Friday, August 07, 2009
Jango Song Of The Day-Major Lance
The 1963 top ten hit The Monkey Time was one of two big hits for Chicago soul singer Major Lance. The song was written and produced by Curtis Mayfield. Major Lance was born Apr. 4, 1939 in Winterville, MS and grew up in Chicago. He went to high school with Curtis Mayfield and Jerry Butler. Lance's dancing with his group The Floats landed him a gig on a local TV show hosted by DJ Jim Lounsbury. Lance released one failed single in 1959. Then Mayfield signed a production deal with Okeh Records in 1962. Most of the music on the label was written by Mayfield and produced by Okeh president Carl Davis. The Monkey Time was Lance's second single. Gene Chandler really wanted to record the song but Mayfield had promised it to Lance. The song reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1963 and of course created a new dance. Lance also had a top ten hit with Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um in 1964. He continued to do well on the R & B charts until Davis left Okeh in 1967. This is an excellent various artists comp of Curtis Mayfield's music for Okeh. Lance was sent to Nashville to work with producer Billy Sherrill but his music wasn't as good. Lance left Okeh in 1968 and went to Mayfield's new label Curtom. He had some R & B hits but left Curtom in 1971. He moved to England for a couple of years. In 1978, Lance went to prison for four years for selling cocaine. Then a 1987 comeback was halted by a heart attack. Major Lance gave a final performance at the 1994 Chicago Blues Festival before he died on Sept. 3, 1994 at age 55. Here's Major Lance performing The Monkey Time on Shindig 1963.