Jimmy Radcliffe: American singer, composer, arranger, conductor (1936 - 1973) | Biography, Discography, Facts, Information, Career, Wiki, Life
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Jimmy Radcliffe
American singer, composer, arranger, conductor

Jimmy Radcliffe

Jimmy Radcliffe
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American singer, composer, arranger, conductor
Was Singer Songwriter Record producer
From United States of America
Field Business Music
Gender male
Birth 18 November 1936, Harlem, USA
Death 27 July 1973 (aged 36 years)
Star sign Scorpio
Soul music
The details (from wikipedia)


James Radcliffe (November 18, 1936 – July 27, 1973) was an American soul singer, composer, arranger, conductor and record producer.


James Radcliffe was born in New York City. He released such singles as "My Ship is Coming In", a song composed by his writing partner Joey Brooks (later of "You Light Up My Life" fame), was later covered by The Walker Brothers as a pop music hit, and also wrote several songs featured in the children's TV show The Banana Splits. He will be probably best remembered for his recording of "Long After Tonight Is All Over" on YouTube (written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David) which became famous as one of the "3 before 8" songs that was played at the Wigan Casino all-nighters, the Northern soul venue. The song was a minor hit in the UK Singles Chart in 1965, reaching #40. The popularity of "Long After Tonight Is All Over" led to a promotional tour in support of the record, wherein Radcliffe was featured in the British music press (Record Mirror, NME) and appeared on numerous radio and televisions shows including Thank Your Lucky Stars; the ABC Lucky Stars Special Presents Cilla Black with Cilla Black, The Riot Squad, The Hollies, The Swinging Blue Jeans, Del Shannon and Paul Anka (January 23, 1965); and The Eamonn Andrews Show.

Radcliffe did not live long enough to see this recording achieve cult status. Long plagued by a weight problem, he had a kidney removed in 1973 and developed further complications with his remaining one. He died in hospital the same year on July 27 (two months before Wigan Casino opened its doors on September 23), leaving his wife, Judy, and two sons, Christopher and William.

Career as vocalist

During his tenure as one of New York City's most successful session vocalists, Radcliffe's voice was the first to sing future hit songs like "This Diamond Ring" (Al Kooper, Bobby Brass, Irwin Levine) and "Pretty Flamingo" (Mark Barkan), and contribute to the session releases by The Definitive Rock Chorale's "Variations on a Theme Called Hanky Panky" produced by Ellie Greenwich and Mike Rashkow.

Radcliffe's vocal abilities earned him the distinction of being referred to as "The Soul of The Brill Building Sound". Burt Bacharach and Hal David had him record songs for Gene Pitney, as would Ellie Greenwich and Tony Powers. Gloria Shayne enlisted his help to get Burl Ives and Arthur Prysock covers. Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, Scott English and Claus Ogerman were among his clients.

To supplement his income, he hired out as a backing vocalist, and recorded with Doris Troy, Dee Dee Warwick, Cissy Houston, Melba Moore, Toni Wine, Jean Thomas and Barbara Jean English doing sessions for groups such as The Drifters. Radcliffe, Dionne Warwick, and Dee Dee Warwick provided backing vocals on The Drifters "Sweets for My Sweet" recording, 1961).

Singer-songwriter Sherman Edwards recorded the original vocal demos of his songs for the planned musical "1776", but by late 1968 Edwards had also enlisted Jimmy Radcliffe ("Mama Look Sharp", "Is Anybody There"), Bernie Knee ("Mama Look Sharp", "Is Anybody There"), Ann Gilbert ("He Plays The Violin", "Yours, Yours, Yours") to record stylized demo versions that might also impact the pop charts. "1776" went on to become a 1969 Tony Award-winning Broadway show that inspired a 1972 feature film.

Another instance of Jimmy Radcliffe's involvement with Broadway bound musicals were his vocal demos of the Bob James and Jack O'Brien songs “Take My Hand” and “Stars Of Glory” for the now notorious 1972 theatrical production of The Selling of the President, based upon the best-selling book by author Joe McGinniss.

