Favourite Blaxploitation Composers

by mister_gs | created - 01 Sep 2012 | updated - 11 months ago | Public

No ranking, just sorted First Name / Family Name. Except Donald Byrd, he is for sure a great musician (not only for film music). Personal favourites are hard to choose since there are so many superb Soul and Jazz musicians in this list. But when it comes to film music, I'd name Curtis Mayfield, Isaac Hayes, Luchi De Jesus, Melvin van Peebles and Quincy Jones. Thanks for checking, enjoy.

1. Donald Byrd

Soundtrack | Confidence

Donald Byrd was born on December 9, 1932 in Detroit, Michigan, USA as Donaldson Toussaint L'Ouverture Byrd II. He died on February 4, 2013 in Dover, Delaware, USA.

2. Adrian Younge

Composer | Black Dynamite

Adrian Younge is a composer, known for Black Dynamite (2009), Luke Cage (2016) and Run This Town.

4. Alan Tew

Soundtrack | August: Osage County

British composer and arranger Alan Stanley Tew got his start in the 1950's as a pianist and arranger for The Len Turner Band in London, England. Tew later became the leader of his own orchestra which has performed dozens of soundtrack and library music albums. In addition, Alan has also ...

6. The Art Ensemble of Chicago

Composer | Les stances à Sophie

The Art Ensemble of Chicago is a composer, known for Les stances à Sophie (1971), Sexes (1971) and Chicago on the Good Foot (1983).

8. Artie Butler

Music_department | Grease 2

Artie Butler was born on December 2, 1942 in Brooklyn, New York, USA. He is known for his work on Grease 2 (1982), Annie Hall (1977) and Because I Said So (2007).

9. Barry De Vorzon

Soundtrack | The Warriors

Barry De Vorzon was born on July 31, 1934 in New York City, New York, USA.

10. Barry White

Soundtrack | Baby Driver

Barry White first made his mark in the music business in the 1960s as a session musician, even serving for a spell as an A&R man for a small, independent Los Angeles record label. He first hit it big in 1973 with a series of albums and singles emphasizing lush orchestrations and elaborate ...

11. Bernard Pretty Purdie

Soundtrack | Smokin' Aces

Bernard Pretty Purdie was born on June 11, 1939 in Elkton, Maryland, USA.

13. Booker T. Jones

Soundtrack | Repo Men

Booker T. Jones was born on November 12, 1944 in Memphis, Tennessee, USA. He has been married to Nanine Warhurst Jones since June 18, 1985. They have three children. He was previously married to Priscilla Coolidge.

14. Brian Bennett

Music_department | Black Dynamite

Composer Brian Bennett is the three times winner of the Ivor Novello Award. Initially achieving fame as drummer with The Shadows, he has since forged a career as one of Britain's leading writers of music to picture.

Brian was born in London in 1940 and by the late 1950s was one of the most ...

17. Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson

Composer | Mean Johnny Barrows

Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson was born on June 14, 1932 in New York City, New York, USA. He is known for his work on Mean Johnny Barrows (1975), Thomasine & Bushrod (1974) and A Warm December (1973). He died on March 9, 2004 in Chicago, Illinois, USA.

18. Curtis Mayfield

Soundtrack | Armageddon

Rhythm and blues performer/songwriter credited with defining 1960's Chicago sound in hits like "It's All Right" and "Gypsy Woman." His style influenced other artists from pop to hip hop. Has been a quadriplegic ever since he was struck by lighting rig during outdoor concert in New York, 1990. ...

19. David Shire

Music_department | Zodiac

David Shire was born on July 3, 1937 in Buffalo, New York, USA as David Lee Shire. He is known for his work on Zodiac (2007), Short Circuit (1986) and Saturday Night Fever (1977). He has been married to Didi Conn since February 11, 1984. They have one child. He was previously married to Talia Shire.

20. Dennis Coffey

Soundtrack | One for the Money

Dennis Coffey was born on November 11, 1940 in Detroit, Michigan, USA as Dennis James Coffey.

21. Dominic Frontiere

Music_department | Color of Night

Dominic Carmen Frontiere, 86, Emmy and Golden Globe winning film and television composer, former head of music at Paramount Pictures, passed away in Tesuque, New Mexico on 21 December 2017. He is survived by his wife Robin and their children Emily, Joseph, Nicholas and Sofia, as well as daughter ...

