Allen Toussaint, New Orleans R&B legend, dies at 77

Influential New Orleans songwriter, musician and producer Allen Toussaint died Monday of a heart attack, his son said in a statement Tuesday.

Toussaint, 77, had been touring in Madrid, Clarence Toussaint said in the statement.

Numerous major artists recorded Toussaint’s songs, including the Rolling Stones, the Yardbirds, Herb Alpert, Glenn Campbell, Robert Palmer and Alison Kraus.

They included the widely covered “Fortune Teller,” Campbell’s chart-topping crossover version of “Southern Nights” and Leo Dorsey’s 1966 version of “Workin’ in a Coal Mine.”

He was also a well-regarded performer in his own right. His 2012 jazz album, “The Bright Mississippi,” showcased “what an idiosyncratic, inventive instrumentalist he is,” Allmusic critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine wrote at the time.

“The man was a genius,” British singer Billy Bragg tweeted Tuesday.

Toussaint was also a producer who opened a studio, Sea-Saint, in 1973 with partner Marshall Sehorn and operated his own record label.

Artists including Dr. John, the Neville Brothers, Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, Robert Palmer and Labelle recorded at the studio, according to Toussaint’s biography for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, into which he was inducted in 1998.

In 2012, he received a National Medal of the Arts “for his incredible contributions to the rhythm and blues and jazz music of his beloved New Orleans,” President Barack Obama said.

Allen Toussaint, New Orleans R&B legend, dies at 77
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