Sunday, January 30, 2011

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Bill Cosby

Artist:Bill Cosby
Song:Noah: Right
Album:The Best Of Bill Cosby

Most fans familiar with Bill Cosby's 80s sitcom and his other activities may not be aware of his importance to standup comedy in the early 60s. Though Richard Pryor was much edgier, because Cosby's comedy was clean, he paved the way for the mainstream acceptance of black comics including Pryor. This Noah routine was his breakthrough and led to several best selling albums. He was born July 12, 1937 in Philadelphia. His father was a sailor in the US Navy. Many of Cosby's 60s routines are about his class clown behaviour in school but he was also a pretty good athlete. He just wasn't a good student and after he failed tenth grade, he joined the US Navy for four years. But he got his GED and went to Temple University in 1961. He worked as a bartender and worked on his comedy routines. He left school to perform full time and signed with Warner Bros. Records. Warners already had successful comedy albums by Bob Newhart and Allan Sherman and Sherman brought Cosby to Warners and produced his 1963 debut album Bill Cosby Is A Very Funny Fellow...Right! It was recorded live at The Bitter End in New York City. He performed Noah: Right on TV and the album was a success. Cosby became a regular on the album charts and his 1967 album Revenge reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 200. Bill Cosby Is A Very Funny Fellow...Right! is available on CD but it's short. And The Best Of Bill Cosby is the only Warners comp available and it was released in 1969. It has the complete Noah routine but it's disappointing that Warners hasn't released a more comprehensive Cosby comp. He made a lot of money for them. Of course Cosby also starred in the TV show I Spy and continued to record comedy albums. He left Warners in 1969 to start his short lived Tetragrammaton label and then recorded for MCA in the 70s. The 60s was probably the sales peak for standup comedy albums. They didn't sell as well in the 70s and with the invention of home video in the 80s, standup comedy on audio became unnecessary. Bill Cosby still records occasionally but obviously he's done plenty of other things. But I think Noah was his ticket to all those other things. Here's Bill Cosby performing Noah: Right on The Jack Paar Show 1962.

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