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Frankie Knuckles

DJ Frankie Knuckles was born in the Bronx, New York on January 18, 1955. The first music he was exposed to as a child came from his sister’s jazz record collection. He was naturally creative and studied commercial art and costume design before he started spinning records as a teenager in 1971.

Knuckles’ first DJing job came from Tee Scott, whom he credits as both a legend and a major influence on his own style. In 1972, Knuckles and childhood friend Larry Levan first worked together at the New York City club, The Gallery. When Levan left to work at Continental Baths in 1973, Knuckles followed to work as the alternate DJ to Levan. He remained at Continental Baths until the club closed in 1976. In March of 1977, Knuckles played the opening night of the Chicago private after hours club, US Studio -The Warehouse, which was located in a three-story factory building in Chicago’s West Loop industrial area. In 1983, Knuckles opened his own club, The Power Plant which was located in an industrial space near the Cabrini Green housing projects.

After more than a decade behind the turntables in dance clubs, Knuckles began to record tracks as well as play them. In 1983, a 12-inch single of his Warehouse classic “Let No Man Put Asunder” was released on the Salsoul label. The song went on to become a house classic. Knuckles produced songs for local Chicago vocalists and wrote such tracks as “Baby Wants To Ride,” “Bad Boy,” “Cold World" and “Your Love,” which was a breakthrough hit for Chicago native Jamie Principle. Knuckles released a hit with “You Can't Hide” in 1986. Knuckles closed the Power Plant that same year. In 1987, he returned home to New York City and secured gigs at the city’s hottest clubs, including the Roxy and Sound Factory. Knuckles, joined David Morales, (one of the biggest names in house music), along with Judy Weinstein founded the Def Mix music production company in 1988.

In 1991, Knuckles signed with Virgin Records, becoming one of the first DJs to sign to a major label. In 1997, he became the first DJ to win a Grammy Award for "”Remixer of the Year.” Knuckles’ 2002 album, Motivation, was his first release of completely original tracks, rather than a remix album. Knuckles kicked off the Def Mix 15th Anniversary tour in Sydney, Australia in 2003. Knuckles has also remixed songs by superstars such as Janet Jackson, Diana Ross, Luther Vandross, Chaka Khan, En Vogue, and Michael Jackson.

Frankie Knuckles was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 23, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.235

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/23/2013

Last Name

Dunson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Occupation
Schools

P.S. 60

High School of Art and Design

Fashion Institute of Technology

School of the Art Institute of Chicago

John Dwyer Junior High School #133

First Name

Frederick

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

KNU01

Favorite Season

Fall

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Home

Favorite Quote

Only Thing Worse Than A Woman That's Jealous Of Me Is Two Women.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

1/18/1955

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pasta

Death Date

3/31/2014

Short Description

Dj Frankie Knuckles (1955 - 2014 ) signed with Virgin Records in 1991, becoming one of the first DJs to sign to a major label. In 1997, he became the first DJ to win the Grammy Award for Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical.

Employment

Delete

Continental Baths & Entertainment

Favorite Color

Olive

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Frankie Knuckles' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Frankie Knuckles lists his favorites

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

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Frankie Knuckles remembers his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Frankie Knuckles describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Frankie Knuckles describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Frankie Knuckles talks about his early childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Frankie Knuckles describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Frankie Knuckles describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Frankie Knuckles remembers listening to the radio and spending time with his maternal great-grandparents

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Frankie Knuckles describes his early artistic interests

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Frankie Knuckles remembers being hit by a car as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Frankie Knuckles talks about his early schooling in Mobile, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Frankie Knuckles remembers moving to the South Bronx neighborhood of New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Frankie Knuckles describes his early household

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Frankie Knuckles remembers helping to take care of his family

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Frankie Knuckles talks about his elementary and junior high school years

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Frankie Knuckles remembers his favorite subject in school

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Frankie Knuckles recalls living with his sister, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Frankie Knuckles recalls living with his sister, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Frankie Knuckles talks about using art as an emotional escape

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Frankie Knuckles remembers his teacher Robert Marvin and coping with his emotions

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Frankie Knuckles talks about his early musical influences

