Monday, December 29, 2014

"Shake, Rattle, Roll", Arthur Conley, Jr.

Well, Professor Google had a lot to say about Arthur Conley, and all very interesting too. 

Not so much a one-hit-wonder after all, and good for him.  Some hits in America, regional and otherwise, and he worked a lot with Otis Redding, who had identified him as a real talent while he was regional in the Atlanta area.  He moved to Europe early on, and he was quite successful in Europe too.  Died young, the poor man, of intestinal cancer at 57. 

Why did he move to Europe?  First England and then the Netherlands?  Very interesting.  Evidently he found America too intolerant and insufficiently welcoming for a man with his racial and other characteristics.   He seems to have found that Europe was a better fit for him, he worked a lot and the tone of the reporting seems to indicate that he was probably pretty happy.  Good for him.  Being black in America is a famously difficult status to bear, and the other thing, in the 60's, was a serious complication for a man.  It required total secrecy and the general level of condemnation was high.  So yeah, Europe, let's try that.  He even changed his name over there, legally changed his name.  America can be an ungrateful place, and I think he was trying to put the experience behind him. 

Great entertainer.  RIP, brother.

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