the post office, the bus station. You somewhat had to step aside if you were walking down the street and whites were coming down the street. And again you had to say (pronunciation) yes sir, and no sir, I think it was even frowned upon to say yes, sir or no, sir. It had to be subservient in a way, very demeaning and difficult and the black community stayed mostly in our own area. You had to venture out and most people worked, and they worked in the houses the women did as maids. And the men as chauffeurs and gardeners and so forth and so on, but we basically stayed in our own community.$$Were you able to shop in the local stores or, were you not allowed to, to--$$No you could shop, you could spend your money, yeah but again you were gonna be treated less than and the white people were hostile in Mississippi. They probably still are, so it was, it was an environment that was disturbing.$$Did you have any direct experience with whites in Mississippi?$$Yes I did, I remember my baby sister [Odell Brent] once wanting to go to the midnight movie. And so she wanted to pay half fare, I think she was underage, and the, the ticket agent selling the tickets, a white woman told her that she had to pay full fare to see the movie. And she said, "But I'm not but twelve years old, and I'm with my big sister." And the woman was very, very nasty, "I don't care who you are with and I said you gotta pay full fare," and my sister talked back to her. This is my baby sister. She sent someone around to hold the door and call the police on my baby sister, and the police came and took her away. She was twelve years old, and they put her in jail. And I'm feeling helpless and I run home and I tell Mama [Rosie Johnson Armstead] and we both go down to the jail and they kept her there all night for talking back to a white woman. So these are the kind of experiences and I tell you I'm sitting here, I, I, I really don't wanna recall them. You know you sort of bury them and, but that was the experience back in the late '50s [1950s]. And my experience in Mississippi, and before that, my mother's experience and my [maternal] grandfather [Lucius Johnson] and the rest of my family. I, I'm afraid to say, I'm pretty sure it was horrible, but you live, you learn to live, you learn to be happy. And as I said my family we're like happy people, good time people.$A man named Luther Dixon that I met when I was an Ikette [The Ikettes] came to the club where I was one night and we struck up a conversation. Luther was, had been given a contract with Capitol Records to form his own record company, Ludix Records. Luther was also very close with Florence Greenberg who owned Scepter Records. And talking to Luther he asked me did I wanna come back to New York [New York] and maybe try recording with him. And I jumped at the opportunity 'cause half my family that left Mississippi was in Brooklyn [New York], where I had no family and just a few friends in L.A., so I left Los Angeles [California] and came to New York.$$And in New York you were then working with Luther and Florence?$$The, the contract that I expected from Ludix Record never materialized, but thanks to Ike [Ike Turner] and, and me wanting to be a songwriter out of New York was bustling with songwriters. And I got in that community; it was a couple of bars called the C and D [ph.] and the Turf [Turf Restaurant, New York, New York] where the musicians would hang. There were publishing offices all over the place called Tin Pan Alley, but it was kind of on its way down but it was still thriving. And so I met a guy Robert Mosley who played wonderful piano, and we began to write together. And in the course of that, I met [HistoryMaker] Valerie Simpson and through Valerie, Nick.$$Nick Ashford?$$Yes, and we started writing together.$$And this is around what time now, you're, you're about how old?$$Twenty-five.$$Okay.$$What year would that be?$$Actually maybe even younger, looks here like maybe (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Yeah.$$--around twenty.$$Yeah, yeah.$$Nineteen sixty-four [1964].$$Nineteen sixty- yeah (laughter).

KEM

R & B singer and songwriter Kim Lamont Owens (KEM) was born in Nashville, Tennessee. When he was young, his family moved from Nashville to the Detroit suburb of Southfield, Michigan. Owens began to explore the keyboard when he was four, and became fascinated by music in high school in the 1980s. However, upon graduation, he dealt with homelessness, addiction, and isolation from his family. Owens recovered in 1990 and took a job as a waiter at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Dearborn, Michigan. He also booked weddings and other shows that allowed him to perform original music.

In February of 2001, Owens self-released his first album, Kemistry, which sold nearly 15,000 copies and piqued the interest of Motown Records. Motown signed Owens to a five-record deal in November of 2001 and re-released Kemistry in 2003. The album reached the Top 20 of the Top Hip-Hop/R&B Albums chart, its first single, "Love Calls," became a hit, and the record went gold. Owens’ second CD, Album II, was released in 2005 and sold over 500,000 copies in the United States. The album included the hit single "I Can't Stop Loving You," a #1 at urban adult contemporary radio. In 2010, he released his third album, Intimacy, which debuted at #2 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart. The record’s first single, “Why Would You Stay,” spent several weeks at #1 on the Urban AC Radio charts. Owens went on to produce a Christmas album entitled What Christmas Means in 2012, and then a follow-up deluxe edition of the CD in October of 2013.

In 2012, Owens established Mack & Third, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting the homeless by gathering food and raising funds for Detroit’s shelters and food banks. He also presents the annual ‘Mack & Third’ event, an all-day free concert to benefit and recognize the city’s homeless citizens.

Owens won the Billboard Music Award for Top Adult R&B Single of the Year in 2005, and was nominated for two NAACP Image Awards in 2006. He was also nominated in 2010 for a Soul Train Award for Best Male R&B/Soul Artist; two Grammy Awards for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Song; and the BET Centric Award. Owens was nominated four more times at the 44th NAACP Image Awards in 2013.

Kem was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 23, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.183

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/23/2014

Last Name

Owens

Maker Category
Middle Name

Lamont

Organizations
Schools

McCarroll Center

Whitmer Human Resources Center

Michigan Institute for Child Development

Pontiac Northern High School

Southfield Senior High School for the Arts and Technology

First Name

Kim

Birth City, State, Country

Nashville

HM ID

OWE02

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Tennessee

Favorite Vacation Destination

Any Place Near The Ocean

Favorite Quote

It's All Good.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Michigan

Birth Date

7/23/1967

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Detroit

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Soul Food

Short Description

R & B singer and songwriter KEM (1967 - ) was a recording artist with Motown Records, and his albums include Kemistry, Album II, Intimacy, and What Christmas Means.

Employment

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel

Motown Record Corporation

Mack & Third, Inc.

Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
0,0:186,4:3844,111:5952,168:6200,173:13782,369:14754,385:18318,458:21477,517:27772,551:28364,564:28660,569:33174,655:33544,661:35468,703:36134,715:37688,736:42470,762:46210,940:50630,1018:53010,1054:53350,1059:55390,1153:58025,1289:59300,1301:59895,1309:66690,1315:67098,1320:72700,1383:74200,1410:80682,1458:84268,1516:86218,1560:87466,1587:87856,1593:88168,1598:89806,1636:90196,1642:91444,1669:91834,1694:93472,1710:93940,1717:96202,1747:98464,1791:99088,1800:107530,1854:115236,1903:115676,1909:116556,1919:117436,1949:119788,1962:120024,1967:122730,1996:125850,2089:130294,2135:131658,2162:132712,2187:133332,2204:133766,2231:134138,2238:145630,2415:147470,2440:148110,2449:148430,2458:149390,2491:149790,2506:150350,2515:151710,2541:152590,2577:153470,2588:161536,2634:162019,2642:168229,2903:181296,3101:182192,3158:190318,3194:191950,3249:195598,3317:195982,3322:200580,3367:203310,3437:206040,3501:206600,3516:206880,3521:207230,3527:207510,3532:214575,3629:215143,3640:215711,3661:223770,3820$0,0:7790,172:10332,228:11644,253:12218,266:12546,271:17370,300:19400,348:20700,366:21285,377:27330,539:28370,569:28695,576:36546,788:36972,795:50220,944:55992,970:56260,975:56729,984:60615,1067:64367,1166:66846,1227:67382,1241:69191,1335:73240,1355:74965,1388:75931,1415:79174,1493:80002,1509:83314,1592:83797,1629:87799,1728:88972,1757:100336,1826:115150,2171:120075,2264:121830,2309:124495,2399:125080,2410:126510,2447:130475,2538:189079,3262:190925,3294:192487,3329:192984,3348:196037,3437:201868,3493:202264,3500:205696,3591:206092,3598:206950,3626:207478,3643:208204,3656:208732,3665:209590,3693:210580,3723:214936,3838:243650,4152
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of KEM's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - KEM lists his favorites

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

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - KEM talks about his maternal grandparents and his mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - KEM describes his biological father

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - KEM recalls his relationship with stepfather

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - KEM describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - KEM lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - KEM describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - KEM describes the sounds of his childhood in Michigan

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - KEM recalls his neighborhood in Pontiac, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - KEM talks about his early education

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - KEM describes his childhood personality and activities

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - KEM remembers the popular culture of the 1970s

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - KEM talks about his early interest in music

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - KEM describes his early academic experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - KEM remembers his music teacher at the Michigan Institute for Child Development in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - KEM describes the musical legacy of Michael Jackson

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - KEM recalls learning about Motown Records

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - KEM describes his friendship with music producer Brian O'Neal

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - KEM talks about the musicians from the Minneapolis, Minnesota

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - KEM recalls leaving Southfield High School in Southfield, Michigan

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - KEM talks about the start of his struggle with addiction

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - KEM remembers his experiences of homelessness and addiction

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - KEM describes his breakthrough in overcoming his addictions

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - KEM talks about how his spirituality contributed to his sobriety

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - KEM remembers working as a waiter while pursuing his music career

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - KEM describes his early jobs in the music industry

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - KEM remembers Brian O'Neal's relocation to Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - KEM talks about his band members

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - KEM recalls independently recording and marketing his first album

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - KEM remembers signing a recording contract with Motown Records

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - KEM explains the alternate spelling of his stage name

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - KEM talks about his musical influences and philosophy

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - KEM describes his hit song, 'Love Calls'

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - KEM talks about the subject matter of his music

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - KEM talks about his song, 'Brotha Man'

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - KEM talks about the time gaps between his album releases

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - KEM describes his second album, 'Album II,' and creative process

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - KEM talks about his third studio album, 'Intimacy'

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - KEM reflects upon his life

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - KEM describes his hopes for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - KEM reflects upon his professional legacy and family

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - KEM describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