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Frankie Knuckles recalls exploring the music scene in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Frankie Knuckles talks about developing his musical preferences

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Frankie Knuckles talks about the nightclubs in Manhattan, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Frankie Knuckles recalls applying to the High School of Art and Design in New York City

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Frankie Knuckles talks about the counterculture environment of the 1970s

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Frankie Knuckles remembers defending himself and his friends in the South Bronx

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Frankie Knuckles recalls living with his friends in Upper Manhattan, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Frankie Knuckles talks about the curriculum at High School of Art and Design

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Frankie Knuckles describes the nightclubs in Manhattan, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Frankie Knuckles talks about hosting parties and events

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Frankie Knuckles remembers his start as a deejay

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Frankie Knuckles talks about being gay in the New York club scene

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Frankie Knuckles remembers Deejay Tee Scott

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Frankie Knuckles recalls seeing popular music performers in New York City

Tape: 4 Story: 13 - Frankie Knuckles remembers getting involved in post-production in music

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Frankie Knuckles remembers Warehouse club owner, Robert Williams

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Frankie Knuckles recalls moving to Chicago, Illinois and opening the Warehouse nightclub

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Frankie Knuckles describes the house music at the Warehouse nightclub

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Frankie Knuckles talks about the history of house music

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Frankie Knuckles describes his decision to leave the Warehouse nightclub, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Frankie Knuckles talks about the development of house music

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Frankie Knuckles describes his decision to leave the Warehouse nightclub, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Frankie Knuckles talks about the differences between Chicago, Illinois and New York City

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Frankie Knuckles talks about the AIDS epidemic, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Frankie Knuckles talks about cultivating his image and personal character

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Frankie Knuckles talks about the AIDS epidemic, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Frankie Knuckles describes the racial prejudice of nightclubs in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Frankie Knuckles remembers his acquaintances in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Frankie Knuckles talks about launching his production career at Def Mix Productions

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Frankie Knuckles remembers the artists he's worked with throughout his production career

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Frankie Knuckles recalls working with Michael Jackson

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Frankie Knuckles talks about the remixing process

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Frankie Knuckles remembers working with Luther Vandross

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Frankie Knuckles talks about the art of music production

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Frankie Knuckles talks about the artists and repertoire division of major record labels

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Frankie Knuckles remembers the emergence of house music in Europe

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Frankie Knuckles talks about his record deal with Virgin Records America, Inc.

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Frankie Knuckles remembers winning the first Grammy Award for Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Frankie Knuckles talks about his partnership at Def Mix Productions

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Frankie Knuckles describes the Def Mix Productions anniversary tours

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Frankie Knuckles remembers being inducted into the Dance Hall Music Hall of Fame

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Frankie Knuckles talks about his most recent projects

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Frankie Knuckles reflects upon the development of the house music genre

Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Frankie Knuckles describes the Director's Cut project with Eric Kupper

Tape: 7 Story: 12 - Frankie Knuckles talks about the future of the music industry

Tape: 7 Story: 13 - Frankie Knuckles describes the elements of house music

Tape: 7 Story: 14 - Frankie Knuckles reflects upon his career

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Frankie Knuckles talks about his art and the power of music

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Frankie Knuckles talks about mixing and playing for the crowds

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Frankie Knuckles reflects upon overcoming childhood abuse

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Frankie Knuckles describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Frankie Knuckles reflects upon his life

