Percussionist extraordinaire, King Errisson’s talent with the congas was first prominently displayed in a memorable night club scene in the James Bond movie, “Thunderball.” Later Redd Foxx, Canonball Adderly, and Sammy Davis, Jr. all hooked up with the King. He’s been praised as “the unsung hero behind Motown” by Ray Singleton in her book Berry, Me and Motown: The Untold Story. Indeed, Berry Gordy himself, the godfather of Motown, gave King the nod in his own tome To Be Loved: The Music, the Magic, the Memories of Motown : An Autobiography, praising Errisson for his work with artists such as Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, The Temptations, Smokey Robinson, Michael Jackson, and the Jackson Five. The list goes on and on. Remarkably versatile, Errisson also worked with singers Barbra Streisand and Barry White. And a guy named Ringo, who knew a little of percussion, having played drums himself on a couple of popular numbers.
Solo, King is best known as a master of funky disco with lots of congas. His seminal rhythms puts the spine in the very notion of backbeat. The legendary track “Apache,” recorded with the Incredible Bongo Band, is to hip-hop beats what the Constitution is to America. The 2013 film Sample This (Propinquity Films) tells the story of how the whole hip-hop revolution was founded on the back of those contagious, powerful beats. In the movie, King Errisson is finally front and center.