6$4

DATitle
KEM remembers his music teacher at the Michigan Institute for Child Development in Detroit, Michigan
KEM recalls independently recording and marketing his first album
Transcript
So, when you were growing up would you say that you didn't have like much of an outlet for your creativity? I mean, you know, aside from, 'cause I was reading that in high school [Southfield High School; Southfield High School for the Arts and Technology, Southfield, Michigan] you'd spend your lunch hour doing music.$$I would skip classes to do music.$$Okay.$$So, I would not go to class and I would be in the music room. And, I don't know that, I mean, there was, you know, there was an outlet for it but it was also a, you know, 'cause I was in choir in, in high school. There--it wasn't in my house but I mean I, you know, I was, I was trying to write songs. I was, I was, you know, have, not having, not having it in, in the home was not a, was not a deterrent.$$Okay. 'Cause you had, you had friends that you could (simultaneous)--?$$(Simultaneous) You know, I had, I had friends that were into music or, you know, I mean, you know, yeah, so we, we got it done.$$Now, were there any, any teachers in high school, or any adult figures, aside from your parents [Elizabeth Hardy and KEM's step father, Erick Hardy] of course, that were like a role model for you, or mentors?$$In middle, in middle school [Michigan Institute for Child Development, Detroit, Michigan] there was a, there was a teacher named Greg Smith. And, I wish I knew where he was today. And, he sat me down and, 'cause in middle school, I started singing, a ver- my version of George Benson's 'Broadway' ['On Broadway'] in front of my class, acapella. And, and they dug it, you know. And, and it was the first time that I had gotten, it was, it was the first time in middle school, you know, the thing for, the thing in middle school that I was, that I was, I was known for that I got positive feedback for, positive attention from doing. And, and Greg Smith recognized that, and, and he sat me down and, and helped me start writing a song. Well, we were, we were actually, we were actually reassembling a song that already existed. Like, it may have been from The Temptations or the, The Manhattans or somebody. And, he was, you know, coaching me through the process of, of writing a song. And, he would get me, he would do things to, or say things that would get me to, you know--he may write a line down and then he would get me to write the line. And, we were actually recreating a song that was already, you know, in, in existence. And, I can't remember what the song was. And, at the time, you know, I didn't know how important that was at the time, you know. I didn't know, you know, what that was. And, but, some of my most positive musical experiences happened in middle school, and I didn't really think about that until today.$$Now, did you play any instrument?$$I mean, I play piano, I mean, you know, I played piano. I don't know if there was--I don't think there was a piano in school. I don't know.$$Now, you're like a self taught piano player, right?$$Yeah. 'Cause I don't play, I mean, I'm not a virtuoso by any means, you know what I mean. I don't even--I can't even--I don't even read music, you know. And, and I only play my own songs, you know. And, you know, I've tried to study it but I just--I'm not, I mean, you know what, I mean, you know what, I mean, go figure, man. I'm not acclimated to that aspect of, of music. I just, you know, I've never, you know, I've sat in classes and I've taken, you know, I been choir where, you know, it was all laid out, you know, I've, you know, and I've just never been able to get it, you know. And, you know, I think it's the, I think it's the, you know, the math thing, the numbers thing. I've never been, you know, it's just not my thing. I can count money though, so, if I'm supposed to get paid, we gonna, we gonna, you know (laughter).$$All right--$So, the songs that are on the Motown [Motown Records] 'Kemistry' CD were the same songs that are on the first one you did (unclear) (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) The fr- most of those songs are, all of those songs are on that record, right. And, the thing is, is that people, even though we never released it, people got the CD [compact disc]. People would get, people had access to it, or had found it, or somebody gave it to 'em, and they were playing it. And, people were digging it. You know, unbeknownst to me, you know, people were digging it. And, by the time I started doing shows, doing that music, there were, you know, a small group of people we would perform at Half Past 3 [Detroit, Michigan], which was a club that was over on Grand River [Grand River Avenue]. And, people were sitting in the audience, man, and they would be singing this stuff. They would be singing this stuff off of that CD that I couldn't stand, you know. And, I, and I went back into the studio. I got a business line of credit, and keyboard thing, you know, and it all works together, you know. It's all good. All of those things work together, you know, everything works together. The keyboard thing helped me, you know, not spending that money on the Mary Kay [Mary Kay Inc.]. Which my mother [Elizabeth Hardy] hated me for at the time (laughter), in which she's probably now looking back knows that--you know, she's grateful for it, you know what I mean, about the keyboard. Established credit and then later one down the line, I was able to get a business line of credit from American Express [American Express Company]. Which I had financed my first CD on. Now, American Express didn't know that's what I was gonna do with the money. But, that's what I did. And, I, and when I got, when American Express gave me a seventeen thousand dollars business line of credit, and I quit my job. Do not do this at home (laughter). Do not try this at home, you know. I quit my job. I quit my day--no, I didn't quit my job. I quit working at the hotel, working at The Ritz [The Ritz-Carlton Dearborn; The Henry, Autograph Collection, Dearborn, Michigan]. But, I was still singing in the choir [at Renaissance Unity, Warren, Michigan] and doing the, doing the wedding band thing. But, I, you know, I was like you know what, you know, and went and I recorded the 'Kemistry' CD, you know, in the studio. I still, we heading up with these same guys, didn't know what I was doing, you know. And, kind of like stumbled and fumbled, you know, our way into making the 'Kemistry' CD, you know. And, and the rest is history.$$So, so the way this, you finance your own CD, and it, how does it come to the attention of the Motown label?$$Because I set the, you know, I put a barcode on the CD, I put a barcode on the CD so that when--and the CD was on, I had it in retail outlets which are, you know, are not, you now, I mean, the mom and pop stores, man. And, you know, all the, all the record shops in town had my CD, and I put 'em in there on consignment. So, every time somebody bought a CD, you know, if they bought Luther [Luther Vandross] CD it blipped somewhere. If they bought my CD, you got the, you got a blip too. I mean, I was in the, I was in the system like that. And, and, we were, you know, and, you know, the best market in the world was giving the CD away and putting it in people's hands, you know, and having them like it, you know. Best, you know, have something that people like and put it in their hands, you know. And, and we started to build momentum. So, the record label, you know, people are watching and the industry are watching that, you know, this guy in Detroit [Michigan] is selling records, and he's, he doesn't have a label. And, we're getting, we started to air play in different, in different cities, as well as Detroit. And, it had a momentum of its own, you know. So, you know, it made us, it made us ripe for, for a label to come and, and wanna partner with us.$$Okay. So, you, you marketed the CD in beauty salons and black restaurants, and gave a lot 'em away.$$Absolutely, yeah.$$Okay.$$Absolutely.

James Poyser

Songwriter, producer and musician James Jason Poyser was born in Sheffield, England in 1967 to Jamaican parents Reverend Felix and Lilith Poyser. Poyser’s family moved to West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania when he was nine years old and he discovered his musical talents in the church. Poyser attended Philadelphia Public Schools and graduated from Temple University with his B.S. degree in finance.

Upon graduation, Poyser apprenticed with the songwriting/producing duo Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff. Poyser then established the Axis Music Group with his partners, Vikter Duplaix and Chauncey Childs. He became a founding member of the musical collective Soulquarians and went on to write and produce songs for various legendary and award-winning artists including Erykah Badu, Mariah Carey, John Legend, Lauryn Hill, Common, Anthony Hamilton, D'Angelo, The Roots, and Keyshia Cole. He was credited as writer/producer for multiple songs on Erykah Badu’s debut album, Baduizm; has writer, producer and musician credits on Lauryn Hill’s multiple Grammy-winning album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill; was a musician on Adele’s acclaimed album, 21; and served as executive co-producer and writer on Al Green’s Lay it Down. He was also the executive producer on Badu's highly celebrated albums, Mama's Gun and Worldwide Underground.

He is an active session musician and has contributed to the works of other artists such as Norah Jones, Eric Clapton, Joss Stone, Ziggy Marley, Macy Gray and Femi Kuti. In addition, Poyser has toured, and played live as a keyboardist with Jay-Z, The Roots, Erykah Badu, and Aretha Franklin, among others. He is a regular member of The Roots, and has joined them on stage as the houseband for NBC's Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and subsequently The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

Poyser’s awards include a Grammy for Best R&B Song in 2003 for co-writing Erykah Badu and Common's hit “Love Of My Life.”

