ON THIS DAY IN BLACK MUSIC HISTORY: MARCH 24

#1 R&B Song 1962:   “Twistin’ the Night Away,” Sam Cooke

 

Born:   Billy Stewart (the Rainbows), 1937; Don Covay (Donald Randolph), 1938

 

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1956   The El Capris’ (“Simmy, Shimmy) Ko Ko-Wop” was released. Four years later it became a hit for Little Anthony & the Imperials as “Skimmy, Shimmy, Ko Ko-Bop.”

 

1956   The Platters charted with “(You’ve Got) the Magic Touch,” (another one of my favourite Platters hits) reaching #4 pop and R&B. It would become their second million-seller of only three releases.

 

 

1956   “Later Alligator,” by Bobby Charles, hit the R&B hit list going on to #14. The song was recorded by Charles in 1955, and with a name variation Bill Haley & the Comets had the pop hit as “See You Later Alligator” in 1956.

 

 

1958   Mahalia Jackson’s version of “He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands” was released.

 

1973   The O’Jays topped the pop and R&B charts with the message song, “Love Train,” which also reached #9 in England.

 

 

1973   Eighteen years after their classic, “Close Your Eyes” came out, the Five Keys rerecorded it a cappella as a single for Bim Bam Boom Records.

 

2000   Al Grey, the heavy-swinging trombonist from the Count Basie Big Band, died at seventy-four. Grey was one of the innovators of the “growl” style of playing that traced its roots to the Duke Ellington “jungle” sound of the ’20s. He influenced rockers like Jimi Hendrix and played with legends such as Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton, Ella Fitzgerald, and Frank Sinatra. He appeared on almost 100 albums, including thirty of his own.

 

2000   Anthony Jackson, choreographer for Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation Tour, was also responsible for the fancy footwork on the Judds’ current tour. He was the first Black choreographer to ever use that expertise for a country act.

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