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On October 19th, in 1920-comedienne, TV & film actress, nightclub veteran, and stand up comedienne-LaWanda Page AKA Aunt Esther on Sanford & Son starring Red Foxx, (birth name Alberta Peal) was born in Cleveland, Ohio. She was reared in St. Louis, Missouri and got her professional start in her teens. She was billed as-The Bronze Goddess of Fire, performing acts like lighting cigarettes with her fingers and eating fire. She honed her chops, stage act, and then started getting into comedy in the early 50s, working with the likes of Red Foxx, and later Richard Pryor. She moved to LA in the early 60s and joined the infamous Skillet & LeRoy (Ernest Skillet Mayhand & Wilbert LeRoy Daniel) comedy group.
Foxx & Peal had been childhood friends in St. Louis. They kept in touch throughout their budding professional careers. She was one of the first women (aside from Moms Mabley) to record comedy LPs for Laff Records during the 60s and 70s. She started acting on Sanford & Son as Esther Anderson-Aunt Esther in 1973. She was Fred’s mean nemesis that would give him the business when he was or wasn’t on point for any issue. She commonly would call Fred-“You ole suckah!” She appeared in several movies and TV shows: Jeffersons, The Dean Martin Show, Amen, 227, Diff’rent Strokes, Martin and The Love Boat, CB4, and Friday. She passed away from complications with diabetes in LA, she was 69.
On October 19th, in 1947, Delfonics (Delphonics) member, little brother of the founder William Poogie Hart (c), and singer-Wilbert Hart (r) was born in Philly. His older brother William ‘Poogie’ Hart started the Delfonics after leaving his early singing groups (doo wop)-Little Hart & the Everglows, The Veltones, the 4 Guys, the 4 Gents and the Orphonics-later the Delfonics. The Delfonics were a vocal group comprised of 3 members: William Hart, Donald Cannon and Randy Cain (l). Cain left for college and was replaced by Wilbert, William’s younger brother.
Then Cain returned and William, Wilbert & Cain remained in the group. William was the primary writer and he was discovered by Stan Watson who was close assoicates with Thom Bell-writer/producer for Chubby Checker at the time. However, Wilbert had a strong voice and was very instrumental in the group. The Delfonics worked with closely with Bell and had a 1968 number 4 single with La-La Means I Love You 1968 (US). After this, they were off and running, later making the hits Didn’t I (Blow You Mind This Time) & Ready or Not Here I Come (Can’t Hide from Love). Wilbert is 70 years-old today.
On October 19th, in 1960, Daniel (Mark) Woodgate AKA Woody Woodgate AKA Dan Woodgate-the drummer, percussions and keyboard player for the English ska band Madness was born in Kensington, London, England. Woodgate got his first drum set when he was 12. He joined his first band-Steel Erection at 14. The name of his first band as a teen though? Wow. Guts. Dan wrote a few songs for Madness with his younger brother-Leon, No Money, and Kitchen Floor. Dan joined Madness in 1978 when their bassist Mark Bedford voted him in replacing former drummer Gavin Rodgers.
The band had much success in the early and mid-80s during the MTV British invasion. They have more than a dozen singles that reached the top 10 on the US charts. Three of their most popular songs are: Our House, One Step Beyond, and It Must Be Love. In the late 80s (1986), Woodgate formed Voice of the Beehive with Tracey & Melissa Belland (vocalist), Martin Brett (bass guitar) and Mike Jones (guitar). The band was successful in the US, UK and Australia. They had 5 top 40 singles from the 2 LPs they released. They toured during the late 80s through the 90s. He is 58 today.
On October 19th, in 1995, we lost another great Jazz musician-trumpeter, pianist, Free Jazz innovator, bandleader, and World Fusion music developer-Don (Eugene) Cherry passed away from complications with his liver. He was a Westcoast Jazz musician (at first at least), acting as pianist and accompanying trumpeter with Art Farmer. He alo played with Clifford Brown, Max Roach, Ornette Coleman and Eric Dolphy. Dolphy, Larance Marable, Clifford Brown & Cherry used to jam continuously at Dolphy’s house during the late 50s and early 60s. This is when he began to get into the Free Jazz sound, utilizing lines and runs with Coltrane’s more Avant-Garde sound, and Cherry’s own inventions that came from playing with Dolphy and Coleman. Both of them allowed Cherry to spread out over the tracks and rhythms they produced.
