Kassner Music has made a strong addition to its roster with the song catalogue acquisition of funk, R&B and soul legend Leon Haywood.
An American singer, songwriter and record producer, whose artist career spanned three decades, Haywood rose to fame in the 70s with the seductive lyrics and hypnotic groove of his sensual song “I Wanna Do Something Freaky To You” (1975). Originally reaching the top 20 in the US Pop Charts and No.7 in the US R&B Charts, “I Wanna Do Something Freaky To You” has gone on to be one of the most sampled songs in rap and hip-hop history, producing a stream of hits by popular artists including worldwide superstars Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent and Mariah Carey.
Great syncs of the song include the Ben Stiller blockbuster, Starsky and Hutch (2004), and 2010 comedy Date Night, starring Tina Fey and Steve Carell. In the latter of the two films, the Haywood classic can be heard in the background of a scene that showed Mark Wahlberg answering the door with his top off to Fey’s delight!
Playing piano from the age of three, Haywood grew into a talented accompanist in his teens, moving to LA in the early 60s to tour and record with R&B saxophonist Big Jay McNeely‘s band, which also backed Sam Cooke on the road. In 1967, Haywood secured his breakthrough hit with “It’s Got to Be Mellow” on Decca Records, the first of a run of 20 successes on the Billboard R&B Chart for the singer. Other triumphs comprised of the sonically lush “Long As There’s You (I Got Love)” (1973) which was sampled by Eve in her first release of “Eve of Destruction” and “Don’t Push It Don’t Force It”, a top 20 UK Chart hit in 1980.
Later in his career Haywood was a prolific producer for other artists and the most successful of these collaborations generated “She’s A Bad Mama Jama”, an enormous sensation for Carl Carlton in 1981. Spending an impressive 8 weeks at No.2 in the US Billboard Soul Singles Chart, only being pipped to the post by Lionel Richie and Diana Ross’ song “Endless Love”, the song earnt Carlton a Grammy Award nomination. The song’s signature bassline and chorus lyrics have been a source of inspiration for many producers, interpolated in releases such as “Big Bad Mamma” by Foxy Brown and Dru Hill and more recently in Charlie Wilson’s “Sugar.Honey.Ice.Tea” and Lost Kings’ “Bad”.
Natalie Kassner, Head of Marketing at Kassner, said “We are really excited to have acquired this wonderful body of copyrights from such a prolific and accomplished songwriter. Haywood’s songs have stood the test of time and are as celebrated today as they were back in the 60s, 70s and 80s. We look forward to carrying on the legacy of his music”.