22. Don Costa

Music_department | Hello, Dolly!

Don Costa was born on July 10, 1925 in Boston, Massachusetts, USA as Dominick P. Costa. He is known for his work on Hello, Dolly! (1969), Madigan (1968) and Lanigan's Rabbi (1976). He was married to Terry Ray Costa. He died on January 19, 1983 in New York City, New York, USA.

23. Don Julian

Soundtrack | Savage!

Member of 1950s R&B group Don Julian and the Meadowlarks.

24. Donny Hathaway

Soundtrack | Two Weeks Notice

Donny Hathaway was born on October 1, 1945 in Chicago, Illinois, USA. He is known for his work on Two Weeks Notice (2002), The Intouchables (2011) and Malcolm X (1992). He was married to Eulaulah Hathaway. He died on January 13, 1979 in New York City, New York, USA.

25. Doug Riley

Soundtrack | Liberty Heights

Doug Riley was born on April 24, 1945 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada as Douglas Brian Riley. He is known for his work on Liberty Heights (1999), Shoot (1976) and Foxy Lady (1971). He was married to Jan. He died on August 27, 2007 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

27. Ed Bogas

Composer | Black Girl

Ed Bogas was born as Edgar Noel Bogas. He is known for his work on Black Girl (1972), Eddie Macon's Run (1983) and Sunburst (1975). He is married to Desirée Goyette.

28. Ed Townsend

Soundtrack | High Fidelity

Ed Townsend was born on April 16, 1929 in Fayetteville, Tennessee, USA. He was married to Janice Townsend and Cherrigale Townsend. He died on August 13, 2003 in San Bernardino, California, USA.

29. Edwin Starr

Soundtrack | Adventures in Babysitting

Born Charles Hatcher in Nashville, Tennessee, Starr formed his first group, the Future Tones, in 1957, recording one single before his three-year army service. In 1965, he was offered a solo deal following two years of touring with another band.

Starr's early hits included "Agent Double-O Soul" and ...

30. Galt MacDermot

Soundtrack | Hair

Galt MacDermot was born on December 19, 1928 in Montréal, Québec, Canada as Arthur Terence Galt MacDermot.

31. Garfeel Ruff

Soundtrack | The Hitter

The band Garfeel Ruff was formed in 1974 by brothers Rickey Godfrey and Ronnie Godfrey and was signed to Capitol Records in 1979, releasing two albums.

32. Gene Page

Composer | Blacula

Was co-arranger of many of Barry White's biggest hits. Other hits he arranged included: "Philadelphia Freedom" by Elton John, "Stoney End" by Barbra Streisand, and "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" by The Righteous Brothers.

34. Gerard Damiano

Director | Never So Deep

Gerard Damiano was born on August 4, 1928 in The Bronx, New York City, New York, USA as Gerardo Rocco Damiano. He was a director and writer. He was married to Paula Morton. He died on October 25, 2008 in Fort Myers, Florida, USA.

35. Gordon Parks

Director | The Learning Tree

The pre-eminent American photojournalist of sub-Saharan descent. An acclaimed photographer for Life magazine from the late 40s through late 60s, he turned to directing films, his second of which, the blaxploitation movie Shaft (1971), achieved success at the box office. In 1989 his first film ...

36. Grant Green

Soundtrack | The Final Comedown

Grant Green was born on June 6, 1931 in St. Louis, Missouri, USA. He died on January 31, 1979 in New York City, New York, USA.

37. H.B. Barnum

Soundtrack | Pulp Fiction

H.B. Barnum was born on July 15, 1936 in Houston, Texas, USA as Hidle Barnum. He is known for his work on Pulp Fiction (1994), Deceiver (1997) and The Tao of Steve (2000).

39. Isaac Hayes

Actor | Escape from New York

Isaac Hayes was the second-born child of Isaac Sr. and Eula Hayes, but was raised by his grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Willie Wade Sr. The child of a poor family, he grew up picking cotton in Covington, Tennessee. He dropped out of high school, only to be encouraged later by his former high school ...

