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On October 30th, in 1939, composer, songwriter, singer and super-producer-Eddie Holland (Edward Eddie Holland Jr.) was born in Detroit, Michigan. He is infamously known as one-third of the production trio: Hollad-Dozier-Holland. His brother Brian (below r) and Lamont Dozier (below l) are the other two members. The songs the trio produced were the backing sounds of the Motown imprint for most of the 60s and 70s. They worked with Martha & the Vandellas, The Four Tops and the Supremes to name a few. Psychedelic Soul producer and innovator-Norman Whitfield worked with Eddie on couple of songs as well: Beauty’s Only Skin Deep (The Temptations) and Too Many Fish in the Sea (The Marvelettes).
Essentially, Motown’s roster of artists got songs from the Holland-Dozier-Holland trio, be they altogether or separate. They also penned songs for the Isley Brothers. Holland is credited as being one of the innovators of the Northern Soul sound as well. Many UK classics from the genre were written, composed, arranged and or produced by him. Another good label that you can find his songs on aside from Motown is Invictus-a Detroit based label distributed by Buddha Records & Hot Wax. His legacy is timeless, just like the great music he helped create. He’s 79 today.
…‘one pill makes you larger and, one pill makes you smaller’…On October 30th, in 1939, singer, guitarist, songwriter, bassist, graphics/visual artist, keyboardist and member of Jefferson Airplane & Jefferson Starship-Pop Icon Grace Slick (Grace Barnett Wing) AKA The Acid Queen, AKA Gracie, AKA The Chrome Nun was born in Highland Park, Illinois (suburban Chicago). Let me start by saying I like Grace Slik’s work with Jefferson Airplane the best. It’s less Pop-tinged and more substance based. However, I will say that I think she did a great job of being able to make Psychedelic Rock classics (like White Rabbit) and Pop Classics (rooted in Rock-like We Built This City…on Rock ‘n’ Roll). She was an artist to the true definition of artistry. Not only was she an audio artist, being a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist, but she also modeled (for I. Magnin) and she was a painter and sketcher.
Slick’s family relocated to the San Francisco area when she was in her teens. She attended an all-girls school for her secondary education at Castilleja High School. She started out doing guitar, piano and vocals for the band called Great Society (active 1965-1966). Other members of the band included her husband Jerry Slick on drums, Darby Slick on lead guitar and David Miner on bass. Sly Stone (Sylvester Stewart) produced a lot of their work. In 1967 to 1973, she was member of Jefferson Airplane. After that, she helped form Jefferson Starship (1974-1984 & 1985-1989). She retired early saying Rock ‘n’ Roll stars should quit after age 50 because they look stupid. She made a comeback in 1995, and then her art career began. She stuck to the belief that people can do Classical, Blues, Jazz and Opera until they’re 150, but Hip Hop & Rock are for the young, a way for them to get that anger out….She’s 79 today. S.O. to Grace, I really dig her artistry on all levels.
On October 30th, in 1941, singer, producer, songwriter and the original founder of the Temptations-Otis Williams (Otis Miles Jr.) was born Texarkana, Texas. His family moved to Detroit when he was ten or so. In high school (around the late 50s) he started some singing groups with him at lead: Otis Williams & the Siberians, The El Domingoes and the Distants. While with the Distants, Otis, Melvin Franklin and Al Bryant got a signing offer from Berry Gordy (Motown). They quit the Distants, added friends Eddie Kendricks and Paul Williams on, and then signed with Motown in 1961 (the Temptations original lineup). He remained with the group his entire career.
He’s the last surviving member, and one of the co-authors for the book called The Temptations (the movie is based off the book). Otis (c) was the foundation of the group, acting as the glue that held everyone together. He also was a leader in that if personnel had to switch, he’d make sure it happened (David Ruffin, Paul Williams, Eddie Kendricks). He stuck to the motto that no one individual was better than group. However, I think he harbored some resentment for not being the ‘lead’ singer of the group. Most of the groups he started in the late 50s (pre-Temptations), he acted as lead. When the Temptations jumped off, he got the background vocal role…just a theory…he’s 77 today.
