Herbie Hancock was born in Chicago, Illinois and quickly became a child prodigy. He began playing classical piano at age 7 and at age 11 he performed the first movement of Mozart's "Piano Concerto No. 5" at a concert with the Chicago Symphony.
In 1963, Herbie Hancock became a well-known performer when he joined Miles Davis' Second Great Quintet. Hancock soon became a regular recording artist on the Blue Note label, appearing on records by notable artists like Tony Williams, Bobby Hutcherson, and Grant Green.
In 1968, Hancock was let go from Miles Davis' group because he had allegedly returned late from his honeymoon in Brazil. Although he was fired from Davis' touring band, Hancock still appeared on many of the jazz great's later albums, including In a Silent Way and On the Corner.
In 1983, Herbie Hancock scored his first breakthrough hit with "Rockit
," a song that many recognize as the first single ever to feature scratching. The video for the song was a hit as well, winning 5 trophies at MTV's inaugural Video Awards in 1984.
Most Rap/R&B fans don't know that Herbie Hancock helped Kanye West produce the track "Robocop" from his 2008 album 808s and Heartbreak. Hancock is not credited in the album's liner notes.
In 2007, Herbie Hancock released his 47th studio album entitled River: The Joni Letters. The album was meant as a tribute and homage to longtime friend and fellow musician Joni Mitchell. Guest vocalists on the album included Leonard Cohen, Tina Turner, Norah Jones, Corinne Bailey Rae, Luciana Souza, and Mitchell herself. In February 2008, the disc beat out Amy Winehouse, Foo Fighters, Vince Gill, and Kanye West to win the Album of the Year award at the 50th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. It was the first jazz album to win the award in over four decades and only the second in the award's history.