40. J.J. Johnson

Soundtrack | Sea of Love

J.J. Johnson was born on January 22, 1924 in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA as James Louis Johnson. He was a composer, known for Sea of Love (1989), Shaft (1971) and The Six Million Dollar Man (1974). He was married to Carolyn and Vivian. He died on February 4, 2001 in Indianapolis.

41. Jack Ashford

Soundtrack | Blackjack

Jack Ashford was born in 1934 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

43. James Brown

Soundtrack | Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown

James Brown was born on May 3, 1933 in Barnwell, South Carolina, USA as James Joseph Brown. He was married to Tomirae Brown, Adrienne Rodriguez, Deidre Jenkins and Velma Warren. He died on December 25, 2006 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

44. Jerry Butler

Soundtrack | Mr. Nobody

Jerry Butler got his start in the music business at age 18 when he and his friend Curtis Mayfield formed a singing group and named them The Impressions. They had an almost immediate hit with a song Butler wrote, "For Your Precious Love", which became the group's first gold record. Nicknamed "The ...

45. Jimmy Cliff

Soundtrack | The Long Kiss Goodnight

Jimmy Cliff was born on April 1, 1948 in St. Catherine, Jamaica as James Chambers.

46. Johnnie Taylor

Soundtrack | Bedazzled

Johnnie Taylor was born on May 5, 1937 in Crawfordsville, Arkansas, USA as Johnnie Harrison Taylor. He was married to Gerlean Rockett. He died on May 31, 2000 in Dallas, Texas, USA.

47. Johnny Harris

Music_department | The Powers of Matthew Star

Johnny Harris was born in Edinburgh, Scotland 1932 (of Welsh parentage) and is a graduate of the Guildhall School of Music in London. He originally played trumpet with English big bands in the 50's and started freelance writing and arranging in the early 60's before he was hired by Tony Hatch for ...

48. Johnny Pate

Composer | Shaft in Africa

Johnny Pate was born on December 5, 1923 in Chicago, Illinois, USA. He is known for his work on Shaft in Africa (1973), Brother on the Run (1973) and Sudden Death (1977).

49. Joseph Koo

Composer | Meng long guo jiang

Joseph Koo was born on January 1, 1933 in Suzhou, China. He is known for his work on The Way of the Dragon (1972), A Better Tomorrow (1986) and He ri jun zai lai (1966).

50. Keith Mansfield

Soundtrack | X: First Class

Keith Mansfield was born in June 1940 in Slough, Berkshire, England. He is known for his work on X: First Class (2011), Grindhouse (2007) and Death Proof (2007).

51. Lamont Dozier

Soundtrack | Buster

Lamont Dozier was born on June 16, 1941 in Detroit, Michigan, USA as Lamont Herbert Dozier. He has been married to Barbara Ullman Dozier since November 20, 1980. They have three children.

52. Luchi De Jesus

Composer | Black Belt Jones

American film and TV composer and arranger of the 1970's.

53. Marvin Gaye

Soundtrack | R.I.P.D.

Marvin Gaye was born on April 2, 1939 in Washington, District of Columbia, USA as Marvin Pentz Gay Jr. He was married to Jan Gaye and Anna Gordy Gaye. He died on April 1, 1984 in Los Angeles, California, USA.

54. Melvin Van Peebles

Actor | The Shining

Melvin Van Peebles was born on August 21, 1932 in Chicago, Illinois, USA. He is an actor and writer, known for The Shining (1997), Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song (1971) and Le conte du ventre plein (2000).

55. Michael Tschudin

Music_department | Girl Shy

56. Monk Higgins

Music_department | 'Sheba, Baby'

Hit #117 on the Billboard Singles Charts in 1967 with "Who-Dun-It?" (St. Lawrence 1013)

57. Nat Dove

Music_department | Petey Wheatstraw

58. Osibisa

Soundtrack | Boyhood

59. Paul Riser

Soundtrack | Coach Carter

Began his Motown career as a session trombonist and then began arranging. Arranged the majority of Motown's top hits from the '60s through the '80s. Biggest hits as an arranger include "My Girl" and "Papa Was A Rollin' Stone" by The Temptations, "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" by Marvin Gaye, "...

