Legendary New Orleans singer, songwriter and musician Allen Toussaint died on Tuesday in Madrid, Spain at the age of 77.
Toussaint was touring Europe and had played Madrid's Lara Theatre on Monday night. Emergency workers were called to his hotel room where he was revived; however, he stopped breathing on the way to the hospital.
Self taught on the piano, Toussaint got his first break at the age of 17 when he sat in for Huey "Piano" Smith in Earl King's band during a performance in Prichard, AL. Throughout his career, he acknowledged Professor Longhair as his main influence in everything he did in music.
Toussaint recorded for a number of labels including Minit, Instant and RCA. It was on the latter that he released his first album as Al Tousan, an instrumental set that included the song Java, co-written with Alvin Tyler and Freddy Friday. The song would go on to become a major hit for Al Hirt.
Although he did record his own work, his main success came during the 60's as a songwriter and studio musician. Among his many songs:
- Mother-in-Law (Ernie K. Doe / 1961 / #1 Pop / #1 R&B)
- I Like It Like That (Chris Kenner / 1961 / #2 Pop / #2 R&B // Dave Clark Five / 1965 / #7 Pop)
- Fortune Teller (Benny Spellman / 1961 // Robert Plant & Alison Krauss / 2007)
- Lipstick Traces (On a Cigarette) (Benny Spellman / 1962 / #80 Pop / #28 R&B // O'Jays / 1965 / #48 Pop / #28 R&B)
- Pain in My Heart (Otis Redding / 1963 / #61 Pop / #12 R&B)
- Java (Al Hirt / 1964 / #4 Pop / #1 Adult Contemporary)
- Whipped Cream (Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass / 1965 / #68 Pop / #13 Adult Contemporary)
- Ride Your Pony (Lee Dorsey / 1965 / #28 Pop / #7 R&B)
- Get Out of My Life, Woman (Lee Dorsey / 1966 / #44 Pop / #5 R&B)
- Working in a Coal Mine (Lee Dorsey / 1966 / #8 Pop / #5 R&B)
- Freedom For the Stallion (Hues Corporation / 1973 / #63 Pop / #9 Adult Contemporary)
- Yes We Can Can (Pointer Sisters / 1973 / #11 Pop / #12 R&B)
- Play Something Sweet (Brickyard Blues) (Three Dog Night / #33 Pop)
- Southern Nights (Glen Campbell / 1977 / #1 Pop / #1 Adult Contemporary / #1 Country)
- We Got It (IMx / 1995 / #37 Pop / #11 R&B)