He resides in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

James Poyser was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 6, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.143

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/6/2014

Last Name

Poyser

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Temple University

Add B. Anderson Elementary School

John P. Turner Middle School

West Philadelphia Catholic High School

George Washington Carver High School for Engineering and Science

Drexel University

First Name

James

Birth City, State, Country

Sheffield

HM ID

POY01

Favorite Season

Fall

Favorite Vacation Destination

The Beach

Favorite Quote

God Bless You.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Pennsylvania

Birth Date

1/30/1967

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Philadelphia

Country

England

Favorite Food

Seafood

Short Description

Songwriter, producer, and musician James Poyser (1967 - ) was co-founder of the Axis Music Group and founding member of the musical collective Soulquarians. He was a Grammy award-winning songwriter, musician and multi-platinum producer. Poyser was also a regular member of The Roots, and joined them as the houseband for NBC's The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

Employment

Axis Music Group

Soulquarians

The Roots / The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

Favorite Color

Blue

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of James Poyser's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - James Poyser lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - James Poyser describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - James Poyser talks about his parents' early relationship

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - James Poyser describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - James Poyser describes his parents' personalities

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - James Poyser lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - James Poyser recalls his family's immigration to England and the United States, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - James Poyser describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - James Poyser describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - James Poyser recalls his family's immigration to England and the United States, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - James Poyser talks about his father's church in Sheffield, England

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - James Poyser recalls his education in Great Britain

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - James Poyser describes his early personality

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - James Poyser remembers moving to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 1 Story: 16 - James Poyser recalls his father founding New Testament Church of God in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 1 Story: 17 - James Poyser talks about adjusting to life in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - James Poyser describes his exposure to American television

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - James Poyser talks about his parents' decision to move to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - James Poyser recalls his time at Add B. Anderson Elementary School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - James Poyser remembers family holidays during his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - James Poyser describes his early education in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - James Poyser talks about his early exposure to playing music

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - James Poyser recalls his responsibilities during his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - James Poyser talks about his parents' careers

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - James Poyser describes his high school experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - James Poyser talks about the Philadelphia based organization MOVE

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - James Poyser recalls the violence in his childhood community

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - James Poyser remembers studying chemical engineering at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - James Poyser recalls learning to play the piano

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - James Poyser describes the differences between playing drums and piano

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - James Poyser talks about his first exposure to secular music

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - James Poyser recalls transferring to Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - James Poyser remembers the music scene at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - James Poyser recalls meeting DJ Jazzy Jeff

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - James Poyser talks about touring with CeCe Peniston

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - James Poyser recalls co-founding Axis Music Group in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - James Poyser remembers learning music production from Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - James Poyser remembers learning music production from Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - James Poyser describes his breakthrough work on the 'Baduizm' album

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - James Poyser talks about his creative process

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - James Poyser recalls co-writing songs with Erykah Badu

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - James Poyser remembers his first paycheck after producing the 'Baduizm' album

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - James Poyser describes his relationship with The Roots

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - James Poyser talks about the Soulquarians

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - James Poyser recalls producing music with D'Angelo

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - James Poyser remembers Common's relationship with Erykah Badu

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - James Poyser describes J Dilla's influence on contemporary music

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - James Poyser describes Frankie Knuckles' music

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - James Poyser talks about the evolution of Questlove's stage name

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - James Poyser recalls performing on The Voodoo World Tour

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - James Poyser remembers his major projects in 2000

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - James Poyser recalls producing the 'Mama's Gun' album

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - James Poyser talks about Common's and Erykah Badu's break up

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - James Poyser recalls producing the song 'Love of My Life (An Ode to Hip-Hop)'

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - James Poyser remembers Jill Scott's involvement with A Touch of Jazz in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - James Poyser recalls producing music with Lauryn Hill

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - James Poyser remembers working with Mary J. Blige

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - James Poyser recalls difficult recording sessions

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - James Poyser talks about changes in the music industry

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - James Poyser remembers the birth of his son, Jadyn Poyser

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - James Poyser recalls joining The Roots on the 'Late Show with David Letterman'

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - James Poyser describes the challenges of playing in a house band

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - James Poyser talks about his future plans

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - James Poyser describes his musical influences

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - James Poyser talks about the appropriation of neo soul music by foreign artists

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - James Poyser reflects upon his life

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - James Poyser reflects upon the legacies of the artists he's known

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - James Poyser reflects upon his legacy

Irving Burgie

Songwriter and performer Irving Burgie was born on July 28, 1924 in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, to a Barbadian mother and a Virginia-born father, who worked as a day laborer. In 1943, Burgie was drafted into the U.S. Army and served for three years in the China, Burma, and India Theaters. When Burgie returned to the U.S., he took advantage of the newly passed G.I. Bill, which allowed him to attend the Juilliard School, the University of Arizona, and the University of Southern California.

In 1953, Burgie performed as a singer and guitarist at the Blue Angel in Chicago, Illinois. After playing at the Village Vanguard in New York City in 1955, he was introduced to Harry Belafonte, and the two began a collaboration with Burgie as songwriter and Belafonte as performer. A year later, they released the album Calypso, for which Burgie composed eight of the eleven songs, including the hit “Day-O.” Calypso became the first American record to sell over one million copies. In 1957, Burgie wrote the song “Island in the Sun” for the film of the same name, which starred Belafonte and Joan Fontaine. Burgie was then credited for ten of the eleven songs on Belafonte’s 1957 album Belafonte Sings of the Caribbean, and eight of the twelve songs on 1961’s Jump Up Calypso. In 1963, Burgie composed the music and lyrics for the off-Broadway show, “Ballad for Bimshire,” which starred Ossie Davis. Then, while on a trip to Barbados, Burgie was invited to write the lyrics for the Barbados national anthem, which he completed in 1966. In 2011, he signed a fifteen-year publishing deal with BMG Rights Management.

Burgie released The West Indian Song Book in 1972, and the Caribbean Carnival song book in 1993. He also released the solo album, Island in the Sun, in 1996, which included many of his own renditions of the hits that he wrote for Belafonte. In 2007, he published the autobiography, Day-O!!!: The Autobiography of Irving Burgie.

Burgie developed the Caribbean Day Assembly Program for New York-area public schools in 1973; and, in 1975, helped organize the United Black Men of Queens County Federation, Inc. He has received the Silver Crown of Merit from the Barbados government, and was awarded honorary doctorates from the University of the West Indies and St. John’s University in New York. Burgie was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2007.

Irving Burgie was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 9, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.123

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/9/2014 |and| 4/10/2014

Last Name

Burgie

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

The Juilliard School

University of Arizona School of Law

University of Southern California

First Name

Irving

Birth City, State, Country

Brooklyn

HM ID

BUR23

State

New York

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

7/28/1924

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Short Description

Songwriter and performer Irving Burgie (1924 - ) was a songwriter for three Harry Belafonte albums and wrote the lyrics for the Barbados national anthem. He authored Day-O!!!: The Autobiography of Irving Burgie, and was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2007.

Employment

U.S. Army

BMG Rights Management

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.

Pete Moore

Singer, songwriter and producer Warren “Pete” Moore was born on November 19, 1939 in Detroit, Michigan. He attended Northern High School in Detroit, and was a childhood friend of singer Smokey Robinson. The two formed a singing group in 1955 called the Five Chimes, where Moore was the bass singer. In 1956, they changed their group’s name to the Matadors.