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$7

DAStory

4$5

DATitle
Frankie Knuckles talks about the history of house music
Frankie Knuckles remembers winning the first Grammy Award for Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical
Transcript
(OFF CAMERA VOICE): So okay, so this, so--I wanna know, so what, what--the thing that we're talking about is house music and house music, it's interesting 'cause house music is huge as Chicago's [Chicago, Illinois] creation and not you know not New York's [New York, New York] creation, so--$$Right.$$(OFF CAMERA VOICE): --what were you, what were you doing here and how, how was it made possible? So let's you know let's talk about?$$Okay. When Steve Dahl blew up all those disco records in Comiskey Park [Chicago, Illinois] and they declared disco dead--$$(OFF CAMERA VOICE): And Steve Dahl was one of our--$$Yeah.$$(OFF CAMERA VOICE): --he was one of our deejays.$$Yeah, exactly. He was a big radio personality, WDAI [WDAI Radio; WLS Radio, Chicago, Illinois] I think it was. Anyway when he blew up all those disco records out in Comiskey Park I guess a lot of people were under the impression that it was going to affect the Warehouse [Chicago, Illinois] because the very next day twenty-four hours after they did the whole disco demolition so many discos around, in and around Chicago changed formats like overnight. They, they either shut down completely or they went country western remember. Because 'Urban Cowboy' was the movie at the time and so therefore they took their lead from 'Urban Cowboy' and so that became the whole sound of what was going on. You know they killed off disco. But it didn't have any effect on the Warehouse because one we weren't mainstream commercial you know and you know whatever disco records I was playing at the time you know wasn't even the same thing that they were playing at any of those other mainstream discos so but with disco being killed off and everything, I had to creatively find a way to keep the audience coming there 'cause now there's not a whole lot of music that's coming out with real energy to it so I had to creatively find a way to recreate some of the stuff that I was already playing to keep the audience interested I coming. And that's when I started doing a lot of post-production work of my own reediting, using drum machines and things like that to create tracks of my own and re--redesigning a lot of current stuff at the time.$$(OFF CAMERA VOICE): So talk about how you did that and is anyone else doing that at the time that you're doing that and that you're you know you've observed or you see you know in any of the clubs or things like that that you're (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) There's no one else in Chicago that's doing it. There are other people that are doing it probably in New York and probably in L.A. [Los Angeles, California], Philadelphia [Pennsylvania] maybe but not in Chicago. I think I was the only person that was actually doing it in Chicago. And you know in recreating all the songs and redesigning all these songs just to make them something special. The only place you're going to hear this is at the Warehouse. So you know so a lot of people came there for that reason you know because the music is unlike you know what you hear anywhere else. And it worked.$$(OFF CAMERA VOICE): But essentially what you're doing, you're taking different tracks and mixing them together. I mean so can you talk--$$I'm reediting.$$(OFF CAMERA VOICE): You're reedit- that's what I'm saying you're mixing them together.$$I'm taking current, yeah music that was current at the time and completely reediting it you know and adding certain elements like using drum machines and things like that to refashion these songs and just completely reproduce them you know from working with, you know working with the vinyl itself. And just turning this music around just to keep my dance floor interested.$So let's take you to 1997 when you won the Grammy Award for remixer of the year [Grammy Award for Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical].$$How about that (laughter), okay?$$Can we talk about that?$$Sure.$$Or even how the Grammys worked. Do you get a call or?$$No, I was there. I was at the Grammys that night. I actually I got, I got pulled in to sit on the board of governors when they were, when they were trying to get the dance category. We were trying to get the dance category launched and so I sat on the board of governors and we got the category, the dance category plus a bonus and the bonus was a remix category. So like, "Wow okay well that can work." So there was a lot of backlash about it and stuff like that you know and you know I'm trying to be diplomatic because I'm sitting on the board of governors and I gotta be careful what I say and who I say it to because that could, you know, that could be the wrong thing and so the night at the Grammys, I mean when the ballots go out to vote for remix of the year, I saw my name on the ballot and I didn't think I was gonna get it. You know if anyone was gonna get it, David would have gotten it, Morales, 'cause David had a killer year that year as well. And that's what you were judged on, you were judged on your body of work that particular year and David had, David had a killer body of work that year. So I thought if anything he was gonna take it. And so then I ended up getting it and yeah, it blew my mind for sure. But I think, I think it had a more profound effect on everybody that knows me and knows me personally because I think all my friends and my family felt like they're the ones that won which is, which is what you want I mean. I think anytime you win you know an accolade like that you know I mean getting the respect from my peers in the music industry that was, that was the best part of it for me. Because that basically told me that everybody in this industry recognizes who I am and that was enough you know but for family or friends, to say you know, "Frankie [HistoryMaker Frankie Knuckles] took it." You know that kind of thing you know it's, it's like them saying, "I just won the Grammy." You know what I mean and they all acted just like that too, it was great.$$So that night who were your guests that night? Because you get--was someone sitting with you, next to you?$$Yeah Judy Weinstein was sitting with me. She went with me. David Morales was there because he was nominated as well and who else? This other friend of mine that I was seeing at the time. It was just a few of us that went.$$And then your name gets called and you're surprised and--$$Exactly. Exactly. It's--I haven't thought about it since it happened. It's like your whole world speeds up and slows down so quickly. It's like that depth of field thing where the whole background just goes (makes sound) and snaps back, it was like that.$$So what happens when you win a Grammy Award like that, do other things start coming your way, is that what happened?$$Well you would think that you know it's like you would think that it's like in Hollywood when a person wins the Oscar. Immediately you know the work starts coming in. No, what ends up happening is that the industry basically looks and says, "Well his rates just went through the roof." And so basically things will slow up. You have to, basically looking back on it now, you have to basically force your creativity to come to the surface. You have to really get creative and remain creative and stay that way and make sure the people look at what you're doing and listen to what you're doing and take it serious. You know what I mean otherwise you have--businesses will dry up because it--because so many people in the industry you know that would normally call me for remixes and stuff didn't, they just you know they took the attitude, "His rates just went through the roof so we're not gonna be able afford him now. He just got a Grammy."$$So how did you counteract that? 'Cause you know I--$$There's no counteracting it.$$So you just had to keep on working? 'Cause I mean that I'm telling you even on--Lou Gossett [HistoryMaker Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr.] told a story about you know after his Academy Award the phones weren't ringing.$$Yeah, it stops ringing.$$He said it was--they were not ringing.$$Yeah same thing.$$And he was living the lifestyle and went through a lot of money and next thing you know he had less friends and--$$Yeah it stops, yeah, it stops ringing.

