Pioneering Composer David Axelrod Dies, 83. Listen To The Piece That Became A Hip Hop Classic.

David Axelrod, the pioneering composer from L.A. who inadvertently shaped the world of Hip Hop, has passed away at age 83. Axelrod’s free use of instruments and genres–combining jazz and r&b with lush string and brass arrangements–resulted in a fresh, new sound that critics hailed. His seminal works include Songs of Innocence (1968) and its companion piece, Songs of Experience, inspired by William Blake’s poetry. Axelrod’s career culminated in a landmark performance of his solo work at Royal Festival Hall in 2004 which resulted in a live album.

The 90s saw Axelrod’s compositions finding a new, appreciative audience among the best hip hop acts of the time, many of whom sampled his works. Listen to The Edge, a classic composition that Axelrod co-wrote with David McCallum for the actor’s solo album and guess which Hip Hop track it inspired.

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