Legendary Louisiana Songwriter, Performer Allen Toussaint Dies at 77
He never shared as much fame as someone like Dr. John or Al Hirt, but there's no way you could ever have grown up in Louisiana -- or even the South -- without hearing one of his songs.
Allen Toussaint, legendary Louisiana producer, songwriter and performer, passed away at age 77 while on tour in Europe. While he had his own string of minorly successful albums in the 1970s for Warner Bros., Toussaint's contributions to Louisiana music go deep. He's written for and/or performed with such amazing musicians as Irma Thomas, The Meters, Dr. John, Aaron Neville, Lee Dorsey, Etta James, Ernie K-Doe, The Pointer Sisters, The Band, Bonnie Raitt, Elvis Costello and Glen Campbell.
In fact, his biggest hit came from Campbell's cover of "Southern Nights," which Campbell took to No. 1 in 1977. It was a million-seller and earned Campbell a nomination for Song of the Year by the CMA.
But on his own, Toussaint was still a musical force. He took home a Grammy Trustees Award in 2009, and got inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2011. The artists who covered his work? As diverse as the songs he wrote: Bo Diddley, The Doors, Iron Butterfly, Ringo Starr, Little Feat, Three Dog Night, Helen Reddy, B.J. Thomas, Robert Palmer.
He also founded the famous Sea-Saint Studios in Gentilly in 1972. Pretty soon, artists like Paul Simon and Paul McCartney and Wings were recording famous albums there.
Hurricane Katrina forced him to relocate to New York City in 2005, which ended up being beneficial to his career, as he experienced a renaissance and began touring frequently worldwide.
“I’m not accustomed to talking about myself,” he said, according to his website. “I talk in the studio with musicians. Or through my songs.” -- New York Times