Lots of Nina Simone on today’s playlist. She would have turned 90 today.
Follow Tunes du Jour on Facebook
Follow Tunes du Jour on Twitter
Follow me on Instagram
“You deplore the demonstrations taking place in Birmingham. But your statement, I am sorry to say, fails to express a similar concern for the conditions that brought about the demonstrations.” – Martin Luther King, Jr. 1963
“He had a dream now it’s up to you to see it through, to make it come true” – “King Holiday”
Follow Tunes du Jour on Facebook.
Follow Tunes du Jour on Twitter.
Follow me on Instagram.
Inspired by the October 10 birthdays of David Lee Roth, John Prine, Crystal Waters, Kirsty MacColl, Tanya Tucker, Mya, Ultravox’s Midge Ure, Ivory Joe Hunter, Oscar Brown Jr. and The Honeycombs’ Dennis D’Ell.
Inspired by the August 29 birthdays of Michael Jackson, Dinah Washington, MeShell NdegeOcello, Cocteau Twins’ Elizabeth Fraser, Pebbles, Kevie Kev and Fairground Attraction’s Eddi Reader.
Inspired by the anniversary of the passings of Elvis Presley and Aretha Franklin; the August 16 birthdays of Madonna, Kool & the Gang’s James “JT” Taylor, Young Thug, Al Hibbler, Eydie Gorme, Barbara George, Court Yard Hounds’ Emily Robison, Ketty Lester, Sheila, and Joe Sealy; and the August 15 birthdays of Deee-Lite’s Lady Miss Kier, The The’s Matt Johnson, The Doobie Brothers’ Tom Johnston, Bobby Helms, Bobby Caldwell, and Nipsey Hussle.
Inspired by the April 7 birthdays of John Oates, Billie Holiday, Kraftwerk’s Florian Schneider, Janis Ian, Bobby Bare, Carol Douglas, Alexis Jordan, Mongo Santamaria and Percy Faith.
Inspired by the March 30 birthdays of Eric Clapton, Tracy Chapman, Norah Jones, M.C. Hammer, Duck Sauce’s A-Trak, Lene Lovich and Pete Holmes.
In 1979, President Jimmy Carter declared June Black Music Month. In 2016, President Barack Obama, who recognized the month as African-American Music Appreciation Month, said the music of African-American artists helped the country “to dance, to express our faith through song, to march against injustice, and to defend our country’s enduring promise of freedom and opportunity for all.” Today’s Tunes du Jour playlist embodies that sentiment.
(The Spotify embed function is not working.)
Click here to like Tunes du Jour on Facebook.
Follow me on Twitter.
Follow me on Instagram.
1) He’s had a record 79 Grammy Award nominations. He’s won 27.
2) He arranged the Frank Sinatra/Count Basie version of “Fly Me to the Moon,” which astronaut Neil Armstrong played when he first landed on the moon.
3) Jones produced the soundtrack of the motion picture The Wiz. He later said he hated working on it, as he didn’t like most of the songs nor did he like the film’s script. However, on the set on The Wiz he got to know the singer who played the scarecrow, Michael Jackson. Jackson asked him to recommend a producer for his next album. Jones threw out a few names and also offered to produce it himself. Jackson took him up on his offer, though his record label thought it was a bad idea. The album, 1979’s Off the Wall, went on to sell 20 million copies and won Jackson his first Grammy Award.
4) While widely known as the producer of Michael Jackson’s Thriller, Bad and Off the Wall albums, Jones is also the producer of the hit records “We Are the World” by USA for Africa; “It’s My Party,” “You Don’t Own Me” and “Judy’s Turn to Cry” by Lesley Gore; “Angel” by Aretha Franklin; “I’ll By Good to You,” “Stomp” and “Strawberry Letter 23” by The Brothers Johnson; “One Mint Julep” by Ray Charles; and “Love is in Control (Finger on the Trigger)” by Donna Summer, among others. He also worked with Bono, Stevie Wonder, Miles Davis, Little Richard, Paul Simon, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Herbie Hancock, Billie Holiday, B.B. King, Louis Armstrong, Dizzie Gillespie, Sarah Vaughan, Diana Ross, Dinah Washington, Peggy Lee, Chaka Khan, Tony Bennett, George Benson, Luther Vandross, Sammy Davis Jr., Johnny Mathis, James Ingram and Patti Austin, plus plenty more.
5) “Quincy Jones is one of the most versatile and potent figures of popular culture….When you listen to his impressive and monumental body of work, it’s easy to understand how and why he’s touched such a broad audience of music lovers. He’s done it all.” – Michael Jackson
6) Time magazine named him one of the most influential jazz musicians of the 20th century.
7) In the early 1960s he became the Vice President of Mercury Records, the first African-American at a major record company to reach that executive level.
8) His middle name is Delight.
9) Along with Bob Russell, he became the first African-American to be nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Song for “The Eyes of Love” from Banning.
10) With seven Oscar nominations, he is tied with sound designer Willie Burton as the African-American with the most Oscar nominations.
11) Jones produced the film The Color Purple, his first foray into film production. He asked Steven Spielberg to direct it, which he did. It was nominated for eleven Academy Awards.
12) Among his 33 movie scores are the ones for The Color Purple, In the Heat of the Night, In Cold Blood, and Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice.
13) He has a daughter with actress Nastassja Kinski as well as six other children.
14) He’s the father of actress Rashida Jones. She’s pretty.
15) In 1988 he formed Quincy Jones Entertainment, who produced the television program The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
16) He never learned how to drive.
17) Among the charities Jones supports are American Foundation for AIDS Research (AmfAR), Global Down Syndrome Foundation, Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), MusiCares, Elton John AIDS Foundation, Rape Foundation, UNICEF, NAACP, Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, and Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes.
18) In 1974 Jones suffered a brain aneurysm. He was given a 1 in 100 chance of surviving. Family and friends, including Richard Pryor, Marvin Gaye and Sidney Poitier, planned a memorial service for him, which he got to attend.
19) Today he turns 82 years old.
20) “The thing is to find your lightning – and ride your lightning.” – Quincy Jones
Click here to like Tunes du Jour on Facebook!
Follow me on Twitter: @TunesDuJour
In 1937, a white, Jewish high school teacher from The Bronx named Abel Meeropol published a poem entitled “Bitter Fruit” in a publication called The New York Teacher. The poem’s inspiration was a photo Meeropol saw in a civil rights magazine of two black men, Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith, hanging from a tree after being lynched in Indiana in 1930. The men in Lawrence Beitler’s photograph were the “bitter fruits” the tree bears.
Meeropol set his poem to music. The song was performed by Meeropol and his wife at various union gatherings. Later, a black singer named Laura Duncan performed the tune at Madison Square Garden.
Now known as “Strange Fruit,” the song made it to Billie Holiday, who performed it regularly at her Café Society show starting in 1939. She wanted to record the tune, but her record company, Columbia Records, fearing the reaction they would get from Southern record distributors and radio, refused. They allowed Holiday to record the song as a one-off for Commodore Records.
Holiday’s 1939 rendition of “Strange Fruit” would go on to become her biggest-selling record.
In her autobiography, Lady Sings the Blues, Holiday suggests that she composed the song with Meeropol and two other men. This has been disproven. When confronted about the falsehood contained in Lady Sings the Blues, Holiday responded “I ain’t never read that book.”
Billie Holiday was born on this day 99 years ago. Here is a small sampling of her work.