The Matadors caught the attention of Berry Gordy in the late 1950s, and, in 1959, the group recorded their first songs on Gordy’s newly formed Tamla label. The Matadors then changed their name to the Miracles, and went on to become the first successful recording act for Gordy's Motown Records. In 1967, the Miracles changed their name to Smokey Robinson & the Miracles. After producing many musical hits, Robinson left the group in 1972, but Moore and the Miracles carried on until the entire group disbanded in 1978. In 2007, Moore founded the Las Vegas-based entertainment firm, WBMM Enterprises. He is also co-owner, with Miracles member Billy Griffin, of the music publishing company Grimora Music.

Moore co-wrote several of the Miracles hits, including 1965’s "Ooo Baby Baby;” 1965’s Grammy Hall of Fame inductee “The Tracks Of My Tears;” “My Girl Has Gone,” a Billboard Top 20 hit from 1965; “Going to a Go-Go;” and the multi-million selling #1 pop smash, "Love Machine;" among others. The song "Overture" from the Miracles’ album City of Angels, co-written by Moore, was used as the official theme on Radio Monte Carlo in France from 1978 to 1979. He was also the vocal arranger on all of the Miracles’ hits.

Moore produced several hit songs as well, including the Miracles' 1965 R&B chart hit, “Choosey Beggar,” their 1969 hit, “Here I Go Again,” and the group's million-selling Top 10 hit, “Baby Baby Don't Cry” in 1969. He also produced the group’s City Of Angels album, along with albums by Marvin Gaye, and the Supremes. Moore's compositions have been recorded by Marvin Gaye, Debbie Boone, Linda Ronstadt, George Michael, The Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, Ramsey Lewis, Tom Jones, Luther Vandross, Michael Jackson, The Temptations, and The Four Tops.

Moore has received many honors and awards. He has been a four-time winner of the Broadcast Music, Inc. award for songwriting, and was inducted with the rest of the Miracles into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2001. In 2009, the Miracles received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and, in 2012, Moore was inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He has received the Award Of Merit by the American Society of Composers, Authors,and Publishers. The Miracles are also four-time inductees into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Moore passed away on November 19, 2017.

Pete Moore was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 21, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.316

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/21/2013

Last Name

Moore

Maker Category
Organizations
First Name

Warren

Birth City, State, Country

Detroit

HM ID

MOO18

State

Michigan

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Nevada

Birth Date

11/19/1939

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Las Vegas

Country

United States

Death Date

11/19/2017

Short Description

Singer, songwriter, and producer Pete Moore (1939 - 2017)

Employment

Miracles

WBMM Enterprises

Grimora Music

Janie Bradford

Songwriter Janie Bradford was born on June 2, 1939 in Charleston, Missouri to Richard Henry and Elizabeth Bradford. Bradford attended Birds Mill Elementary School and Lincoln High School. Upon graduation, Bradford attended the Detroit Institute of Technology in 1956.

In Detroit, Bradford lived with her sister, Clea Ethel. Their neighbor was Jackie Wilson, who introduced Bradford to the founder of Motown Records, Berry Gordy. In 1958, Bradford joined Motown Records as a secretary, but soon became a songwriter for Motown singers. The first two songs she co-authored with Gordy were included on Jackie Wilson’s album, Lonely Teardrops. The next collaboration that Bradford co-wrote with Gordy was the song “Money (That’s What I Want),” which has been covered over two hundred times by artists such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Muddy Watters, The Supremes, The Flying Lizards and Boyz II Men. Bradford was later promoted to director of writer’s relations at Motown Records. During her twenty-years as a songwriter with Motown Records, she wrote numerous hit songs such as Marv Johnson’s “All The Love I’ve Got” in 1960, Stevie Wonder’s “Contract on Love” in 1962, Mary Well’s “Your Old Standby” in 1963, The Supremes’ “Tie a String Around Your Finger” in 1963, The Temptations’ “Too Busy Thinking About My Baby” in 1963, and Carolyn Crawford’s “My Smile Is Just a Frown (Turned Upside Down)” in 1964. Bradford later founded Mountain Goat Music and opened Music Notes Gift Shop in Beverly Hills, California. In 2010, Bradford established Twin Records with songwriter and singer Marilyn McLeod. Together Bradford and McLeod produced Bradford the album titled, I Believe in Me.

Bradford is the executive director of the Janie Bradford Heroes and Legends (HAL) Scholarship Fund and producer of the HAL Awards. She has been honored by Broadcast Music, Inc. with a Certificate of Achievement for her co-authoring “Money” and “Too Busy Thinkin’ About My Baby.” She received the Vivian Carter Award from Jack the Rapper in 1989, and was named one of Motown Historical Museum’s Women of Motown in 2000.

Janie Bradford was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 28, 2012 and November 19, 2019.

Accession Number

A2012.252

Sex

Female

Interview Date

11/28/2012

11/28/2012 |and| 11/19/2019

Last Name

Bradford

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Schools

Lincoln High School

Bird's Mill School

Detroit Institute of Technology

First Name

Janie

Birth City, State, Country

Charleston

HM ID

BRA14

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Missouri

Favorite Vacation Destination

Los Angeles, California

Favorite Quote

If The Elevator Stops, Take The Stairs

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

6/2/1939

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Songwriter Janie Bradford (1939 - ) was a songwriter at Motown Records for twenty-eight years, writing songs such as “Money (That's What I Want),” “Tie a String Around Your Finger,” and “Too Busy Thinking About My Baby.”

Employment

Jobete Music Co., Inc./Motown Records

Mountain Goat Music

Music Notes

Favorite Color

Off-White

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Janie Bradford's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Janie Bradford lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Janie Bradford describes her mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Janie Bradford describes her mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Janie Bradford talks about her father's migration from Mississippi to Missouri, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Janie Bradford talks about her father's migration from Mississippi to Missouri, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Janie Bradford remembers segregation in Charleston, Missouri

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Janie Bradford describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Janie Bradford remembers her father's congregation

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Janie Bradford lists her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Janie Bradford describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Janie Bradford remembers her community in Charleston, Missouri

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Janie Bradford remembers her household

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Janie Bradford recalls the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Janie Bradford remembers her sister's musical career

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Janie Bradford describes her early musical interests

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Janie Bradford remembers her interest in poetry

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Janie Bradford remembers the Bird's Mill School in Charleston, Missouri

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Janie Bradford describes her father's discipline

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Janie Bradford recalls her experiences at Lincoln High School in Charleston, Missouri

