Long Live the Music

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


1922-1983Sidney Jackson Wyche, my dad, was born in Hampton, Virginia in 1922. After being honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy, Sid studied at the Juliard School of Music, where he learned to write entire orchestra scores of music, including drums.Sid became an accomplished musician and composer. Accredited to his catalogue of over 100 compositions are such classics as "Big Hunk O’ Love" by Elvis Presley, which won a Grammy award, "A Woman, A Lover, A Friend" by Jackie Wilson, also recorded by Otis Redding ,"Walk That Walk, Talk That Talk" by Jackie Wilson, "Alright, Okay, You Win", which was recorded and performed by countless jazz icons such as Count Basie, Joe Williams, Duke Ellington, Peggy Lee and many more.Sid loved kids.

He was a single Dad and very often conducted his business up and down Broadway while pushing me in a baby stroller. In fact, he sold his biggest hit song entitled, "Alright, Okay, You Win" for $100 to buy me Christmas. My Dad loved children and took every opportunity to teach and play for us pointing out us the importance of music in our lives. He enjoyed breaking down the various harmonies and teaching us to distinguish between the different instruments and having us create stories to coincide with the music.He was a mentor and a peacemaker and referred to all the neighborhood youth as "Papa Sid's Kids".

He had such a good rapport with the youth, that even the street gangs greeted him in the streets and respectfully addressed him as "Papa Sid" or just "Pop". He would attend gang meetings and discuss alternative ways to deal with conflict, opposing violence. "Papa Sid" would perform his music at schools and churches, working hard to pique the interest of kids in jazz, blues, rock ‘n’ roll and classical styles of music.

He sang like Ray Charles and played jazz and blues piano beautifully.He used to let me hang around with him and his circle of composers for hours while they made the music. The regulars were my Dad, Charlie Singleton and Jimmy Steward. In fact, I was the attention-seeking little rugrat running around in Uncle Charlie's basement when Dad and Uncle Charlie wrote Strangers In the Night.

One of the many under-recognized Black composers, Sidney Wyche was a great contributor to the music community and was well-loved by all who knew him and enjoyed his music. He was fondly known on Broadway as "Smilin’ Sid, the Walkin’ Cane Kid". Sadly, Dad was a chain smoker and died of lung cancer in 1983. But the music of Sid Wyche lives on even to this day.Long Live the Music is my tribute to a great contributor to the universe through his music.


At 1:55 PM, Blogger Eileen Howard said...

Thank you for posting this. I sing "alright Okay, you win" and have been trying to learn more about the composers. Do you know anything about Mayme Watts who is listed as co-composer?

At 5:19 PM, Blogger Jim Wood said...

Hi Brenda: I've been listening to your Dad sing (or recite, rather) "Ain't That Good?" with the George Kelly orchestra. It's one of the latest additions (45 rpm on Apollo records) to my vinyl R&B collection. Great song; everyone who hears it loves it. So cool.

At 5:19 PM, Blogger Jim Wood said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 11:44 PM, Blogger Tom G said...

Thanks for this memory of Sid Wyche. He's not included in Wikipedia, and your information is helpful. Can you provide a timeline of the important points in his musical work?

At 2:20 AM, Blogger Slide Martin said...

I sing "A Woman, A Lover, A Friend" to my wife every chance I get.


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