Leon Haywood, Much-Sampled Funk-Soul Singer, Songwriter, Record Producer, Passes At 74
April 6, 2016 at 12:47 PM (PT)
LEON HAYWOOD, a HOUSTON, TX-born funk/soul singer songwriter and record producer, best kown for his much-sampled 1975 hit single, "I Want'a Do Something Freaky To You," passed away at the age of 74. The song was a favorite of rappers, including DR. DRE.
HAYWOOD started out as an accompanist to blues musician GUITAR SLIM in his native HOUSTON before moving to LOS ANGELES, where he worked with sax playher BIG JAY McNEELY. He was a keyboardist in SAM COOKE's band until the singer's death.in 1964,
Recording for the FANTASY and IMPERIAL labels, HAYWOOD was part of session bands organized by L.A. radio personality the MAGNIFICENT MONTAGUE, scoring R&B inistrumental hits with "Hole In The Wall" as THE PACKERS and "Precious Memoris" as THE ROMEOS.
HAYWOOD scored his first solo hit for DECCA RECORDS with "It's Got To Be Mellow," which became a beach music classic in the CAROLINAS, and established a production company, EVEJIM, named after his parents.
After stints with COLUMBIA RECORDS and MCA RECORDS, he became a star incorporating disco and funk elements to his music after moving over to 20TH CENTUIRY RECORDS in 1974 with "I Want'a Do Something Freaky To You," which went to #7 R&B/#15 Pop, followed by "Strokin' (Part II)" and "Party." In 1980, he adopted a '50s rock 'n' roll shuffle for "Don't Push It Don't Force It," which peaked at #2 R&B, but climbed to #12 in the U.K.
HAYWOOD is also credited with writing CARL CARLTON's 1981 hit, "She's A Bad Mama Jama," which he produced in his ownj recording studio. His last charting R&B record was "Tenderoni" which went to #22 in 1984. After a few more charting singles on CASABLANCA and MODERN RECORDS, HAYWOOD produced blues albums for JIMMY McCRACKLIN, CLAY HAMMON, RONNIE LOVEJOY and BUDDY ACE for his own EVEJIM RECORDS.