The Info List - Shuggie Otis

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Shuggie Otis
Shuggie Otis
(born Johnny Alexander Veliotes, Jr.; November 30, 1953)[2][3] is an American singer-songwriter, recording artist, and multi-instrumentalist. Otis's composition "Strawberry Letter 23" (as recorded by The Brothers Johnson) topped the Billboard R&B chart and reached #5 of the Billboard Hot 100
Billboard Hot 100
chart in 1977.[3] He also achieved commercial success with his 1974 single "Inspiration Information" (from the album of the same name), reaching #56 on the R&B chart.[3]


1 Biography 2 Personal life 3 Discography

3.1 Studio albums 3.2 Collaborations 3.3 Compilations 3.4 Later Samples

4 References 5 External links

Biography[edit] Born in Los Angeles, California, Otis is the son of rhythm and blues pioneer, musician, bandleader, and impresario Johnny Otis who was of Greek descent and his wife Phyllis Walker who was of African American and Filipino descent. The name "Shuggie" (short for "sugar," according to his mother) was coined by Phyllis when he was a newborn. Otis began playing guitar when he was two years old and performing professionally with his father's band at the age of eleven,[4] often disguising himself with dark glasses and a false mustache so that he could play with his father's band in after-hours nightclubs. Otis, primarily known as a guitarist, also sings and plays a multitude of other instruments. While growing up with and being heavily influenced by many blues, jazz and R&B musicians in his father Johnny's immediate circle, Otis began to gravitate towards the popular music of his generation such as Sly Stone, Jimi Hendrix, and Arthur Lee of the band Love. In 1969, Al Kooper
Al Kooper
asked Otis to be the featured guest on the second installment (Kooper Session) of the Super Session album series that had previously included Stephen Stills
Stephen Stills
and Mike Bloomfield. Kooper and the then-fifteen-year-old Otis recorded the whole album over one weekend in New York. Immediately returning to Los Angeles, Otis, along with his father and singer Delmar "Mighty Mouth" Evans, performed on the album Cold Shot, released in 1969 on the Los Angeles-based Kent label. Another obscure album this three-man team recorded was the extremely rare and risque Snatch & The Poontangs, on which Otis recorded tracks under the pseudonym "Prince Wunnerful". Otis then released his first solo album later that year entitled Here Comes Shuggie Otis
Shuggie Otis
on Epic Records. Countless musicians were his guests on that debut attempt, including Johnny, Leon Haywood, Al McKibbon, Wilton Felder. This further established his reputation and catapulted him to the attention of B. B. King, who was quoted in a 1970 issue of Guitar Player magazine saying Otis was his "favorite new guitarist". Some of the artists Otis performed and recorded with during that time include Frank Zappa
Frank Zappa
(having played electric bass on "Peaches en Regalia" on the 1969 album Hot Rats),[4] Etta James, Eddie Vinson, Richard Berry, Louis Jordan, and Bobby 'Blue' Bland, among many others. The album Otis received the most notoriety for was his second Epic Records release in 1971, Freedom Flight, which featured his hit "Strawberry Letter 23". Both the album and single reached the Billboard Top 200 and the Billboard Hot 100, respectively and caught the attention of Brothers Johnson
Brothers Johnson
guitarist George Johnson, who then played it for producer Quincy Jones. They covered the song and it instantly became a smash hit. Even though Otis played most of his own parts in the studio, the lineup on this album was quite extensive, including keyboardist George Duke
George Duke
and Aynsley Dunbar
Aynsley Dunbar
of Frank Zappa, Journey and Whitesnake
fame. In 1974, Otis released Inspiration Information, his third and final album for Epic Records. The album had taken almost three years to finish. All the songs were written and arranged by Otis himself, who played every musical instrument on the album, except for horns and some strings. However, despite its long-awaited impact, Inspiration Information had but one single (the title track) reach the Billboard Hot 100. After the album's release, Otis was approached by Billy Preston on behalf of The Rolling Stones, asking him to join the band for their upcoming world tour. He declined the offer, along with the chance to work with Quincy Jones
Quincy Jones
in helping produce Otis's next album. After a series of similar refusals, Otis gained the reputation of "taking his time", and his recording contract with Epic Records
Epic Records
was nullified. Otis's only credited works throughout the mid-1970s were done as a session musician for his father's recording projects. Inspiration Information
Inspiration Information
gained a huge cult following during the 1990s with the emergence of rare groove and acid jazz.[citation needed] It was lauded by such musicians as Prince and Lenny Kravitz. Due in part to this regained interest, the album was re-released on April 3, 2001, by David Byrne's independent label Luaka Bop
Luaka Bop
Records. This CD re-issue includes all nine original album tracks plus four songs taken from Otis' 1971 album Freedom Flight, and features new cover art, liner notes, and exclusive never-seen-before photos. Otis is featured in every one of his father Johnny's books, as well as Alligator Records Presents West Coast Blues, issued in August 1998. Otis and Sony Music Entertainment made a deal for a double CD which was released on April 20, 2013. It is a re-release of Inspiration/Information. Added to the album are several bonus tracks, including an accompanying album entitled Wings of Love. Wings of Love is an album of previously unreleased material, all of which was written from 1975 to the present, including live material from some of his rare performances. It will be available on Shugiterius records (Shuggie's new company) and Sony records, through Sony Music Entertainment. Otis and a band entitled Shuggie Otis
Shuggie Otis
Rite toured internationally in 2013 in support of the release, including Australia, Japan, the U.S., Ireland and the U.K.[5] Their performances earned rave reviews from critics.[6][7][8] Personal life[edit] Otis had a son named Johnny III (known as Lucky) with his first wife Miss Mercy from The GTOs, an all-girl group created by Frank Zappa. Soon after his first marriage ended, he married Lillian Wilson (known as Teri), daughter of trumpeter/bandleader/Latin-jazz pioneer Gerald Wilson; they had a son, Eric, naming him after Eric Dolphy, who was one of Gerald's bandmates and close friends. Both of Shuggie's sons, Lucky and Eric, are musicians in their own right; Eric is currently playing and touring in his father's band, while Lucky is spearheading various projects, including launching his solo career, heading his own group Otis Ledbetter with partner Louis Ledbetter, great-grandson of blues musician Lead Belly, and also leading a 13-piece rhythm-and-blues orchestra, which he has dubbed the New Johnny Otis All-Stars, continuing his grandfather's legacy. Discography[edit] Studio albums[edit]