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Janie Bradford describes her extracurricular activities at Lincoln High School

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Janie Bradford recalls moving to Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Janie Bradford describes her early years in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Janie Bradford talks about her early work with Berry Gordy and Jackie Wilson

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Janie Bradford remembers writing 'Money (That's What I Want)'

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Janie Bradford talks about the invention of 45 rpm records

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Janie Bradford describes her songs on Jackie Wilson's 'Lonely Teardrops'

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Janie Bradford recalls the naming of The Supremes

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Janie Bradford talks about her popular Motown Records songs, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Janie Bradford talks about her popular Motown Records songs, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Janie Bradford reflects upon the success of her songs

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Janie Bradford talks about covers of her songs

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Janie Bradford describes how she earns money from her songs

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Janie Bradford remembers her duties with Jobete Publishing

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Janie Bradford reflects upon her career with Motown Records

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Janie Bradford remembers The Funk Brothers

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Janie Bradford recalls turning down a partnership with Brian Holland and Lamont Dozier

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Janie Bradford remembers Motown Records' move to Los Angeles, California

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Janie Bradford describes Mountain Goat Music

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Janie Bradford talks about the Music Notes gift shop in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Janie Bradford describes the Heroes and Legends Scholarship Fund

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Janie Bradford talks about the Heroes and Legends Scholarship Fund

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Janie Bradford describes her plans for the future

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Janie Bradford talks about her favorites musicians

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Janie Bradford describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Janie Bradford reflects upon her life and legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Janie Bradford talks about her family

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Janie Bradford describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Janie Bradford narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

3$1

DATitle
Janie Bradford talks about covers of her songs
Janie Bradford talks about the Heroes and Legends Scholarship Fund
Transcript
Following the evolution of the songs, I mean the two songs, 'Money' ['Money (That's What I Want)'] and 'Too Busy Thinking About My Baby,' have been recorded by other artists all over the place. And I think the beginning of the mid-'60s [1960s], the British musicians started recording your songs, right?$$Yes, and I think The Beatles were the first British that did and then the Rolling Stones, and right there, that gold record for Flying Lizards. That was funny. My daughter [Nicole Hobbs] went to school and told her teacher that I had written that song. I said, "Why didn't you tell her I didn't write that production and arrangement?" They rearranged, Flying Lizard, "That best things in life are free, but you can give them to the birds and bees." It's one of those kind of (laughter)--I said, "Why did you tell her that," (laughter)? But I got a--I'm proud of the gold record on the wall, so (laughter).$$The Flying Lizards.$$Uh-huh.$$Okay. So, all right, so, so, is there a particular group that surprised, that you were surprised that even performed it other than the Lizards?$$Boyz II Men, because they sing such lush ballads, ballads all the time and blend their voices. And when I--was, was about two years ago they recorded 'Money' and released as their single. I was really surprised.$$Yeah, 'Money' has also been heard on commercials, right?$$Oh yeah, movies, commercials, yeah.$$Right, right. How, but how, how many--could you, can you estimate how many, many commercial or movies this appeared in?$$Oh, maybe, movies, maybe about fifty, 'cause year before last I think it was in five movies at one time that same year, so maybe fifty or more. In movies--commercials, I don't know, quite a few, and it's been recorded by various artists over three hundred times.$$So this song is--it's safe to say it's an iconic song.$$Yeah.$$And I mean, it's something that's a part of popular culture now, and I don't think you could ever get it out of it, out of popular culture today.$$I don't think so. I hope not (laughter).$$Okay. And what about 'Too Busy Thinking About My Baby,' is that--$$Yeah, Phil Collins and several others have, have recorded it, so it keeps pretty good but not compared to--well, very few songs compare to 'Money.'$$Yeah, something everybody wants.$$Um-hm, something that everybody wants (laughter).$$Okay, that was the question of the day.$$I gave the right answer.$$Okay, I think we're sitting here on the eve of the largest payout in lottery history. I mean, there, there, you know, the what's it--$$Yeah.$$--Powerball is at the highest level it's ever been as we sit here today.$$And it's in Arizona. We can't play here (laughter).$$Okay, okay.$Who are some of the recipients of the Heroes and Legends scholarships [Heroes and Legends Scholarship Fund] (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Well, one, one fellow I called when I was putting together a record label [Mountain Goat Music], I called the musicians union [American Federation of Musicians Local 47], and they switched me to this odd sounding name. And it struck me. I said I've heard that name once before, and it can't be but one person. So when I got him, I asked, I said, "Are you last year's Heroes and Legends scholarship recipient?" He's now vice president of the musicians union here in Los Angeles [California].$$Okay.$$And then Steven Ellison, we gave him a scholarship twice. When they continue, sometime we give them extended scholarship the next year to help them continue. He is now--oh, what is his, his name? Flying Lotus.$$Okay.$$He is so big in Europe. He was just here at the Hollywood Bowl [Los Angeles, California]. He was here at the Ikea theater [sic. Club Nokia; The Novo by Microsoft, Los Angeles, California], so he went on--these are the kind of clubs and things he's working and, and playing now. And then there was another, Ebony--what's Ebony's last name? But anyway, they called her Lady Sticks. So she, she's a drummer, and she have gone on to play for Sheila E. and a lot of the, the big names. So, they do go on and continue, most of them. But what happened, we give the scholarship to--they must be going to an art school first, even if it's a regular school, it must be an art department where they're studying whatever they tell us they're studying. And we give the money to the school in their name, so they have to go in order to reap the benefit of the money. And we try to give it to as many local art places as possible, so therefore, we help the school if the student should not go, which so far has never happened. But you know, we kill two birds with one stone. We're helping the school and the student at the same time.$$Okay. So these are local artists in the Los Angeles area?$$Los Angeles area or, or California, long as they're in California and so forth--$$Okay.$$--so far.$$Okay. Now this has been going on for twenty-four years now.$$Twenty-four years.$$Okay, all right.

