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Benny K

Benny K made this fun video last week to help his fans find Hymie’s, but of course if you’re reading this you have probably already visited us here.

Benny’s a local folk singer whose first disc, 10,000 Saints, earned him a reputation as bright, insightful songwriter. He’ll be releasing a new EP, Four Years, this weekend, and we were surprised when he approached us about hosting the release celebration show with a performance here in the shop on Saturday.

Four Years takes on the subject of Wisconsin’s controversial conservative governor, Scott Walker, who progressives hope will have an uphill battle for re-election this fall. Benny K plans to tour the Badger State between now and election day. Have a listen to the title song — you might, like us, feel Benny sounds like a younger Larry Long
(one of our favorite Minnesota folk singers). He’s joined on the new EP by keyboardist Lightnin’ Joe Peterson.

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“Four Years” by Benny K

Here’s another video, for a track from 10,000 Saints. Gus and Nova really liked this one, but we had to read all the text to them. Benny’s got a good sense of humor that’s really missing in a lot of music these days. Sometimes a little bit of that makes a sad story a little easier on the soul, a spoonful of sugar and all…

Benny’s CD release show for Four Years will be here at Hymie’s on Saturdady at 5pm. Self-described “garage folk singer” Nate Houge will be providing a foot-stompin’ opening set. Hope to see you here!

Hymies RSD Block Party

Join us once again for our annual Record Store Day Block Party! Hymie’s will close off 39th Avenue with an outdoor stage and record sale (along with a beer garden sponsored by Merlins Rest Pub), 14 awesome local bands throughout the day, plus tons of special Record Store Day exclusive releases!

Black Diet
(album release)
Brian Just Band
Chastity Brown
The Ericksons
Martin Devaney
Adam Kiesling & Mikkel Beckman (Corpse Reviver)
Brian Laidlaw and the Family Trade
Jake Manders
Pennyroyal
The Poor Nobodys
Southside Desire
Ben Weaver
Whiskey Jeff and the Beer Back Band
The White Whales

Sound provided by Mother of All Sound, in partnership with Radio K and sponsored by Pabst Blue Ribbon!

Speaking of Radio K, our headline act recently performed “Cry,” a song from their much-anticipated debut album, on Off the Record.

Yes, we will have special Record Store Day releases! Due to their limited nature, we can’t promise you what we will have until they begin to ship. We have put in the largest order for special release we’ve ever sent this year — and there are many exciting things coming out this year.

We are especially excited that Black Diet will be releasing their first album here on Record Store Day — it will not be a limited edition release because once everyone hears this band they’re going to want to take them home!

Oh Jeremiah

Hey check out this video of Mississippi folk singer Oh Jeremiah — he adds a variety of pedal board loops to his acoustic guitar performance. He will be playing some of his songs here at Hymie’s while he’s in town today at 3pm. Thought you’d like to know because, as Roland Kirk says, “You all are the hippest people in the world.”

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seeger how to play the five string banjoOne of the most monumental figures in American music, Pete Seeger, passed away yesterday in New York City, where he was born ninety-five years earlier. In announcing his death, Seeger’s family says he passed peacefully in his sleep after a short stay in the hospital, that he had been chopping wood just ten days earlier, and that family and friends were at his side. One can hardly imagine a more fitting finale for a man of such grace, humility and kindness, just as one can hardly describe the scale of our loss — Seeger was one of the last living links to a near-lost era, the America before Harry Smith’s Anthology revived our pride in our folk traditions, the America that struggled for worker’s rights, the America that looked to its past for solutions to the problems of the present, the America that looked to its future with reverent responsibility.

Seeger’s father, Carl Louis Seeger Jr., worked in musicology during the discipline’s infancy. His mother was a composer and violinist. In his life-long immersion in the folk music of all people, the younger Seeger would introduce or re-introduce so many things to Americans, ranging from the Wimoweh chorus of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” (a Zulu folk song) to the Book of Ecclesiastes. His exploration of world music, dating to the forties, was nothing short of revolutionary — our own little collection of Seeger’s records contains music from Bach, Beethoven and Grieg, as well as Japanese folk tales and songs from the Spanish civil war.

