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On August 21st, 1904, The Original Big Band Man-Count Basie (William James ‘Count’ Basie), was born in Red Bank, New Jersey. Due to the racial tensions of the time, a lot of his music was regulated to The Chitlin' Circuit down South, The Northeastern Market, and The Westcoast Jazz scene that was just starting to flourish at the height of Basie’s career.
Count Basie worked with notables such as Dinah Washington, Frank Sinatra, Lester Young, Joe Williams, and many others. A Kansas City Jazz Representative, Basie would spark the likes of a young Charlie Parker-who later changed Jazz’s sound to Be-Bop or Hard Bop. Basie’s influence of Jazz, and musicians outside the genre can’t be denied.
On August 21st, 1932, Melvin Van Peebles was born in Chicago, Illinois. Melvin acts, writes, directs, composes, and got a nice loan from Bill Cosby to put out his Sweet Sweetback’s BaadAsssss Song Movie. Strangely enough, the group that did the soundtrack for this movie also hail from Chicago, Illinois-Earth Wind & Fire. Their collaboration with Melvin, and the LP that came as a result, has been sampled by many.
Melvin went on to guest star in sit-coms, write and direct plays, and collaborate with his son Mario Van Peebles on movie projects. Melvin's filmography also includes other classics, such as Watermelon Man, Don't Play Us Cheap, and Story Of A Three-Day Pass. Happy Birthday to Melvin Van Peebles, who turns 87 today.
On August 21st, 1952, The Clash’s co-founder, songwriter, musician, singer and actor-Joe Strummer (John Graham Mellor) was born in Ankara, Turkey. The Clash had a No.11 UK single with London Calling, and a No. 8 US single with Rock The Casbah.
In 1991 they saw some glory from the rehashing of their nine year old song Should I Stay Or Should I Go. The song was first released in 1982. Their 1991 version of Should I Stay Or Should I Go, became a UK No.1 hit. Joe Strummer ended up forming another band, under the moniker Joe Strummer & The Mescaleors. Official reports show that he passed away from a heart defect in 2002.
Sidebar: I had to hit up Dee Jay Tron & Sith1Emcee for clash songs cuz all I have is the London Calling cassette. Tron hit back with: 'Oh Shit, My Band! Rudie Can't Fail, Clampdown, Revolutionary Rock.'
On August 21st, 1957, One of the many sisters from Sister Sledge-Kim Sledge (far R) was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She’s the daughter of a Broadway Tap Dancer (father), and actress (mother)-hence, talent runs in the blood. Sister Sledge saw a lot of hits during the disco era.
(Kim-3rd R) Niles Rodgers name appears on a lot of their Cotillion Records songs, but they have some deep cuts too! Ones that get less spins, but are still heaters. A young, lesser known Sister Sledge made a cameo appearance and performance at the Ali vs Frazier Rumble In The Jungle fight. Kim & her sisters music still get plenty spins, and pack dancefloors to this day! She’s 61.
On August 21st, 1976 The Ohio Players-minus Walter 'Junie' Morrison had a No. 1 US R&B Chart single with Who’d She Coo? It’s a cool song, but I like the Westbound Sound of The Ohio Players. The gritty Ohio Players, with Walter 'Junie' Morrison. This Ohio Funk collective had a bunch of sample thick jams, on the Westbound imprint, that J-Dilla, Grand Puba Maxwell, Biggie, Jay Z, Dr. Dre, AMG, Too-Short, and many others have sampled.
The group managed to merge a lot of genres (Jazz, Blues, Funk, Soul, & Rock) into one LP. Some songs have all these elements in them. One thing I like about The Ohio Players on Westbound is the way they had different changes in their funk instrumentals. Breaks, where the whole song changed.
On August 21st, 2005, Dr. Robert Moog-the man that invented the Moog synthesizer passed away. He'd been diagnosed with brain cancer about four months prior. 'Dr Moog.' Sounds like the Sci-Fi name of some villain; but he made a dope instrument themed off the theremin.
A technological protégé, Moog assembled his first Mini Moog at age 14. This compact synthesizer made it simple to make music on the go, and served as a prototype for the portable samplers that would be used by many producers. He died at age 71.
On August 21st, 1928, Jazz Trumpeter, composer, and musician Art Farmer was born in Council Bluffs, Iowa. He died in 1999, at the age of 71. For more information on Art Farmer stayed tuned for the upcoming Looking 4 The Perfect Beat Vol. 5 blog post...
On August 21st, 1979, Nas’ first wife Kelis was born in New York City, New York. The singer/songwriter is most known for her hit single Caught Out There (produced by The Neptunes). Her first LP Kaleidoscope (1998), was her best LP in my opinion. I have both, neither is wack.
…"I’m Rick James Bitch!"…On August 21st, 1996, Rick James was released from Fulsom Prison, after serving two years-and a little over a month of a five year bid. He wrote a number of songs while he was locked up-many of which he’d use on his 1997 Urban Rhapsody album.
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 wide variety of information, covering several topics exists on this site going back to 2013 when it was created. PEACE