Signed to RCA Records in 1959, R&B singer and pianist, Jesse Belvin had previously co-written the massive crossover hit “Earth Angel” recorded by The Penguins. Jesse also co-wrote and sang “Good Night My Love” (for Modern Records) which became the outro theme for Alan Freed‘s legendary rock and roll radio show.
After years of signing to labels under different names and giving away too much credit for too little in return, he was inspired by his wife and manager Jo Anne to develop his style at RCA. Soon after he had a Top 40 hit with “Guess Who” (written by his wife). His new label began molding him as a potential crossover star, a rival to Capitol Records’ Nat “King” Cole whose style and talent he greatly admired.
Eventually Jesse was paired with the great arranger Marty Paich (Ella Fitzgerald, Anita O’Day, Buddy Rich) and an orchestra including saxophonist Art Pepper to record soulful covers of standards like this week’s Top Tune, “The Best is Yet to Come” by Cy Coleman & Carolyn Leigh. His nick name, Mr. Easy also became the name of the album. Described as a powerful and charismatic performer, Belvin was believed to be well on his way to becoming a major star. Sadly, on February 6, 1960 Jesse and his wife were killed in a head-on car crash shortly after finishing a performance in Little Rock, AR on a bill with Sam Cooke and Jackie Wilson. He never got to hear the finished album which was released later that year.
We hope you enjoy one of the best from an artist of great talent whose career was cut way too short!
Contact & Licensing Info
Publishing controlled by Notable Music Co. (Cy Coleman). Contact: Damon Booth / firstname.lastname@example.org
Administered by Downtown Music Publishing
Contact: Sean McGraw / email@example.com
Publishing controlled by Carwin Music Co. Inc (Carolyn Leigh)
Administered by EMI U. Catalog Inc.
Master controlled by Sony / http://hub.sonymusic.com/licensing/contact/