In August 1963, while preparing to work with the record producer, Bert Berns, on his third release on Musicor Records, Radcliffe attended a session at Chess Studios, produced by Berns, where three of his co-compositions were being recorded by Tammy Montgomery: "This Time Tomorrow", "I Can't Hold It In Any More" and "I've Got Nothing To Say But Goodbye". "This Time Tomorrow" would be issued as the B-side of Montgomery's Chess/Checker single, "If I Would Marry You." Radcliffe recorded with Montgomery a duet version of "If I Would Marry You," more than three years before her name change to Tammi Terrell and pairing with Marvin Gaye at Motown. The unreleased duet, and the other two unreleased songs from the sessions, were released on Come on And See Me, a double collection of Terrell's recordings.

One Bert Berns, Carl Spencer and Jimmy Radcliffe collaboration that did make the pop charts in 1963 was the song "My Block", recorded by The Chiffons. "She's Got Everything" recorded by The Essex, and produced by Henry Glover, as a follow-up to their million-seller "Easier Said Than Done" also charted at #56 and inspired recordings by singers Maxine Brown, Sugar Pie DeSanto and Barbara George.

Career as composer and producer

In 1964, after a meeting with Martin Luther King Jr, in a Harlem supper club, Radcliffe was inspired and composed his ballad of freedom and equality "Stand Up". Unreleased at the time, until the 2008 issue Where There Smoke There's Fire, the track featured Radcliffe playing the vibes. Radcliffe was self-taught on the guitar, piano, bass, vibes and drums, preferring to write using his Goya acoustic guitar because of its portability.

Beginning in 1965, Radcliffe was the first African-American performing artist to write, produce and sing commercial jingles for the advertising industry. By the time of his death om 1973, he had worked on over two hundred television and radio commercials.

Steve Karmen remembered Radcliffe in the advertising industry: "Typically, Jim would be called to come to the studio at a designated time, in most cases not even being told the name of the product he was to sing about, then be given about five minutes to learn a song that he had never seen before that moment, and was then expected to deliver the 'soul' version of the commercial".

A few of Radcliffe's best known commercials are the 1969–70 Pontiac, "breakaway in a wide tracking Pontiac", the 30-second commercial was expanded for general release to try to capitalize on its popularity and was released as "Breakaway" by the Steve Karmen Big Band featuring Jimmy Radcliffe; the soul version of McDonald's "You Deserve A Break Today" on YouTube (1971); and the Clio Award-winning "Polaroid Gives It To You Now" (1971). The summer of 2011 has seen the rise of two campaigns: the first, to make the Radcliffe-Diamond song "You're The Salt Of The Earth Pal" the advertising "sound brand identity" theme for Salt Lake City's Tourism Bureau in Utah and the second, to have Jimmy's "I'm Gonna Find a Cave" song accepted as the international "Man caves" Anthem.

Radcliffe's recordings have appeared in films such as Radley Metzger's 1967's Carmen Baby, Allen Funt's What Do You Say to a Naked Lady? (1970), Gerald Potterton's Tiki Tiki (1971) wherein he was backed by Cissy Houston, Whitney Houston's mother on a gospel recording. "Eve's Bayou" (1997), The Tenants starring Snoop Dogg and Dylan McDermott (2005), the 2006 romantic drama Something New starring Sanaa Lathan and Simon Baker and 2010's Soulboy a film about Northern soul.

A part of Radcliffe's career often overlooked was his work as a songwriter, record producer and live performing artist. During his 14 years as a Brill Building, Tin Pan Alley songwriter, his songs were recorded by numerous recording artists in varying styles of music. In the early 1960s, Radcliffe was recognized for his 'message songs' about growing, striving and surviving the realities of living in Harlem. The poignant evocative storytelling of songs like "Three Rooms With Running Water", "My Block", "Deep in the Heart of Harlem" and "Stand Up" spoke about personal and social issues. By the later 1960s his live performances, in Greenwich Village, Amiri Baraka's Sister Kimako Baraka's Club CASBAH, and guest appearances on television including like "Inside Bedford Stuyvesant" with such friends as Richie Havens and poet Saundra Sharp, included protest sonsuch as like "1969" on YouTube and "Insults" dealing with institutionalized social injustice and racism combined with songs about Love.