60. Quincy Jones

Producer | The Color Purple

Considered to be one of the greatest minds in music and television history, Quincy Delight Jones, Jr. was born on March 14, 1933 in Chicago, Illinois. He is the son of Sarah Frances (Wells), a bank executive, and Quincy Delight Jones, Sr., a carpenter.

Jones found his love for music while he was ...

61. Robert O. Ragland

Composer | Top of the World

Robert O. Ragland is one of the most prolific music composers in the film industry. Originally from Chicago, Ragland gave up a comfortable executive position in advertising to gamble on his musical talents in Hollywood. Since that decision made in 1968, Ragland has made his impressive presence ...

62. Roger Hamilton Spotts

Composer | Tongue

Roger Hamilton Spotts is an American composer and arranger who has enjoyed a highly successful career that has spanned over five decades. He has collaborated with noted musicians such as Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Charles, Count Basie and Lionel Hampton, to name a few. For Roger, his 'work' was always a ...

63. Roy Ayers

Soundtrack | Ant-Man

Roy Ayers was born on September 10, 1940 in Los Angeles, California, USA.

64. Rudy Ray Moore

Actor | Dolemite

Rudy Ray Moore was born on March 17, 1927 in Fort Smith, Arkansas, USA. He was an actor and writer, known for Dolemite (1975), The Human Tornado (1976) and Disco Godfather (1979). He died on October 19, 2008 in Akron, Ohio, USA.

65. Sid Ramin

Music_department | West Side Story

Sid Ramin was born on January 22, 1919 in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. He is known for his work on West Side Story (1961), Demolition Man (1993) and Secretary (2002). He has been married to Gloria Ramin since January 9, 1949. They have one child.

66. Smokey Robinson

Soundtrack | Big Time

Multi-talented performer/writer/producer Smokey Robinson's career, and life, is inextricably tied up with Motown Records' founder Berry Gordy (his first two children are named Tamla, for the Gordy-owned label Smokey recorded for, and Berry, for Gordy himself). He and Gordy have had a professional ...

67. Solomon Burke

Soundtrack | Unbreakable

Solomon Burke was born on March 21, 1940 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA as James Soloman McDonald. He died on October 10, 2010 in Schiphol Airport, Haarlemmermeer, Noord-Holland, Netherlands.

68. Sonny Terry

Soundtrack | The Jerk

Sonny Terry was born on October 24, 1911 in Greensboro, North Carolina, USA as Saunders Terrell. He died on March 11, 1986 in Mineola, Long Island, New York, USA.

70. Sun Ra

Soundtrack | Space Is the Place

Sun Ra was born on May 22, 1914 in Birmingham, Alabama, USA as Herman Poole Blount. He died on May 30, 1993 in Birmingham.

71. Thom Bell

Soundtrack | Avengers: Infinity War

Composer / arranger / record producer Thom Bell is known as one of the chief architects of "The Sound Of Philadelphia". In the mid-'60s he was the house pianist at The Uptown Theatre in Philadelphia and later became musical director for Chubby Checker. In 1966 he partnered up with entrepreneur Stan...

72. Tito Sotto

Actor | Iskul Bukol: 20 Years After (The Ungasis and Escaleras Adventure)

Tito Sotto was born on August 24, 1948 in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Luzon, Philippines as Vicente Castelo Sotto III. He is a composer and actor, known for Iskul Bukol: 20 Years After (The Ungasis and Escaleras Adventure) (2008), Naku ha! (1984) and Iskul bukol (1980). He is married to Helen Gamboa.

73. Tom McIntosh

Music_department | Shaft

74. Vic Caesar

Soundtrack | Bare Knuckles

Vic Caesar was born on May 27, 1931 in Chicago, Illinois, USA as Victor Louis Cesario. He died on June 21, 2000 in Phoenix, Arizona, USA.

76. Wilbur Kirk

Music_department | Nothing But a Man

Wilbur Kirk is known for his work on Nothing But a Man (1964) and The Subject Is Jazz (1958).

77. Willie Hutch

Soundtrack | Four Brothers

Extremely talented, versatile and ambitious R&B singer, songwriter, guitarist and producer Willie Hutch was born as Willie McKinley Hutchison on December 6, 1944 in Los Angeles. Willie grew up in Dallas, Texas and sang in the doo-wop group the Ambassadors as a teenager. Following graduation from ...

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