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Allen Toussaint

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. Many of Toussaint's songs have become familiar through their numerous cover versions, including “Working in the Coalmine”, “Ride Your Pony”, “Brickyard Blues”, “Get Out My Life Woman”, and “Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky”.

In the early 1960s he wrote and produced a string of hits for New Orleans R&B artists such as Ernie K-Doe, Irma Thomas, Art and Aaron Neville, The Showmen, and Lee Dorsey. Some of his songs from this period were published under the pseudonym Naomi Neville (”Ruler of My Heart”, recorded by Irma Thomas, is one example; the song would go on to be recorded by Otis Redding under the title “Pain in My Heart”.)

In the 1970s he switched gears to a funkier sound, writing and producing for The Meters, Dr John, and the Wild Tchoupitoulas Mardi Gras Indians tribe. He also began to work with non-New Orleans artists such as Robert Palmer, Elkie Brooks, Solomon Burke, and Scottish Soul singer, Frankie Miller. He arranged horn music for The Band's 1971 album Cahoots, and arranged horn parts for their concert repertoire.

Toussaint also launched his own solo career, which peaked in the '70s with the albums From a Whisper to a Scream and Southern Nights. It was during this time that he teamed with Labelle, and produced their highly acclaimed “Nightbirds” album from 1975, that spawned the Number One Hit, “Lady Marmalade” Two years later, Glen Campbell covered Toussaint's “Southern Nights” and carried the song to Number One on the Pop, Country and Adult- Contemporary Charts. Along with many of his contemporaries, Toussaint found that interest in his compositions was rekindled when his work began to be sampled by hip hop artists in the 1980s and 1990s. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.

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