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…"Daaaaaaaaayo!, I say Day I say Day I Say Daylight come an’ me wan’ go home!"…On March 1st, 1927, singer, songwriter, activist, film, stage, and TV actor-Harry Belafonte (Harold George Bellanfanti Jr) was born in Harlem, New York. Belafonte moved to Jamaica, to live with his grandmother when he was five, and stayed on the island until he was 13 (1940). He returned to NYC to attend high school, joined The US Navy right after graduation, and served in WWII. Upon returning to the states, he started working as a custodian’s assistant in NYC. A tenant gave him some tickets to The American Negro Theater. He met fellow islander-Sidney Poitier while in attendance. Neither were actors at the time, but admirers of the craft; and put their funds together to purchase a season ticket.
Together they bought one seat, and would trade places between acts. Belafonte started taking acting classes in the late 1940s at The Dramatic Workshop Of The New School (NYC). Some of his classmates included: Marlon Brando, Sidney Poitier, Tony Curtis, and director/instructor Eerwin Piscator. To pay for his classes, Belafonte started signing in nightclubs in NYC. His stage debut featured Charlie Parker’s band backing him (featuring Max Roach & Miles Davis). He learned folk music and Calypso, signed to RCA Victor in 1952, and released his first single Matilda in 1953. By the late 1950s, Belafonte's popularity had swelled-securing him a nationally televised special (Tonight With Belafonte) with folk signer Odetta. He’s 92 today.
On March 1st, 1930, jazz musician, sideman, composer, bandleader, arranger, tenor and bass trombonist-Benny Powell (Benjamin Gordon Powell Jr) was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. Benny Powell started playing tenor trombone when he was a child. His reputation grew quickly, and he secured his first professional gig in 1944, at the age of 14. He continued to play around the city, as a sideman, with touring artists and local favorites. By the time he was 18 he had moved north to NYC, and was picked up to play with Lionel Hampton. Benny stayed with Hampton’s band from 1948 until 1951. Later that year he joined Count Basie’s band, and played some choice ‘bone’ in Basie’s 1955 recording of April In Paris. He stayed with Basie the longest of any musician he worked with. Their musical union lasted from 1951 until 1963.
From 1963 to 1966, Powell acted as sideman, session musician, touring artist, composer, and bandleader for various outfits in the city. In 1966, he joined Thad Jones & Mel Lewis’ Jazz Orchestra. They played at The Village Vanguard on Monday nights. He stayed with them until 1970, and he moved to Los Angeles to become a member of The Merv Griffin Show Band. His other side gig was session work. In the early 1980s, he moved back to NYC and started teaching jazz composition & trombone. He was an educator and member of The Jazzmobile Project. Benny also released the Coast To Coast LP, as a bandleader, on Trident Records in 1982. In the early 90s, he started teaching at The New School For Jazz And Contemporary Music in Manhattan, NY. Benny Powell was 80 when he passed away in 2010.
On March 1st, 1944, iconic Rock ‘n’ Roller, actor, guitarist, songwriter, harmonica player, film producer, and lead singer of The Who-Roger (Harry) Daltrey was born in East Acton, London, England. Daltrey is most known for his work with The Who (along with John Entwistle & Pete Townshend), which had several Top 10 hits like-My Generation, Won’t Get Fooled Again, and Pinball Wizard. He also had a successful solo career while working with The Who, which is a feat typically achieved by jazz artists-not rock singers. Daltrey grew up with his fellow band mates, and had been friends with them since childhood. Roger always liked the guitar, and made his first one from a block of wood. He joined a skiffle band shortly after called The Detours. His father bought him his first ‘manufactured’ guitar in 1959 when he was 15.
After getting kicked out of school in the early 1960s, Roger invited Townshend to play drums and Entwistle bass with The Detours. The band evolved to feature Daltrey on lead vocals & harmonica, and Townshend on lead guitar. Daltrey was the band’s leader, and the 5’5” man was known for giving a bunch of '5s' (UK slang for punches & slaps) to bandmates that argued with him about the direction of their music and stage act. They changed their name to The Who, then The High Numbers, then back to The Who again. The Who released their first single, I Can’t Explain, in 1965. Later that year, they released the follow up smash-My Generation. The album was co-written with Townshend, and stands at #13 on Rolling Stone Magazine’s list for The 100 Greatest Songs Of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Daltrey himself is ranked #61 on their list of 100 Greatest Vocalists Of Rock ‘n’ Roll. His voice is raspy, big, soulful, and never subtle. Roger Daltrey turns 75 today.
HONORABLE MENTION: On March 1st, 2006, we lost session musician, alleged cousin of Michael (l), Marlon (white-c), Tito (2nd r), Jermaine (r), Randy(2nd l) and Jackie Jackson (back-3rd r)-and the drummer for The Jackson 5-Johnny Porter Jackson. Johnny was stabbed following a fight with his girlfriend. She plead guilty to manslaughter, and got two years in prison (but Suge Knight got nine years for a probation violation?). Anyways, Jackson was the drummer with The Jackson 5 from their days in Gary, Indiana until the end of their career with Motown in the mid 1970s. He’s pretty much on every LP of that time, and also toured with the group. He was 54 when he died.
On March 1st, 1969, the lead singer of The Doors was detained by police following a performance cut short when he exposed himself to the crowd. Jim Morrison was on stage in Miami, and wasn’t really feeling the crowd’s incessant chant to him of "LIGHT MY FIRE!” Note: never demand anything from an ‘artsy’ person. It won’t end well. He told the crowd instead of that song, he knew what they really wanted, to see his cockadoddledoo...Ironically enough, 22 years later to the date (1991) The Doors film by Oliver Stone (starring Val Kilmer as Jim Morrison) debuted at the box office.
On March 1st, 1984, The Purple One, Prince, was in the lab two days after The Grammys. He’d lost to Michael Jackson in every category he was nominated for by the soon-to-be coined ‘The King Of Pop." He laid down the song When Doves Cry. Interesting Fact: Prince played all the instruments on the song, including bass. However, during playback, he took the bass out and let the synth riff hold that position. This is what makes the song sound so ‘groundbreaking’. It’s devoid of bass. I always wondered what it sounded like with the bassline, or even what the bassline sounded like alone…Somebody needs to holler at his sister and tell her to remix it with just the drums and bass…
On March 1st, 1973, the Prog Rock innovators known as Pink Floyd released their classic LP Dark Side Of The Moon. The double LP has been sampled, imitated, reinterpolated, and duplicated a million times over. It’s truly one of those albums that has every type of genre in it at some point. From Electronic to Funk, to Classical, Rock, Jazz, Ambient. Blues, even a Folk element. The album debuted at #95 on The US Charts; but wound up spending 11 years in a row on the charts (1977-1988). Matter of fact, it holds position as the album having the most weeks on The Billboard Chart ever.
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