Jimmy Castor

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Jimmy Castor
Castor in 1972
Background information
Birth nameJames Walter Castor
Born(1940-06-23)June 23, 1940[n1]
Manhattan, New York, U.S.
DiedJanuary 12, 2012(2012-01-12) (aged 71)
Henderson, Nevada, U.S.
GenresSoul, R&B, funk
Instrument(s)Saxophone, Percussion

James Walter Castor (June 23, 1940[n1] – January 16, 2012) was an American funk, R&B and soul musician. He is credited with vocals, saxophone and composition. He is best known for songs such as "It's Just Begun", "The Bertha Butt Boogie", and his biggest hit single, the million-seller "Troglodyte (Cave Man)."[1] Castor has been described as "one of the most sampled artists in music history" by the BBC.[2]

Musical career[edit]

He was born in Manhattan, New York, United States. He started a group called Jimmy and the Juniors, who in 1956 recorded the original version of "I Promise to Remember", which according to Castor[3] Mercury Records did not want to promote. George Goldner had the famous doo-wop group The Teenagers record it and it became their third hit single. Later, Castor was asked to join the Teenagers.[4] In late 1966, he released "Hey Leroy, Your Mama's Callin' You".

As a solo artist and leader of The Jimmy Castor Bunch (TJCB) in the 1970s, Castor released several successful albums and singles. TJCB hit their commercial peak in 1972 upon the release of their album It's Just Begun, which featured two hit singles: the title track and "Troglodyte (Cave Man)", the latter of which became quite popular in the US, hitting #6 on the Billboard Hot 100. The track stayed on the chart for 14 weeks and on June 30, 1972, received a gold disc award from the RIAA for sales of a million copies.[1] Castor released "It's Just Begun" in 1972. In 1973, he recorded a soprano saxophone instrumental cover of "A Whiter Shade of Pale" written by Gary Brooker, Keith Reid and Matthew Fisher (from Procol Harum), on a tune inspired by J.S.Bach's Orchestral Suite No. 3 BWV1068 in his "Air on the G string". Afrika Bambaataa said that "It's Just Begun" was very popular at South Bronx block parties in the 1970s. Later popular songs included "Bertha Butt Boogie", "Potential", "King Kong" and "A Groove Will Make You Move" in 1975 and 1976.

The Jimmy Castor Bunch included keyboardist/trumpeter Gerry Thomas, bassist Douglas Gibson, guitarist Harry Jensen, guitarist / sitarist Jeffrey Grimes, conga and triangle player Lenny Fridie, Jr., and drummers Elwood Henderson, Jr., and Bobby Manigault.[1] Thomas also recorded with the Fatback Band, leaving TJCB in the 1980s to exclusively record with them.

Death and legacy[edit]

Castor died of heart failure on January 16, 2012, in Henderson, Nevada, just a week short of his 72nd birthday.[5]

Many of the group's tunes have been heavily sampled in films and in hip-hop. In particular, the saxophone hook and groove from the title track of "It's Just Begun". For example Ice-T sampled the track for the title track of his 1988 album Power.[6] Also, heavy sampled is the spoken word intro and groove from "Troglodyte (Cave Man)" (namely, "What we're gonna do right here is go back, way back, back into time..." and "Gotta find a woman, gotta find a woman"). Industrial hip hop group Tackhead covered the song "Just Begun" for the digital release of their album For the Love of Money.[7]


Castor's son, J-Cast, choose his stage name by using letters from Jimmy "J" and Castor "Cast". J-Cast released an album, J-Cast for President, on June 24, 2009, which was popular in Japan.[8][9] Jimmy had three other children; April, Jimmy Jr. and Sheli and ten grandchildren.



Year Album Chart positions Label
US Pop
1967 Hey Leroy Smash
1972 It's Just Begun 27 11 21 RCA
Phase 2 192
1973 Dimension 3 49
1974 The Jimmy Castor Bunch featuring the Everything Man Atlantic
1975 Butt of Course... 74 34
Supersound 30
1976 E-Man Groovin 132 29
1977 Maximum Stimulation
1978 Let It Out Drive/TK Records
1979 The Jimmy Castor Bunch Cotillion/Atlantic
1980 C Long Distance
1983 The Return of Leroy Dream
1995 The Everything Man–The Best of the Jimmy Castor Bunch Rhino
"—" denotes releases that did not chart.

Chart singles[edit]

Note: All credited to The Jimmy Castor Bunch unless otherwise stated.

Year Single Chart positions
US Pop

1966 "Hey, Leroy, Your Mama's Callin' You"
Jimmy Castor
31 16 36
1972 "Troglodyte (Cave Man)" 6 4 13 1
"Luther the Anthropoid (Ape Man)" 105
1973 "A Whiter Shade of Pale"
1975 "Soul Serenade" 72
"The Bertha Butt Boogie (pt.1)" 16 22 30
"Potential" 25
"King Kong – Part 1" 69 23
1976 "Supersound" 42
"Bom Bom" 97
"Everything Is Beautiful to Me" 67
1977 "Space Age" 101 28
"I Love a Mellow Groove" 108
1978 "Maximum Stimulation" 82
1979 "Don't Do That!" 50
1980 "Can't Help Falling in Love with You"
Jimmy Castor
1984 "Amazon"
Jimmy Castor
1985 "It Gets to Me"
Jimmy Castor
1988 "Love Makes a Woman"
Joyce Sims feat. Jimmy Castor
"–" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that territory.


  • ^[n1] Note: Some other sources give different years of birth, between 1943 and 1947, though an obituary from The New York Times states: "James Walter Castor was born on January 23, 1940, in Manhattan. (His son said that for years he had let others assume he was far younger than he was, by as much as seven years.)"[4][15]


  1. ^ a b c Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 309. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
  2. ^ "Soul musician Jimmy Castor dies at the age of 71". BBC News. January 18, 2012. Retrieved June 12, 2022.
  3. ^ "Jimmy Castor – Feel The Funk". Jimmycastor.com. Retrieved August 19, 2021.
  4. ^ a b Martin, Douglas (January 17, 2012). "Jimmy Castor, Musician Who Mastered Many Genres, Dies at 71". The New York Times.
  5. ^ Tim Cashmere (January 17, 2012). "Music News – Funk Icon Jimmy Castor Dies at 64 | News | Music News". Noise11. Retrieved January 17, 2012.
  6. ^ "Ice-T's 'Power' - Discover the Sample Source". WhoSampled. Retrieved March 27, 2020.
  7. ^ "Discography: For the Love of Money". Tackhead.com. 2004. Archived from the original on September 19, 2014. Retrieved October 1, 2014.
  8. ^ "J-CAST FOR PRESIDENT". Amazon.co.jp. Retrieved March 1, 2021.
  9. ^ "J-Cast/J-CAST FOR PRESIDENT". Tower.jp. Retrieved March 1, 2021.
  10. ^ a b "Jimmy Castor - Awards". AllMusic. Archived from the original on October 30, 2013. Retrieved July 31, 2022.
  11. ^ "RPM Top 100 Albums - July 15, 1972" (PDF). Collectionscanada.gc.ca. Retrieved August 19, 2021.
  12. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2003). Top Pop Singles 1955–2002 (1st ed.). Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 115. ISBN 0-89820-155-1.
  13. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1996). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942–1995. Record Research. p. 69.
  14. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 58. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  15. ^ McArdle, Terence (January 19, 2012). "Jimmy Castor dead at 71; '70s songs became popular among sampling hip-hop artists". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 1, 2012.

External links[edit]