Remembering Allen Toussaint: Allen Performs ‘American Tune’ & ‘Life Is A Carnival’


Two years ago today legendary New Orleans composer/musician/performer Allen Toussaint passed away. Toussaint died as the result of a heart attack 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 his last years he was 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.

In 2016 a posthumous Allen Toussaint album was released. American Tunes featured Allen’s performances of some of his own tunes and choice covers. The LP took its title from Toussaint’s gorgeous cover of “American Tune” by Paul Simon, which was included on the album. Allen Toussaint had been performing “American Tune” for years such as this stirring rendition on Austin City Limits in 2009:

Toussaint was also known for his work with The Band as he composed horn charts for the Rock Of Ages and Last Waltz concerts. Allen paid tribute to the late Levon Helm at the 2012 Love For Levon show in East Rutherford, New Jersey. He led a house band including members of Levon’s ensemble on “Life Is A Carnival,” watch:

[Originally Published: November 10, 2016]