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On October 28th, in 1948, singer, comedian and actress-Telma (Louise) Hopkins (l, l, 2nd r) was born in Louisville, Kentucky. She is most remembered for her comedic roles on Gimme a Break with Nel Carter, Family Matters with Steve Urkel & Bosom Buddies with Tom Hanks. However, a lot of people don’t know that Hopkins was a backing vocalist for several acts during the birth and height of the Funk & Disco eras (70s). She was a backing vocalist in the early 70s for acts like the 4 Tops, & Marvin Gaye, David Porter, Dennis Coffey and Isaac Hayes. She’s the one on the Shaft song that says ‘Shut your mouth”, yep that’s Hopkins.
In 1971, Tony Orlando recruited her to form the Disco pop outfit called Dawn, which would later become Tony Orlando & Dawn. Although Hopkins vocals are not on the early recordings, once Orlando’s songs like Knock Three Times and Candida charted, he needed backing vocalists for touring. This is when Hopkins slid into the fold. She got her TV debut on Roots, playing Daisy. ABC & Tom Hanks cast her in Bosom Buddies (1980-1982). She also had cameos on the Love Boat, New Odd Couple & Fantasy Island. On the silver-screen, she played in all 3 Trancers films (role as engineer Ruthie), the Wood (1999) and The Love Guru in 2008. She’s 70 today.
On October 28th in 1953, Super-producer of Pop, Rock, Glam Metal, Latin Pop, Hard Rock and more-Desmond Child (John Charles Barrett) was born in Gainesville, Florida. He has music in his DNA, being that his mother was a Cuban songwriter and singer (Elena Casals). His father was Hungarian (Joseph Marfy) and the house was full of a variety of music which helped influence his own songwriting skills. He started in the mid-70s with his own R&B/Pop based band-Desmond Child & Rogue (Myriam Ville, Diana Grasselli, Maria Vidal-1975). They did a song for the Warriors soundtrack (Last of an Ancient Breed-1979). However, they had little commercial success and broke up in the early 80s.
Child is most remembered and revered for working with other acts, writing and producing mostly. Some of the acts he’s worked with include: Cher, Bon Jovi, Ricky Martin, Aerosmith, Kiss, Kelly Clarkson, Selena Gomez, Alice Cooper, Meat Loaf, Bonnie Tyler, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Jimmy Barnes, Ronnie Spector, John Waite, Jennifer Rush, Chicago, Dream Theater, Chynna Phillips, Robbie Williams, Sisqo (Thong Song), Hanson, Sakis Rouvas, Michael Bolton, Kane Roberts, Steve Vai, Ratt & Robin Beck to name a few. He’s produced over 75 songs from 1979 to 2009. He turns 65 today.
On October 28th, in 1957, percussionist, keyboardist, composer, producer, music programmer, remixer and drummer for Joy Division-Stephen Morris (Stephen Paul David Morris) was born in MacClesfield, Cheshire, England, United Kingdom. Morris is one of those drummers that are excellent with time, so much so that music critics have dubbed his playing as ‘Machine like’. He was heavily influenced by the Krautrock sound, and combined live and synthetic drums into his compositions. This gave his backing beats a new sound that a lot of producers at the time were not using (Sly Stone & Prince also infamously used drum machines and live drums in their compositions).
He played, remixed, wrote and sang for bands like New Order, Echo & the Bunnymen, Nine Inch Nails and of course Joy Division. He’s been creating music and remixing it since the early 80s. Stylus Magazine places him in the top 50 Drummers of all time (he’s ranked 5th). In 2009, following New Order’s second break-up, Morris started playing drums for Bad Lieutenant which is a splinter group comprised of ex New Order members: Bernard Summer, Phil Cunningham and Jake Evans. Morris played mostly for studio sessions and live gigs. He regrouped with the ‘new’ New Order for their 3rd comeback in 2011. He’s 61 today!
