Posted by themusicsover on January 16, 2012
January 23, 1947 – January 16, 2012
Jimmy Castor was one of the greats of funk. Period. Born in New York City, Castor began his career as a doo wop singer during the mid ’50s. He made his first record in 1956 – the self-penned “I Promise To Remember.” The following year, he replaced Frankie Lymon in the Teenagers. By the mid ’60s, he was playing saxophone on others’ records while making his few of his own that were starting to find an audience on the dance floors of New York City. His first hit came in 1966 with “Hey Leroy, Your Mama’s Callin’ You.” In 1972, he formed the Jimmy Castor Bunch who were quickly signed to RCA Records. Later that year, they released It’s Just Begun, which contained the part novelty, but all funk classic, “Troglodyte (Cave Man).” The song quickly lit up radio request lines across the US and is now a must-have for any respectable funk collection. The song hit #6 on the Billboard pop charts and sold over a million copies within weeks. It has since become one of the most heavily sampled songs of the era. The list of those who have borrowed from it include Kool Moe Dee, N.W.A., Neneh Cherry, Lil’ Kim, Ginuwine, the Beastie Boys, Ice Cube, and Christina Aguilera. Castor followed with other hits like “The Bertha Butt Boogie (Part 1)” and “King Kong (Part 1).” During the ’80s, Castor made several more records and ran his own record label. Jimmy Castor was 64 when he passed away in a Nevada hospital on January 16, 2011. Cause of death was not immediately released.
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Posted in Funk, Musician, R&B, Singer, Songwriter | Tagged: Christina Aguilera, Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers, Ginuwine, Ice Cube, Jimmy Castor Bunch, Kool Moe Dee, Lil' Kim, N.W.A., Neneh Cherry, The Beastie Boys | Leave a Comment »
Posted by themusicsover on May 21, 2010
Moishe “Morris” Levy
August 27, 1927 – May 21, 1990
Morris Levy’s checkered career in the music industry began in the late ’40s when he owned multiple New York City nightclubs, including the famous jazz venue, Birdland. Because of his venues, Levy learned that performers were required to pay royalties on the songs they performed to the publishing owners, so he started his own publishing company where he began making his fortune. In 1956, Levy launched Roulette Records which was, at one time or another, home to Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers, Tommy James & the Shondells, Buddy Knox, Jimmie Rodgers, and many more. In numerous cases, Levy appeared as co-writer and owned the publishing on the label’s early hits, even though he actually had no hand in the writing. It was Tommy James who scored the most hit records for the label but unfortunately, he saw litttle of the fortune until Levy sold the company to EMI Music during the late ’80s, and James’ catalog was issued on CD. Unlike other label heads, Levy also owned pressing plants, duplicating companies, and printing presses, leading law enforcement to believe he was also making pirated copies of popular releases, including many of his own, to make money along the black market as well. Levy also owned a record store chain and had dubious relationships with radio stations and other alleged underworld characters over the years. It has long been believed, though never officially proven that he carried out his illegal operations using all facets of his empire to make his fortune. Although more felonious actions have been attributed to him, Levy was tried and convicted of extortion in 1986, but passed away while free on appeal and before ever serving any time.
Posted in Club Owner, Record Label | Tagged: Buddy Knox, Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers, Jimmie Rodgers, Morris Levy, Tommy James & the Shondells | Leave a Comment »