Robert Blackwell

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For the WWI Medal of Honor recipient, see Robert L. Blackwell. For the Deputy Assistant Undersecretary of Commerce for Maritime Affairs, see Robert J. Blackwell.
Robert Blackwell
Birth name Robert Alexander Blackwell
Also known as Bumps Blackwell
Born (1918-05-23)May 23, 1918
Seattle, Washington, United States
Died March 9, 1985(1985-03-09) (aged 66)
Hacienda Heights, Whittier, California
Genres Rock and roll, pop
Occupations Songwriter, record producer, arranger
Years active 1947–1981

Robert Alexander "Bumps" Blackwell (May 23, 1918 – March 9, 1985) was an American bandleader, songwriter, arranger, and record producer, best known for his work overseeing the early hits of Little Richard, as well as grooming Ray Charles, Quincy Jones, Lloyd Price, Sam Cooke, Herb Alpert, Larry Williams, and Sly and the Family Stone at the start of their music careers.[1][2]

Biography[edit]

Born in Seattle, Washington, Blackwell led a jazz group in the late 1940s that included pianist Ray Charles and trumpeter Quincy Jones.[3][4] He moved to Hollywood, California to continue studying composition, but he instead took a job at Art Rupe's Specialty Records as an arranger and producer. He worked with Sam Cooke, Larry Williams, Lloyd Price and Guitar Slim, as well as producing Little Richard during his rise to stardom in 1955 and 1956.

In addition to producing Little Richard's breakthrough hit "Tutti Frutti" following hearing him sing the song in the studio, Blackwell also produced Little Richard's other mid-50s hits, co-writing some as them as well, including: "Long Tall Sally"; "Good Golly Miss Molly"; "Ready Teddy"; and "Rip It Up". They all quickly became rock and roll standards, and have subsequently been covered by hundreds of artists including Elvis Presley, The Beatles and Creedence Clearwater Revival.

He also produced Sam Cooke's hit "You Send Me".[5] Blackwell left Specialty in 1957, taking Sam Cooke with him to Keen Records. He was the West Coast A&R director for Mercury Records from 1959 to 1963, and produced Little Richard's gospel recordings for that label. He became Richard's manager and continued to work with him into the 1970s.

In 1981 Blackwell produced some songs for Bob Dylan's album, Shot of Love, including the title track.

Blackwell died at his home in Hacienda Heights in Whittier, California in 1985 of pneumonia.[6]

Selective discography[edit]

As co-writer and producer[edit]

As producer[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ White, Charles (2003), p. 43. The Life and Times of Little Richard: The Authorised Biography. Omnibus Press.
  2. ^ White, Charles (2003), p. 78-79. The Life and Times of Little Richard: The Authorised Biography. Omnibus Press.
  3. ^ Quincy Jones at www.pbs.org/... Accessed 2010 May 9.
  4. ^ Quincy Jones at www.achievement.org/... Accessed 2010 May 9.
  5. ^ "You Send Me", Rolling Stone, Nov 04, 2004
  6. ^ turkku.com

External links[edit]