Legendary Intrudersâ€™ Staying Power
â€œRap changed the music scene for everyone around the early 1980s. We last recorded in 1983â€¦,â€? said Big Mac
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What constitutes legend? I suspect it is time and staying power.
The Legendary Intruders known for their 1980 chart busters “Together,”
“We’ll Be United,” and “I Wanna Know Your Name,” have brought history
into modern day via their music.
They are especially remembered every Mother’s Day for their timeless
hit “I’ll Always Love My Mama.” Their music is synonymous with
romance. A sentiment that is sorely missed judging by the crowd
of screaming fans that attended their Hyatt Hotel Katrina Hurricane
engagement in Hauppauge, New York hosted by the Urban League.
Perhaps better known to the baby boomer generation, that fact didn’t
stop young audience members from swaying to The Legendary Intruder’s at
the Apollo Theatre recently. Clearly the tide is turning and people are
ready to return to a time of romance and respect for women which has
been missing via rap music pumped out by some misogynistic rap artists
and a greedy misanthropic music industry.
The Legendary Intruders headlined a recent tribute to Winnie Mandela at
the world famous Apollo Theatre on Saturday, May 19th when Ms. Mandela
and four other honorees: Senator Princess Florence Ita-Giwa, Advisor to
the President of Nigeria on National Affairs; Professor Babatunde
Osotimehin of Nigeria (both whom received their awards in absentia);
author LaJoyce Brookshire and Minister Christine Walker were honored
with the “Beyond the Tears” Humanitarian Award by the Save Africa
Concerts Foundation (SAC) for their efforts to stem the tide of
HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis B in America and on the continent of Africa.
Ambassador Ousmane Moutari, Ollie Cotton, Sharon Harris, Chi Chi Okere,
Ph.D., Chaka Ngwenya, David Chin, Angela McKenzie, Savannah Madamonibe
(Pier 2110 Restaurant), and yours truly, were brought in three weeks
prior to the event to aid the Save Africa Concerts Foundation in the
Songwriters, musicians, and Class “A” guys, the Legendary Intruders
showed their humanitarian bent by helping to promote Winnie Mandela’s
concert tribute alongside subway hero Wesley Autrey who also
participated in the event. Ilyasah Shabazz, author of “Growing Up
X,” came to welcome Mandela even though she was celebrating her father,
Malcolm Xs birthday, at the Audubon Ballroom.
The Legendary Intruders felt honored to take part in the award ceremony
for Winnie Mandela and the other honorees. The group’s first chart hit
was a song entitled “Lollipop.” The four Legendary Intruders consist of
lead singer Johnny P. Waiters, a.k.a. Little Johnny (who stepped in
when Kenny Brooks the original Legendary Intruder lead had major heart
surgery), 1st tenor, Lee Bradley; 2nd tenor Gregory Fuller and baritone
Harland McKenzie (Big Mac). And, it would be remiss of me not to
mention their recently deceased mentor Eugene (Bird) Daugherty who had
a great influence on the group and their performing style. “Even
though their first chart hit Lollipop, got the Legendary Intruders
attention, it was Cowboy to Girls, that put them at the top of the
charts,” said their road manager, Oscar Richardson, a.k.a. Mr. King.
“It was the talented Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff who wrote the Legendary
Intruders enduring hit, “I’ll Always Love My Mama,” played by radio
stations nationwide every Mother’s Day,” said their manager Mary
Weather (Ms. Mary). “Music by The Legendary Intruders is heard
throughout Europe,” she continued.
“I happen to like some hip hop,” noted Legendary Intruder founder Lee
Bradley. Lee and Big Mac both said money now drive record companies
while there was a time these companies were more family-orientated like
Motown. The group was then on the Philly International and the Sound of
Philadelphia labels. “Rap changed the music scene for everyone
around the early 1980s. We last recorded in 1983. I think disco
changed the music before rap did however. We tried to change with
the times like everybody else. However, we found that we didn’t
have the monumental success that we once had although we had minor
successes. Disco was like a crushing blow for stage performers
because people stopped going to concerts and went to clubs. Work
even dried up for James Brown for awhile. A lot of the artists
started going to Europe to perform when the club scene took over.
Artists tried to adjust their music to whatever was going on at the
time. In fact, James Brown’s fame finally came back via Sylvester
Stallone’s movie, ‘Rocky’” said Big Mac.
“Today there is a lot of stealing going on of the old tunes although
they term it ‘sampling,’” noted Big Mac. “But that is the way it is in
the music business. I think however that the music industry is
starting to return to love songs. The people miss them. Thus, I think
our style of music is coming back now. Music styles always come back
around,” said Big Mac.
“My greatest wish would be to one day step foot on the continent of
Africa,” said tenor Lee Bradley. “Can you imagine being a part of
a land that you have never had the opportunity to see,” he
continued. Bradley’s wish may come true if burgeoning plans to
tour Africa come to fruition in future.
Humanitarians, the Legendary Intruders were given a citation by former
Manhattan Borough President, Virginia Fields for their Valentine Day
concert on behalf of the injured soldiers at Walter Reed Hospital in
They were awarded by Mt Sinai Hospital for their performance before
terminally ill children and continue to perform for terminally ill
children at different venues every Christmas. The Legendary Intruders
also performed for the 9th Precinct Community Affairs Department of the
NYC Police Department during Christmas where they sang and gave away
toys. The compassionate performers also received a Letter of
Appreciation from the Long Island Urban League for taking the time to
do a Q&A session about their music for young school children.
The Legendary Intruders also have a scholarship fund in their name at
Suffolk County Community College.
Interested parties can learn more about The Legendary Intruders by visiting their website at:
York’s leading Pan African weekly investigative newspaper, please call
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