David Axelrod's career started off as a studio drummer.
Then he went into production.
First was Lou Rawls. Monster hit. Then came Cannonball Adderley. Monster hit. Then came the Electric Prunes.
It took a bit, but Mass in F# Minor became regarded as a psychedelic masterpiece.
Once he laid those productions down, he turned towards his own muse and, with wide permission of the labels even without their backing, he began to churn out compositional albums. His typical approach to composition is to write down the bass line first, and then build the rest of the composition around it.
And it was exactly that approach that open up the labels to giving him free reign.
But before that, he retreated from production after Cannonball Adderley died, and he slowed down his compositions, too. Then when he became so frustrated with the music industry that he just wanted to leave it completely, wouldn't you know that the rap acts discovered his music?
I mean, hey, rap acts love bass, too.
David Axelrod is one of the most sampled acts in rock history. And he was a COMPOSER.
I'll let the articles below, particularly the one on WhoSampled.com, guide the readers to which rap acts sampled which David Axelrod tracks. But the end result was to give Axelrod, as he would put it, "screw you money". He resumed recording and releasing his compositions.
And now the spring has dried up.
I may add that here was what some would call a "real" musician who reached out and embraced the music of today, music that the same said people would disparage, proving that he was indeed a real musician.
David Axelrod died on 05 Feb 2017 from complications from a brain aneurysm at the age of 83. I'm guessing he died in Los Angeles, California, but none of the articles I've read tonight have specified the place of death. Then again, only one of them gave the cause of death.
Axelrod is currently ranked #449 on my list of eligible acts most worthy of the R&RHoF. He was cited as an influence by, had his tracks covered or sampled by, and collaborated with Dr. Dre, Wu-Tang Clan, KRS-One, A Tribe Called Quest, Slick Rick, De La Soul, Common, Lou Rawls, Biz Markie, Cypress Hill, Cannonball Adderley, Masta Ace, Electric Prunes, Stan Kenton, Eminem, Nas and AZ (collaboration), Snoop Dogg, Lil Wayne, 50 Cent, Mobb Deep, Fat Joe, DJ Shadow, Lauryn Hill, Ghostface Killah, Mos Def, Busta Rhymes, Beanie Sigel, Sean Price, Macy Gray, UNKLE, Jurassic 5, Lord Finesse, Mos Def, Schoolboy Q, Black Eyed Peas, DJ Khaled, Nate Dogg, Atmosphere, Earl Sweatshirt, Lloyd Banks, J Dilla, Kurupt, Royce Da 5'9", Black Sheep, Beatnuts, Tortoise, Freestyle Fellowship, Large Professor, Black Star, Bill Laswell, Dan The Automator, El-P, RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan, Inspectah Deck of the Wu-Tang Clan, DJ Premiere, Pete Rock and Kool G Rap, among many others.
For most, the works “Songs of Innocence” and “Songs of Experience” will forever be linked to the poet William Blake, but to beat-based musicians, producers and legions of jazz-funk fans, they’re the influential first two solo albums by Los Angeles producer, composer and arranger David Axelrod.The Los Angeles native died Sunday at 83, leaving behind a body of work whose soulful grooves, grand string arrangements and meticulous melodies continue to reverberate in some of the hip-hop era’s biggest hits, most notably Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg’s “The Next Episode.”
As an A&R man for Capitol Records in the ’60s, and one of the first composers to fuse elements of jazz, rock and R&B into one cohesive fabric, Los Angeles-born composer David Axelrod was well respected among not only his peers, but also the Hip Hop community. The news of 83-year-old Axelrod’s passing surfaced on Sunday (February 5), and although he may be physically gone, he’s left behind a vault of compelling work spanning over five decades. From De La Soul’s 1993 Buhloone Mindstate track “I Am I Be” and DJ Shadow’s 1996 Endtroducing joint “Midnight In A Perfect World” to Madlib’s 2000 offering “The Unseen” and Dr. Dre’s 1999 hit, “The Next Episode,” snippets of his original work can be found in countless compositions.
When the most sampled artists of all time are discussed, the focus of conversation naturally gravitates toward the big names in Funk and Soul; James Brown, Kool & the Gang, Isaac Hayes et al. There is however a legion of artists who courted the limelight less but who have played an incredibly important role in the evolution of Hip Hop and sample based music. David Axelrod was, among such artists, one of the most revered.
DJ Shadow tweeted: "I'll never forget meeting him for the first time in 1998. We asked him to do a remix for 'Rabbit In Your Headlights' off the UNKLE album."David could be incredibly intimidating and he did not suffer fools... but if he liked and respected you, he was the most loyal friend on Earth. So honoured to have known you David, you are a bonafide hero to an entire generation of hip hop kids and musical dreamers."
You may read the obituary by Preezy of XXL by clicking here. This was the only article I know to give a cause of death.
This week, the musical world lost an icon when composer, arranger and producer David Axelrod died on Sunday (Feb. 5) at the age of 83 from complications of a brain aneurysm. Although not a well-known fixture to casual fans in the hip-hop world, die-hard beat junkies are well aware of Axelrod’s influence and impact on the culture. His own music has been used by some of the greatest rap producers of all-time and become embedded in some of rap’s most timeless records.
Born in Los Angeles in 1933, Axelrod produced his first album in 1959, and four years later, he was hired as an A&R man and in-house producer for Capitol Records. He went to produce albums for artists like Cannonball Adderley, the Electric Prunes, and Lou Rawls, in addition to releasing several solo albums.
In the mid-Sixties, Axelrod piloted four jazz-funk LPs by The Man From U.N.C.L.E. actor/musician David McCallum. Axelrod's arrangement for McCallum's "The Edge" provided Dr. Dre with the foundation for his 2000 single "The Next Episode." At a rare performance in 2004 documented on Live at the Royal Albert Hall, Axelrod said of being sampled by Dre, "This allows you to have ‘screw you’ money! Thank you Dre."