Selected writing credits

Radcliffe's songs have appeared in films and television dating back to 1965's Anthony Perkins thriller The Fool Killer, A Man Could Get Killed, which featured "Strangers in the Night" and "But Not Today" on YouTube as the main themes, The Banana Splits Adventure Hour (1968–70), The Harlem Globetrotters (1970–72), Se7en (1995), U Turn (1997), La Bande Du Drugstore (2002) featuring "Try Me", Third Watch (1999–2005), Sleeper Cell (2005–06), 2017 Academy Award-nominated film Lion (2016). and Amazon Studios "The Man In The High Castle".

As a record producer Radcliffe produced the original demo of the song "It's My Party". While acting as A&R director of Musicor Records he signed The Intruders who released the single "But You Belong To Me" b/w "Jack Be Nimble" and pop group The Critters, producing the latter's first release "Georgianna" b/w "I'm Gonna Give" in 1964 before they moved over to Kapp Records. Also in 1964, Radcliffe produced a record for the soul group The Relatives that featured the song "Hadn't Been For Baby", which he co-wrote with Billy Edd Wheeler. Radcliffe was also label-mate Gene Pitney's recording manager. Having met years earlier, before either had signed to Aaron Schroeder's publishing company, Radcliffe helped manage which songs Pitney would record, and directed his recording sessions.

Radcliffe co-produced, with John Hammond, Pat Lundy's album Soul Aint Nothin' But The Blues (1967) on Columbia Records and much of the material used on Carolyn Franklin, first three albums for RCA Records. Radcliffe and Aretha Franklin co-produced the theme "Black Pride" on YouTube, for the Jesse Jackson organized S.C.L.C. Black Expo in New York City in 1971.


Contemporary releases

Musicor Records

  • "Twist Calypso" (Phil Stern, Jimmy Radcliffe) / "Don't Look My Way" (Phil Stern, Jimmy Radcliffe) Single# MU-1016, Produced by Aaron Schroeder and Wally Gold, 1962
  • "(There Goes) The Forgotten Man" (Hal David, Burt Bacharach) / "An Awful Lot of Cryin'" (Buddy Kaye, Phil Springer) Single# MU1024, Side 'A' Produced by Aaron Schroeder and Wally Gold, arranged & conducted by Burt Bacharach, Side 'B' Produced by Bert Berns. 1962
  • "Through a Long and Sleepless Night" (Mack Gordan, Alfred Newman) / "Moment of Weakness" (Oramay Diamond, Jimmy Radcliffe) Single# MU-1033, Produced by Bert Berns. 1963
  • "Long After Tonight Is All Over" (Hal David, Burt Bacharach) / "What I Want I Can Never Have" (Gloria Shayne) Single# MU1042, Produced by Bert Berns. Charted #40 UK Singles Chart (Issued on Stateside Records #374)

Aurora Records

  • "My Ship Is Comin' In" (Joey Brooks) / "Goin' Where The Lovin' Is" (Joey Brooks, Aaron Schroeder) Single# 154, Produced by Joey Brooks for Past, Present & Future Productions. 1965

Shout Records

  • "Lucky Old Sun" (Haven Gillespie, Beasley Smith) / "So Deep" (Bob Brass, Joey Brooks) Single#202, Produced by Buddy Scott, Jimmy Radcliffe and Wally Gold for Past, Present & Future Productions. Arranged & conducted by Bert Decoteaux. 1966

United Artists The Steve Karmen Big Band featuring Jimmy Radcliffe

  • "Breakaway" (Steve Karmen) / "Breakaway" Part 2 (Steve Karmen) Single# 50451 Produced & arranged by Steve Karmen. 1968

RCA Records

  • "Funky Bottom Congregation" (Thommy Kaye) / "Lay A Little Lovin' On Me" (Buddy Scott, Jimmy Radcliffe) Single# 74-0138, Produced, arranged and conducted by Jimmy Radcliffe for Super Baby Cakes Productions. 1969

