Allen Toussaint: New Orleans pianist dies aged 77
Allen Toussaint: New Orleans pianist dies aged 77

Allen Toussaint: New Orleans pianist dies aged 77

Allen Toussaint, the versatile producer, songwriter, pianist and singer who was a fixture of New Orleans R&B, died Monday after appearing in concert in Madrid. He was 77.

In the 1960s, he wrote and produced a series of hits for New Orleans artists, such as Ernie K-Doe, Irma Thomas and the Neville Brothers, among many others. Many of his hits were later covered by pop and rock artists, such as The Rolling Stones, The Who, Ringo Starr and Alex Chilton.

In the 1970s, Toussaint teamed with Patti Labelle and produced the album “Nightbirds,” which birthed the No. 1 hit “Lady Marmalade.” The song has been covered, redone and remixed numerous times by countless artists.

Paul McCartney and Wings also paired up with Toussaint on the album “Venus and Mars.” On that record, Toussaint played on the song “Rock Show.”

Other songs, such as “Ruler of My Heart,” “Fortune Teller” and “Working in the Coal Mine,” are among many that artists covered in nearly all music genres.

Allen Toussaint’s legacy earned him inductions into multiple halls of fame, including the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998, the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in 2009 and the Blues Hall of Fame in 2011.

Here’s Allen Toussaint performing Southern Nights:

When the news of Toussaint’s death began circulating on social media Tuesday morning, New Orleans artists posted their condolences and memories.

“Sad news,” trumpeter Jeremy Davenport said on Twitter. “RIP Allen Toussaint. He was at my show a few weeks ago and I’m thankful that we visited one final time. He was always kind to me.”

New Orleans brass band the Soul Rebels said a legend has passed.

“A legend has left us,” the Soul Rebels said in a post on Twitter. “RIP Allen Toussaint. So many hits and such a legacy. You will be truly missed.”

The Rolling Stones posted a link to a YouTube video for “Fortune Teller,” saying “RIP Allen Toussaint.”

After being born in 1938, Toussaint grew up in the New Orleans neighborhood of Gert Town, raised by his parents Naomi Neville and Clarence Toussaint. In at least 20 songs, Toussaint credits his parents as writers.

Toussaint was next scheduled to perform in Belgium on Thursday, then at the EFG Jazz Festival in London on Sunday. The jazz festival lasts 10 days.


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