Saturday, March 13, 2010

March 13

Can't resist writing about "Scatman John" Larkin, a jazz pianist who used his stuttering to become a global sensation. But first, he learned the piano to avoid having to speak in public. He played in jazz clubs in LA in the 70's and 80's; as he told it, he filled a closet with unsold copies of his debut album.
In the 90's, he got a new start with a new wife and a new climate: Germany, which offered audiences more receptive to his throwback style of jazz. He was also encouraged to try mixing his scat-style with modern-day dance beats. He was still worried about his stuttering, so on his first single, that's exactly what he sang about.

The 1994 song was a Number 1 hit in seven countries, and "Scatman" mania had begun. By the time he passed away at the end of the decade, he had released over a dozen singles off of three albums and become a global phenomenon. He also received an award from American-Speech-Language-Hearing Association, for bringing his stuttering to light, and demonstrating that when dealing with a perceived defect, it can become a strength...
P.S. While he was a one-hit wonder in the US (just brushing the top 40), he was globally huge, so here's another trip to "Scatman's World":

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