Take a tour of music history by way of Quincy Jones' golden-selling record collection. The inimitable Q himself takes us through some of the records of which he is the most proud, and shares an anecdote or two about how they came to be. This trip down memory lane is like walking through a hall of fame.

Frank Sinatra, It Might as Well Be Swing

“While in Paris, I got a call to bring my orchestra to play with Frank Sinatra at the benefit for Grace Kelly in Monte-Carlo. I was so nervous and so excited to work with him. At the end of the show, I asked him what he thought and he said ‘Koo Koo kid, good job.’ That was it. Didn’t hear another word for four years. Then I got a call, and the voice on the other end of the line said ‘Hey Q! (no one called me Q before) This is Francis. I heard the Bart Howard song ‘In Other Words’ and I liked the way you did it with Basie. That’s the way I want to do it. Would you consider doing a record with me and Basie?’ My response was, ‘Man! Are you kidding?! Is the pope a catholic?!’ I absolutely love him. He was like my brother.”

Quincy Jones, Roots

“Scoring Roots was one of the most challenging (yet rewarding) projects I’ve ever undertaken. I spent a great deal of time studying, researching, and tracing the history of black music as well as the social significance that our music has had on society. Roots taught me more about myself than anything else, and for that I am forever grateful.”

Quincy Jones, Back On The Block

Back on the Block was my return to experimenting with musical cross-pollination. In 1989, people would always tell me that I was in arrested development because in mainstream music … rap was over. But I didn’t believe them. I knew it was just getting started and that the influence of hip-hop would transcend the boundaries of the industry. We wound up winning the second Grammy in the rap category, and when we look back on it today, rap was on the rise, and it still is!”

Quincy Jones, Body Heat

“I am so proud to have worked with some of the most talented musicians on this album. I had Al Jarreau doing vocal percussion because that was before anyone really knew he could sing! Little did we know … he REALLY could sing! Then afterwards, I had him paired up with Minnie Riperton and Leon Ware on “If I Ever Lose This Heaven.” Absolutely beautiful memories!”

Quincy Jones, Sounds … and Stuff Like That

“I mean, with Herbie Hancock, Lesley Gore, Patti Austin, Stevie Wonder, Ashford & Simpson, Chaka Khan, and so many other top of the tops on one album, how could you possibly put a name to it?! It was just … stuff like that! You know … the good stuff!”

Quincy Jones, The Dude

“One day, Henry Mancini and I went to an art gallery and saw this funky lookin’ statue on the display, and man … I’m tellin’ ya … it kept saying, ‘my brother take me home!’ So I bought it right then and there. It had an attitude like I’d never seen before … complete with his puffed-out lip, arched back, and cane! And that’s what inspired my album, The Dude, in 1980 … It might sound crazy, but this dude spiritually spoke to me and I’m glad it did or else that album would’ve never been made (you can see the silhouette of the sculpture on the album cover)! I found out that the statue actually came from a farm in South Africa … The farm wasn’t making any profits, so the owner had a sculpting teacher named Fanizani Akuda (a member of the sculptural movement called “Shona Sculpture”) come and teach his workers how to sculpt, so that they could make a living … The Dude is one of the sculptures that Fanizani made at the farm and I’ve had him ever since!”

Quincy Jones, Q’s Jook Joint

“In 1953, while I was working in New York as an arranger, I had the opportunity to work with James Moody. Eleven of us had just left Hamp’s band and decided to try out in NY. Moody heard the arrangements I was writing for Dinah’s road band and gave me the once in a lifetime chance to arrange for his 8 piece band. So, after being personally involved in producing/arranging “Moody’s Mood for Love” for Aretha Franklin in 1972 and George Benson in 1980, you can imagine the joy of having the good fortune to have my dear friend and originator’s solo open and close Q’s Jook Joint.”

Quincy Jones, “The Secret Garden”

“I’ll never forget recording this track because of everything we had to do just to get the mood right! We had the lights almost all the way off (except for dimmed lights in the control room) just to create an ambiance that could match Barry White’s low, sexy tone. It’s up to the producer to figure out how to provide an atmosphere that will get the most out of the artist, and that’s what we did!”

George Benson, Give Me The Night

“George Benson’s album Give Me the Night was one of the first albums released by my label Qwest, and it sure didn’t let us down! It really is such a timeless song because it’s just all about having a good time. And man, we had a great time performing this track live in Stuttgart, Germany for the first time EVER, just a couple of months ago (2017)! Came full circle!”

Brothers Johnson, “Strawberry Letter 23”

“We always used to call Louis Thunder-Thumbs because that cat sure knew how to slap a bass, and George is Lightning-Licks because he has a speed like no one has ever seen! This sibling duo is one that cannot be replicated because they were simply the best of the best. I miss Louis every single day, but I’m so fortunate to have had the chance to make music with him and George for so long. He’ll always be with us through the music he left.”

Brothers Johnson, Look Out For #1

Louis and George went on tour to Japan with me after I had my aneurisms, and during the course of that tour, I heard this unique unity and sound between them and it immediately inspired me to try to produce an album for them. So, I introduced them to Mellow Madness, and switched their name from the Johnson Brothers to the Brothers Johnson! We chose all positive titles like Look Out for #1 and just went with the flow. After that, they had four double and triple Platinum records in a row and actually went straight to #1!

Brothers Johnson, Light Up The Night and Blam!

“I had Louis and George work with my beautiful partner Rod Temperton on their last couple of albums, Blam! and Light Up the Night, and man I’m telling you … they kicked it!! They needed a lot of help in the beginning, but we gave it to them because almost everybody needs a little help here and there. But once they got it … they really got it! And the only proof you need is in these records!”


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