*A lot of notables in Black music had momentous events happen on October 27th, from hip hop to R&B. From 1960 to 2005.
Here are the stories behind each one, in chronological order.
In 1960, Ben E. King left The Drifters and launched his solo career with a song that became an instant classic: “Stand By Me.” It started out as a gospel hymn written by the Philadelphia minister Charles Albert Tindley in 1905 and was popularized by various gospel acts in the 1950s. After hearing the Staple Singers’ 1955 take, he pitched it to The Driffers, but their manager turned it down. So once King left the group, he went into the studio on Oct. 27, 1960 and recorded his own version.
If singer/songwriter Jim Weatherly never knew actor Lee Majors (TV’s “Six Million Dollar Man”), and Majors had never dated actress Farrah Fawcett of “Charlie’s Angels,” the world may never have been blessed with the Gladys Knight and the Pips classic “Midnight Train To Georgia,” which reached No. 1 in the U.S. on Oct. 27, 1973. Weatherly explained how the dots connect in an interview with Gary James:
“The song actually came about after a phone call I had with Farrah Fawcett. Lee Majors was a friend of mine. We’d played in the Flag Football League together in L.A. He had just started dating Farrah. One day I called Lee and Farrah answered the phone. We were just talking and she said she was packing. She was gonna take the midnight plane to Houston to visit her folks. So, it just stayed with me. After I got off the phone, I sat down and wrote the song probably in about 30 to 45 minutes. Something like that. Didn’t take me long at all, ’cause I actually used Farrah and Lee as kind of like characters I guess. A girl that comes to L.A. to make it and doesn’t make it and leaves to go back home. The guy goes back with her. Pretty simple little story, but it felt real to me. It felt honest to me. I played it for them and they loved it. I cut it on my first album as ‘Midnight Plane To Houston.'”
Weatherly said that several months later, a producer in Atlanta wanted to cut the song for Cissy Houston.
“They called and said they would like a more R&B sounding title and asked if we would mind if they changed the title to ‘Midnight Train To Georgia’ [so that “Houston” wouldn’t appear in both the title and artist name]. We said ‘change anything but the writer and publisher.’ So, he cut the song on Cissy Houston and it was a nice little cross between an R&B and country record.”
The recording of “Midnight Train to Georgia” from Whitney Houston’s mama was the version that Gladys Knight heard. Weatherly continued:
“Some of the background vocals you hear on Gladys’ records were first on Cissy Houston’s record. It wasn’t as much, but just some of the feel of the background vocals. And of course Gladys’ record was more of a groove-oriented thing. It wasn’t as slow. It just became a monster record.”
Where to begin with Prince’s fifth album, “1999,” released on Oct. 27, 1982 with the lethal firepower of its five singles: the title track, “Little Red Corvette” (inspired by his catnap in backup singer Lisa Coleman’s 1964 Mercury Montclair Marauder after an all-night recording session), “Delirious,” “Automatic” (released as a single only in Australia) and “Let’s Pretend We’re Married.”
This was Prince’s first top 10 album (peaking at No. 9) and earned the artist his first Grammy nomination for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance – not for any of the five singles, but for his piloting of that Seduction 747 in “International Lover.”
On Oct. 27, 1998, Lauryn Hill officially became a solo artist with the release of her first post-Fugees single, “Doo Wop (That Thing).” When it debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 the following week, Hill also became the first artist since Debbie Gibson to debut at No. 1 with a song written, recorded, and produced by the recording artist. (Gibson did it in 1989 with “Foolish Beat.”)
But for Hill, the significance of “Doo Wop (That Thing)” went much deeper than its commercial accolades. She told Details magazine at the time that she wanted the song to prove that a female artist could reach No. 1 using only her brains, and not her body. She cited artists like Lil’ Kim as examples of the latter.
“I’m not dissing them, I’m dissing their mind-set,” Hill clarified. “My music talks about a certain way of thinking, and if the cap fits, you know? I knew girls like Kim growing up – I might have even been one at a certain age – and there’s a huge lack of self-esteem behind that thinking. I mean, when I was 14 I thought that if a guy didn’t whistle at me, that meant I wasn’t pretty. But either you mature past that or you get caught in the concept of, ‘Oh, I have to show some ass, ’cause that’s the only way I can feel beautiful.’ Sex is cool, but it’s only part of the story.”
Our tour through Oct. 27 in music history wraps with a much needed example of unity in these trying times.
Fifteen years ago today, Jay-Z and Nas ended their deep-rooted, long-standing beef during New York’s Power 105.1’s Power House concert at New Jersey’s Continental Airlines Arena.
Barack Obama Says Rapper Drake Has ‘Stamp of Approval’ to Play Him in Biopic
*Barack Obama has given former actor Drake his approval to play him in a potential biopic about the former president.
“I will say this, Drake seems to be able to do anything he wants. I mean, that is a talented, talented brother. So, if the time comes and he’s ready…,” said Obama during a recent interview on Complex’s 360 With Speedy Morman.
“Drake has, more importantly I think, my household’s stamp of approval,” he added. “I suspect Malia and Sasha would be just fine with it.”