Ray Chew

Musician and music director Ray Chew was born in 1958 in the Harlem, New York to Henry and Elaine Chew. Chew developed an interest in music at an early age. At age six, Chew received a scholarship to attend the Julliard School’s Children’s Program. He continued to pursue music education throughout his childhood, and enrolled in institutions such as Third Street Music School and the High School of Music and Arts where he was exposed to iconic musicians such as jazz legends Lionel Hampton, Max Roach, and Dizzy Gillespie.

As a music arranger and multi-instrumentalist, Chew has worked with notable musicians including Gladys Knight, Quincy Jones, Diana Ross and Aretha Franklin. In 1974, Chew received his first big break in the music industry when he was given an opportunity go on tour with recording artist and Broadway star Melba Moore. Chew was selected to produce music for Nick Ashford & Valerie Simpson in 1975. He went on to serve as the music arranger on seven albums with the legendary duo over a twenty year period. In 1980, Chew became the musical director of the Saturday Night Live Band. In 1998, he co-founded Chew Entertainment with his wife, music executive Vivian Scott Chew. Later Chew and his wife founded Power to Inspire, a nonprofit organization that aims to improve music appreciation among youths He continued his career in television when he was named musical director of “Showtime at the Apollo,” a talent competition filmed at Harlem’s historic Apollo Theater, in 1992. In 2001, Chew composed the score for the short film, The Gilded Six Bits, earning him his first credit for a musical score; and, in 2008, he was recruited as the bandleader for the Democratic National Convention. In 2009, he was selected by President Barack Obama to direct the Neighborhood Inaugural Ball. Chew became the musical director of “American Idol” in 2011.

Since his early years as a student at the High School of Music and Arts, Chew has received recognition for his talent as a musical arranger and multi-instrumentalist. Chew served as the musical director of the Apollo Theater Foundation and as a national trustee for the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences.

Chew is married to Vivian Scott Chew. they have two daughters: Bianca and Loren.

Ray Chew was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 24, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.194

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/12/2013

Last Name

Chew

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Leighton

Schools

P.S. 125

P.S. 121 Throop School

P.S. 144 Col Jeromus Remsen School

Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts

Manhattan School of Music

First Name

Raymond

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

CHE07

Favorite Season

Spring

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Punta Mita, México

Favorite Quote

Reach Beyond Your Grasp.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New Jersey

Birth Date

9/7/1958

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Fort Lee

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Salmon

Short Description

Musician and singer and music director Ray Chew (1958 - ) served as the music arranger on seven albums with the legendary duo Nick Ashford & Valerie Simpson. He also served as the musical director for the television shows “Showtime at the Apollo” and “American Idol.”

