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Gene McDaniels, 2010 (Photo by Frank Beacham)
|Birth name||Eugene Booker McDaniels|
|Also known as||Eugene McDaniels, The Left Reverend McD|
|Born||(1935-02-12)February 12, 1935
Kansas City, Missouri, United States
|Died||July 29, 2011(2011-07-29) (aged 76)
Kittery Point, Maine
|Genres||Jazz, Pop, political|
|Occupation(s)||Singer, songwriter, producer|
|Instruments||Vocals, saxophone, trumpet|
|Labels||Liberty, London, Columbia, RCA, Atlantic, Ode|
Eugene Booker McDaniels (February 12, 1935 – July 29, 2011) was an African-American singer and songwriter. He had his greatest recording success in the early 1960s, and had continued success as a songwriter with songs including "Compared to What" and Roberta Flack's "Feel Like Makin' Love".
Born in Kansas City, Kansas, United States, McDaniels grew up in Omaha, Nebraska. As well as singing gospel music in church, he developed a love of jazz, and learned to play the saxophone and trumpet. After forming a singing group, the Echoes of Joy, later known as the Sultans, in his teens, he studied at the University of Omaha Conservatory of Music before joining the Mississippi Piney Woods Singers, with whom he toured in California.
After recording two unsuccessful singles and an album, McDaniels teamed with producer Snuff Garrett, with whom he recorded his first hit, "A Hundred Pounds of Clay", which reached number 3 in the Billboard Hot 100 chart in early 1961 and sold over one million copies, earning gold disc status. Its follow-up, "A Tear", was less successful but his third single with Garrett, "Tower of Strength", co-written by Burt Bacharach, reached number 5 and won McDaniels his second gold record. "Tower of Strength" reached number 49 in the UK Singles Chart, losing out to Frankie Vaughan's chart-topping version.
In 1962, McDaniels appeared performing "Another Tear Falls" in the movie It's Trad, Dad!, directed by Richard Lester. He continued to have minor hit records, including "Chip Chip", "Point Of No Return" and "Spanish Lace", each in 1962, but his suave style of singing gradually became less fashionable. In 1965 he moved to Columbia Records, with little success, and in 1968, after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, he left the US to live in Denmark and Sweden, where he concentrated on songwriting. He returned to the US in 1971, and recorded thereafter as Eugene McDaniels. In 1965 "Point Of No Return" was recorded by the British R&B band Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames on their EP Fame At Last.
After the late 1960s, McDaniels turned his attention to a more black consciousness form, and his best-known song in this genre was "Compared to What", a jazz-soul protest song made famous (and into a hit) by Les McCann and Eddie Harris on their album Swiss Movement, and also covered by Roberta Flack, Ray Charles, Della Reese, John Legend, the Roots, Sweetwater and others. McDaniels also attained the top spot on the chart as a songwriter.
In 1974, Roberta Flack reached number 1 with his "Feel Like Makin' Love" (not to be confused with the Bad Company song of the same name), which received a Grammy Award nomination. McDaniels also received a BMI award for outstanding radio airplay; at the time of the award, the song had already had over five million plays.
In the early 1970s, McDaniels recorded on the Atlantic label, which released his albums Headless Heroes of the Apocalypse and Outlaw. Writing in Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981), Robert Christgau dismissed Outlaw as "a cultural ripoff", consisting of "vaguely left doggerel plus a few jazzy harmonies".
In the 1980s, McDaniels recorded an album with the percussionist Terry Silverlight, which has not yet been released. In 2005, McDaniels released Screams & Whispers on his own record label.
In 2009, it was announced that McDaniels was to release a new album, Evolution's Child, which featured his lyrics, and a number of songs composed or arranged with pianist Ted Brancato. Some of the songs featured jazz musician Ron Carter on concert bass and Terri Lyne Carrington on drums. McDaniel's "Jagger the Dagger" was featured on the Tribe Vibes breakbeat compilation album, after it had been sampled by A Tribe Called Quest.
McDaniels also appeared in films. They included It's Trad, Dad! (1962, released in the United States as Ring-A-Ding Rhythm), which was directed by Richard Lester. McDaniels also appeared in The Young Swingers (1963). He is briefly seen singing in the choir in the 1974 film Uptown Saturday Night. He was the original voice actor for "Nasus", a champion in the computer game League of Legends.
In 2010 he launched a series of YouTube videos on his website, featuring his music and thoughts on some of his creations.
Personal life and death
McDaniels lived as a self-described "hermit" in the state of Maine.
