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House: On November 9th, in 1962, pioneering House Dee Jay, singer, producer, songwriter and remixer-Steve Silk Hurley AKA J.M. Silk (Steven W Hurley) was born in Chicago, Illinois. In 1981, Hurley left junior college to pursue his music career. He became part of the infamous WBMX Saturday Night Live Ain’t No Jive Dance Party crew of Dee Jays. They’d spin House and Deep House cuts in the early and mid 80s. Silk had his own style of Dee Jaying that was different from a lot of House Dee Jays. He used Hip Hop Dee Jay skills (cutting, backspins, drop outs, beat juggling), with House music. This gave him a distinct style, that even without the WBMX announcer saying:
You’re now in the Mix with Steve Silk Hurley…we still knew it was Silk by the way he was playing the records. By 1986, he’d produced the Isaac Hayes remake: I Can’t Turn Around. Vocalist Keith Nunnally is featured on the track, and many other that Silk would produce. In 1987, he made a Ron Hardy anthem-Jack Your Body. Even though Silk produced many other tracks and released an LP on Atlantic (Work it Out Compilation), none of the songs he made after Jack Your Body ever charted. His biggest recognition comes from remixing songs for artists like: Madonna, J-Lo, Lisa Stansfield, Diana Ross, Bananarama, En Vogue, Roberta Flack and Michael Jackson to name a few. The Grammy Award winning Dee Jay is 56 today.
Hip Hop: On November 9th, in 1969, innovative emcee, singer, actress, songwriter, Treach of Naughty By Nature’s ex-wife and one third of the all-female Hip Hop trio Salt-N-Pepa: Sandra Jacqueline Denton AKA Pepa was born in Kingston, Jamaica. She came from a large family, they youngest of 8 siblings. The story of Pepa: Her family moved to Queens, NYC when she was around 3. They stayed there until their house caught fire around 1979. The family moved to Utah and Pepa attended school for a year (she was the only fly in the buttermilk, and got introduced to Rock music, she liked AC/DC & Led Zeppelin).
The fam moved back to NYC, she graduated from high school and went to Queensborough Community College majoring in nursing, where she met Salt (Cheryl James). They linked up with Hurby Luv Bug in ’85 and made the Showstopper which was the answer to Doug E. Fresh & Slick Rick’s The Show. At first, they had Latoya Hanson as their Dee Jay, but Spinderella replaced her in 1986. That same year they released their debut LP: Hot, Cool & Vicious (Kung Fu movie title). This was the first full-length Hip Hop LP by an all-female emcee and Dee Jay trio. They released 4 more LPs from 1988 to 1997. The pioneering emcee is 54 today.
…‘I sit alone in my four cornered room staring at candles…oh that shhh is on?’…On November 9th, in 1970, producer, guitarist and one of the South’s best Emcees to ever do it-Scarface (Brad Terrence Jordan) was born in Houston, Texas. He got his start with Dee Jay Akshen as an emcee and dee jay in the group started by Troy Birklett (emcee)-Lil Troy’s Short Stop (late 80s). He released a 12” in ’89: Scarface b/w Another Head Put to Rest that was released independently. He then joined the Geto Boys (signed to Rap-A-Lot) and they released Grip it! On That Other Level the same year.
Their second LP blew up: We Can’t Be Stopped (1991) and the band got worldwide fame from it. One of the most slept on groups Scarface collaborated with and produced is The Convicts. He also is responsible for finding Big Mike. Peep them both. Face got mad respect from all emcess, regardless of style or locale. He even dropped bars on Juice Crew vets Kool G Rap & D.J. Polo’s Two to the Head off the Live and Let Die LP (Cube is also on the cut). He put out solo LPs, rhymed with Tupac, produced-discovered-and supported mad acts from the South, is a spokesperson for the proliferation of real Hip Hop Culture and gives no passes to those that come sideways in regard to this thing we call Hip Hop. He’s (48) today.
The Backdrop: this section focuses on the things that go on ‘backstage’, ‘in the studio’ and ‘behind industry doors’. Stuff that makes the music available to the masses that eagerly awaits its arrival. Publications play a huge part in this process, and the next one acts as the figurehead for popular music. On November 9th, in 1967, Rolling Stones Magazine hit newsstands for the first time. Their debut issue has a cover photo of Beatle John Lennon. He’s wearing the army fatigues that he wore on the set of his movie he was filming at the time-How I Won the War.
