|Birth name||Eugene Booker McDaniels|
|Also known as||Eugene McDaniels, The Left Reverend McD|
February 12, 1935|
Kansas City, Missouri, United States
|Died||July 29, 2011
Kittery Point, Maine
|Genres||Jazz, pop, political|
|Occupations||Singer, songwriter, producer|
|Labels||Liberty, Columbia. Atlantic, Ode|
Born Eugene Booker McDaniels 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. There, he began singing in jazz clubs, achieving note with the Les McCann Trio, and came to the attention of Sy Waronker of Liberty Records.
After recording two unsuccessful singles and an album, he was teamed with producer Snuff Garrett, with whom he recorded his first hit, "A Hundred Pounds of Clay", which reached no. 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 he appeared performing 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.
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 McDaniels' "Feel Like Makin' Love" (not to be confused with the Bad Company song of the same name), which won a Grammy Award. 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 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 he 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.
McDaniels also appeared in films. They included the 1962 film, It's Trad, Dad! (released in the United States as Ring-A-Ding Rhythm), which was directed by Richard Lester. He also appeared in the 1963 The Young Swingers. McDaniels is briefly seen singing in the choir in the 1974 film Uptown Saturday Night.
McDaniels lived as a self-described "hermit" in the state of Maine. In 2010 he launched a series of YouTube videos on his website, featuring his music and thoughts on some of his creations. McDaniels died on July 29, 2011 at his home.
- In Times Like These - Liberty (1960)
- Sometimes I'm Happy, Sometimes I'm Blue - Liberty (1960)
- A Hundred Pounds Of Clay - Liberty (1961)
- Gene McDaniels Sings Movie Memories - Liberty (1962)
- Hit After Hit - Liberty (1962)
- Tower Of Strength - Liberty (1962)
- Spanish Lace - Liberty (1963)
- The Wonderful Word Of Gene McDaniels - Liberty (1963)
- Outlaw - Atlantic (1970)
- Headless Heroes of the Apocalypse - Atlantic (1971)
- Natural Juices - Ode (1975)
- Screams & Whispers - Sky Forest Music (2005)
Produced by Eugene McDaniels
- Merry Clayton, "Keep Your Eye on the Sparrow" 1975
- Jimmy Smith, "Sit on It" 1977
- The Voltage Brothers, "The Voltage Brothers" 1978
- The Floaters, "Levitation" 1979
- Floaters, "Into the Future" 1979
- Phyllis Hyman, "Meet Me on the Moon", 1991
- Carri Coltrane, The First Time 1999
- Carri Coltrane, Flamenco Sketches 1998
|1961||"A Hundred Pounds of Clay"||3||11||-|
|"Tower of Strength"||5||5||49|
|"Point of No Return"||21||23||-|
|1963||"It's A Lonely Town"||64||-||-|
as Universal Jones
- It's Trad, Dad! (a.k.a. Ring-A-Ding Rhythm, 1962)
- The Young Swingers (1963)
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
- Obituary by Richard Williams, 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.
- 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.
- "Les McCann & Eddie Harris: Compared To What lyrics" at smartlyrics.com
- Whitburn, Joel (2003). Top Pop Singles 1955-2002 (1st ed.). Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 458. ISBN 0-89820-155-1.
- Whitburn, Joel (1996). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-1995. Record Research. p. 296.
- Betts, Graham (2004). Complete UK Hit Singles 1952-2004 (1st ed.). London: Collins. p. 477. ISBN 0-00-717931-6.
- Eugene McDaniels Discusses "Compared to What" at youtube.com