Eddie Drennon

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Eddie Drennon
Birth name Edward Allen Drennen
Also known as Eddie Dee[1]
Born 1940 (age 73–74)
Newark, New Jersey, United States
Genres R&B, pop, disco, Latin music, salsa, jazz, funk, charanga
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter, record producer, arranger
Instruments Violin
Years active 1960s–present
Associated acts Bo Diddley
Mongo Santamaría
Ray Barretto
Ike & Tina Turner
Eddie Drennon and B.B.S. Unlimited
Orquesta Novel
Umoja String Quartet
Website eddiedrennon.com

Eddie Drennon (born Edward Allen Drennen,[1] 1940)[2] is an American musician, songwriter, record producer, and arranger. His range of musical genres has included R&B, pop, disco, Latin music, salsa, jazz, funk, and charanga.[1] He is best known for his transatlantic hit single, "Let's Do The Latin Hustle", recorded in 1975 with his then backing group, B.B.S. Unlimited. The track was written, produced and arranged by Drennon.[3] Other works of that period, including "Do What You Gotta Do", have been sampled by more contemporary musicians such as Grandmaster Flash, The Avalanches, Biz Markie,[4] and Shaggy.[5][6]

Life and career[edit]

Drennon was born in Newark, New Jersey, United States, and after leaving school began working with local bands. From 1959 to 1963, he studied violin techniques with Louia Vaughn Jones and music composition with Mark Fax at the Howard University in Washington, D.C.[1] Initially a working musician in Washington, he was encouraged by bandleader Lou Perez to move to New York City in the mid-1960s, and worked with Pupi Legarreta, Super Tipica De Estrellas, Tipica Ideal and Charanga America.[7][8]

He became Bo Diddley's music director in 1966, playing as his electric violinist until 1967.[7] He performed on one track on Bo Diddley's, His Best album.[9] Drennon also operated as a sideman for Mongo Santamaría, Ray Barretto and Ike & Tina Turner.[7]

In 1975, he met and started working with record producer Joe Bana, who owned Friends & Co. Records.[8] Drennon's fusion of Latin and disco brought his major hit, "Let's Do The Latin Hustle", which was also the first hit for the label. The track entered the US Billboard R&B chart, peaking at number 36. It also reached number 4 on the Hot Dance Club Songs chart.[10] It rose to number 20 in the UK Singles Chart in March 1976.[11] A cover version of the track by the M and O Band reached number 16 in the UK chart, slightly out performing the original.[12] With his backing ensemble B.B.S. Unlimited, Drennon recorded three albums between 1975 and 1979 for Casablanca Records.[7] Allmusic noted that "Drennon's second Casablanca album [It Don't Mean a Thing] uses the same formula as the first that spawned his biggest hit "Latin Hustle": Latinish pop rhythms topped by female vocals and accented with strings. The title track is a hustle gem, truly worthy."[13]

Drennon continued to work as a violinist on recording sessions in New York.[8] He also composed, arranged and produced for Esther Williams ("Last Night Changed It All").[5] In 1981 and 1982, he produced the New York based salsa and charanga band, Orquesta Novel.[5] In 1983, he released Eddie Drennon and Charanga Soul.[14] Drennon scored a scene for the film, In the Line of Fire (1993), and composed the music for the 1997 Helen Hayes based musical, Torn from the Headlines.[15][16] His string quartet played on Soldiers of Jah Army's Get Wiser and the Get Wiser Live DVD (2006); and the 2009 Born in Babylon album.[17][18]

In the 1980s and 1990s, Drennon worked as a teacher at Fairleigh Dickinson University and Howard University, as well as acting as music director at the Everyday Theater in Washington, D.C.[8] He currently plays with the Umoja String Quartet, and serves on the faculty at the George Washington University and Levine School of Music[1]



Year Title US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums Chart[10] UK Albums Chart[11] Notes
1975 Collage[19] 53 - Despite being a LP, it also appeared in the Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs chart[10]
1978 It Don't Mean a Thing[20] - -
1977 Would You Dance to My Music[21] - -
1983 Eddie Drennon and Charanga Soul[14] - -



Year Title US R&B Chart[22] US Hot Dance Club Songs Chart[10] UK Singles Chart[11]
1975 "Let's Do The Latin Hustle"[23] 36 4 20
"Do It Nice and Easy"[24] - 14 -
1976 "Let's Do It Again"[19] - 10 -
"Please Stay"[19] - 10 -
1978 "Disco Jam"[25] - - -



  1. ^ a b c d e "The Official Website". Eddie Drennon. Retrieved 2013-02-05. 
  2. ^ "Rhapsody". Copyrightencyclopedia.com. Retrieved 2013-02-05. 
  3. ^ "Eddie Drennon & B.B.S. Unlimited* / Manhattan Express – Let's Do The Latin Hustle / Bad Girl (Vinyl) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2013-02-05. 
  4. ^ Coleman, Brian. Check The Technique: Liner Notes For Hip-Hop Junkies. New York: Villard/Random House, 2007
  5. ^ a b c DiscoMusic.com. "Eddie Drennon : Musician (b. 1945 to present)". DiscoMusic.com. Retrieved 2013-02-05. 
  6. ^ "Grandmaster Flash – The Official Adventures of Grandmaster Flash at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2013-02-05. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f Harris, Craig. "Eddie Drennon – Music Biography, Credits and Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-02-05. 
  8. ^ a b c d Eddie Drennon biography at DiscoMuseum.net. Retrieved February 6, 2013
  9. ^ "Credits: The Definitive Collection by Bo Diddley". Allmusic. United States: Rovi Corporation. Retrieved December 3, 2010. 
  10. ^ a b c d Eddie Drennon. "Eddie Drennon – Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-02-05. 
  11. ^ a b c Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 168. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  12. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 335. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  13. ^ Hamilton, Andrew. "It Don't Mean a Thing – Eddie Drennon : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-02-05. 
  14. ^ a b "Eddie Drennon & Charanga Soul – Eddie Drennon And Charanga Soul (Vinyl, LP, Album) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2013-02-05. 
  15. ^ "Torn from the headlines (VHS tape, 1996)". [WorldCat.org]. February 17, 1996. Retrieved 2013-02-05. 
  16. ^ "Eddie Drennon". The Umoja String Quartet. Retrieved 2013-02-05. 
  17. ^ "Soldiers of Jah Army – Devils (feat. The Eddie Drennon String Quartet) – Discover music at". Last.fm. January 15, 2013. Retrieved 2013-02-05. 
  18. ^ Anderson, Rick. "Get Wiser – Soldiers of Jah Army : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-02-05. 
  19. ^ a b c "Eddie Drennon & The B.B.S. Unlimited – Collage (Vinyl, LP, Album) at Discogs". Discogs.com. February 17, 2008. Retrieved 2013-02-05. 
  20. ^ "Eddie Drennon – It Don't Mean A Thing (Vinyl, LP, Album) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2013-02-05. 
  21. ^ "Eddie Drennon & The B.B.S. Unlimited – Would You Dance to mMy Music (Vinyl, LP, Album) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2013-02-05. 
  22. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1996). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942–1995. Record Research. p. 124. 
  23. ^ "Eddie Drennon & B.B.S. Unlimited* – Let's Do The Latin Hustle (Vinyl) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2013-02-05. 
  24. ^ "Eddie Drennon & B.B.S. Unlimited* – Do It Nice And Easy (Vinyl) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2013-02-05. 
  25. ^ "Eddie Drennon – Disco Jam (Vinyl) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2013-02-05. 

External links[edit]