Employment

Delete

American Idol

Favorite Color

Brown

Larkin Arnold

Entertainment lawyer, music executive and talent management chief executive Larkin Arnold, Jr. was born on September 3, 1942, in Kansas City, Missouri to Larkin and Annie Arnold. When Arnold was in elementary school, the family moved to Phoenix, Arizona, for his mother's health. In Kansas City and Phoenix, Arnold attended Catholic schools. He received his B.S. degree in political science from American University in Washington, D.C. in 1966, and graduated from Howard University Law School in 1969.

In 1970, Arnold became one of the first African Americans to be hired as an attorney by a major record label when he joined Capital Records. Four years later, he was promoted to vice president of Capitol Records, creating and heading the company's Black Music Division. In 1975, Arnold signed Natalie Cole to Capitol Records and, in 1977, he served as the executive producer for Caldera’s record Sky Island. That same year, he signed Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, the former backup band for Marvin Gaye. In 1978, Arnold left Capitol Records for Arista Records. As senior vice president, Arnold ran the West Coast office and was in charge of bringing in new artists and products. Arnold held this position until he was hired in 1980 by CBS/SONY Music as senior vice president. There, he spearheaded the marketing and promotion of Michael Jackson’s Thriller album that sold over twenty-five million units worldwide. Arnold also represented Teena Marie, Luther Vandross, Surface, Peabo Bryson and The Reflections. In 1988, Arnold founded Arnold & Associates, one of the few wholly integrated legal and management teams in the record industry.

Arnold co-founded the Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association, serving as its chairman for eight years. He has served on the boards of the Los Angeles Board of Governors of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, the Executive Committee of XI Boule Fraternity, the United Negro College Fund Ladders of Hope Program, and the Los Angeles Zoo Commission. Arnold has received numerous honors and awards including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Executive of the Year Award, Outstanding Graduate Award of Howard University School of Law, the Distinguished Graduate Award of Howard University, the Congressional Black Caucus Outstanding Citizen Award, the Langston Bar Association Lawyer of the Year Award, the NATRA Award for Record Executive of the Year, Pollstar Award for R&B Manager of the Year, the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Award for Outstanding Community Leadership and a 100 Black Men Honor.

Arnold is married to Cynthia Arnold and is the father of two children.

Larkin Arnold was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 10, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.202

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/10/2007

Last Name

Arnold

Marital Status

Married

Schools

St. Monica's Catholic School

St. Mary's Catholic High School

American University

Howard University School of Law

First Name

Larkin

Birth City, State, Country

Kansas City

HM ID

ARN02

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Missouri

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii, Martha's Vineyard

Favorite Quote

Life Is Tough, But I Am Tougher.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

9/3/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Gumbo

Short Description

Talent management chief executive, entertainment lawyer, and music executive Larkin Arnold (1942 - ) started his own legal and management firm, Arnold & Associates. He was senior vice president for Arista Records and CBS/Sony Music, where he marketed and promoted Michael Jackson's album, "Thriller."

Employment

Capitol Records, Inc.

Arista Law

CBS

Arnold & Associates

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Larkin Arnold's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Larkin Arnold lists his favorites

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

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Larkin Arnold describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Larkin Arnold describes his maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Larkin Arnold talks about his family

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Larkin Arnold describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Larkin Arnold remembers his community in Kansas City, Missouri

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Larkin Arnold recalls his community in Phoenix, Arizona

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Larkin Arnold talks about his move to Phoenix, Arizona

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Larkin Arnold remembers his mother's illness

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Larkin Arnold describes his early personality

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Larkin Arnold recalls his early education

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Larkin Arnold recalls his early aspirations

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Larkin Arnold remembers studying math and physics

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Larkin Arnold recalls his extracurricular activities

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Larkin Arnold recalls the mentorship of Percy Lavon Julian

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Larkin Arnold remembers his decision to attend Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Larkin Arnold recalls his first impressions of Howard University

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Larkin Arnold recalls his civil rights activism at Howard University

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Larkin Arnold recalls his involvement in SNCC