Free Jazz is more of a solo, within a solo…to most listeners, it sounds like random noise, but to the trained ear, you hear the complexity of the scales used and how the solos would make a new song and melody over the existing one. For example, take a Coltrane ballad while he’s doing a solo, take a Miles ballad where he’s soloing in the same tempo and key, then blend them together as both solo at the same time, this is what Free Jazz is like. In the mid to late 60s, he started working heavily with Alber Ayler and then embarked on developing a new style or genre of music-World Fusion. It uses elements of African, Indian & Middle Eastern music. Don is the stepfather of Nenah Cherry & Eagle-Eye Cherry (vocalists). He passed away at 58.
On October 19th, in 2007, Johnny Marr (John Martin Maher)-the songwriter, guitarist and singer with the Smiths was given a job in the higher education field. Marr was officially hired as the visiting professor of music at the University of Salford in Manchester (UK). He was expected to create and teach a series of workshops, classes, and masterclasses to students enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts-Popular Music & Bachelor of Arts-Recording degree. He’s definitely qualified, being a well seasoned veteran of Rock music. He played in his first band in 1976 (around age 13) and formed the Smiths in 1982.
The band split in 1987 due to ‘creative differences’ between Morissey & Marr (the major co-writers for the group). Marr played a Jangle Pop style of guitar which is very distinctive in sound. Essentially, it emphasizes a more treble tinged style that makes the guitar kind of ring, almost like rockabilly, but not quite that jangly. It’s a style made popular in the 60s by pop acts like the Everly Brothers, Byrds and Beatles. The BBC voted Marr in the top 5 (4th place), for being the Best Guitarist over the past 30 years in 2010. He’s one of those guitarist that when you hear his playing, you recognize it immediately. It’s one of the things that made the Smiths so popular. S.O. to him for passing on his Kung Fu…
Honorable Mention: On October 19th, in 1962-professional boxer-Evander Real Deal Holyfield was born in Atmore, Alabama. Holyfield’s fight career spanned nearly 3 decades (27 years from 1984 to 2011). He was the undisputed World Heavyweight and Cruiserweight Champ. He is the only 4-time World champ in the heavyweight class, holding titles in the WBC, IBF and the unified WBA (2) from 1990-1992. He’s ranked 77th on the top 100 boxers of all-time list by Ring Magazine. He turns 56 today.
On October 19th, in 2000, the judge caught a biter in action and made him pay. Robbie Williams was sued and fined for using elements of Woody Guthrie’s song-I am the Way…and, yes and, he bit some more, f’ing biters..he also was getting sued for using portions of a parody penned by Loudon Wainwright III for Williams’ song-Jesus Was a Camper Van. How you gonna bite, then put Jesus’s name in your song? Anyways, His record company EMI was going to agree to pay 25% of the royalties reaped off Williams song, but Ludlow Publishing wanted 50%. I want half Robbie! (Eddie Murphy fans know the reference).
On October 19th, in 2012 Canada lost its first Black member the Worker’s Compensation Board, member of Parliament, Lieutenant Governor, and Cabinet Minister-Lincoln (McCauley) Alexander. He passed away in Hamilton, Ontario. His mother was a Jamaican immigrant and his father worked on the Railroad. He had a younger brother named Hughie, and an older step-brother named Ridley. Alexander wrote in his 2006 memoir that: Blacks at that time made up a silver-thin portion of the city’s population, and racial prejudice abounded (from Got to School-You’re a Little Black Boy). He was 90 when he passed.
On October 19th, in 2005, another interesting study was published in the UK by Prudential. It focused on the amount of money an average person (what’s an average person?) would pay during their lifetime for music. This included music bought at stores (CDs, Tapes, LPs, Downloads), music equipment like stereo systems and instruments, and concert tickets and festivals events. They found that most people will spend $42K over their lifetime, those that are more serious about music spend at least double that. I can concur, my record collection is a house paid in full, and I’m still living…and record shopping…
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!