Allen Toussaint Dies At Age 77

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We’re sad to report legendary New Orleans composer/musician/performer Allen Toussaint has died at age 77. Toussaint’s family has confirmed his passing which appears to be caused by a heart attack. According to a report from El Mundo Toussaint collapsed at his hotel following a performance in Spain.

Allen Toussaint, one of the snappiest dressers in music history, composed such classic songs as “Sneakin’ Sally Through The Alley,” “Get Out Of My Life, Woman,” “Working In A Coalmine,” “On Your Way Down” and “Mother-In-Law.” Toussaint became synonymous with New Orleans music and influenced musicians from multiple generations that followed. In recent years he’s been a fixture at New Orleans most prominent event – Jazz Fest – and didn’t let his age stop him from frequent touring as he was in the middle of a European tour when he died. Over the years, he released more than 20 albums and wrote hundreds of songs.

Toussaint collaborated with a number of artists in the rock world including Elvis Costello, Paul McCartney and The Band. For the latter, he arranged horn music for the 1971 album Cahoots as well as the famed Rock Of Ages and The Last Waltz concerts. Phish, the Jerry Garcia Band, Little Feat and Robert Palmer are just a few of the acts who have covered Allen’s songs. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Toussaint family.

We’ve compiled tributes to Toussaint from around the web:

Corey Glover (Living Colour/Galactic):

“I am honored to have had the opportunity to perform w/ Allen Toussaint. Rest in Peace”
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Man this hit home. Of all the cats that I never had a 1 on 1 convo w/ to pick their brain about their music experiences: this is numero uno. I don't want y'all thinkin' "this is just some old legend that passed away" naw. This dude wrote some of your favorite music & you just didn't know it. He effected SO many genres. That's how you know how potent and effective your art is: when you quietly change the scene w/o proper acknowledgement. If someone had the right to have KWest brag swag it was this man. But his humble quiet disposition wouldn't allow such a thing. His work will now speak for itself. Just take time to peep his work w #LeeDorsey (#GetOutMyLifeWoman #RideYourPony) some of the greatest clever pop tunes crafted. Hip hop heads still salivate over all #TheMeters tunes he produced & shot new energy into the culture once sampling #JamesBrown was becoming stale (#CissyStrut #LookKaPyPy #JustKissedMyBaby #OhCalcutta) then came a slew of artists in the 70s & 80s that took his work & breathed new life into his songs: #YesWeCanCan #LadyMarmalade #WorkingInACoalmine) —name em! His work was so powerful everyone from #PaulMccartney to #DrJohn to #EricClapton to #TheRollingStones to even #JayZ ("….dear god I wonder can you save me?"….that piano loop? #Toussaint all day) #Amerie's most banging joint? (A Toussaint production sample) at least 12 "Get Out My Life Woman" snares were like starch in hip hop's daily nutritional chart–meaning so there you barely notice it.—I can go on and on. Because his work goes on and on. You'll read better op-eds by professional journalists. Kinda hard to cram all of this hiding from trainer in the gym on iPhone. But i felt the need to write something. When I tag #LegacyGoals I mean it. Humble cat whose work spoke louder than he did. That's what we all need to learn from. Rest In Beats to the powerful #AllenToussaint

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George Porter Jr. (The Meters):

Today’s news of Allen Toussaint’s passing while he was on tour in another place other then home shakes me to the core and saddens me very much. We have chosen to live a life we love and for some reason want to do it for more than the money. We do it really for the love we get from the world and the smiles on the faces of people when we play our songs. Musicians that live on the road do have some fears, that we may not get back home safe, being away from home when our family needs us or being on the road alone when sad things happen. The two people I have loved longest in my life passed away while I was not home almost a year apart. Losing my Brother and my mother when I was not home was terribly hard. Now I have once again lost someone I care about while I am sitting alone in a hotel room. I still need to get through the flights home before I can comfort my wife and grieve my friend.

Still I am going to keep doing what I do, maybe that is crazy but it is what I love. Allen would expect no less, he lived and loved this life too for the same reason, the happiness music can bring. Todays News broke my heart, it is a real shock. When I played with AT at this years Blues & BBQ I told him I needed him to help me with some music that I have run into a brick wall with, he smiled and said send it to me. I got busy and did not send it, I always thought there was time, Allen seemed so happy and healthy. So sudden it is hard to believe. Thank You Allen Toussaint for the music that you gave me a chance to play with you, as well as the music that I have come to play because of what I learned from seeing up front and close how you could get the best out of an artist. You could get them to find stuff in themselves that they didn’t know was there. You inspired me in so many ways. Your talent as a musician and a producer has been a major role model in how I approach my own music and how I interact with other musicians on stage and in the studio. Allen, Your music will live on and your teaching will continue to inspire. You are a true legend and have left a legacy like no other. gpjr

Robbie Robertson (The Band):

I just got word my old friend Allen Toussaint passed away.

I had the joyful experience of working with Allen on a couple of magical occasions. The horn arrangements he wrote for The Band became a staple of our sound from the Academy Of Music/Rock Of Ages concerts to The Last Waltz.

He was not only a brilliant songwriter, record producer, arranger and performer; he was also one of the finest gentlemen I have ever known. I had the honor of inducting Allen into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame and I couldn’t find enough kind words to express how strongly I felt about him and his music. The world has lost a true musical treasure that can never be replaced and I will miss him deeply.

Blessings – –
-RR