Latimore is an international soul superstar who's sold millions of records around the world including his biggest hit "Let's Straighten It Out" on Hialeah's own TK Records. Starting in the 1960s, he made his home in Miami as a singer, holding a residency for Clyde Killens at the Sir John Hotel's club The Knight Beat, where the Downtown Miami post office now stands in Overtown.
Last night, he sat in with the Roots on The Tonight Show, a couple of weeks after Jimmy Fallon found an old record of Lat's "Don't Let the Doorknob Hit'cha" and created a parody of it.
Joe Stone is the son of independent music icon Henry Stone, and also the Miami Bass pioneer who introduced Uncle Luke to pressing records. He was also the brains and voice behind one of the 2 Live Jews and he wrote the song "Cars That Go Boom" for electro-pop sensations L'Trimm after he signed them to a record deal.
See also: Smooth Benny Latimore Talks Ladies Choice: "You Never Get Too Old to F#$%"
We here at Crossfade caught up with both guys to find out how they liked repping Miami on the world stage of The Tonight Show, with one of the greatest bands on Earth, The Roots. Here's what they had to say.
Watch this video for Jimmy Fallon's Latimore parody.
Crossfade: Latimore! Wasup, man! Congratulations! How was it?
Latimore: It was great, man, I had fun. It was great. The people treated me real good. The people at the show and everything gave me real special treatment. I really enjoyed it.
— jimmy fallon (@jimmyfallon) May 5, 2014
This all started from a parody they did on you a couple weeks ago right?
Latimore: Yeah, they were doing a parody of my song that goes, "Don't Let the doorknob hit'cha where the good Lord split ya." That's a song I wrote 30 years ago, and they had a guy come out dressed up and with the hair like I had back then. And then they did another parody on that song and had a lot of fun with it. Joe Stone and his man in LA reached out and said, "Why not have him on?" So they said, "Yeah, we'd love to have him," and they wanted me to come and sit in with the band. So I did that and we did several of my songs.
A lot of the stuff we did was just for the studio audience. But Jimmy did mention my album that I got out now, and he did hold it up a couple times, and he talked to me about it, so it was great publicity. You can't buy that kind of publicity. We taped it early in the afternoon, I'm actually about to watch it right now, in a little bit. I wanna see how it came out.
How was it working with The Roots?
Latimore: Oh, we had real big fun with them guys. It was great! They were very respectful of the old man. [Laughs] And they enjoyed themselves as much as I did.
It feels good to know that people recognize that you been in the business, and sure, they had some fun with one of my records. But when I was in the hallway, when we were ready to go on, Jimmy greeted me in the hallway, gave me a big old hug and said, "I'm so happy you're here, and glad that you're such a good sport about the jokes." And I said, "Hey, it was funny to me that y'all did that." And he said, "We have a lot of respect for you and we're happy that you could come and sit in with us, and maybe we can do it again some other time." And that's great for me. It gives me a lot of pleasure that people recognize my work.
Jimmy Fallon, he collects old albums and stuff, and he came across this particular album I had done on Malaco Records, and listened to some of the songs. He said everybody liked that "Let the Doorknob Hit'cha" and that everybody on the show was going around for the last couple weeks talkin' 'bout "where the good Lord split ya."
What do you think about getting exposed to a lot of young people who might have never even heard of you?
Latimore: That's the really fun thing, because his demographic is very young. In the studio audience, there wasn't ten people over the age of 40. So it's a big group of young people that never heard of me.
What else you got going on?
I'm still working. I'm not in the corner with the mothballs. I still go out. I'm goin out this weekend to a big festival, then I'm playing Shreveport, Louisiana, after that it's Louisville, Kentucky, and then Birmingham, Alabama. I don't go out as much as I used to, but I still go out and do my thing. I don't wear myself out, but I go out there and get it, and come back with something, ya'know what I mean? As long as they want me, and I got a real following out there, I keep doing it.
How is it still working with Henry Stone, and doing the LatStone Records, and what's the album you're promoting?
This one is the Henry Stone's Best Of Latimore that's got some older stuff on it and songs from the last several projects. It's got 15 songs on there that we're very proud of, and so far, it's been received quite well. And hey, man, it's Henry Stone. Me and Henry might be old dogs, but we just keep on goin', and we still know how to bury the bone.
What else you want to do?
