An interesting confluence of birthdays today: Robbie Robertson and the RZA. You could say that both have spent considerable time as musical masterminds presiding over groups of formidable talents; would that make the Wu-Tang Clan the Band of hip-hop? I guess it would.
Since I just downloaded a groovy new table-making plug-in for WordPress, let’s look at them in table form, shall we?
Jaime Robert Klegerman
Robert Fitzgerald Diggs
July 5, 1943
July 5, 1969
Mother was Mohawk, father was Jewish
Named after Bobby and John Kennedy
Produced Neil Diamond's "Beautiful Noise"
Appears on Shaquille O'Neal's "Shaq-Fu: Da Return"
The Band, Levon & the Hawks, Little Caesar & The Consuls, Robbie Robertson and the Rhythm Chords, Robbie & The Robots, Thumper & the Trambones
Wu-Tang Clan, Gravediggaz, All in Together Now
Eccentric Musical Associate
Garth Hudson, Bob Dylan
Ol' Dirty Bastard
The Weight, The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down, Up on Cripple Creek
The great Otis Redding would have been 70 today if not for a spot of bad luck with an airplane, and I have no doubt he would still have been going strong. Otis was a force. I’ll never forget seeing the concert doc of his performance at Monterey Pop for the first time – at the UC Theater back in the day – and being utterly flabbergasted. Words like “dynamic,” “electrifying,” and “unbelievable” scarcely begin to describe what Otis could do on stage. If, by some dreadful misfortune, you haven’t seen it, well…
I thought that this was perhaps the greatest musical performance I’d ever seen by a human being…and then the second part of the bill, Jimi Plays Monterey, came on, and we entered the realm of something beyond human.
Six months after Monterey (and two months after your humble scribe was born), Otis would be gone at the tender age of 26. Thankfully he lived long enough (by three days!) to record “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay,” a truly beautiful song that showcases Otis’s sensitive side. It never fails to make any day better.