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Larkin Arnold remembers losing his scholarship to Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Larkin Arnold recalls being hired by Senator Stuart Symington

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Larkin Arnold remembers working on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Larkin Arnold recalls the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Larkin Arnold recalls the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Larkin Arnold describes his experiences as a U.S. Capitol Police officer

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Larkin Arnold recalls attending the American University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Larkin Arnold recalls his challenges as a U.S. Capitol Police officer

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Larkin Arnold recalls his decision to pursue a law career

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Larkin Arnold remembers his mother's death

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Larkin Arnold recalls his admission to the Howard University School of Law

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Larkin Arnold remembers the Howard University School of Law

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Larkin Arnold recalls his decision to become an entertainment lawyer

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Larkin Arnold recalls his struggle to find work in the entertainment industry

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Larkin Arnold recalls being hired by Capitol Records, LLC

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Larkin Arnold describes his position at Capitol Records, LLC

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Larkin Arnold recalls his start at Capitol Records, LLC

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Larkin Arnold describes his work at Capitol Records, LLC

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Larkin Arnold recalls his advocacy for black artists

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Larkin Arnold recalls being offered a position at Motown Records

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Larkin Arnold recalls conducting market research for Capitol Records, LLC, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Larkin Arnold recalls conducting market research for Capitol Records, LLC, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Larkin Arnold recalls his transition to management at Capitol Records, LLC

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Larkin Arnold remembers signing artists to Capitol Records, LLC

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Larkin Arnold recalls signing Natalie Cole to Capitol Records, LLC

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Larkin Arnold recalls the success of his marketing initiative

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Larkin Arnold remembers the black artists at Capitol Records, LLC

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Larkin Arnold talks about his marriage

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Larkin Arnold recalls his decision to leave Capitol Records, LLC

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Larkin Arnold recalls his experience at Arista Records

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Larkin Arnold remembers his decision to leave Arista Records

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Larkin Arnold describes his role as senior vice president of CBS/Sony Records Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Larkin Arnold talks about the Columbia Records and Epic Records labels

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Larkin Arnold talks about the jazz division of Columbia Records

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Larkin Arnold talks about the racial discrimination in the music industry

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Larkin Arnold remembers signing Michael Jackson

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Larkin Arnold describes his career at CBS/Sony Records Inc., pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Larkin Arnold describes his career at CBS/Sony Records Inc., pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Larkin Arnold recalls Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' album

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Larkin Arnold reflects upon his success at CBS/Sony Records Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Larkin Arnold recalls founding the law firm of Arnold and Associates

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Larkin Arnold describes his organizational involvement

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Larkin Arnold describes his hopes and concerns for the African American music industry

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Larkin Arnold describes his advice for young business executives

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Larkin Arnold describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Larkin Arnold reflects upon his family

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Larkin Arnold reflects upon his life

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Larkin Arnold narrates his photographs