On October 28th, in 1972, singer, songwriter, producer, composer, arranger, harmonica player, drummer and pianist-Stevie Wonder released a full-length LP-Talking Book. It was his 15th studio album, and one of the first that has him as the primary writer on all the songs. Some of the people who helped him put this album together include: co-writer and love interest at the time-Syreeta Wright (Blame it on the Sun-side B track 3, Looking for Another Pure Love-side B track 4); Jeff Beck on guitar (Looking for Another Pure Love, side B track 4); Denise Williams on backing vocals (Tuesday Heartbreak-side A track 4);
Ray Parker Jr. on guitar (Maybe Your Baby, side A track 2); and Jim Gilstrap on backing vocals (You are the Sunshine of My Life, side A track 1; You’ve Got it Bad Girl side A track 5; & Blame it on the Sun side B, track 3). Other notables that appear on this LP are the sax player Dave Sanborne on Tuesday Heartbreak. The cuts that the masses liked the most on this LP are Superstition and You Are the Sunshine of My Life. Both of these songs were number 1 hit singles on the US hot 100 chart. Superstition hit number 1 on the US R&B chart (b-side single You Got it Bad Girl), while You Are the Sunshine of My Life peaked on the US R&B chart at number 3 (b-side single Tuesday Heartbreak). The cut most slept on: Maybe Your Baby.
On October 28th, in 2003, we lost a heavily sampled saxophonist, bandleader, session musician, composer, drummer, and arranger-Oliver Sain (Jr). He passed away in St. Louis, Missouri. He was 71. On the Hill is the infamous Oliver Sain cut that Diggin In the Crates (DITC) sampled, but this breakbeat has been sampled by a lot of producers (Pete Rock, Primo, Large Pro, Easy Mo Bee, 45 King-to name a few). Sain got his start playing trumpet and drums for his step-father (Willie Love) in Sonny Boy Williamson’s band. He got drafted for the Korean War and when he returned in the mid 50s, he continued working in the Blues genre with Little Milton’s band.
He also recorded sax session work for Chess & Cadet records out of Chicago, Illinois. Sain worked with Ike Turner’s Kings of Rhythm here and there during the early 60s. Going into the mid-60s, he started his own band with Fontella Bass and Bobby McClure-Oliver Sain Soul Revue. they did covers mostly in a souled up Jazz way, but there were some original songs in there too. Sain’s sound is similar to Turrentine’s in that he does a lot of covers, but it is also funky. His late 60s and early 70s releases are some of his best work. He was diagnosed with bladder cancer in the late 90s and then died from bone cancer in 2003.
Honorable Mention: On October 28th, in 1974, original reggae vocalist and songwriter-Ken Boothe (Kenneth George Boothe) had a number 1 single on the UK singles chart with his cover version of David Gates’ (from the band Bread)-Everything I Own. He did a ska/reggae version of the song that resonated with listeners at the time. Thirteen years later, Boy George from Culture Club would also have a number one hit with his take of the same song (1987).
On October 28th, in 1978, NBC-TV aired the Kiss movie: Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park-(UK title Attack of the Phantoms, Italian title-Kiss Phantoms). The film was set at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Southern California. Kiss members (all with solo LPs at the time) use their superpowers to defeat the mad scientist Abner Devereaux (role played by Anthony Zerbe). It is now a cult classic, but at the time of its release, Kiss fans and the band themselves didn’t care for it because it was too comedic and made the band members look like ‘bafoons’. I’ve never seen it, but I’m going to watch it, if I can stomach the whole joint.
On October 28th, in 1980, the singer, emcee, beatboxer, songwriter and actress-Natina (Tiawana) Reed was born in NYC, NY. She honed her chops in Atlanta, where she was raised, acting in commercials and modeling for Macy’s & Bloomingdales before age 10. Lisa Left Eye Lopes recruited the young and talented Reed to write for TLC while she was in high school. Later she formed the group Blaque (1997 Believe-Life-Achieving-Quest-Unity & Everything) with Shamari Fears and Brandi Williams. She was like Left Eye was for TLC, the emcee of the group (she also wrote for them). She died in 2012 in car wreck. She was 31 years-old.
…’my girl, my girl, my girl, talkin’ ‘bout my girl, my girl’…If you’ve been keeping up on TOV posts, then you know Courtney Love is the homey in my opinion. She’s a wild one, I can respect that. She didn’t let me down on October 28th, in 2004, when she got ordered to stand trial in a Los Angeles court for her assault (with a deadly weapon-bottle & lit candle) on Kristin King (attack happened April 25th). Courtney rolled through her ex’s gate on the late night tip. Came inside, seen some ‘strange’ on the couch (Kristin King-who was dating her ex at the time), and went off. She threw a lit candle and a bottle at King, then jumped on her, and pinched her breast. King said Courtney was: erratic, vicious. She went on to describe the pinch as the: worst pinch I ever had. Mad Love Courtney…
For more information on any musician or event reviewed in posts, or for additional information on the Wandering Eyes Blog overall, use the search bar and search the artist or event using keywords. It’s like a Google search for the site. A myriad of information, covering several topics exists on this site going back to 2013 when it was created. PEACE!