Quincy Jones: 50 Years of Rock n’ Roll

Adding to his many awards, as producer, arranger and giant of the music industry, Quincy Jones was just inducted into The Rock N’ Roll Hall Of Fame. We all know the many great accomplishments of Quincy Jones. I’m going to mention one you just may not know of.

Quincy Jones was born in Chicago in 1933, and just turned 80. In the 1940s, he moved to Bremerton, Washington (near Seattle), where he met Ray Charles, when they were both still teenagers. In addition to Ray, Quincy worked with Jazz greats, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, and Blues queen Dinah Washington.

He was trumpeter and musical arranger for Dizzy Gillespie in the 1950s. In 1980, he introduced the world to singer James Ingram on his classic and Grammy winning album ‘The Dude.” In 1979, he joined forces with Michael Jackson to produce Michael’s first big solo album. “Off the Wall.” In 1982, Quincy produced what would become the biggest selling album of all time, “Thriller” also by Michael Jackson. That album has now sold over 100 million copies.

As I said, Quincy Jones was just inducted into ‘The Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame’ in 2013, but not just entirely because of the three huge albums he produced for Jackson.

Did you know one of Quincy’s first ventures into the Rock n’ Roll world was producing one of the biggest hit songs of 1963? It was sung by 16 year old Lesley Gore. The song “It’s My Party” was recorded on March 30, 1963, and hit the radio six days later, going to #1 all over the world that summer. Quincy produced a total of eight hit songs for Lesley in the 1960s. I will have more on the Lesley Gore story in my next blog.

More from Bill Dudley

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