Kassner Music has made a strong addition to its roster with the song catalogue acquisition of funk, R&B and soul sensation Leon Haywood, an American singer, songwriter and record producer. He 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, the song has gone on to be one of the most sampled songs in hip-hop history, generating a stream of hits from a range of popular artists including worldwide superstars Dr. Dre, 50 Cent and Mariah Carey. Amongst the bigger songs that have sampled the track include Mims’ “This Is Why I’m Hot” (US Pop Chart #1, UK #18 and ARIA #30).
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 famously be heard in the background of a scene that showed Mark Wahlberg answering the door with his top off to Fey’s delight!
Other Haywood-performed hits include the sonically lush “Long As There’s You (I Got Love)” which was sampled by Eve in her first release “Eve of Destruction” (featured on the OST for the film Bulworth).
Haywood’s roots extend further back than the 70s. In the early 60s he toured and recorded with R&B saxophonist Big Jay McNeely’s band which also backed Sam Cooke on the road and, in 1967, Haywood secured his first solo hit with “It’s Got to Be Mellow” on Decca Records. From the album ‘Naturally’, released by 20th Century Records, “Don’t Push It Don’t Force It”, charted at No.12 in the UK (and at No.2 on the US R&B Charts).
In the latter part of his career Haywood was a prolific producer for other artists and the most successful of these collaborations generated “She’s A Bad Mama Jama”, sung by Carl Carlton. The track spent 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”. After a total of 21 weeks in the American charts it became a gold record and is now a staple on soundtracks as well as one of the most sampled songs in rap and hip-hop music to date. The track was so successful that it earned Carlton the Grammy Award nomination for ‘Best Male R&B Vocal Performance’.
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”.