Fatin Dantzler

Singer and songwriter Fatin Dantzler was born in Camden, New Jersey in 1973. Dantzler attended the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA) before transferring to Overbrook High School. Dantzler began his musical career in the early 1990s as a performer with a group called "Side by Side." He also became a producer and songwriter, contributing to the 1993 album by R&B pop stars "Bell Biv DeVoe." Dantzler left "Side by Side" to pursue songwriting and producing opportunities and later becoming affiliated with burgeoning Philadelphia hip-hop group "The Roots." In 1997, Dantzler met his future wife and musical collaborator Aja Graydon and two years later, they went on to form an R&B and Soul music duo called "Kindred the Family Soul." After being discovered by Jill Scott at a Philadelphia music showcase, "Kindred" signed a recording contract with Hidden Beach Recordings (HBR) in 2001. In March of 2003, the group released its first studio album titled, Surrender to Love, which peaked to seven and twenty nine on the Billboard Heatseekers and R&B albums’ charts, respectively. Two years later, the duo released their second studio album, In This Life Together, which climbed to number fifteen on the Billboard R&B chart. In 2006, Kindred’s song "My Time" was named the official song of the National Education Association’s Read Across America campaign. Kindred then released The Arrival, its third album on Hidden Beach, in 2008. The album rose to number seven on the Billboard R&B albums’ chart. The duo released its fourth album Love Has No Recession in 2011, which rose to number nineteen and fifteen on the R&B and Independent Albums’ charts, respectively. The group also launched a web-based reality television show in 2010.

Dantzler and his wife, Aja Graydon, have garnered critical acclaim with their work as "Kindred the Family Soul." In 2003, the duo garnered a Soul Train nomination. Three years later, the group was nominated for a BET Award. They have worked with Grammy Award-winning recording artists like Jill Scott, The Roots and Snoop Dogg. Dantzler and Graydon reside in Philadelphia and have six children.

FatinDantzler was interviewed by the The HistoryMakers on May 22, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.102

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/22/2012

Last Name

Dantzler

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Organizations
Schools

Overbrook High School

Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA)

Rudolph S. Walton School

Dean Rusk Elementary School

Thomas Fitzsimons Junior High School

First Name

Fatin

Birth City, State, Country

Camden

HM ID

DAN06

Favorite Season

Summer

State

New Jersey

Favorite Vacation Destination

France

Favorite Quote

Keep It 100.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Pennsylvania

Birth Date

12/7/1973

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Philadelphia

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Short Description

R & B singer and songwriter Fatin Dantzler (1973 - ) was best known along with his singing partner and wife, Aja Graydon, as the critically acclaimed R&B and Soul music group, Kindred the Family Soul.

Employment

Kindred the Family Soul

Self Employed

Media Shack

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Fatin Dantzler's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Fatin Dantzler lists his favorites

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

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

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Fatin Dantzler talks about his relationship with his biological father

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Fatin Dantzler describes his relationship with his stepfather

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Fatin Dantzler describes how his mother met his father and stepfather

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Fatin Dantzler talks about his stepfather's incarceration

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Fatin Dantzler describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Fatin Dantzler lists his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Fatin Dantzler describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Fatin Dantzler descries the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Fatin Dantzler recalls his early musical influences

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Fatin Dantzler talks about his early experiences of religion

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Fatin Dantzler talks about his early experiences in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Fatin Dantzler describes his schooling, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Fatin Dantzler describes his schooling, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Fatin Dantzler describes his experiences of discrimination as a Muslim

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Fatin Dantzler remembers H. Rap Brown

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Fatin Dantzler recalls the music of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Fatin Dantzler remembers moving to Alabama with his stepfather and brother

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Fatin Dantzler remembers the aftermath of his stepfather's arrest

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Fatin Dantzler talks about Thomas Fitzsimons Junior High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Fatin Dantzler remembers his classmates at the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Fatin Dantzler remembers his musical mentor, George Williams III

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Fatin Dantzler recalls his expulsion from the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Fatin Dantzler remembers his music teacher, George E. Allen

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Fatin Dantzler talks about his performances at Overbrook High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Fatin Dantzler recalls writing for Bell Biv DeVoe's 'Hootie Mack'

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Fatin Dantzler remembers his first gold record

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Fatin Dantzler remembers his work with LaFace Records in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Fatin Dantzler describes his songwriting work in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Fatin Dantzler talks about his early work with The Roots

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Fatin Dantzler remembers meeting and marrying Aja Graydon

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Fatin Dantzler talks about the Black Lily showcase

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Fatin Dantzler remembers forming Kindred the Family Soul

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Fatin Dantzler remembers the Black Lily showcase, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Fatin Dantzler remembers the Black Lily showcase, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Fatin Dantzler talks about the early performances of Kindred the Family Soul

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Fatin Dantzler remembers signing a contract with Hidden Beach Recordings

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Fatin Dantzler describes Kindred the Family Soul's first album, 'Surrender to Love'

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Fatin Dantzler remembers recording the album, 'Surrender to Love'

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Fatin Dantzler recalls shooting the music video for 'Far Away'

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Fatin Dantzler remembers Kindred the Family Soul's first tour

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Fatin Dantzler talks about the accomplishments of Kindred the Family Soul

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Fatin Dantzler talks about the album, 'In This Life Together'

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Fatin Dantzler remembers reuniting the Black Lily

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Fatin Dantzler talks about the song, 'My Time'

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Fatin Dantzler remembers the birth of his twin daughters

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Fatin Dantzler describes his family's reality web series, 'Six Is It'

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Fatin Dantzler talks about balancing his family and career

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Fatin Dantzler remembers Kenny Gamble

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Fatin Dantzler reflects upon his career

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Fatin Dantzler reflects upon Kindred the Family Soul's discography

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Fatin Dantzler describes his plans for the future

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Fatin Dantzler describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Fatin Dantzler reflects upon his life

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Fatin Dantzler reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Fatin Dantzler describes his children

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Fatin Dantzler describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$3