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“Viva La Quince Brigada”

Pete Seeger often said with pride that he’d sung for hobo camps and Rockerfellers all the same — and that he loved his country, in spite of a lifetime of political activism that confounded his critics. More than merely a political figure, Seeger was a lifelong music educator (he once said his most rewarding experiences were singing with children at schools) — his records are almost ubiquitous in our collections, there are so many of them! They provided us with an introduction to performing (the track at the beginning is from his 1954 album How to Play the Five String Banjo), to our own history and its lessons, and to our responsibilities towards the future.

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“Goodnight Irene”

goodnight ireneSeeger’s successful folk group, the Weavers, saw their career derailed by the McCarthy-era blacklist, only a few years after they sold more than two million copies of their version of “Goodnight Irene” (a record which, yes, did inspire the name of our pal, the everlovin’ record store dog). Activists and folk purists derided the group for diluting its message, but Seeger and his bandmates — Ronnie Gilbert, Lee Hays and Fred Hellerman — defended their choice, saying it was good to bring folk music to the people.

Seeger and Hays were called to testify before the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1955, after an FBI informant identified both as Communists. While many chose to plead the Fifth Amendment when called before the committee, Seeger refused to testify, citing his First Amendment right — he was found in contempt (though this was overturned six years later).

The Weavers were unceremoniously dumped by Decca Records, their recordings out of print and effectively banned from the airwaves. They broke up (reuniting for occasional anniversary concerts, the last of which was released as Together Again in 1981). Seeger left the group in protest after they provided the music for a cigarette commercial in 1958, and his solo career struggled during these years (it was not until 1967 that he was again able to appear on television).

As ever he was at the center of controversy, performing for the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour his protest song, “Waist Deep in the Big Muddy.” Seeger’s scathing indictment of President Johnson’s Vietnam war policy was cut from the broadcast by CBS, but eventually aired the following January.

seeger big muddy

Seeger wrote (often with collaborators) a number of songs that became folk standards — “Where have all the Flowers Gone?” and “If I Had a Hammer” for instance — and helped establish many others. His adaptation of a passage from the Book of Ecclesiastes has become cinema short-hand for the sixties ever since the Byrds’ cover of it topped the Billboard chart in 1965, and he was one of the first to popularize “We Shall Overcome,” which became the anthem of the Civil Rights movement.

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“We Shall Overcome”

seeger unionSeeger was no stranger to providing protest music — His 1941 album with the Almanac Singers, Talking Union and Other Union Songs contained several that became standards during the era in which working people struggled for the basic rights we take for granted today. Here is their recording of Florence Reece’s song, “Which Side are you On?” which was written during the 1931 United Mine Workers conflict in Harlan County, Kentucky. Her home was illegally searched and her children terrorized, and she wrote the song, based on a Baptist hymn, on a calendar in her kitchen.

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“Which Side are you On?”

 

seeger gazette

Other Seeger songs were not so famous, but right on the money. On the 1958 Folkways album Gazette he offered his take on a variety of current events, from the arms race to the overcrowding of classrooms in public schools — here, for instance, is the story of Sherman Wu, a student at Northwestern University who was rejected by Psi Upsilon fraternity because he was Chinese. The fraternity, which said defended itself in part by saying that “an Oriental in the house would degrade it in the eyes of other fraternities and make it more difficult to get dates from the sororities,” was not reprimanded or punished in any way by the University.

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“The Ballad of Sherman Wu”

Sherman Wu, the reluctant Civil Rights figure, remained at Northwestern, pledging to another fraternity, and completing a doctorate. While there he went on a date with Ann-Margaret (then still Ann-Margaret Olsson), proving the fraternity’s racist defense groundless. After earning a PhD, Wu worked on the Apollo program (in “reaction jet control systems”) and taught for nearly three decades at Marquette University in Wisconsin.

seeger american industrialAnother record from Seeger’s enormous Folkways Records catalog delved deeper into the history of the American working people, finding ballads from as far back as the turn of the nineteenth century. The first song on American Industrial Ballads is the heartbreaking tale of a cobbler who finds his craftsmanship will soon become obsolete.

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“Peg and Awl”

Another lesser-known piece of music by Pete Seeger has long been a favorite of ours — In fact, selections from his Goofing-Off Suite, were played at our wedding reception nearly a decade ago. On this ambitious 10″ album, Seeger adapts a variety of works to the five string banjo, including Bach’s famous canata “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” and passages from Beethoven’s seventh and ninth Symphonies.

seeger goofing offAlthough he would begin to accompany himself on the twelve-string guitar in the sixties, Seeger’s legacy in inextricably linked with that of the banjo in American popular music. His playing was light, less percussive than the folk traditions from which he often drew inspiration, and often beautifully nuanced, as on this performance of Irving Berlin’s “Blue Skies” from the Goofing-Off Suite.

