Jimmy Castor

Known as the "Everything Man" because of the melting pot of styles he used to create his eccentric, strutting, party tunes, Jimmy Castor was a cult figure of the 1970s soul and funk scene whose music went on to be sampled by an array of hip hop stars, including Kanye West, Ice Cube and Beastie Boys. Starting out with his doo-wop group Jimmy and the Juniors, Castor was still in his early teens when his song I Promise To Remember became a hit for his friend Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers in 1956. He soaked up the Puerto Rican sounds he was hearing in multi-cultural New York and created his own soul-jazz, Latin-Afro style on debut solo album Hey Leroy! (1968). But it's the funkier follow-up It's Just Begun (1972) which is largely acknowledged as his finest work, producing the single Troglodyte (Cave Man), which reached Number 6 in the US charts. The album's title music later became one of the most sampled tracks in history, used by NWA, Grandmaster Flash, Pharrell, De La Soul, Mos Def and many more, but Castor failed to make the same commercial breakthrough as funkadelic contemporaries George Clinton and Sly Stone. "His brilliant upbeat music touched my soul," Nile Rodgers once said of Castor but, despite his huge influence and widespread acclaim from within the industry, he struggled in the 1980s and 1990s, surviving on royalties derived from his sampled work until his death in 2012 from heart failure.

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