Right now, just reaching out to some of these big festivals, so many festivals, and I been on a few of 'em, so I wanna go back cross the water. Last year, I did Italy, and I did a blues cruise, and that was good. People in Europe really like my stuff, and they like a lot of soul and blues from black artists from the U.S.A. They love it. They eat it up. And if they like ya, they don't care if it's the latest thing, they buy it. They buy anything they can find. They don't care if it's old or what. They receive me real good over there. And I get pretty good respect right here in this country too. I ain't ready to sit back in the rockin' chair just yet. I stay out there.
You still puttin down for Miami all over the world!
I appreciate the support. And Miami is home to me. I don't live right there. I'm in Tampa now. But Miami is my roots. I'm a Miami boy.
Joe Stone of Henry Stone Music
Crossfade: So how did this all come about in the first place?
Joe Stone: They did a parody on "Let the Door Hit'cha," like a goofy parody that Benny's wife and daughter saw on The Tonight Show. They had a Latimore look-alike and it was funny.
So Benny's wife sent an email to the office and told us about it. I was like, that's cool. So I had the idea to maybe take a shot and have the real Latimore on the show. I reached out to Rick Scott from Great Scott Productions out in L.A. That's a guy I started out in the music business with. He was a road manager for me. I gave him his first job and he became this big L.A. PR guy and I maintained a friendship with him through the years.
I sent him an email, and he said, "Let me reach out and see what happens." That was on a Friday. By Monday, I got an email from Jonathan Cohen, the music booker, and he said, "Let's have Latimore come and sit in with the band."
So I called Benny and said, "Hey, they want you on The Tonight Show. You available?" And Latimore said, "Yeah, I'm available, baby!"
So The Tonight Show flew us out. And Jimmy Fallon is so damn hip with the young people. Now this whole new part of the world will be introduced to Latimore and his soul music. A whole new generation.
I mean, Latimore has been on Conan for the album he did with Joss Stone. He's been on some big shows. But he was thrilled. He was excited to be there. It's The Tonight Show. Even right now, I'm still pumped up.
I always wanted my shot on there too. When I was doing 2 Live Jews. I mean Johnny Carson talked about it on the air, but they never booked us. But something I invented, he talked about that shit on the air. That was big for me.
And here I am, 25 years later. So I brought that album with me. I autographed it and gave it to Jimmy's assistant. The whole thing was very cool.
There was a moment where I was talkin to Questlove, and he says "You wouldn't be the offspring of Henry Stone would you?" I say, "Yeah" And he says, "That makes sense."
Did you hear anything from The Roots about Latimore?
Joe Stone: They talked more about that with him, but I know the guitar player was saying they were into him, that they've known about him for a long time and been into his music.
Crossfade: So, tell the story of the actual show.
Joe Stone: It was amazing. We left Miami at 5 a.m. on Monday morning, took a smooth flight into New York City. The Tonight Show had a car pick us up at the airport and take us into the city.
The staff there under Jimmy Fallon are very hip, very knowledgeable. Everybody was pleased for Latimore to be there, told him it was an honor to have him on the show. We got set up with a dressing room, then went out to lunch somewhere off 30 Rock over there. Then we went back and Latimore got with the The Roots and did some rehearsal. All superprofessional. They set me up in the back on a stool where I could see everything.
Later, they did the actual soundcheck on the sound stage, and they opened with "Let's Straighten It Out." Then they brought us into the studio for the show. When it was time for the show, they took us through the back entrance, up the back stairs, avoiding all the regular people.
The warm-up guy came on, then they brought the band out and introduced Latimore to a big applause. They did this really cool version of "Let's Straighten It Out" with the tuba player in the middle of the stage. Just the tuba and the bass. And the bass on that tuba? You could feel it in your chest. Man, it was powerful. And I was all the way in the back at the top of the stairs. Then the bass, and then the drums came in, then the whole band, and then Lat on the keys. They did the whole song and everybody clapped.
Everybody got settled down and the announcer came on, 30, 20, 10 ... Then Jimmy comes on and does the monologue.
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After that's when he says, "We got Latimore in the house!" Then he put the big Henry Stone's Best Of Latimore album up. They made a mockup 12-inch record sleeve for it. It was a great show, Bryan Cranston was on, and that was it.
Latimore met Jimmy Fallon in the hallway and he told him, "Thank you so much, it's awesome to have you." The band stopped by and said it was an honor. Then Latimore signed the guestbook for the show, and that was that. It was amazing.
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