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DATitle
Larkin Arnold describes his career at CBS/Sony Records Inc., pt. 2
Larkin Arnold recalls Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' album
Transcript
So you got Michael [Michael Jackson] and you have, you have Marvin [Marvin Gaye] now.$$Right.$$Okay.$$And Luther [Luther Vandross], right (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) And Luther, you, you got three black male artists--$$Um-hm.$$--all different.$$Right.$$So what's your next plan of action?$$Well you know I mean my, my main (laughter) problem was basically you know Quincy [HistoryMaker Quincy Jones] and, and Michael basically took care of the whole recording process on that. I, I, you know I had little and no involvement you know just to go by and see that you know progress was being made you know. And that the bills were being paid and you know and everything was done, but you know I didn't have to really do anything. Quincy bas-, basically shepherded that whole project from beginning to end so.$$Now, how about Luther and Marvin (laughter).$$Well Luther you know Luther, I'm, I'm, I'm going over his material I'm picking you know the songs out of his repertoire you know. And, and I'm, I'm overseeing that, that that whole project. Marvin, and but, but Luther is pretty dependable you know, we go in we; you know he comes in he plays me some, some demos you know. I pick the ones that I want, you know, he goes in the studio and records it you know and, and now I just oversee the marketing promotion of that you know. Marvin in the meanwhile, is like I don't know you know, progress is not being made. And you know money is being spent you know, he, he's not you know recording you know 'cause he's you know having marital difficulties you know. So you know I'm flying back over to Belgium and we have a number of little conflicts. I'm saying, "Marvin you know you got to get this done, my ass is on the line you know," I had a battle, so you know. So that's just, and then Natalie [Natalie Cole] comes over you know and she, she's, she's disenchanted with Capitol [Capitol Records], so she comes and so I'm dealing with that. Not to mention all the other acts that I was you know dealing with that were already on the, Earth, Wind and Fire and (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) [HistoryMaker] Dianne Reeves was she coming over--$$No, not when I was there, no.$$Okay.$$You know, Deniece [Deniece Williams], you know.$$Um-hm.$$The Emotions, you know, all the other acts that were, that I kept you know trying to get them to go and, and keep it moving you know.$$Teena Marie, was she ever there?$$Not yet, you know (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Okay.$So Michael [Michael Jackson] and Quincy [HistoryMaker Quincy Jones] bring you 'Thriller'?$$Right.$$And you listen to it?$$Right.$$"Billie Jean" is on there--$$Right.$$"Billie Jean" is on there, "Thriller" is on there.$$Right, "Beat It" is on there (unclear) (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) "Beat It" is on there, what do you think?$$Huh?$$Yeah he had "P.Y.T." ["P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)"] (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Right.$$So what do you think about this when you hear this music for the first time?$$Well first time I heard it, it wasn't mixed properly so I was like you know little dis, disappointed. But I been there enough during the recording sessions to know but, but I, I had violated one of the company's [CBS/Sony Records Inc.] rules. That is that you don't release a single until you have the completely finished product and in hand. But in order to make the, the time schedule 'cause Christmas release, I had to take a chance and go ahead and, and release it you know. And I had an argument with you know, well not argument, discussion with their managers to which, which record should come out first you know. They wanted "Beat It" you know, I, I definitely wanted "Billie Jean," you know, so I was in position. So I was able to get "Billie Jean," 'cause you know I, I'd listen to some of the other material that that Michael had done and that The Jacksons had done. And they didn't seem like they, the company or the people had released the right singles you know. Like on that 'Triumph,' the song, you know, I think that song "Heartbreak Hotel" ["This Place Hotel"] was, was, was the classic song. But they wouldn't release it as a single, so.$$Right.$$So anyway I persuaded the management to allow me to make that as the second single, the first single we went out was "The Girl is Mine."$$Um-hm.$$You know because you know, by this time you still had all this you know musical and political and racial unrest you know with taken place you know in the country. The white pop, the pop stations, the white stations stopped playing black music, stop playing disco music you know. Remember they had the, the burning of the records, disco records?$$Oh right.$$In Chicago [Illinois], Comiskey field [Comiskey Park, Chicago, Illinois] and running them over with you know 'cause you know they were concerned about you know women and the whites coming you know. And blacks and so the male disc jockeys sort of rebelled.$$So there's a lot of tension.$$Yeah exactly you know busing was going on you know with the, you know.$$The Reagan [President Ronald Wilson Reagan] years (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Yeah, exactly.$$We're going into.$$Right, exactly.$$So, so--$$So they released "The Girl Is Mine," 'cause it has Paul McCartney you know to get on the pop play you know and so you know. That works to, to a degree to get some situation. But 'cause to show you that the, the problem that we have you know, when I finally did get Michael, I mean Marvin's [Marvin Gaye] album released you know, and you know we released "Sexual Healing" they, the company you know wouldn't cross the record over to the pop stations you know. They, they refused to take it to pop stations, they said the record was too black you know, it's too dirty or whatever you know. So I, you know we, I had lot of disagreements with, with some of the other management in the pop side you know with regards to Marvin. But, but the record was so strong, they couldn't stop the record.$$Right.$$I mean it's just you know, it crossed over by itself you know, people calling, banning the record and everything so.$$So you got it rolling now, you got Marvin's out, he finally got the record to you (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Right.$$'Thriller's' out and it's taken off.$$Right.$$It, it's, it's (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) And Luther's [Luther Vandross] becoming the male balladeer of all time.