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Harold Battiste, New Orleans Producer, Arranger & Musician, Dies at 83

Worked with Sam Cooke, Dr. John, Ellis Marsalis

Harold Battiste

Harold Battiste, a New Orleans-born composer, producer, arranger and musician who was involved in dozens of hit records, died June 19 after a lengthy illness. The place of death was not reported. Battiste was 83.

Born in New Orleans on Oct. 28, 1931, Harold Raymond Battiste Jr. started his music career as a saxophonist and pianist before becoming involved in behind-the-scenes activities. He arranged Sam Cooke’s first secular hit “You Send Me,” in 1957 and four years later formed AFO Records (which stood for All for One). The label’s first hit was Barbara George’s “I Know (You Don’t Love Me No More)” and Battiste was also involved as producer and arranger on hits such as Joe Jones’ “You Talk Too Much” and Lee Dorsey’s “Ya Ya.” He also played piano on Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come.”

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