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Otis Blackwell
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    (February 16, 1931-May 6, 2002)
    Born in New York
    Songwriter, pianist, singer, and later record producer
    Widely believed to be one of the greatest R&B songwriters of all time
    Copyrighted more than a thousand compositions in his career
    Composed hit songs 'Fever,' 'Great Balls of Fire,' 'Breathless,' 'Don't Be Cruel,' 'All Shook Up,' 'Return to Sender,' and 'Handy Man'
    Songs were recorded and popularized by artists such as Peggy Lee, Little Willie John, Jerry Lee Lewis, Dee Clark, James Brown, Bob Dylan, Conway Twitty, The Who, and - most notably - Elvis Presley
    Released only two albums in his lifetime; 'Otis Blackwell 1953-1955' (1955) and 'These Are My Songs' (1978)
    He produced a Sal Mineo record.
    He wore the same trademark 'pork-pie hat' throughout his career.
    He has been confused with Bumps Blackwell, Otis Redding, and Curtis Mayfield.
    He assumed what he termed the 'white-sounding' pen-names of 'John Davenport' and 'Jack Hammer' when he experienced contract disputes.
    He held the superstition that meeting Elvis in person would break up their profitable business arrangement.
    He even turned down the opportunity to appear in Elvis' 'Girls! Girls! Girls!' movie, when Colonel Tom Parker offered it to him, out of fear of meeting Presley.
    He is the poster child for the argument that Rock n' Roll was mainly a black genre before being commandeered by white artists for their own use.
    That he died virtually penniless has led may to argue that he was financially screwed out of royalties by Presley.
    On the contrary, he had benefited financially for decades from his partnership with Presley; if anything his assorted tax issues and years of alcoholism played more into his death than anything Presley ever did (or didn't do).
    He wrote some of Elvis' earliest hits.
    He garnered worldwide sales of close to 200 million records.
    It is believed that Elvis drew heavily from Blackwell's style and persona in his own music.
    He was inducted into the National Academy of Popular Music's Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1991.
    He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1986.
    He was the first to record Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons and Johnny Rivers.
    He considered his greatest accomplishment to be producing a Mahalia Jackson album.
    He gladly relinquished writing credits and 50% of royalties to allow Presley to release 'Don't Be Cruel' on the back of the 'Hound Dog' record.
    He is also credited with stopping the Four Seasons mid-recording session when he decided that 'Don't Be Cruel' would be a better fit for Elvis (he convinced them to record another one of his songs).
    He never spoke ill of Elvis Presley or the phenomenal success he derived from covering his songs.
    At one point in the 1970s, he had been planning on touring and made an effort to finally meet with Elvis to spend time with him, but Elvis died before it could happen.
    He was honored with a special concert in the 1980s held by the Black Rock Coalition in his native Brooklyn, with many local musicians attending to cover his songs.

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair

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