Dr. John - Such A Night - Classic Blues Videos
solo performance in 1981
Dr. John performs "Such A Night" solo in 1981.
Malcolm John Rebbenack, Jr. was born November 21, 1940 in New Orleans,
Louisiana and fell in love with music from an early age. By the time he
was in his teens Rebbenack was performing locally but his concentration
at the time was the guitar. Malcolm performed locally with his own
band, Mac Rebbenack and the Skyliners, as well as Frankie Ford and the
Thunderbirds and Jerry Byrne and the Thunderbirds. During this period
Mac was involved in a fight in which he defended his band mate Ronnie
Barron and suffered a gun shot wound to his left ring finger and this
ended his career as a guitar player. Things have a way of working out
for the best and Rebbenack began playing bass and piano but soon it was
clear that piano would be his thing and he cites Professor Longhair as a
It didn't take long for Mac to establish himself on piano which shows just how incredibly talented the man is. In the 1960s he moved to Los Angeles and did a lot of studio work on piano for the stars including Sonny and Cher and Canned Heat including their album "Living the Blues" in 1968. Rebbenack began perfoming solo in the 1960s as well and his strong New Orleans influence started coming out in more than just his music and Malcolm John Rebbenack, Jr evolved into Doctor John, the Night Tripper which was influenced in part by a very powerful and legendary Louisiana voodoo priest of the early 1800s named Dr. John. Dr. John released his first album in 1968 entitled "Gris-Gris" which remains a classic to this day and followed that up with "Babylon" in 1969, "Remedies" in 1970 and "The Sun, Moon and Herbs" in 1971 where he was joined by Mic Jagger and Eric Clapton. Also in the 1970s the Dr. recorded his first hit single, "Iko Iko" on the album "Dr. John's Gumbo" and it made Billboards Top 40 in 1972. John followed this up with another hit album that established him as the ambassador for New Orleans music in 1973 with "In The Right Place" which was produced by Allen Toussaint and backed by The Meters and this one rose to #24 on the Billboard Album Charts.
In 1979 Dr. John recorded with his idol, Professor Longhair shortly before he passed, on the album "Crawfish Fiesta" which won the W.C. Handy Blues Album of the Year in 1980. In the midst of his own the Dr. worked in the studio for such artists as The Rolling Stones, Neil Diamond, Carly Simon and James Taylor, Van Morrison, Rickie Lee Jones, Lou Reed, Harry Connick Jr. and Willy DeVille. Dr. John has also done quite of bit of work with film in his career including composing the score for "Cannery Row" in 1982 and appears in such films as "Blues Brothers 2000", "The Last Waltz" and his music appears in many, many more. Some of John's more recent albums of note include "Sippiana Hericane" in 2005 to benefit the victims of Katrina, "Mercernary" in 2006, "The City That Care Forgot" in 2008 and "Tribal" in 2010. There is so much of his music to check out but it is so worth it.
Dr. John leaves an incredible legacy that it still being formed as we speak as an ambassador of New Orleans and it's music and one greatest Blues piano players ever to live. Just a few of the honors received by him include being elected into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in 2008 and five Grammy Awards. Every time I listen to Dr. John play that piano it stirs my soul, makes my body move and shake and my heart race. Thank you Dr. John for sharing your gifts with us and may you continue to for a long time coming.