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“Blue Skies”

Seeger’s lanky frame was often accented by the unique banjo of his own invention, three frets longer than most. With his bright sense of humor and affable nature, it’s no wonder Seeger was so suited to serve as “America’s tuning fork” (as the President recalled in a statement yesterday). For many his Folkways album How to Play the Five-String Banjo was more than merely an introduction, and for many others his records of childrens’ songs were treasured.

abiyoyoThis video below is shaky, but so wonderful you’ll enjoy watching it anyway — in it Seeger performs “Abiyoyo” for probably the thousandth time at the 2011 Newport Folk Festival.

seeger sesame streetSeeger’s 1974 album with Brother Kirk on the fairly new Sesame Street label featured him performing several folk favorites, as well as “This Land is Your Land” and Bill Steele’s “Garbage,” where he was backed by a troupe of monsters led by Oscar the Grouch (we posted Biff Rose’s sillier version a while back).

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“Garbage”

Seeger’s epic career was one of our last living links to Woody Guthrie, who he sang with in the Almanac Singers in the 40s. Seeger, perhaps more than anyone else, has been responsible for popularizing Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land,” a song that was originally written in angry response to Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America.” Tired of hearing it sung by Kate Smith on the radio, Guthrie originally wrote the chorus to be “God blessed America for you and me.” It was and by changed, and was a concert favorite of Seeger’s. He also recorded an album with Arlo Guthrie in 1981 (Precious Friends), and the two pals last performed together in November of 2012. You might, if you haven’t read enough by the end of this epic post, enjoy reading what Arlo had to say about Seeger yesterday on his Facebook page.

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“This Land is Your Land”

seeger i can seeSome of Seeger’s political statements seem naive today, and his backpedaling over Stalin and other subjects is silly at best. He never claimed to be a political leader, but merely a folk singer and, at times, a teacher of music like his father had been. In the sixties he said, “I’m more conservative than Goldwater. He just wanted to turn the clock back to when there was no income tax. I want to turn the clock back to when people lived in small villages and took care of each other.”

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“Down by the Riverside”

pete and sonny

He is today again united with his wife, Toshi-Aline Ōta, who passed away last summer shortly before their seventieth anniversary, but surely mourned by millions. He played such an enormous role in everything we know and love about music and it’s potential to bring people together. Yesterday several people came into the record shop looking for his albums, and we talked about favorite songs and how long we have loved them. It’s up to us now, to share them with our children.

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“Passing Through”

Filmmaker Christopher Lange visited Hymie’s last fall and created a short film about our experience running a record shop. He originally planned it to be the first in a series about the role small businesses play in communities, and we hope he will make additional films like this one.

Lange has created a production company with a friend, Black Square Productions. We’ll add a link to this post after they get their new website up and running.

This was actually kind of difficult to compile – Elvis starred in an unbelievable 33 films, singing an average of ten songs in each. If Hymie’s would just get the intern I’ve been asking for I could have given that person the job of sifting through all of the soundtrack albums for the turkiest of the turkeys. Instead I had to do it myself.

(10) “Yoga Is As Yoga Does” from Easy Come, Easy Go

Funny, when you consider Elvis’ enthusiasm for karate in the early 70s (He studied with Memphis master Kang Rhee for four years). Funnier because its Elvis doing yoga.

(9) “Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce” from Girl Happy

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I think if you interviewed a dozen people leaving the theater at the end of this movie, nine of them would have forgotten the plot already. Even by beach party movie standards Girl Happy is pretty stupid. Its almost stupid by Elvis movie standards, but actually there it ranks pretty well.

(8) “Ito Eats” from Blue Hawaii

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There’s really not a lot I can add to this.

Okay, I can’t keep my mouth shut any more than Ito can stop eating – Here’s the liberation anthem of fat Hawaiian guys, seldom heard at their marches because bongo drums and ukuleles are too much work to carry around. Usually its just performed acappella around a spit.

