He attended Peabody High School before moving to Washington, DC. An influence looming large in the cultural development of soul and R&B singers from Sam Cooke to Pr…. 22 success in the UK Singles Chart.. After forming his own big band that year, he hired all three and gradually recruited still more modernist figures and future stars: Wardell Gray, Dexter Gordon, Miles Davis, Kenny Dorham, Fats Navarro, and Art Blakey, as well as arrangers Tadd Dameron and Gil Fuller. The Billy Eckstine Orchestra is considered to be the first bop big-band, and had Top Ten chart entries that included "A Cottage for Sale" and "Prisoner of Love". He was the composer of the blues classic "Jelly, Jelly" and also recorded the R&B top hit "Stormy Monday Blues" in 1942 (not to be confused with T-Bone Walker's 1947 "Call It Stormy Monday (But Tuesday Is Just As Bad)"). Eckstine's paternal grandparents were William F. Eckstein and Nannie Eckstein, a mixed-race, married couple who lived in Washington, D.C.; both were born in 1863.
Eckstine had further success in 1950 with Victor Young's theme song to "My Foolish Heart," and the next year with a revival of the 1931 Bing Crosby hit, "I Apologize".
Feel free to contribute! On the group's frequent European and American tours, Eckstine also played trumpet, valve trombone, and guitar.Though he was forced to give up the band in 1947 (Gillespie formed his own bop big band that same year), Eckstine made the transition to string-filled balladry with ease. He was our singer. He signed with the newly established MGM Records, and had immediate hits with revivals of "Everything I Have Is Yours" (1947), Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart's "Blue Moon" (1948), and Juan Tizol's "Caravan" (1949). Included in this group were Dizzy Gillespie, Dexter Gordon, Miles Davis, Art Blakey, Charlie Parker, and Fats Navarro, as well as vocalist Sarah Vaughan. Sammy Davis, Jr. made several live appearances and impersonated Eckstine. Despite the group's modernist slant, Eckstine hit the charts often during the mid-'40s, with Top Ten entries including "A Cottage for Sale" and "Prisoner of Love".  The controversy that resulted from the photograph had a seminal effect on the trajectory of Eckstine's career. born on Billy Eckstine's smooth baritone and distinctive vibrato broke down barriers throughout the 1940s, first as leader of the original bop big band, then as the first romantic black male in popular music.
I wanted to dress like him, talk like him, pattern my whole life as a musician and as a complete person in the image of dignity that he projected.... As a black man, Eckstine was not immune to the prejudice that characterized the 1950s. Tony Bennett would recall that "It changed everything...Before that, he had a tremendous following...and it just offended the white community", a sentiment shared by pianist Billy Taylor who said that the "coverage and that picture just slammed the door shut for him". After recording very sparingly during the '70s, Eckstine made his last recording (Billy Eckstine Sings with Benny Carter) in 1986. The collars were worn by many a hipster in the late 1940s and early 1950s. When he made a recording of "Caravan", I was happy and honored to watch one of our tunes help take him into the stratosphere of universal acclaim. Eckstine was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; a State Historical Marker is placed at 5913 Bryant St, Highland Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to mark the house where he grew up.  Billy's sister, Maxine (married name Whedbee), was a well-respected Spanish teacher at Taylor Allderdice High School in Pittsburgh. No other band like this one existed in the world.". Although there are better and more representative compilations out there, the Savoy Timeless series is a nice place for curious listeners to start. He was the father of four children by second marriage and two step-children, including Ed Eckstine, who was a president of Mercury Records, Guy Eckstine, who was a Columbia and Verve Records A&R executive and record producer, singer Gina Eckstine, and actor Ronnie Eckstine. Eckstine was a style leader and noted sharp dresser. Leave feedback. He also performed as an actor in the TV sitcom Sanford and Son, and in such films as Skirts Ahoy, Let's Do It Again, and Jo Jo Dancer. Copyright © 2020 Apple Inc. All Rights Reserved. Billy Eckstine's smooth baritone and distinctive vibrato broke down barriers throughout the 1940s, first as leader of the original bop big-band, then as the first romantic black male in popular music. He changed the spelling to Eckstine after a club owner said the original spelling was "too Jewish". Eckstine became a solo performer in 1947, with records featuring lush sophisticated orchestrations. He was noted for his rich, resonant, almost operatic bass-baritone voice. Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United States. Eckstine made numerous appearances on television variety shows, including on The Ed Sullivan Show, The Nat King Cole Show, The Tonight Show with Steve Allen, Jack Paar, and Johnny Carson, The Merv Griffin Show, The Art Linkletter Show, The Joey Bishop Show, The Dean Martin Show, The Flip Wilson Show, and Playboy After Dark. William Clarence “Billy” Eckstine (July 8, 1914 – March 8, 1993) was an American singer of ballads and bandleader of the swing era.  One photograph taken by Holmes and published in LIFE showed Eckstine with a group of white female admirers, one of whom had her hand on his shoulder and her head on his chest while she laughed. This article uses material from the article Billy Eckstine from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia and it is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Both were awarded a gold disc by the RIAA. As it was, he didn't have his own radio or TV show, much less a movie career. Most of his success as a singer came with ballads, including "Everything I have is Yours", "Blue Moon", "Caravan," "Prisoner of Love," "You Go to My Head," and "That Old Black Magic". " Jones is quoted in The Pleasures of Jazz as also saying of Eckstine: "If he'd been white, the sky would have been the limit. | ... "His style and technique have seen extensively copied by some of the neocommercial singers, but despite their efforts he remains out front to show how and what should have been done.". Eckstine's recording of "I Apologize" (MGM, 1948) was awarded the Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1999. , Heading to Chicago, Eckstine joined Earl Hines' Grand Terrace Orchestra in 1939, staying with the band as vocalist and trumpeter, until 1943. Eckstine suffered a stroke while performing in Salina, Kansas, in April 1992, and never performed again. Eckstine's final word was "Basie". https://josephcrusejohnson.blogspot.com/2009/02/billy-eckstein.html The band featured at various times a large number of rising jazz stars, including: Saxophones: Gene Ammons, Dexter Gordon, Sonny Stitt, Lucky Thompson, Charlie Parker, Wardell Gray, Budd Johnson, Leo Parker Trumpets: Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Kenny Dorham, Fats Navarro Drums: Art Blakey Singers: Lena Horne, Sarah Vaughan. By 1943, he gained a trio of stellar bandmates -- Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, and Sarah Vaughan. And, of course, he hasn't looked back since. By that time, Eckstine had begun to make a name for himself through the Hines band's juke-box hits as "Stormy Monday Blues" and his own "Jelly Jelly. We, the whole music profession, were so happy to see him achieve what he was doing. Data-Privacy The collars were worn by many a hipster in the late 1940s and early 1950s. He died of a heart attack in 1993. Billy Eckstine's smooth baritone and distinctive vibrato broke down barriers throughout the 1940s, first as leader of the original bop big band, then as the first romantic black male in popular music. B." ", The title of a 1956 promotional movie by the C. G. Conn Company, Mr. B Natural, is derivative of Eckstine's nickname "Mr.
 The publication of the image caused letters of protest to be written to the magazine, and singer Harry Belafonte subsequently said of the publication that "When that photo hit, in this national publication, it was if a barrier had been broken". , His friend Duke Ellington recalled Eckstine's artistry in his 1973 autobiography Music is My Mistress: "Eckstine-style love songs opened new lines of communication for the man in the man-woman merry-go-round, and blues a la B were the essence of cool. He was also quite popular in Britain, hitting the Top Ten there twice during the '50s -- "No One But You" and "Gigi" -- as well as several duet entries with Sarah Vaughan.
He designed and patented a high roll collar that formed a B over a Windsor-knotted tie, which became known as a Mr. B. Collar. He designed and patented a high roll collar that formed a B over a Windsor-knotted tie, which became known as a Mr. B. Collar.
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