Leon Haywood, American funk and soul singer, Died at 74


Otha Leon Haywood was born on February 11, 1942, and died on April 5, 2016.

He was an American funk and soul singer, songwriter and record producer.

Leon was best known for his 1975 hit single “I Want’a Do Something Freaky to You”, which has been much sampled by Dr. Dre and others.

During his teens years, he performed with a local group and worked as an accompanist to blues musician, Guitar Slim.

In the early 1960s, Leon relocated to Los Angeles, California, where he worked with saxophonist Big Jay McNeely.

Big Jay McNeely arranged for him to record his first single, “Without a Love”, an instrumental on the small Swingin’ record label.

Following that, he joined Sam Cooke’s band as keyboardist until the singer’s death.

Next, Leon Haywood recorded two singles for Fantasy Records and subsequently moved to Imperial Records, where he recorded the single “She’s with Her Other Love”, which made the R&B charts in 1965.

Leon was also part of two session bands organized by Los Angeles disc jockey Magnificent Montague which issued the instrumental hits “Hole in the Wall” (R&B #5/Pop #50, 1965) under the name of The Packers, and “Precious Memories” (R&B number 31, 1967) as the Romeos.

During 1967, Haywood acquired his first solo hit with “It’s Got to Be Mellow” (R&B #21 and Pop #63) on Decca Records.

Leon played on further recording sessions with the Packers and Dyke & the Blazers, then returned to recording under his own name.

The singer also established in 1967 a production company, Evejim, named after his parents.

Leon was credited with writing the 1981 hit “She’s a Bad Mama Jama” by Carl Carlton, which he produced in his own studio.

He released the album It’s Me Again, in 1983, which featured a couple minor R&B hits.

Leon’s last R&B chart record was “Tenderoni” (#22) in 1984, but the accompanying album, Now and Then went unreleased.

Following a few chart singles for Casablanca Records and Modern Records, Haywood disappeared from the charts.

Haywood became associated in an executive/production capacity with the Los Angeles based Edge Records, in the 80’s.

Since the 1980s, Leon produced blues albums by Jimmy McCracklin, Clay Hammond, Ronnie Lovejoy, Buddy Ace and others on his own Evejim Records label.

Leon Haywood passed away at 74 yrs old.