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On October 23rd, in 1956, Jazz vocalist, scat singer, composer, pianist, songwriter, musician, niece of bassist Charles Burrell and cousin of George Duke-Dianne (Elizabeth) Reeves was born in Detroit, Michigan. Her family relocated to Denver, and Reeves started playing piano and signing when she was 14 (early 70s). She was a member of her high school band and got discovered by Clark Terry (trumpet) in Chicago. He hired her, having her sing with his all-star band. Throughout the 70s she performed, recorded and sang with various bands like Night Flight, Caldera Stanley Turrentine and Lenny White. In 1982, she put out her first LP-Welcome to My Love.
From 1982 to 2013, she’s released 15 LPs, won 4 Grammys and has earned two Honorary doctorates: The Julliard School & Berklee College of Music. In 1987, Reeves signed with Blue Note and got most of her Grammys while recording on the imprint. She’d move to Concord Records in 2009. You can catch Dianne singing on the silver screen in the George Clooney movie-Good Night, & Good Luck, which one of her song’s won her a Grammy. She’s been around for a minute and has made a name for herself in the Jazz world. She’s 62 today.
On October 23rd, in 1962, Berry Gordy got his first chance to release a Stevie Wonder song. The ‘Little Wonder’ was 12 years-old at the time his first 45 single was released: Thank You for Loving Me all the Way. It’s a pretty lame cut. Has a Spanish feel to it, and you can hear that Stevie can sing, but it sounds forced, like they told him to sing it a certain way…also the song doesn’t fit him, that’s obvious too. Surprisingly, the backing band on the cut is the original Funk Brothers. I think this song is a grown-up track, and Berry was trying to make a crossover sound at the time, with less Soul in it.
I’m glad he let up on that and let Stevie cut songs for himself later. Which was a frustration several artists had with Motown, their lack of freedom to write and Gordy’s controlling ways. I’m also glad the Funk Brothers found their groove by the early 60s and were laying the rhythms for songs by the Temptations, Supremes, Gladys Knight & the Pips, The Originals, Jackson 5, and so on. It takes time to make a good thing happen. The band has to gel, the artist has to be given the space to develop their own style. You can’t cookie cut good cuts.
On October 23rd, in 1964, bassist, Funk Metal innovator, Bassist for Suicidal Tendencies, Infectious Grooves, Metallica, Black Label Society, and the man that worked with Ozzy-Roberto Trujillo was born in Santa Monica California. He has a long name: Roberto Augustin Miguel Santiago Samuel Perez de la Santa Concepcion. Roberto was heavily influenced by the music his mother would play: Sly, Marvin, James. He also got into fusion Jazz and discovered the infinite possibilities that exist for playing the bass.
One of his favorite bassists is Jaco Pastorius, calling him: my hero growing up. Tujillo set out to be a session musician, while staying true to his Funk, Rock, Soul & Punk roots. He got his start with Suicidal Tendencies, replacing their former bassist Bob Heathcote. He stayed with Suicidal until the mid-90s. He then joined Ozzy’s band, touring and recording with them up to the early 2000s. He also formed his own groups like Dub War, Mass Metal and Benji Webbe. Trujillo was so inspired by Jaco Pastorious, that he made a documentary about his life called Jaco (2014). It served as the official film for Record Store Day (2014). Trujillo is 54 today.
On October 23rd, in 1982, UK New Wave Reggae Soul band-Culture Club hit the number one slot on the UK singles chart for their song: Do You Really Want To Hurt Me. This was a special event for the band, being their first number one song and all. They went on to have 11 other top 40 hits in the UK. The song blew up after Culture Club stood in for the performer Shakin’ Stevens who was too sick to take the stage. They sang it on the UK version of American Bandstand meets Star Search-Top of the Pops.
Culture Club is Jon Moss on drums, Mikey Craig on bass, Roy Hay on guitar and keyboards, and Boy George as the lead. Their sound was unique, different from the other UK New Wave bands of the time, but they all were influenced by the same genres that they used in their own music. Culture Club is a reggae based, soul and more of a pop than funk band. They’re the Motown to The Police being the Stax, more gritty, raw. Culture Club was polished and had crossover appeal from that standpoint alone. You knew if you heard one of their songs, it’d be appropriate for all ages, no cursing, or overtly sexual suggestions. Their polished sound was tight though, I gotta give it up.
On October 23rd, in 2002, The MAGA Man, Trump’s Son, Yeezy, Kanye West was still Kanye West. He was coming off of making guest appearnaces of other cats LPs , and doing beats for artists like Talib’s Just to Get By. He also was working on recording his own stuff, and left the studio kind of late that night. He had a bad car crash after he fell asleep while driving. I was a head on collision that broke both legs of the other driver. West had his jaw shattered and had to have it wired shut. He still went to the studio, two-weeks after the accident to record Through the Wire with the wires still in.
The song was featured on his Mixtape-Get Well Soon (released Dec 2002). Kanye was working on his full-length debut during this time-College Dropout. The original release date for the LP was changed a few times, as Kanye tried to find the best mixes, add other verses, reprogram his drum sequences, remix songs, and cut some songs off the original ‘leaked’ version. Kanye’s debut LP and the Late Registration follow-up are probably his best LPs overall. It’s not too commercial, but you can see it starting to go there as time went on. As the hits kept coming, his ego exploded, then quickly reformed, and imploded.
Honorable Mention: Less than 65 years ago, On October 23rd, in 1954, the radio executives in Memphis were not going to allow sexually suggestive music to be played any longer. The Black radio station in Memphis, Tennessee-WDIA prohibited any DJ to play any suggestive songs like: Toy Bell by The Bees, or Honey Love by The Drifters, and they couldn’t play anything by the Midnighters in relation to songs from Annie. It’s hard to believe America was that watered down and conservative a few decades ago. Those teenagers then are grandparents now.
On October 23rd, in 1988-The King of Pop went back to his roots and dropped more than 100 stacks on it. Michael Jackson made a pilgrimage to the original site of Hitsville USA, the first Motown house where Marv Johnson’s single was cut in 1959-the same year the label started (their first release). The gutted and transformed into a multi-room studio house is located in Detroit, Michigan. It’s now called the Motown Museum. Mike donated $125k to it before he flew back to LA.
On October 23rd, in 1995, 80s/90s Heavy Metal Hair Band-Def Leppard showed the world and Guinness, just how hard they work. The band had been touring continuously pretty much all of 1995. Nearly two and half months before the year was up, they’d be inducted into the Guinness Book of World Records for being the first band to play 3 different gigs, on three different continents (North America, Africa, Europe), in 24 hours…Now that’s working!
On October 23rd, in 2007, Foxy was in the Hot Spot and got sent to the hotter spot…She was already in the bing for 11-29 (months-days) on a probation violation-she’d had a fight with another chick in a nail salon in NYC. While she was locked up, she put tips on an inmate. She got 11 weeks in solitary. Sources says she was wild when she was doing her bid, verbally abusive to guards, refusing to take drug tests, the whole 9. She’s out now…
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!