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, 1961 ~ Billboard Hot 100 ~ #3 (4) Ferrante & Teicher, Exodus ~ #2 (1) Elvis Presley with the Jordanaires, Are You Lonesome Tonight ~ #1 (2) Bert Kaempfert & his Orchestra, Wonderland By Night


Friends like Aaron Neville, Ernie K-Doe, Benny Spellman and Irma Thomas would socialize and sing popular songs. Or Toussaint would write a song for Neville or Thomas and the others would sing behind him or her as they learned the song. Then they would head down to Cosimo Matassa's J&M Studios, where Toussaint had begun directing sessions for Minuit Records in 1960, singing all the way. Sometimes they would even return to the house afterwards and sing some more. Not too much has changed since then. J&M Studios closed and was replaced in 1973 by the state-of-the-art Sea-Saint Studios, owned by Toussaint and Marshall Sehorn, a New Orleans record producer since the late '60s. But Toussaint is still writing songs and making records with his friends, who now sometimes hail from outside the Crescent City. He has scored gold records producing and arranging material for Paul Simon and Patti Labelle, and Paul McCartney, Joe Cocker, and Maria Muldaur have all recorded at Sea-Saint. Toussaint's solo career has been an on-again-off-again affair; nonetheless, he remains one of New Orleans's most important impresarios and in recent years has had success with his work in theater. ~ Musicianguide: Allen Toussaint ~ retrieved November 10, 2015 © Musicianguide

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 ~ Inducted in the 1998 Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame ~ As a producer, bandleader, arranger, songwriter, session musician and all-around musical eminence, Allen Toussaint impacted the New Orleans music scene of the Sixties in much the same way that Dave Bartholomew had in the Fifties. Toussaint, in fact, apprenticed under Bartholomew at sessions for such legends as Fats Domino, so it was a seamless transition when the R&B baton passed between generations in New Orleans. ~ 1998 © Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame

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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