McDaniels died peacefully on July 29, 2011, at his home, survived by his third wife and six children.
|1960||In Times Like These||Liberty Records|
|Somestimes I'm Happy Sometimes I'm Blue|
|1961||100 Lbs. of Clay!|
|Tower of Strength|
|1962||Hit After Hit|
|Gene McDaniels Sings Movie Memories|
|1963||The Wonderful World of Gene McDaniels|
|1966||The Facts of Life|
|1971||Headless Heroes of the Apocalypse|
|1975||Natural Juices||Ode Records|
|2004||Screams and Whispers||Genepool Records|
As Universal Jones
|Year||Titles (A-side, B-side)
Both sides from same album except where indicated
|Peak chart positions||Record Label||Album|
|1960||"In Times Like These"
b/w Once Before" (Non-album track)
|–||–||–||–||Liberty Records||In Times Like These|
b/w "The Facts of Life"
|–||–||–||–||Sometimes I'm Happy Sometimes I'm Blue|
|1961||"A Hundred Pounds Of Clay"
b/w "Come On Take A Chance" (Non-album track)
|3||–||11||–||100 Lbs. Of Clay!|
|"Take Good Care Of Her"
b/w "Are You Sincere"
b/w "She's Come Back" (Non-album track)
|31||–||–||–||Tower Of Strength|
|"Tower Of Strength"
b/w "The Secret"
b/w "Another Tear Falls" (Non-album track)
|10||–||–||–||Hit After Hit|
b/w "Chapel Of Tears" (Non-album track)
|99||–||–||–||Tower Of Strength|
|"Point Of No Return"
b/w "Warmer Than A Whisper" (Non-album track)
|21||–||23||–||Hit After Hit|
b/w "Somebody's Waiting" (Non-album track)
b/w "Cry Baby Cry" (Non-album track)
|"It's A Lonely Town (Lonely Without You)"
b/w "False Friends"
b/w "The Old Country" (from The Wonderful World Of Gene McDaniels)
|1964||"Make Me A Present Of You"
b/w "In Times Like These" (from In Times Like These)
|–||–||–||–||100 Lbs. Of Clay!|
|"(There Goes The) Forgotten Man"
|1965||"Walk With A Winner"
b/w "A Miracle" (Non-album track)
|–||–||–||–||The Very Best Of Gene McDaniels|
|"Will It Last Forever"
b/w "Hang On (Just A Little Bit Longer)"
b/w "'Cause I Love You So"
|1967||"Touch Of Your Lips"
b/w "Sweet Lover No More"
|1971||"Tell Me Mr. President"
b/w "The Lord Is Back"
b/w "Ol' Heartbreak Top Ten"
As Universal Jones
|Year||Titles (A-side, B-side)||Peak chart positions||Record Label||Album|
b/w "Feeling That Glow"
|115||37||–||–||MGM Records||Universal Jones Vol. 1|
|"We All Know A Lot Of Things But It Don't Never Show"
b/w "Tuesday Morning"
Produced by Eugene McDaniels
- Richard Roundtree, "The Man From Shaft" 1972
- Merry Clayton, Keep Your Eye on the Sparrow 1975
- Gladys Knight & The Pips, 2nd Anniversary 1975
- Melba Moore, Peach Melba 1975
- Gene McDaniels, Natural Juices 1975
- Nancy Wilson, This Mother's Daughter 1976
- Jimmy Smith, Sit on It 1977
- The Voltage Brothers, "The Voltage Brothers" 1978
- The Floaters, Float Into the Future 1979
- Jennifer Rush "Loving is a Good Thing" 1980
- Phyllis Hyman, "Meet Me on the Moon", 1991
- Carri Coltrane, The First Time 1999
- Carri Coltrane, Flamenco Sketches 1998
- Eugene McDaniels, Screams and Whispers 2004
- It's Trad, Dad! (a.k.a. Ring-A-Ding Rhythm, 1962)
- The Young Swingers (1963)
- Roots (1977 miniseries) (1977)
- Devils Minion (2009)
Video game roles
- League of Legends – Nasus
- Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 136. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
- Biography by Bruce Eder at Allmusic.com
- Richard Williams, Obituary, The Guardian, 15 August 2011.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 338 & 583. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: M". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved March 7, 2019 – via robertchristgau.com.
- Peel, Jeremy. "League of Legends champion Nasus' voice to be switched after death of original actor". PCGamesN. Retrieved 31 October 2013.
- "GENE MACDANIELS PASSES AWAY | Cashbox Magazine Canada". Cashboxcanada.ca. Retrieved 2012-03-25.
- on YouTube
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