(7 & 6) “Poison Ivy League” and “Carny Town” from Roustabout

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Roustabout is my favorite Elvis movie. First he’s cruising around on his motorcycle after getting fired for fighting with fancy college boys and then he’s invited to join a traveling carnival run by Barbara Stanwyck. The problem is the songs in Roustabout are some of the very worst. I don’t think there’s going to be a lot of debate over including “Poison Ivy League” on a list of the worst Elvis movie songs, but “Carny Town” is included as a bonus because I think it could be a great punk rock anthem if played by the right group. I’d like to hear Dillinger Four take “Carny Town” on with the same fanaticism they gave to “Sally MacLennane”.

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Okay, “Hard Knocks” is also included. The songs in Roustabout are really bad! The thing about “Hard Knocks” is that Elvis really could sing the blues. He also hard a hard life. People who thumb their noses at Elvis’ 1969 hit “In the Ghetto” usually don’t understand that he grew up in rural poverty which is sometimes a lot worse than urban poverty. “Hard Knocks”, on the other hand, is about the least soulful song about tough times I have ever heard. What’s really ridiculous is that songwriter Joy Byer’s husband later asserted he wrote the songs from Elvis movies credited to her (At least 10 by my count). Who would want to claim this song?

(5) “Signs of the Zodiac from The Trouble with Girls

If you were a kid and you really liked rock and roll, and you rented a few of these movies (Remember renting movies?), you got a pretty askew view of the world. Between Elvis movie and Douglas Adams books its a wonder I grew into somebody who could succeed at all.

(4) “Song of the Shrimp” from Girls! Girls! Girls!

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Girls! Girls! Girls! includes Elvis’ only genuine sea chanty (“Thanks to the Rolling Sea”) and some irresistibly funny tracks when revisited today (“I’d Rather Be Tied” and “We’re Coming in Loaded”) but the goofiest song is “Song of the Shrimp”. In a lot of ways the Elvis movie soundtracks are charmingly naive little vignettes, and Girls! Girls! Girls! is a great example – In this case our little look at Ross Carpenter’s life is a lot of fun even if the songs he sing aren’t.

(3) “The Bullfighter Was A Lady” from Fun in Acapulco

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The next track is “There’s No Room to Rhumba in a Sports Car”, which nearly made it onto this list. Fun in Acapulco is fun movie and makes for a lively soundtrack, but it has the feeling of wasted potential. If Elvis had followed Edyie Gorme and made an album in Spanish it would probably be his most popular record today.

Okay, so I might as well tell you the truth: If I made a list of my 10 favorite Elvis movie songs it probably wouldn’t be any different. Sure, I love “GI Blues” and really everything from Loving You, but those are great songs. I don’t love them the same way I love these ten tracks.

You’re either going to love Elvis or you’re not, and nothing I can write is going to change your mind. Not going to love Elvis? Well, nuts to you. That’s right. Nuts to you.

(2) “Go East Young Man” from Harum Scarum

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The most difficult thing about compiling this list was finding nine songs worst than everything on the soundtrack to Harum Scarum, which is also the very worst of the Elvis movies. Elvis is kidnapped while touring the mideast and forced to assassinate a sheik. Hilarity ensues.

(1) “Dominic” from Stay Away Joe

So far as I can tell the songs in this movie were so bad they never bothered to makde a soundtrack album. I can’t say because this is one of the few Elvis movies I haven’t seen (Did I tell you there are 33 of them?) and I’m not going to watch it now, even for your benefit. There’s just too much else to do.

I have no idea what’s going on in this scene but I really like it.

This is the first of several videos we’ve produced with our friends from Pabst Blue Ribbon here in the shop after hours. Each will feature a local artists performing new songs, directed by Dan Huiting and recorded by Brian Herb.

This first video is especially exciting because it presents Sean Anonymous & DJ Name’s new song “Cold Shoulder” just before the release show for their single on Saturday.

Sean Anonymous and DJ Name’s release show for their 7″ single of “Cold Shoulder” is Saturday at First Avenue. Guests include Dreamcrusher, Toki Wright & Big Cats, deM atlaS and Enemy Planes. The first 100 people will get a free copy of the single!

Proceeds from the new single will benefit First Avenue’s non-profit Twin Cities Music Community Trust, which helps musicians when unforeseeable circumstances prevent them from working. Full details about the show can be found here.

We are really excited for you to see this video and the three more we have in post-production right now. We’ve honored to have the opportunity to work with Dan and Brian and the musicians who have performed here. Stay tuned!

This gigantic Bandcamp album is a tribute/fundraiser for Leah and Rob Rule. Leah Rule was a manager of the Turf Club and the artists who contributed their wanted to express thanks for all the support she gave them & their bands.