Selected discography of uncredited releases

Tollie Records

  • The B.R.A.T.T.S. (The Brotherhood for the R-establishment of American Top Ten Supremacy)

"Secret Weapon (The British Are Coming)" on YouTube (Arthur Korb) / "Jealous Kind of Woman" (Carl Spencer) Single#9024, Produced by Wally Gold for Past, Present And Future Productions, Arranged & conducted by Bob Halley. Vocals: Carl Spencer & Jimmy Radcliffe 1964

Musicor Records

"Cry, Cry, Cry" (Joey Brooks, Jimmy Radcliffe) / "A Girl Wants To Believe" (Joey Brooks, Jimmy Radcliffe) Single #MU1037, Produced by Brooks/Radcliffe, arranged & conducted by Garry Sherman. Lead Vocals: Joey Brooks, Backing Vocals: Jimmy Radcliffe. 1964

Fontana Records (UK)

  • The Mixture

"One By One" (Joey Brooks, Jimmy Radcliffe) / "Monkey Jazz" (Joey Brooks, Jimmy Radcliffe) Single#TF-640, Produced and arranged by Jimmy Radcliffe & Joey Brooks for Past, Present and Future Productions. Lead Vocals & Scat by Jimmy Radcliffe, Backing Vocals by Joey Brooks 1965

Decca Records (UK)

"I Ain't Blaming You" (Joey Brooks, Al Stillman) / "Nobody Waved Goodbye" on YouTube (Joey Brooks, Wally Gold, Aaron Schroeder) Single # F12328, Produced and arranged by Joey Brooks, Lead Vocal: Joey Brooks, Backing Vocal & Acoustic Guitar: Jimmy Radcliffe. January 1966.

Rust Records

  • Carl Spencer

"Cover Girl" (Carl Spencer, Al Cleveland) / "Progress" (Bob Halley, Carl Spencer) Single#5104, Produced and arranged by Bob Halley for Alice in Wonderland Productions. Side 'B' = Lead Vocal: Carl Spencer, Backing Vocal: Jimmy Radcliffe. 1966

Parrot Records

  • The Daily News

"I'm In The Mood" (S. Barnes, J.J. Jackson) / "The Groove" (Holt, Holt, Ealey, Paris) Single#327, Produced by Ellie Greenwich and Mike Rashkow for Pineywood Productions Inc., Horns arranged by Meco Monardo. Side 'A'= Lead Vocal: Frankie Paris, Counter Lead Vocal: Jimmy Radcliffe. 1968

Philips Records

  • The Definitive Rock Chorale

"Variations On A Theme Called Hanky Panky" (Ellie Greenwich, Jeff Barry) / "Picture Postcard World" (Paul Levinson) Single#40529, Produced by Mike Rashkow and Ellie Greenwich for Pineywood Productions Inc. Side 'A' arranged by Sammy Lowe, Side 'B' arranged By Paul Lewshen. Lead & Backing Vocals: Johnny Cymbal, Michael Rashkow Ellie Greenwich, Ron Dante, Toni Wine, Lesley Miller, Billy Carr, Tommy West (Picardo), Terry Cashman, Gene Pistilli, Jimmy Radcliffe. 1968

Kirshner Records

  • The Globetrotters

"Duke of Earl" (Gene Chandler, Earl Edwards, Bernice Williams) / "Everybody's Got Hot Pants (Neil Sedaka, Howard Greenfield) Single#63-5012, Produced by Jimmy Radcliffe & Wally Gold, arranged By Jimmy Radcliffe. Lead & Backing Vocals: Jimmy Radcliffe. Music Supervisor: Don Kirshner 1971

"Everybody Needs Love" (Phil Stern, Jimmy Radcliffe) / "ESP" (Neil Sedaka, Howard Greenfield) Single#63-5016, Side 'A' Produced by Jimmy Radcliffe & Wally Gold, arranged by Jimmy Radcliffe. Lead & Backing Vocal: Jimmy Radcliffe. Side 'B' Produced by Jeff Barry (Unknown Non-Radcliffe Vocal). Music Supervisor: Don Kirshner 1971

Selected discography of recent releases

Other sources

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 04 May 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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