Allen Toussaint, producer, songwriter
Producer ~ Songwriter

Allen Toussaint

January 14, 1938, New Orleans, LA ~ November 10, 2015, Madrid, Spain

“I don't want y'all thinkin' 'this is just some old legend that passed away' naw,” Questlove, founding member of the hip-hop group The Roots, wrote on Instagram. “This dude wrote some of your favorite music & you just didn't know it.” ~ CNN: Allen Toussaint Obituary ~ November 10, 2015 © CNN

He began his career as a teenager in the 1950s, releasing his first album in 1958 under the name Tousan. In 1960, he became the house producer, arranger and songwriter for the Minit label, working on songs like Ernie K-Doe's “Mother in Law,” Lee Dorsey's “Ya Ya” and Jessie Hill’s “Ooh Poo Pah Doo.” Throughout his career, Mr. Toussaint embodied the traditions of the New Orleans R&B scene, working as one of the city’s most prolific and influential songwriters and producers during the 1960s and 70s. Even in that fertile period of New Orleans music, Mr. Toussaint’s work stood out for its humor, jaunty style and arrangements with piano flourishes that showed the influence of Professor Longhair's. ~ New York Times: Allen Toussaint Obituary ~ November 10, 2015 © New York Times

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January 14, 1978 ~ Billboard Hot 100 ~ #3 (5) Dolly Paton, Here You Come Again ~ #2 (1) Bee Gees, How Deep Is Your Love ~ #1 (2) Player, Baby Come Back


He began learning piano at the age of seven, influenced by the likes of Huey “Piano” Smith and Ray Charles, and got his big break when he was asked to fill in for an absent Fats Domino at a recording session. In 1960, Toussaint was hired by Joe Banashak's Minit record label and masterminded many of the company's biggest hits - including Irma Thomas's Ruler of My Heart (later recorded by Otis Redding as Pain in My Heart) and Benny Spellman's Lipstick Traces (On A Cigarette). Drafted by the military in 1963, he continued to make music on service leave, but scored his biggest hits after his discharge in 1965. His most successful collaborations were with singer Lee Dorsey, who recorded Toussaint's compositions Ride Your Pony, Get Out of My Life Woman, Working in a Coalmine and Everything I Do Gon' Be Funky. Many of his songs became famous through cover versions, with the likes of The Who, The Rolling Stones, Robert Plant, Bo Diddley and The Doors re-interpreting his songs. ~ BBC: Allen Toussaint Obituary ~ November 10, 2015 © BBC

For all his contributions to New Orleans' musical legacy, a life-size bronze statue of Toussaint was placed in a park off the city's Bourbon Street, making him the eighth musician honored by the city. ~ Rolling Stone: Allen Toussaint Obituary ~ November 10, 2015 © Rolling Stone

Allen Toussaint ~ Ranked #77 Rolling Stone 100 Greatest Songwriters Of All Time in 2015 ~ No one outside of Leiber & Stoller better combined the commercial verities of pop with the deeper-than-dirt hoodoo of the blues. ~ 2015 © Rolling Stone

As a Producer or co-producer

The Meters ~ Rejuvenation (1974) ~ Ranked #139 Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time in 2012 ~ New Orleans producer Allen Toussaint built hit records with a taut Morse-code style of rhythm guitar rooted in the marching-band and party beats of the Crescent City. That funky discipline defines this LP; the Meters perfect a balance of funk, rock and Dixie R&B on gems such as People Say and Hey Pocky A-Way. ~ 2012 © Rolling Stone

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