In 1984 Eckstine recorded his penultimate album, I Am a Singer, arranged and conducted by Angelo DiPippo and featuring Toots Thielemans on harmonica. After recording very sparingly during the '70s, Eckstine made his last recording (Billy Eckstine Sings with Benny Carter) in 1986. [10] The photograph was considered so controversial that an editor at LIFE sought personal approval from Henry Luce, the magazine's publisher, who said it should be published. [8], Dizzy Gillespie, in reflecting on the band in his 1979 autobiography To Be or Not to Bop, gives this perspective: "There was no band that sounded like Billy Eckstine's. By 1943, he gained a trio of stellar bandmates -- Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, and Sarah Vaughan. Billy Eckstine's smooth baritone and distinctive vibrato broke down barriers throughout the 1940s, first as leader of the original bop big band, then as the first romantic black male in popular music.

He also performed as an actor in the TV sitcom Sanford and Son, and in such films as Skirts Ahoy, Let's Do It Again, and Jo Jo Dancer. On the group's frequent European and American tours, Eckstine also played trumpet, valve trombone, and guitar.Though he was forced to give up the band in 1947 (Gillespie formed his own bop big band that same year), Eckstine made the transition to string-filled balladry with ease. [7] He married his first wife, June, in 1942. Tony Bennett would recall that "It changed everything...Before that, he had a tremendous following...and it just offended the white community", a sentiment shared by pianist Billy Taylor who said that the "coverage and that picture just slammed the door shut for him". Feel free to contribute! [5] He attended Armstrong High School, St. Paul Normal and Industrial School, and Howard University. Eckstine returned to his jazz roots occasionally as well, recording with Vaughan, Count Basie, and Quincy Jones for separate LPs, and the 1960 live LP No Cover, No Minimum featured him taking a few trumpet solos as well. He died of a heart attack in 1993. His huge, distinctive baritone made him one of the first African American singers to have mainstream success. ... "His style and technique have seen extensively copied by some of the neocommercial singers, but despite their efforts he remains out front to show how and what should have been done.". 8/7/1914 in Pittsburgh, PA, United States, died on Eckstine suffered a stroke while performing in Salina, Kansas, in April 1992, and never performed again. He was the father of four children by second marriage and two step-children, including Ed Eckstine, who was a president of Mercury Records, Guy Eckstine, who was a Columbia and Verve Records A&R executive and record producer, singer Gina Eckstine, and actor Ronnie Eckstine. In 1984 Eckstine recorded his penultimate album, I Am a Singer, arranged and conducted by Angelo DiPippo and featuring Toots Thielemans on harmonica. Eckstine was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; a State Historical Marker is placed at 5913 Bryant St, Highland Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to mark the house where he grew up. Eckstine later formed an octet, then went solo, becoming a popular ballad singer while remaining an important figure in jazz. [4] Billy's sister, Maxine (married name Whedbee), was a well-respected Spanish teacher at Taylor Allderdice High School in Pittsburgh.

Quincy Jones stated in Billboard: "I looked up to Mr. B as an idol.

The collars were worn by many a hipster in the late 1940s and early 1950s. The 1960 Las Vegas live album, No Cover, No Minimum, featured Eckstine taking a few trumpet solos and showcased his nightclub act. I wanted to dress like him, talk like him, pattern my whole life as a musician and as a complete person in the image of dignity that he projected.... As a black man, Eckstine was not immune to the prejudice that characterized the 1950s. Eckstine would go on to record over a dozen hits during the late 1940s. Eckstine became a solo performer in 1947, with records featuring lush sophisticated orchestrations. The collars were worn by many a hipster in the late 1940s and early 1950s. He recorded more than a dozen hits during the late '40s, including "My Foolish Heart" and "I Apologize." Eckstine's final word was "Basie".

Sammy Davis, Jr. made several live appearances and impersonated Eckstine. Connect your Spotify account to your Last.fm account and scrobble everything you listen to, from any Spotify app on any device or platform. Available with an Apple Music subscription. He designed and patented a high roll collar that formed a B over a Windsor-knotted tie, which became known as a Mr. B. Collar. Hal Mooney and His Orchestra), I Apologize (Live On The Ed Sullivan Show, April 8, 1951), I Apologize (Live On The Ed Sullivan Show, April 8, 1951) - Single, Live At Angelo's White Palms Theater Lounge (Remastered). Even before folding his band, Eckstine had recorded solo to support it, scoring two million-sellers in 1945 with "Cottage for Sale" and a revival of "Prisoner of Love". Billy Eckstine (8 July 1914 – 8 March 1993), born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA as William Clarence Eckstein. "[18], The title of a 1956 promotional movie by the C. G. Conn Company, Mr. B Natural, is derivative of Eckstine's nickname "Mr.

An influence looming large in the cultural development of soul and R&B singers from Sam Cooke to Prince, Eckstine was able to play it straight on his pop hits "Prisoner of Love," "My Foolish Heart" and "I Apologize." Tadd Dameron, Gil Fuller and Jerry Valentine were among the band's arrangers.

Despite the group's modernist slant, Eckstine hit the charts often during the mid-'40s, with Top Ten entries including "A Cottage for Sale" and "Prisoner of Love".

The Billy Eckstine Orchestra was the first bop big-band, and its leader reflected bop innovations by stretching his vocal harmonics into his normal ballads. Included in this group were Dizzy Gillespie, Dexter Gordon, Miles Davis, Art Blakey, Charlie Parker, and Fats Navarro, as well as vocalist Sarah Vaughan. [13], Among Eckstine's recordings of the 1950s was a 1957 duet with Sarah Vaughan, "Passing Strangers", a minor hit in 1957, but an initial No. His parents were William Eckstein, a chauffeur, and Charlotte Eckstein, a seamstress of note. Eckstine's recording of "I Apologize" (MGM, 1948) was awarded the Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1999. Billy Eckstine's smooth baritone and distinctive vibrato made him the leader of the original bop big band & as first romantic black male in popular music. An influence looming large in the cultural development of soul and R&B singers from Sam Cooke to Pr…. Far more successful than his band recordings, these prefigured Eckstine's future career. The Billy Eckstine Orchestra is considered to be the first bop big-band, and had Top Ten chart entries that included "A Cottage for Sale" and "Prisoner of Love".

He was famous for his "Mr. B. Collar"- a high roll collar that formed a "B" over a Windsor-knotted tie. In addition to looking cool, the collar expanded and contracted without popping open, which allowed his neck to swell while playing his horns. Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. He was the composer of the blues classic "Jelly, Jelly" and also recorded the R&B top hit "Stormy Monday Blues" in 1942 (not to be confused with T-Bone Walker's 1947 "Call It Stormy Monday (But Tuesday Is Just As Bad)"). William F. was born in Prussia and Nannie in Virginia. He designed and patented a high roll collar that formed a B over a Windsor-knotted tie, which became known as a Mr. B. Collar. Although best known as a singer, his openness to new music made him a strong influence on modern jazz, particularly bebop, as he gave employment to many of the musicians who founded the style.