Charlie Haden (The First and Last)


(August 6, 1937 – July 11, 2014)

This is a recording of bass player jazz great Charlie Haden when he was two years old singing on his father’s country radio show.  Charlie continued to sing on the show but at the age of 15 he contracted polio and lost use of his vocal cords.  He didn’t sing publicly again until he was 70.  Here is the second and final vocal recording he made.

While on a world tour, Haden refused to perform in Portugal because of the country’s politics and human rights violations.  He was coerced to perform by the band leader because he was under contract.  Out of protest, he dedicated one of his songs to the Black Liberation Movement in Mozambique, Angola and Guinea-Bissau.  The crowd of over 20,000 people, mostly students, went wild with cheering.  Later, before boarding his plane at the airport, Charlie was arrested and taken into custody.  The US Embassy refused to help him because the US government was embarrassed about his comments.  He was eventually released.  Twenty years later after Portugal was under new leadership, he was invited back to perform.  Upon walking on stage, the crowd of 40,000 began chanting his name over and over.  No prophet is recognized in his own country.  


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