The Jimmy Castor Bunch
Jimmy "Everything Man" Castor spent the '70s merging funk, soul, Latin rhythms and Hendrix metal better than anybody else in the history of the universe. And, as if that's not cool enough, he was also hilariously fond of songs about Neanderthals, King Kong, Dracula, Southern-fried frijoles, and a kid named Leroy whose dad was the Creature from the Black Lagoon. And if that's still not cool enough, he also enjoyed covering the cheesiest songs on earth: "You Light Up My Life," "Everything Is Beautiful," like that. Born in 1947, raised around 164th Street in a Harlem neighborhood as Latin as it was African-American, he grew up alongside Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, who hit with one of his songs when he was just 13. After filling in some for Lymon, he then moved on to instrumental R&B and Latin boogaloo, honking sax on Dave Cortez's 1962 hit "Rinky Dink" and scoring with his own "Hey Leroy, Your Mama's Callin' You" in 1966. The Castor Bunch started recording in 1972, hitting biggest with a novelty funker about a caveman ("Troglodyte") and one about a large woman ("Bertha Butt Boogie.") Other tracks, especially 1972's "It's Just Begun," basically helped invent hip-hop.