DAStory

3$7

DATitle
Fatin Dantzler remembers meeting and marrying Aja Graydon
Fatin Dantzler talks about his performances at Overbrook High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Transcript
Nineteen ninety-seven [1997] you met Aja.$$I did.$$All right, this is your wife, [HistoryMaker] Aja Graydon.$$Um-hm.$$And, tell us how did--you all met and what happened.$$Well, I met Aja, I went to New York [New York]--there was a loft that The Roots had at the time where they were doing a lot of their production and jam sessions and things like that. And, they had--I guess, Aja had reached out to them or her record label at the time had reached out to them about writing some songs for her. So, she had come to town to, you know, check them out and see what their production and things like that was. And, they brought me up. When I got there she was there with another guy, it was this other guy, Eugene [Eugene Hanes], I believe his name was Eugene, and he was there to help her to write the songs that the--her label had sent. But, I was like The Roots' guy. You know, like The Roots felt comfortable with me being the guy to help her out with the songs. So, that was kind of a little conflict. There was also this thing like where the dude had written like some risque song for another artist, which we definitely did not see Aja going in that directions. And, so, we were all kind of concerned. "Well, do y'all want him to write one of them kind of of songs for her because that ain't gonna even fly on The Roots production," which was weird, you know. Again, not disrespecting him in any way because, you know, he, he made his money, he did his things, and you know, he got a hit song. But, it definitely was not the kind of hit that I felt like this girl, who could really sing, who was really awesome, would be into. But, I, so I, when I got there again, I, I remember she sang a Donny Hathaway song or something like that, and I might've sang a Donny Hathaway song. And, you know, we just had a mutual respect for each other's voice immediately, and we kind of hit it off. And, I don't know what happened with Eugene, but somehow he got filtered out. And, she just started coming to Philly [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania] and New York, and Philly and New York, and Philly and New York, and we just started working on songs for her and her project. And, kind of one thing led to another and we started liking each other, you know what I mean. And, you know, of course, we have both been in those kinds of situations before. You know, you work in close proximity with people, males and females, somebody gonna like somebody, you know what I mean. But, it was more than just liking her when we really started to realize how much we had in common and how similarly we thought about so many different things and just, we was connected. And, we were connecting a lot more than the music was connecting. And, I think that we were both in similar places in our life, as well, that we had been music for quite some time, even though we were young people, and had not had the success of the music that maybe we had thought we going to have by that time in our careers. And, again, even though we were young, we had been doing it and been around stuff and people and da, da, da, da. And, we connected from there and it was just like, well, maybe music is not what's going to take us where we gonna go. And, we started thinking about our relationship and hooking up and like the seriousness of that. And, like, maybe you--we're just on this path to meet each other kind of thing and get together. And, then we'll be a collective and then we gonna retire the music and just get the picket fence and get a regular job and start raising some kids, you know. 'Cause mom [Delica Dantzler Sulaiman] always use to say, you know, not just her mom [Susan Knox Graydon] or my mom or whatever, just, "You might need a regular job," you know, that whole thing, that music might not wa- work out, you know. Those kinds of things were always in the back of your mind. And, so, because, I think our love and our affection for one another and as well as this connection was so strong, it was so strong that it made us feel like, you know what, "Let's think about us and stop thinking about this music so much." And, we put our music on the backburner and got married. And, I got a regular job. And, started leaving music alone. I really thought that we were, I don't know if I thought completely we were leaving it behind or we were abandoning it--abandoning it or something. But, it was just like, the purpose of life felt like it shifted to family life at that time, you know what I mean. And, it wasn't as hard to say goodbye to it as I thought that it was going to be for that time. And, we rolled with that, and we had a son [Aquil Dantzler]. And, like I said, I started--and we got married, had a son, and I started working a regular job, you know, selling appliances (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Well, what is it--what did you do? You said, you sold appliances?$$I--yeah, I was, I was an appliance salesman. I end up being a manager at an appliance store. It was called American Appliance [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania]. You know, the funny thing is it's right down the street from this business that we're in today [Media Shack, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania], you know. Less than about a mile or two down the road. And, all here of businesses (laughter), they've all been on this block. So, it's so interesting to me like the other part of my life, you know, where I have to have another business outside of music in some way, you know. Not have to, but I do, you know. And, I've had stores, and now I have this place. And, but, they've all been on that road to Amer- towards American Appliance (laughter).$$So, what, when did you all get married? Nineteen--$$Nineteen ninety-eight [1998], September, 1998 we got married.$So you were focused on music completely; and when it was time to graduate, was there anything significant that happened in school at Overbrook [Overbrook High School, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania] that you were a part of before we graduate you?$$Significant what like--well, yeah. I mean at, my first show (laughter) at Overbrook was a talent show and I sang (laughter), I sang 'I Wanna Sex You Up' by Color Me Badd. And (laughter), I came out on stage, I had a little cane and a nice suit on and I went to sing and all of the girls went crazy, and it was like, this is it. I'm not going backwards. I ain't playing that saxophone. I ain't playing the clarinet. Nothing el- I'm just--I'm a singer. I know I can do this. This is it, you know. And, I went to school not too long ago to do a career day or something like that. And, was talking to the kids from that stage and just telling them, you know, that feeling. It's just like I cannot believe that this was the training ground for everything that I'm doing now, you know what I mean. And, it was this moment here that made me have the conf- or that gave me the confidence to do this. And, it was like, from here on out, like, I'm going to do this, and I know it. And, that was my first time performing (background noise) as me, you know, like in front of everybody. Like not in a group, not on a cho- you know, in a choir, and my voice can be low and you don't hear me da, da, da, da, it's like, it's all me. And, everybody's focused on what I was doing. It was just a great feeling. And, then later I would sing, 'It's Written All Over Your Face' ['Written All Over Your Face'] by The Rude Boys another time. And, you know, some of my other guys did--the musicians and stuff and we would play and go and do other high schools and stuff and put on our little show. And, then all the girls would go crazy and we would be singing the popular hits of the day and (laughter), it was, it was nice. It was, it was a good time.$$Okay (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Good times.$$So, were you were in a group in high school?$$I wasn't in a group, per se, but there was a group of musicians who were, who was around me, Little John Robert [sic. Lil' John Roberts], Jermaine Childs, and Damon Bennett, and Lawrence Pitchburg [ph.], and Alfonzo Jones [ph.], and Hayward Hamilton, not Hayward Hamilton; Hayward [ph.], I can't think of Hayward's last name, I'm sorry. But, just different guys that was real good and you know, they would play the music and we would go around. But, we wasn't concentra- like, we weren't a name or a band. It was just, we was a group of guys who just really liked what we did. And, whenever we could find someplace to do or rehearse and practice, and da, da, da, and then show people what we was doing, we would do that. It just, it's kind of like jamming, you know, just jamming together. We like to jam together.$$Okay.$$I didn't get to a group 'til a little later on.$$Did you consider going to college?$$I venture to say, not venture, no, I did not think of going to college. I think that by the time, by the time I was graduating high school, I was hell bent on music, music, music, music, music. I didn't think I needed anything else. I really didn't think I needed anything else because it felt as if I was making it already. And, you know, you go to college, or what it seemed like at that time, you go to college so you can get a degree so you can go make it. And, I'm like, "Look, I'm already making it," you know. That's what it felt like at that time, you know. Unbeknownst to me how much time that goes in between the time of you making it, you know what I mean. And, different skillsets that you might've needed to have to fall back on in case things don't work out that I would have done differently, possibly now, if I had it to do over.

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
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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.