The Doo Bop Song

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  • The Doo Bop album was released shortly after Davis' death. Unlike jazz musicians like Al Hirt ("Java") and Hugh Masekela ("Grazing In The Grass"), Davis never had a pop hit. George Cole, author of The Last Miles: The Music of Miles Davis, 1980-1991, explains: "If there's one thing Miles would have loved, it would have been to have had a pop hit! Unlike some jazz fans – who think that the only good music is that which is appreciated by a small number of people – Miles always wanted to be popular. That's why he hated the term "jazz," which he felt put his music in a ghetto. Miles did consider making an album of pop tunes (during the mid 1980s, his band recorded dozens of pop tunes from artists that included Michael Jackson, Tina Turner, DeBarge, Kenny Loggins and Dionne Warwick) but the idea was scrapped. However, he did record and perform two pop tunes – 'Human Nature' from Michael Jackson's Thriller album and Cyndi Lauper's 'Time After Time.'

    Miles felt that with better marketing, the latter could have been a huge pop hit. Later on, he recorded half a dozen tunes that combined jazz and hip-hop, and a couple of these ('Blow' and 'The Doo-Bop Song') were released as singles after his death, but didn't chart. I think it was partly poor marketing that stopped Miles having a hit, but it was also the fact that Miles's music contained an element of jazz sensibility, and that made his music less commercial in terms of garnering significant radio play – jazz stations didn't consider it proper jazz (whatever that is) while rock and pop stations thought it wasn't really for their audiences. Miles even made some music videos, but they got little broadcast time." (For more on Miles Davis, read our interview with George Cole.)
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