Today marks the 50th Anniversary of Eugene McDaniels‘ “Compared To What”! His first single as a songwriter, this groundbreaking song was a major hit for Les McCann & Eddie Harris, who performed the track fifty years ago today, on June 21, 1969 at the Montreux Jazz Festival. “Compared To What” was one of the first measurable hits for the merging soul jazz movement and became an anthem for the rising anti-war sentiment of the time and still today is considered to be one of the fifty most important protest songs of the last 50 years.
Eugene McDaniels would continue to have success as a songwriter when he met Roberta Flack, writing one of her biggest hits – “Feel Like Makin’ Love“. In addition to being a top-notch songwriter, McDaniels also put out several solo albums, one of which – Headless Heroes Of The Apocalypse – became highly collectible by hip hop producers, and has been sampled by A Tribe Called Quest, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, The Beastie Boys, De La Soul and countless others. Another important album of his – Outlaw – saw McDaniels reflecting on some of the most important issues of his time with sharp lyrical whit.
McDaniels influence continues to be expressed, and with “Compared To What” being a relevant anthem throughout the decades, has been covered by a multitude of artists.