Death By Temptation: On October 30th, in 2002, multi-instrumentalist, producer, record label owner, and Dee Jay for RUN DMC-Jam Master Jay (JMJ-Jason William Mizell) was assassinated in Jamaica Queens, New York. I really don’t want to build on his death too tough, but I will say, if he didn’t sign 50 Cent after he was blacklisted by the industry, he most likely would be alive (look up Supreme AKA Kenneth McGriff & Ronald Washington). JMJ was related to the Super-Producer team-The Mizell Brothers (record producers from the 70s-Larry Mizell and Alphonso "Fonce" Mizell that produced a lot of Blue Note Fusion Jazz acts). JMJ was a prolific musician as a child. When he was 3, he started playing the trumpet.
He later learned how to play the guitar, drums and bass, performing in the church. In his middle school years, he got interested in dee jaying and was mentored by pioneering dee jay Def Lou Hauck (learning how to use the crossfader effectively). By the time he got to high school, he’d been playing sets publicly under the name Jazzy Jase. Up until 1982 when JMJ joined RUN DMC, he played drums and bass for local bands (while dee jaying on the side). He had much success with the Hip Hop trio and started his own record label: Jam Master Jay Records, signing notables like Onyx and 50 Cent. He was 37 when he passed.
On October 30th, in 2007, ex-spouse of the president of Sire Records & vice president of Warner Brothers Records (Seymour Stein), ex-educator (NYC public schools) and The Ramones’ former manager-Linda Stein was found murdered at her apartment in Manhattan, New York. She had been beaten to death by her assistant Natavia Lowery. Lowery claimed she snapped and killed Stein because she kept yelling at her. However, records would later show that Lowery was stealing from Stein. She got 25 to Life, and was fined $30K that she stole from Stein and was mandated to payback.
Stein was teaching in New York in during the 70s. Towards the latter part of the decade, she quit teaching a decided to co-manage the Ramones with Danny Fields. Stein had an eye for talent and kept herself on the cusp of the cutting edge, knowing what was chic at the time. A Studio 54 & CBGBs regular, she helped get the careers started for artists like The Pretenders, Madonna and the Talking Heads. In the 90s, these same stars would repay the favor once Stein quit managing bands and started being a realtor (she sold several properties to stars: Sting, Madonna, Elton John, Billy Joel, Bruce Willis). She was one of the top realtors in New York City. She was 62 when she died.
Honorable Mention: On October 30th, in 1946, Rock drummer and session musician-Chris Slade (Christopher Rees) was born in Pontypridd, Giamorgan, Wales. He was the seminal drummer and touring performing with Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, AC/DC, Asia, Gary Numan, Uriah Heep, The Firm, Tom Jones, Paul Rodgers and David Gilmour. His style is mostly Rock (Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Prog Rock) with a Blues base. He’s 72 today.
Hard Rockers’ hands, the next two honorable mentions discuss the volatile side of the music game…anger does not dissolve with stardom. On October 30th, in 1990, Axl Rose went hard on his neighbor. He got arrested for hitting him over the head with a bottle (had to pay $10K for his bail). It all stemmed from Rose retaliating against the neighborly snitching source for calling the cops with a noise complaint (Axl’s music was too loud).
Fourteen years later, Vince Neil would show Michael Talbert that he wasn’t ‘no punk’. On October 30th , in 2004, the cops put a warrant out on Neil for knocking out Talbert who was the sound man. He literally knocked him out, put him to sleep for nearly a minute. It took place while Motley Crue was setting up/sound checking at Gilley’s nightclub in Dallas, Texas. Neil wanted more volume on his guitar, Talbert was slow to respond or didn’t do it to his liking. Either way, he got stole on.
On October 30th, in 2008, we lost another great musician. The infamous Motown saxophonist, sound engineer, and super-producer-Mike Terry passed away due to heart complications in Detroit, Michigan. He worked with several of the Motown acts like the Four Tops, Marvin Gaye, Edwin Starr, The Supremes, Martha & the Vandellas, Mary Wells and more. He also worked with Kim Weston and the Isley Brothers outside of the Motown imprint. He was 68 when he died.
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!