Gene McDaniels – Wikipedia

American singer-songwriter

Gene McDaniels

McDaniels in 2010 (Photo by Frank Beacham)

Birth name Eugene Booker McDaniels
Also known as Eugene McDaniels, The Left Reverend McD
Born (1935-02-12)February 12, 1935
Kansas City, Kansas, U.S.
Died July 29, 2011(2011-07-29) (aged 76)
Kittery Point, Maine, U.S.
Genres
Occupation(s) Singer, songwriter, producer
Instrument(s) Vocals, saxophone, trumpet
Years active 1960–2011
Labels Liberty, London, Columbia, RCA, Atlantic, Ode
Website genemcdaniels.com

Musical artist

Eugene Booker McDaniels (February 12, 1935[2] – July 29, 2011) was an American singer and songwriter. He had his greatest recording success in the early 1960s, reaching number three on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 singles chart with “A Hundred Pounds of Clay” and number five with “Tower Of Strength,” both hits in 1961. He had continued success as a songwriter with titles including “Compared to What” and Roberta Flack’s “Feel Like Makin’ Love”.

Background[edit]

Born in Kansas City, Kansas,[2] McDaniels grew up in Omaha, Nebraska. As well as singing gospel music in church, he developed a love of jazz learning to play the saxophone and trumpet. After forming a singing group, the Echoes of Joy, later known as the Sultans, in his teens, he studied at the University of Omaha Conservatory of Music before joining the Mississippi Piney Woods Singers, with whom he toured in California.

1960s–1970s[edit]

In California McDaniels began singing in jazz clubs, achieving recognition with the Les McCann Trio, and came to the attention of Sy Waronker of Liberty Records.[3][4]

After recording two unsuccessful singles and an album, McDaniels teamed with producer Snuff Garrett, with whom he recorded his first hit, “A Hundred Pounds of Clay”, which reached number 3 in the Billboard Hot 100 chart in early 1961 and sold over one million copies, earning gold disc status.[2] Its follow-up, “A Tear”, was less successful but his third single with Garrett, “Tower of Strength”, co-written by Burt Bacharach, reached number 5 and won McDaniels his second gold record.[3] “Tower of Strength” reached number 49 in the UK Singles Chart, losing out to Frankie Vaughan’s chart-topping version.[5]

In 1962, McDaniels appeared performing “Another Tear Falls” in the movie It’s Trad, Dad! directed by Richard Lester. He continued to have hit records, including “Chip Chip”, “Point Of No Return”, and “Spanish Lace”. Each record was released in 1962, but his suave style of singing gradually became less fashionable. In 1965 “Point Of No Return” was recorded by the British R&B band Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames on their UK Columbia EP Fame At Last. Also in 1965, McDaniels moved to Columbia Records, with little success, and in 1968, after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, he left the US to live in Denmark and Sweden where he concentrated on songwriting.

After the late 1960s, McDaniels turned his attention to a more black consciousness form of music, and his best-known song in this genre was “Compared to What”, a jazz-soul protest song made famous (and into a hit) by Les McCann and Eddie Harris on their album Swiss Movement. It was also covered by Roberta Flack, Ray Charles, Della Reese, John Legend, the Roots, Sweetwater, and others.[4] He returned to the US in 1971 and recorded thereafter as Eugene McDaniels.[3]

McDaniels also attained the top spot on the chart as a songwriter. In 1974, Flack reached number 1 with his “Feel Like Makin’ Love” (not to be confused with the Bad Company song of the same name), which received a Grammy Award nomination. McDaniels received a BMI award for outstanding radio airplay; at the time he was given the award, the song already had over five million plays.

In the early 1970s, McDaniels recorded on the Atlantic label, which released his albums Headless Heroes of the Apocalypse and Outlaw.

1980s–2000s[edit]

In the 1980s, McDaniels recorded an album with the percussionist Terry Silverlight, which was not released. In 2005, McDaniels released Screams & Whispers on his own record label.

In 2009, it was announced that McDaniels was to release a new album, Evolution’s Child, which featured his lyrics, and a number of songs composed or arranged with pianist Ted Brancato. Some of the songs featured jazz musician Ron Carter on concert bass and Terri Lyne Carrington on drums. McDaniel’s “Jagger the Dagger” was featured on the Tribe Vibes breakbeat compilation album, after it had been sampled by A Tribe Called Quest.