After moving to a farm in Wisconsin, Leah Rule published a comic fanzine about her life there, Rural Fox (you can see some of her art here) — If you’re a regular readers you know how much we love comics! Leah and Rob also continued to host live music in their barn in Boyceville.

You’ll see it in this video for Martin Devaney’s song on the compilation, “Over my Shoulder.” You’ll also get a sense of how much Leah has been missed since she passed away in 2012 after a two-year fight with cancer.

Last Wednesday we introduced our treatment for a feature film based on the life of bandleader and composer Quincy Jones (read it here). We followed the twenty-seven time Grammy winner from his childhood on the south side of Chicago through his successful career as a bandleader, record producer and Hollywood film composer.

At the end of the first half of our story, Quincy suffered a pair of severe brain aneurysms. Believing he would not survive, his family arranged a memorial service at the Shrine in Los Angeles.

Part II of our story opens ten years later…

Quincy Jones wrote, produced or arranged all the records you’ll hear in The Quincy Jones Story, except for a few early recordings intended to capture his youthful experience with the great big bands. We take the text for our story from his own recollections in an interview with Alex Haley in the July 1990 issue of Playboy.

The Quincy Jones Story

quincyPart II, Scene I: February, 1984 – Michael Jackson and producer Quincy Jones win an incredible eight Grammys at the 26th annual awards.

I knew it from the first time I heard it … because the hair stood straight up on my arms. That’s a sure sign, and it’s never once been wrong. All the brilliance that had been building inside Michael Jackson for twenty-five years just erupted … That energy was contagious and we had it cranked so high one night that the speakers in the studio actually overloaded and burst into flames. First time I ever say anything like that in forty years in the business.

thriller

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“Wanna Be Starting Something” performed by Michael Jackson (from Thriller)

Part II, Scene II: Back in 1974, Quincy’s jazz career had been sidelined by his health condition. While recording his first album since his aneurysms, Mellow Madness, Quincy works with two musicians from Billy Preston’s band, George and Louis Johnson. He enjoys working with them and soon finds himself producing their debut album, Look Out for #1. This launches a string of successful pop/R&B productions that would lead him to his legendary collaborations with Michael Jackson.

I was afraid … So for a long time I didn’t even try to work. I was also very weak from the surgery … The surgeon who operated on me warned me not to play the trumpet. He had put a clip on my artery to keep it closed, and he told me that I’d blow off that clip and kill myself if I tried to blow that horn. I didn’t believe him and I started blowing the horn, and one night, I hit one of those high notes and I felt something crack inside, like my head was gonna break right open… Well the doctor didn’t have to warn me again. I stopped playing the trumpet and I had to leave the band.

Surviving … made me realize that I didn’t have anything to be afraid of, except maybe giving up on myself. So I got together with two of the guys who’d gone on the tour with me — the Johnson Brothers, who had a great sound on guitar and bass — and produced a record with them. We wound up with four hits in a row and there I was, smack dab back in the record business.

right on time

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“Q” performed by the Brothers Johnson (from Right on Time)

I do have a tendency to become obsessed. When I’ve got a creative mode going with my composing partners, Rod Temperton and Siedah Garrett — I don’t want you to get the idea I do this all alone — my mind gets so fired up that I can’t turn it off and go to sleep at night. I can actually hear a song in my mind, completely orchestrated from start to finish, before we even go into the studio with my sound engineer, Bruce Swedien, to record it. But I’ve got to wait until the last minute to be at my best. It’s the fever of the recording session that gets my juices going.

george benson give me the night

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“Give me the Night” performed by George Benson (from Give me the Night)

Part II, Scene III: Quincy is asked by a friend, Alex Haley, to compose the score for a television mini-series based on his novel, Roots, which traced his ancestry back seven generations to life before slavery in Gambia. Working on the project inspires Quincy’s own search into the legacy of African music. His

rootsI was at a party in LA and ran into this beautiful brother from San Francisco who was writing this book about the story of his family and the history of black people in America, all the way back through slavery to Africa. He called it Roots, and it was just about the most moving and powerful story I’d ever heard. Well, it so happened that at the same time I was on a journey of my own, doing research on the evolution of black music, so I felt like it was fated that [we] met.

