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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, Ernestine Anderson, Lloyd Price, Sam Cooke, Herb Alpert, Larry Williams, and Sly and the Family Stone at the start of their music careers.
|Birth name||Robert Alexander Blackwell|
|Also known as||Bumps Blackwell|
|Born||May 23, 1918|
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
|Died||March 9, 1985 (aged 66)|
Hacienda Heights, Whittier, California, U.S.
|Genres||Rock and roll, pop|
|Occupation(s)||Songwriter, record producer, arranger|
Born in Seattle, Washington, United States, Blackwell led a jazz group in the late 1940s that included pianist Ray Charles and trumpeter Quincy Jones. 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-1950s 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". 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.
As co-writer and producerEdit
- 1956: "Long Tall Sally" (Blackwell/Johnson/Penniman) - Little Richard, US Pop No. 6, UK No. 3
- 1956: "Ready Teddy" (Blackwell/Marascalco) - Little Richard, US Pop No. 44
- 1956: "Rip It Up" (Blackwell/Marascalco) - Little Richard, US Pop No. 17, UK No. 30
- 1958: "Good Golly Miss Molly" (Blackwell/Marascalco) - Little Richard, US Pop No. 10, UK No. 8
- Colin Larkin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise ed.). Virgin Books. pp. 143/4. ISBN 1-85227-745-9.
- White, Charles (2003), p. 43. The Life and Times of Little Richard: The Authorised Biography. Omnibus Press, ISBN 978-0711997615
- White, Charles (2003), p. 78-79. The Life and Times of Little Richard: The Authorised Biography. Omnibus Press, ISBN 978-0711997615
- [dead link]
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-10-23. Retrieved 2014-12-22.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "News". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on March 28, 2007. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-01-30. Retrieved 2008-11-26.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)