McDaniels also appeared in films. They included It’s Trad, Dad! (1962, released in the United States as Ring-A-Ding Rhythm), which was directed by Richard Lester. McDaniels also appeared in The Young Swingers (1963). He is briefly seen singing in the choir in the 1974 film Uptown Saturday Night. He was the original voice actor for “Nasus”, a champion in the computer game League of Legends.[6]

In 2010 he launched a series of YouTube videos on his website, featuring his music and thoughts on some of his creations.

Personal life and death[edit]

McDaniels lived as a self-described “hermit” in the state of Maine.

McDaniels died peacefully on July 29, 2011, at his home, survived by his third wife and six children.[7]

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

As Universal Jones

Singles[edit]

Year Titles (A-side, B-side)
Both sides from same album except where indicated
Peak chart positions Record Label Album
US AC R&B UK
1960 “In Times Like These”
b/w Once Before” (Non-album track)
Liberty Records In Times Like These
“Green Door”
b/w “The Facts of Life”
Sometimes I’m Happy Sometimes I’m Blue
1961 “A Hundred Pounds Of Clay”
b/w “Come On Take A Chance” (Non-album track)
3 11 100 Lbs. Of Clay!
“Take Good Care Of Her”
b/w “Are You Sincere”
“A Tear”
b/w “She’s Come Back” (Non-album track)
31 Tower Of Strength
“Tower Of Strength”
b/w “The Secret”
5 5 49
“Chip Chip”
b/w “Another Tear Falls” (Non-album track)
10 Hit After Hit
1962 “Funny”
b/w “Chapel Of Tears” (Non-album track)
99 Tower Of Strength
“Point Of No Return”
b/w “Warmer Than A Whisper” (Non-album track)
21 23 Hit After Hit
“Spanish Lace”
b/w “Somebody’s Waiting” (Non-album track)
31 Spanish Lace
1963 “The Puzzle”
b/w “Cry Baby Cry” (Non-album track)
Golden Greats
“It’s A Lonely Town (Lonely Without You)”
b/w “False Friends”
64 30 Non-album tracks
“Anyone Else”
b/w “The Old Country” (from The Wonderful World Of Gene McDaniels)
1964 “Make Me A Present Of You”
b/w “In Times Like These” (from In Times Like These)
100 Lbs. Of Clay!
“(There Goes The) Forgotten Man”
b/w “Emily”
Non-album tracks
1965 “Walk With A Winner”
b/w “A Miracle” (Non-album track)
The Very Best Of Gene McDaniels
“Will It Last Forever”
b/w “Hang On (Just A Little Bit Longer)”
Non-album tracks
1966 “Something Blue”
b/w “‘Cause I Love You So”
Columbia Records
1967 “Touch Of Your Lips”
b/w “Sweet Lover No More”
1971 “Tell Me Mr. President”
b/w “The Lord Is Back”
Atlantic Records
1973 “River”
b/w “Ol’ Heartbreak Top Ten”
MGM Records

As Universal Jones

Year Titles (A-side, B-side) Peak chart positions Record Label Album
US AC R&B UK
1972 “River”
b/w “Feeling That Glow”
115 37 MGM Records Universal Jones Vol. 1
“We All Know A Lot Of Things But It Don’t Never Show”
b/w “Tuesday Morning”

Sideman[edit]

Produced by Eugene McDaniels[edit]

  • Richard Roundtree, “The Man From Shaft” 1972
  • Merry Clayton, Keep Your Eye on the Sparrow 1975
  • Gladys Knight & The Pips, 2nd Anniversary 1975
  • Melba Moore, Peach Melba 1975
  • Gene McDaniels, Natural Juices 1975
  • Nancy Wilson, This Mother’s Daughter 1976
  • Jimmy Smith, Sit on It 1977
  • The Voltage Brothers, “The Voltage Brothers” 1978
  • The Floaters, Float Into the Future 1979
  • Jennifer Rush “Loving is a Good Thing” 1980
  • Phyllis Hyman, “Meet Me on the Moon”, 1991
  • Carri Coltrane, The First Time 1999
  • Carri Coltrane, Flamenco Sketches 1998
  • Eugene McDaniels, Screams and Whispers 2004

Filmography[edit]

Video game roles[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]