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Allen Toussaint

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Allen Toussaint (born January 14, 1938) is an American musician, songwriter and record producer and one of the most influential figures in New Orleans R&B who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. In the 1960s and 1970s, he was a prolific writer, producer and arranger, creating numerous hits for a variety of artists including Lee Dorsey, Robert Palmer, The Showmen, The Meters, Betty Wright, Solomon Burke and Willie West. He produced material for Dr John, Labelle, Chocolate Milk and Aaron Neville amongst many more.

An accomplished pianist and lyricist, Toussaint wrote many hit songs including early instrumental efforts Java (a hit for Al Hirt) and Whipped Cream which went platinum when done by Herb Alpert. Other Toussaint compositions that continue to be covered by artists to this day, include “Working In A Coalmine”, “Play Something Sweet (Brickyard Blues)”, “Get Out My Life Woman” and “Yes We Can Can”. Some of his songs from the 1950s and 1960s were penned under his mother’s maiden name, the pseudonym Naomi Neville. These include Fortune Teller recorded by The Rolling Stones, and “Ruler of My Heart”, recorded by Irma Thomas and reinterpreted as “Pain In My Heart” by Otis Redding. He arranged horn parts for The Band, and wrote what became one of Glen Campbell’s biggest hits Southern Nights as well as A Certain Girl , which charted when recorded by acts as diverse as Warren Zevon, Benny Spellman and The Yardbirds.

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