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Allen Richard Toussaint was born in the city of New Orleans on January 14th, 1938. His career as a pianist began in the 1950s, working with the likes of other New Orleans legends such as Earl King, Dave Bartholomew, and Fats Domino. Through the 1960s Toussaint wrote, arranged, produced, and played piano on hit recordings for Lee Dorsey, Irma Thomas, Ernie K-Doe, and Art and Aaron Neville. In the 1970s he produced albums by the Meters, Dr. John’s top 10 pop hit “Right Place, Wrong Time”, and LaBelle’s #1 pop hit, “Lady Marmalade.” Toussaint also arranged horns for The Band, including on The Last Waltz during this period, as well.
Glen Campbell and the Pointer Sisters have had hit recordings with Allen Toussaint songs. He has worked with Eric Clapton, Elvis Costello, Steve Earle, and Joe Henry, and helped raise funds for New Orleans musicians following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Toussaint was inducted into the Rock n Roll, Louisiana Music, Songwriter’s, and Blues Music Halls of Fame. In 2013, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama.
Hear Allen Toussaint’s music on Highway 61 Revisited this Saturday from 8 AM to noon (re-broadcast Sunday at 8 PM), Spinning the Blues Saturday from 6 to 9 PM, and in the Weekend Archive for WUMB Members.