January 17 – Allen Toussaint

Country music singer-songwriter Glen Campbell releases single Southern Nights (US,CA#1).

It’s one of the best-known songs by New Orleans musician, songwriter, producer Allen Toussaint. He’s in his early 20s in 1961 when he plays piano while Ernie K-Doe sings his song Mother-in-Law — a recording is soon a US#1 hit. (*)

In 1964, Toussaint (aka Naomi Neville) instrumental Java is a US#1 hit for trumpeter Al Hirt. Also written in the 60s, his songs Fortune Teller and Lipstick Traces are widely covered. The house band for his Sansu record label, The Meters, includes Art Neville. In 1966 Lee Dorsey has a US#8 hit with Toussaint song Working in the Coal Mine.

In the 1970s Touissant gets funky, writing, producing and arranging for numerous artists. He produces 1973 Dr. John album In the Right Place (*) , as well as 1974 Labelle album Nightbirds, which includes the (US#1) perennial Lady Marmalade. Neville forms The Neville Brothers in 1977.

Allen Toussaint is inducted into the Rock HoF in 1998, and the Blues HoF in 2011. ( Website )

See also: Marshall Sehorn, Bobby Marchan, Willy DeVille