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George Created This Masquerade

February 16, 2016

Every once in a while there'd be a smooth jazz kind of hit on Top 40 radio, sometimes we'd play one for the kids "Watching the Submarine Races" out at the Lake late at night.  John Hale talks about George Benson's beautiful song. -- TDR

 

Jazz, while it is truly the source music for several other genres of American roots music, has generally been a preferred performance entertainment. Unlike spinoff genres R&B, blues, and even rock & roll, jazz has never relied on its songs being big on the singles music charts. That doesn't mean some jazz songs have never become best selling singles.

 

Guitarist/singer George Benson, as an example, managed a top ten hit with his first released single, his jazzed up take on Leon Russell's "This Masquerade," from Benson's hit album of 1976, "Breezin'." Russell had put This Masquerade as the B side of his 1972 top hit "Tight Rope," and from there, scores of other artists had recorded their version of the hypnotic song. However, George Benson's version of This Masquerade was the only one to chart, climbing to Number Ten on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1976, and Number Three on the Hot Soul chart. It also won the '77 Grammy award for Record Of The Year and was nominated for two other Grammies.

 

This is George Benson with his Top Ten jazz hit from 1976, the award-winning This Masquerade.

 

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