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On February 25th, in 2008, rapper, singer, songwriter, producer and the main pen behind Aaliyah’s 2001 LP-Static Major (Stephen Ellis Garrett) passed away in Louisville, Kentucky. Devante Swing, the producer, songwriter, pianist and singer for Jodeci started a R&B-Hip Hop collective called Swing Mob in the early 90s. Static was signed to the artist team which included Timbaland, Missy Elliott, Ginuwine, Aaliyah, Playa, Tweet, Majik and Magoo. His solo work didn’t register as well as his songwriting for others. He co-wrote Ginuwine’s first major hit-Pony (1996). After this, he started writing for Aaliyah. He penned her hit single-Are You That Somebody? From the Dr. Dolittle soundtrack.
He also wrote-Come Back in One Piece for the film-Romeo Must Die. He penned nearly all the songs for her third LP: We Need a Resolution, Try Again, More Than a Woman, Rock the Boat (the video shoot that killed the artist) and Loose Rap (Static is featured on this track). His talents with the pen didn’t stop there, he wrote Aaliyah’s Read Between the Lines, Never No More and Extra Smooth as well. His death was sudden and unusual. He was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis (autoimmune disorder) and was set to receive a transfusion. However, he fell into cardiac arrest and died. He was 33 when he passed.
On February 25th, in 1943, guitarist, producer, songwriter, sitar player, singer, filmmaker, actor and the youngest member of the Beatles-George Harrison was born in Liverpool, England. Harrison’s ties to Indian culture and music (the sitar) go back to the days of him being in his mother’s womb when she’d listen to Radio India every Sunday in hopes of bringing peace to her growing baby. This most likely is a major reason why Harrison was so obsessed with the guitar as a child. He would draw pictures of them in class, and his father bought him one when he was 13 (1956). He met Paul McCartney in high school and they formed the skiffle band-The Quarrymen with John Lennon in 1958 (Harrison was only 15).
They started touring in 1960, with Harrison using the stage name-Carl Harrison as a homage to Carl Perkins. In 1961, they recorded their first single on EMI-Love Me Do. Although George had many songs he’d written himself, Paul and the John didn’t let George showcase his talents. As a result, he went solo and used the songs he’d been writing for years for his LPs. In the late 60s, right before the band broke up, George released two solo LPs. In 1970, he released his debut after the Beatles broke up-All Things Must Pass (3xLP, 1970). He was 58 when he died.
On February 25th, in 2012, in Bluesman, harmonica player, singer, guitarist, songwriter and US Army 82nd Airborne Korean War veteran-Louisiana Red (Iverson Minter) passed away in Hanover, Germany. The Blues was an integral part of Red’s upbringing. His mother died after he was born, and his father was lynched by the Klan when he was 5. After this, he used music as a solace and moved from relative to relative in the south. He got into blues and guitar early on, and stuck with it through his teen years. When he was 17, he got his recording debut pre-Korean War in 1949 for Chess Records.
When he returned to the states in 1952, he started recording for Checker Records under the stage name-Rocky Fuller. He released his first LP in 1963-Lowdown Back Porch Blues (Roulette Records). He followed it up with -Seventh Son later that same year. Red mostly was a session musician during the mid to late 60s for imprints like, Chess, Tomato, Atlas, L&R, Checker and Roulette. In the late 60s, he worked with John Lee Hooker and Tommy Tucker. His solo career picked back up in the 70s, and up to his death. He recorded over 50 LPs on 5 different imprints. He also made special appearances in movies like: Rockpalast (1976), Comeback (1982), Ballhaus Barmbek (1988) and Red & Blues (2005). He was 79 when he passed.
HONORABLE MENTION: On February 25th, in 1968, two interesting events happened to one interesting artist-Jimi Hendrix. First, his band was in Chicago set to perform two shows at the Civic Opera House. Second, after the first set was complete, infamous plaster caster groupie-Cynthia ‘Plaster Caster’ Albritton made a cast of Hendrix’s 'member’. TOV covered the 60s rock culture that invented the term ‘groupies’. Please refer to the February 15th post for more information.
On February 25th, in 1985, one of the best New Wave LPs of the year was released-Tears for Fears’-Songs From the Big Chair. The two most known tracks off the LP are: Everybody Wants to Rule the World and Shout. However, some of the lesser played cuts, rival the top 2-Head Over Heels, Mother Talk and Listen. The sound from that era has yet to be matched. It was a good balance of electronic and traditional instruments. They also incorporated several popular genres into one overall style-pop, dance, soul, rock ‘n’ roll and jazz.
On February 25th, in 1992, seven years later to-the-date, TLC released their debut LP-Ooooooohhh…On the TLC Tip. They were a groundbreaking all-female trio that incorporated Hip Hop style with R&B vocals and beats with sparse samples. They also were one of the first all-female groups to openly discuss their sexual activity, as well as promote safe sex by wearing condoms on their clothing. Ain’t too Proud to Beg was the first single released off the LP, and it became a top 10 single (R&B and Pop).
On February 25th, in 1998, ‘Ol Dirty Bastard-solo emcee and member of the Wu-Tang Clan, was at Radio City Music Hall for the Grammys. Wu-Tang had been nominated for best Rap LP. When the results came back that Puffy had won,’Ol Dirty took the mic from Shawn Colvin and told the crowd that: Puffy’s good, but Wu-Tang is the Best…Wu-Tang is for the children…I think the Clan should’ve stood up for Dirty, like clapped or cheered, something…but it was crickets. I speculate that brothers were getting dough then, and didn’t want to mess that up.
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