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George Benson Biography

Home > Music > B > Benson, George > Biography

Born: 1943/03/22
Birth Place: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Years Active: 1964–present
Genres: Jazz, Funk, R&B, Pop

George Benson (born March 22, 1943) is a multi-Grammy Award winning American musician, whose recording career began at the age of twenty-one as a jazz guitarist. He is also known as a pop, R&B, and scat singer. This one-time child prodigy topped the Billboard 200 in 1976 with the triple-platinum album, ''Breezin.” He was also a major live attraction in the UK during the 1980s. Benson uses a rest-stroke picking technique similar to that of gypsy jazz players such as Django Reinhardt.

His 1974 release, "Bad Benson" climbed to the top spot in the Billboard jazz chart, while the follow-ups, "Good King Bad" (#51 Pop album) and "Benson and Farrell" (with Joe Farrell) both reached the jazz top three sellers.

By the mid to late 1970s, as he recorded for Warner Bros. Records, a whole new audience began to discover Benson for the first time. With the 1976 release “Breezin',” Benson began to put his vocal on tracks such as "This Masquerade". He had used his vocals infrequently on songs earlier in his career, notably his rendition of "Here Comes the Sun" on his “Other Side of Abbey Road” album. Breezin was a significant album in terms of popular music history - the first jazz release to go Platinum and the first indication that something new was about to happen. "This Masquerade" won a Grammy Award for Record of the Year and the live take of "On Broadway", recorded two years later from the 1978 release “Weekend in L.A.,” also won a Grammy.

Benson accumulated three other platinum LPs and two gold albums.

He has worked with Freddie Hubbard on a number of his albums throughout the '60s '70s and '80s. The first recipient of this stellar team effort was Benson, and the Qwest label's first official release was Benson's breakthrough pop album “Give Me The Night.” Benson made it into the pop and R&B top ten with the song "Give Me the Night", produced by Quincy Jones.

He is currently touring and performing in support of his recent release “Songs and Stories” (Concord Music Group/Monster Music).