Here Comes Shuggie Otis
Here Comes Shuggie Otis
(1969), Epic Records Freedom Flight (1971), Epic Records Inspiration Information
Inspiration Information
(1974), Epic Records

Collaborations[edit] With The Johnny Otis Show

Cold Shot! (1968), Kent Records Snatch & The Poontangs (1969), Kent Records Cuttin' Up (1970), Epic Records The Johnny Otis Show Live at Monterey! (1970), Epic Records The New Johnny Otis Show with Shuggie Otis
Shuggie Otis
(1981), Alligator Records Into the Eighties (1984), Charly Records

With Al Kooper

Kooper Session
Kooper Session
(1969), Columbia Records

With Preston Love

Preston Love's Omaha-Bar-B-Q (1969), Kent Records

With Guitar Slim Green

Stone Down Blues
(1970), Kent Records

With Gerald Wilson

(Discovery, 1981)

With Frank Zappa

Peaches En Regalia
Peaches En Regalia
from the album Hot Rats (1969)

With Jimmy Vivino

Violet In Blue from the album Novemberin' (2008)

With Mark Lotito

Novemberin' from the album Novemberin' (2008)


Shuggie's Boogie: Shuggie Otis
Shuggie Otis
Plays The Blues
(1994), Epic Records
Epic Records
/ Legacy Recordings In Session: Great Rhythm & Blues
(2002), Golden Lane Records Original Album Classics: Shuggie Otis
Shuggie Otis
(2013), Epic Records
Epic Records
/ Legacy Recordings Wings of Love (2013), Sony Records
Sony Records
/ Legacy Recordings

Later Samples[edit]

"Island Letter" sampled by Digable Planets for the track "For Corners" from the album Blowout Comb
Blowout Comb
(1994). "Strawberry Letter 23" sampled by DJ Quik for the track "Dollaz + Sense" from the album Safe + Sound
Safe + Sound
(1995). "Aht Uh Mi Hed" sampled by Beginner (band)
Beginner (band)
for the track "Liebes Lied" from the album Bambule (1998). "Strawberry Letter 23" sampled by OutKast
for the track "Ms. Jackson" from the album Stankonia
(2001). "Strawberry Letter 23" sampled by Beyoncé
for the track "Be With You" from the album Dangerously in Love
Dangerously in Love
(2003). "Rainy Day" sampled by Beyoncé
for the track "Gift from Virgo" from the album Dangerously In Love
Dangerously In Love
(2003). "Oxford Gray" sampled by RJD2
for the track "Ring Finger" from the album Since We Last Spoke
Since We Last Spoke
(2004). "Oxford Gray" sampled by Alchemist
for the track "B.I.G T.W.I.N.S" from the album The Grimey Collection (2008). "Not Available" sampled by J Dilla
J Dilla
for the track "Donuts (Outro)" and "Welcome to the Show" from the album Donuts (2006).[9] "Sweet Thang" sampled by Criolo
for the track "Demorô" from the album "Ainda Há Tempo" (2006). "Aht Uh mi Hed" sampled by Kapu (Venezuelan producer) for the track "Uno por ellas" from the album "Apa y Can" (2013).


^ Ed Hogan " Shuggie Otis
Shuggie Otis
- Discography (Compilations)" "AllMusic.com" Retrieved Oct. 25, 2017 ^ "California Birth Index, 1905–1995 [database on-line]". United States: The Generations Network. 2005. Retrieved 2009-11-23.  ^ a b c Hogan, Ed. " Shuggie Otis
Shuggie Otis
Biography". allmusic.com. Rovi Corporation. Archived from the original on July 4, 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-04. Born...Nov 30, 1953 in Los Angeles, CA  ^ a b "The Thermals: Desperate Ground Album Review Pitchfork". pitchfork.com. Retrieved 2016-09-01.  ^ [1] Archived February 24, 2013, at the Wayback Machine. ^ "Shuggie Otis: Live at The Highline Ballroom, 1/10/2013". Depth of Field Magazine. January 14, 2013. Retrieved 2014-05-18.  ^ [2] ^ Chuck Sudo (April 17, 2013). "REVIEW: Shuggie Otis
Shuggie Otis
Revels In His Second Chance". Chicagoist. Archived from the original on April 20, 2013. Retrieved May 18, 2014.  ^ Sears, Korby. “Doing Donuts”. City Arts. 14 July 2014. http://www.cityartsmagazine.com/doing-donuts/

External links[edit]

Shuggie Otis' official website Shuggie Otis
Shuggie Otis
Biography on the Luaka Bop
Luaka Bop
website Shuggie Otis
Shuggie Otis
at AllMusic Shuggie Otis
Shuggie Otis
Interview for Echoes Magazine 2012 - requires Google login The Mystery of Shuggie Otis
Shuggie Otis
by The Village Voice A concert review on Quooklynite

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 42041660 LCCN: n82047856 ISNI: 0000 0000 5517 6709 GND: 135223024 SUDOC: 081716117 BNF: cb14044216f (data) MusicBrainz: ff9542ca-7859-4db2