Rolling Stones Magazine was started in 1967, in San Francisco: the capital for the Hippie counterculture and Blues based Psychedelic Rock that was being produced as the soundtrack for the movement. Political tensions were high between the status-quo and the opposition. Ralph J. Gleason (photo 2) & Jann Wenner (photo 3) decided to document, celebrate and politicize the Rock music movement during the time. They even included a free roach clip in their first issue. By incorporating Hunter S. Thompson (photo 1-former Hell's Angel) as a journalist, reporter, and interviewer, the Magazine was able to speak to the audience in a non-censored way, devoid the cleanliness of status-quo jargon. All Respect due to the Magazine, without it, wouldn’t be a Source Mag…real talk…S.O. to Downbeat for paving the way for Rolling Stones Magazine…
On November 9th, in 1999, we lost a irreplaceable person responsible for allowing the gen-pop the opportunity to purchase music during the seminal era of American Music genre creations, transformations and innovations (late 40s to the late 90s)-Herb Abramson (above l & r-Herbert C. Abramson). He passed away in Henderson, Nevada. He’s a Brooklyn, NYC native, former dentist and National Records producer that co-founded Atlantic Records in 1947 with Ahmet Ertegun. While at National, Abramson learned the back-drop ropes of producing by working with Clyde McPhatter, Big Joe Turner and Billy Eckstine.
By 1955, he’d partner with Jerry Wexler to add a subsidiary label to Atlantic-Atco. This label had every kind of act on it from the Psychedlic Rock of Iron Butterfly and Vanilla Fudge, to Soulful vocals of Donny Hathaway and Blue Magic. He also innovated the recording process. He made records so that depending on the groove the stylus landed on, an alternate recording could be heard. It’s called cutting concentric grooves. He sold this patent to Mattel. Abramson owned A-1 Sound Studios in NYC (first in Manhattan during the 60s and off Broadway in the 70s). Many artists were recorded there: Frank Sinatra, Muddy Waters, The Supremes, Don Covay and Hank Crawford to name a few. He was 82 when he passed.
Honorable Mention: On November 9th, in 1922, actress, singer, performer, and dancer-Dorothy Jean Dandridge was born in Cleveland, Ohio. She was the first Black American Woman to be nominated for an Academy Award for best actress for her performance in Porgy & Bess in 1959. She married and had a child by Harold Nicholas of the Nicholas Brothers (the same guy that taught the 5 Heartbeats steps in the film). She passed away too young at age 42 in 1965. For more info on her, see the TOV Sept 8th post, or use the search bar and enter: Dorothy Dandridge.
On November 9th, in 1977, singer, actor, songwriter, dancer and Dru-Hill co-lead singer-Sisqo (Mark Althavan Andrews) was born in Baltimore, Maryland. He got his start singing in the vocal quartet Dru Hill (Jazz, Woodyy, Nokio, Sisqo). They got singed to Island in 1996. He was a standout in the group, making sure his appearance was much different from everyone else. Dru Hill was one of those boy bands that didn’t dress alike. Each person was an individual. I give them props for that. He’s Culture Cipher today (40).
On November 9th, in 2008, we lost a very important African Music vocalist and Pan-Africanist supporter-the infamous Miriam Makeba. She passed away from complications with her heart in Castel Volturno, Italy. She’s a South Africa native that put her continent on the map in the late 60s by releasing Pata Pata which became a worldwide hit. Her Folk Style also helped her become the first female African Grammy winner for best Folk Recording a year prior (1966-An Evening With Belafonte & Makeba, featuring Harry Belafonte). She was 76 when she passed.
On November 9th, in 2012, we lost an influential Soul vocalist-Major Harris (III). He was a member of the underground Soul group called: Nat Turner’s Rebellion in the 60s. He also became a member of the Delfonics from 1970-1974. The Philly Soul vocalist went solo after leaving the Delfonics in 1974 and recorded the 1975 hit single: Love Won’t Let Me Wait. Interesting fact: Norman Harris (super-producer SalSoul MFSB) & Major Harris are cousins. Harris passed away in Richmond, Virginia at age 65 from complications with his lungs and heart (65).
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 Plethora of information, covering several topics exists on this site going back to 2013 when it was created. PEACE!