Gary Harris was a self-proclaimed “Record Man.” One who worked in radio, at the beginning and the end of his illustrious life and career, he touched the lives of many – mine was one.
“It Comes in Threes” is a phrase you’ll hear, usually by way, of unfortunate circumstances. Nothing could have prepared me for the recent tragic events that I’ve experienced. Two people that I had the fortune to work with, and one that I have been inspired by, passed on within three days of each other.
Lenny is dropping his new album “Strut” on September 23rd! Rockin’ since 1989, his debut album, was “Let Love Rule.” I remember his then wife, Lisa Bonet, coming to visit us at WBLS to promote her man’s new music. We played it while she sat with us in the studio, and chatted about his musical vision, when NOBODY else did. Although his sound wasn’t traditionally that, of what one would hear on an R&B station, we supported him. We were ‘BLS, we played Queen and INXS – why? Because it was Dope!
As music fans, lovers and aficionados are perched and waiting for “Get On Up” and “Jimi: All Is by My Side,” one can’t help but think of musical biopics that have been previously released. This blog was prompted and inspired by a chat with, and query from my wife, as to how many films of this nature have been done — there are numerous. While many are excited for the lives of James Brown and Jimi Hendrix to grace the silver screen, the lives of other music icons have been brilliantly depicted. (click on photo above for full view)
Recently my friend Gary Harris, who happens to be a former EMI A&R exec, has been criticized and bashed by several fans and other outlets on the web. One who introduced me to the music of D’Angelo back in 1992 prior to it’s release while I was at WBLS, he wrote an open letter to the artist, expressing a personal point of view.
LeA Robinson celebrated her 20th birthday last night with a live performance and the debut of her video for the smash single “Higher.” Dressed in a form fitting white jumpsuit, Robinson sang her songs “Don’t Mess with My Love,” “Flowers and Candy,” and “Higher”, at the event sponsored by RHM Management and Legacy House Entertainment (LHE). We had a chat with LeA about her new music — here’s what she shared about her forthcoming CD “808’s & Leggings.”
Radio pioneer Hal Jackson will be laid to rest this Thursday, May 31st at 11am. Services will held at the Riverside Church on Claremont Avenue at 120th street, along Riverside Drive in Harlem New York. The wake for the legendary announcer will be the day before, Wednesday, May 30th, from 2 to 5pm and 7 to 9pm, at the Frank Campbell funeral home – 1076 Madison Avenue @ 81st Street in NYC.
Donna Summer, Chuck Brown, Belita Woods, Robin Gibb and legendary DJ Hal Jackson have all passed away recently. It seems like so many of our outstanding contributors in music are leaving us at a faster rate lately. Just as soon as we’re able to take a breath from the death of an entertainer that’s beloved, we’re struck again with the sad news of another.
Two of music’s favorite children made their transitions recently. One was once considered the Queen of the Blues, the other a Master of Funk. I’m speaking of Etta James and Jimmy Castor, two people in music that may not have always been top of mind as artists via the mainstream, but certainly loved and highly respected among their fans and peers.
“The video went viral, now he’s huge and getting job offers,” my wife Kim said to me, “the Cavaliers offered him a job and a house.” I’m talking about the now famous Ted Williams. A homeless man — originally from Brooklyn — encountered by a news reporter on the streets of Columbus Ohio, is the country’s new “celebrity.”
America has truly lost an icon of cultural signifigance. As a 20+ year veteran in the business of entertainment, my foundation would not exist, had it not been for him. Percy Sutton, the founder of Inner City Broadcasting – the home of New York’s first and only black-owned radio station, has passed.
Frankie Crocker, the New York radio personality imbued the R&B format with a wide-reaching musical palette that includes music from just about every genre. Born in Buffalo, NY, Crocker began his radio career at Williamsville, NY, station WUFO, while studying Pre law. His other stints include other N.Y. radio stations WWRL and Top 40 station WMCA. Becoming a program director at WBLS-FM and WLIB-AM in the early 1970s, Crocker began to shape an innovative and influential radio format that would become known as progressive R&B while garnering the top spot in the ratings. His timing was perfect as a new kind of R&B station was beginning to spring up on the FM dial around the country.