Drake’s acting career began on the Canadian teen drama “Degrassi,” before he transitioned into a hip-hop artist. According to PEOPLE, the rapper first expressed interest in playing Obama in an interview with Paper in 2010.
“I hope somebody makes a movie about Obama’s life soon because I could play him,” he said during Obama’s first term in office. “I watch all the addresses. Anytime I see him on TV, I don’t change the channel, I definitely pay attention and listen to the inflections of his voice.”
Drake continued, “If you ask anyone who knows me, I’m pretty good at impressions. Slowly but surely, I’m not in the study mode because nobody’s called me about anything, but I just pay attention so when the day comes I’m not scrambling to learn how to speak like him.”
In related news, Obama is currently on his book tour promoting his new memoir “A Promised Land,” and during a recent interview with Breakfast Club, he addressed criticism that he didn’t do enough for Black Americans while he was in the White House.
“I understand it because when I got elected, there was so much excitement and hope. And I also think that we generally view the presidency as almost like a monarchy. In the sense of, ‘once the President is there he can just do whatever he needs to get done and if he’s not doing it then it must be because he didn’t want to do it,’” Obama told the hosts.
He then said he “had the statistics” to prove his accomplishments.
“By the time I left office, you had seen three million African Americans have health care that didn’t have it before. You had seen the incarceration rate, the number of Black folks in prison, drop for the first time in years… You had seen Black poverty drop to its lowest level since 1968. You had seen Black businesses rise, you had seen Black income go up,” Obama said, adding that “millions of Black folks were better off” when he left office.
Jody Watley Makes Surprise TV Appearance on DJ Cassidy’s ‘Pass The Mic: BET Soul Train Edition’ / WATCH
*(Hollywood, CA) – Jody Watley is always full of surprises. The Grammy-winning, trendsetting pioneer in music, video, fashion and style recently joined other R&B legends of the 80s on DJ Cassidy’s “Pass the Mic: BET Soul Train Edition,” which also featured Sheila E, Chaka Khan, El DeBarge, Deniece Williams, Morris Day, Evelyn “Champagne” King, Lisa Lisa, George Clinton, and many more.
DJ Cassidy included an all-star surprise line-up for his set, including Jody Watley giving homage to she and her fellow musical legends who gave birth to some of the greatest dance records of all time. The ‘highly anticipated,’ DJ show premiered after the Soul Train Awards, and also aired on VH1 and MTV2 on Sunday, November 29.
Never one to disappoint, Jody Watley ‘rocked the mic’ and performed bars of “A Night to Remember,” one of the many hit songs from her years during the pinnacle time for the group, Shalamar for the prime-time DJ television special.
Following her brief six year run in the group, Watley went on to become a celebrated solo artist, respected businesswoman, innovative music maker, and style-forging pioneer who has led the way as an entrepreneur working in the independent music world as one of the few already-established female best-selling artists to produce, create and own her recordings.
Some of Jody’s many classic hits include “Real Love,” “Don’t You Want Me,” “Everything,” and “Still A Thrill.”
She is one of the architects of 21st-century pop. From her groundbreaking union of rap and R&B (1987’s “Friends,” a collaboration with hip-hop legends Eric B. & Rakim) to her vision-forward amalgamation of high fashion, street fashion and music in the 1980s (long before it became the norm), to her fusion of jazz and underground club culture with keen pop instincts, and the ease with which she crossed and still crosses genre, the iconic singer forged the template that is now everybody’s playbook.
DJ Cassidy’s popular ‘Pass the Mic’ webcast series made its debut on BET’s broadcast of “The Soul Train Awards.” His special DJ edition immediately followed after the awards show and delivered a second prime-time special that brought Cassidy’s all-star medleys, usually seen via Twitch and YouTube, to a network for the first time.
“I was thrilled to be part of the first TV presentation for DJ Cassidy’s ‘Pass the Mic.’ He has such an incredible love of music and appreciation for an artist’s body of work that reflects in his presentation and delivery as a DJ,” said Watley.
“Cassidy knows how to mix music seamlessly and play the right song at the right time. It was such an honor and great feeling to be a part of the TV broadcast. We have a mutual appreciation and love as well as a respect for the classics – great music and artistry has no expiration date!” she added.
For all links to Jody Watley’s website, blog, social media & more visit https://direct.me/jodywatley
source: BNM Publicity Group / [email protected]
RADIOSCOPE RAW Podcast: Our 1989 Interview with After 7
*Episode 10 of the Radioscope Raw podcast features our 1989 interview with the R&B group After 7.
Brothers Kevon and Melvin Edmonds formed the group with Keith Mitchell in 1988 at Indiana University. A year later, they were releasing their self-titled debut album on Virgin Records, produced by the Edmonds’ younger brother Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds and his partner Antonio “LA” Reid. The album produced three top ten singles: “Heat of the Moment” and the No. 1 hits “Ready or Not” and “Can’t Stop.”
In the raw, unedited interview, the trio talks about their various day jobs before signing with Virgin, their response to critics who feel they rode into the industry on Babyface’s coattails, the origin of their name and much more.
“After 7”: First single, Heat of the Moment
Second single, Ready or Not
Third single, Can’t Stop
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