African music had always been regarded in the West as primitive and savage, but when you take the time to really study it, you see that it’s as structured and sophisticated as European classical music, with the same basic components as you’ll find in a symphony orchestra — instruments that are plucked, instruments that are beaten and instruments that are blown with reeds. And it’s music from the soil — powerful, elemental. Life-force music.

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“Oluwa (Many Rains Ago)” featuring Letta Mbulu (from the soundtrack to Roots, composed and conducted by Quincy Jones)

Composers from Bizet to Stravinsky have drawn on African influences. And in slave-ship times, it started spreading into the New World, from Brazil all the way up through Haiti to Cuba, through the West Indies, until some of the ships started landing in Virginia and New Orleans. The original African influence had been watered down and assimilated with other sounds along the way, but it was still strong enough that in 1692 the Virginia colony decided to ban the drum, because the slaves used it as a means of communication and that was a threat to plantation owners. But that didn’t stop the slaves: They started making music with hand claps and foot stomps, anything to keep the spirit alive. The slaves weren’t allowed to practice their own religions either, but the black Christian churches became the keepers of the flame for black music in America. From Gospel, blues, jazz, soul, R&B, rock and roll, all the way to rap, you can trace the roots straight back to Africa.

Part II, Scene IV: Quincy produces the score for the film adaptation of the successful musical, The Wiz. The film is a commercial and critical failure. During the project, nineteen year old Michael Jackson, who had been cast to play the Scarecrow, asked Quincy Jones to recommend some producers he could work with now that he had left Motown to record a solo album for Epic.

There’s no question that he’s brilliant — the most gifted composer and performer in popular music today. But I think it trivializes Michael to call him eccentric. He’s an incredibly rich and complex human being with both the wisdom of an eighty-five-year-old sage and the magical, childlike curiosity and wonder of Peter Pan. And the intensity of his creative energy is awesome, like a force of nature.

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“The Way You Make Me Feel” performed by Michael Jackson (from Bad)

Part II, Scene V: January 28, 1985. Quincy’s success with Michael Jackson makes him the most important record producer in America, and he directs this new found influence into a charity project that raises more than $60 million (a figure still growing) for the fight against famine in Africa. “We Are the World” also brings together an extraordinary menagerie of celebrity musicians for a single session.

we are the world

With all those superstars involved, it was like organizing D Day to get them into the same studio on the same day. We had only ten hours to do the whole thing and we had to get it right in one session because there wasn’t going to be a second one. Lionel and Michael and I knew all the things that could go wrong, so we planned it right down to where everybody in the chorus would be standing and where every microphone would be positioned so we’d pick up each voice distinctly. And we didn’t know what to expect with all those egos in the same room together. But they must have checked them at the door because the mood in the studio was like a living embodiment of the idea behind the song. As one after another showed up — Tina Turner, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, just about all the top people in the business — the voltage in that studio just kept rising and rising. For the first hour they were signing autographs for each other. And that spirit of brotherhood communicated itself very vividly on the sound track and in the video…

I say it’s a strange kind of mind to find fault with a project [for being to commercial] that raised fifty million dollars to feed the hungry. Thanks to Harry Belafonte, who planted the seed for the whole project, and Ken Kragen, who got it off the ground, We Are the World raised the public consciousness about world hunger, and that helped push the government into coming up with millions more… Anybody who wants to throw stones at that can get up off his ass and go do something better. There’s still plenty of starving Africans.

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“We are the World” performed by USA for Africa

Part II, Scene VI: Our story ends in 1990 (when Quincy was interviewed for the July issue of Playboy), with the successful release of Back on the Block, an album which blends jazz, R&B and rap. Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis and other jazz legends are credited alongside Ice T and other contemporary rappers.

[Rap] is no fad, man. And it’s not just a new kind of music. It’s a whole new subculture that’s been invented by the disenfranchised. When you have no place in society, you say, ‘Fuck it, we’ll start our own.’ Everything from graffiti to break dancing to popping and locking, hip-hop and now rap — the voice that vocalizes hip-hop — they’re symbols of a new subculture that comes directly from the streets.

quincy jones back on the block

Black music has always been the prologue to social change. It was true in the fifties with modern jazz and rock & roll, and I think rap is a sign of the kind of changes that are sweeping the world today.

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“Prologue / Back on the Block” performed by Quincy Jones, featuring raps by Ice T, Melle Mel, Big Daddy Kane and Kool Moe Dee, plus performances by Tevin Campbell, Joe Zawinul, Bill Summers, and others.

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