Anyone who’ s ever nodded along to the beat and sweetly sang the lyrics to “ I’ve Got You Babe” by Sonny and Cher can thank Harold Battiste, New Orleans native and producer of the classic hit song. After spending 30 years in Los Angeles producing, arranging, and composing music for film, television, studio and stage, Harold Battiste returned to New Orleans to devote his talents and knowledge to the preservation of Jazz. His memoir, Unfinished Blues: Memories of a New Orleans Music Man, debuted in June 2010.
Famed New Orleans musician, Harold Battiste, was born on October 28, 1931. Growing up, he developed a love for the music and culture of his hometown and went on to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in Music at Dillard University. Today he is a talented composer, arranger, and teacher. His impressive resume includes work with Sam Cooke, Joe Jones, Lee Dorsey, Barbara George, and Sonny and Cher, for whose television series he served as the musical director. He has arranged musical works for studio, film, stage and television.
Battiste earned six gold records while living and working in Los Angeles for 30 years. He created the premiere African American musician-owned record label, All For One, which is more commonly known as AFO Records. Battiste used his record label to sign and promote New Orleans Jazz musicians including Melvin Lastie, Ellis Marsalis, James Black, Alvin Batiste, Ed Blackwell, Nat Perilliat and Alvin “Red” Tyler.
Harold Battiste has lectured at several leading universities such as the University of California, Los Angeles; the University of Southern California; Southern University; Mozartium Music School in Innsbruck, Austria; and Le Torri Montanare in Lancano, Italy. ?
In 1989, he joined the legendary Ellis Marsalis on the Jazz Studies faculty of the University of New Orleans. Battiste has served as a board member of the Congo Square Cultural Collective, the Louisiana State Music Commission, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and Foundation, Inc., Louisiana Jazz Federation, and the African Cultural Endowment, in addition to other organizations, and he stays highly active in the New Orleans musical community.
Battiste is the recipient of multiple prestigious awards, among them the Beau Arts Award, the Mayor’s Arts Award, the Governor’s Arts Lifetime Achievement Award. He is also the author of a memoir he calls Unfinished Blues: Memories of a New Orleans Music Man, released in June 2010. This book is the first of the Louisiana Musician's Biography Series; dedicated to preserving and recording the abounding influence of music on Louisiana culture and heritage. Battiste was honored with his own day starting in 1998 when the City of New Orleans proclaimed his birthday, October 28, as Harold Battiste Day.