Morris Eugene Day (1956- )

Morris Day Album Cover
Morris Day Album Cover

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Multi-talented musician Morris Eugene Day was born on December 13, 1956, in Springfield, Illinois, to LaVonne Daugherty. When he was eight years old, however, his family moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota. There he privately studied the piano and percussion, but his passion was always the drums. Day attended Bryant Junior High School and graduated from North High School in 1974.

From 1973 to 1976, Day was the principal percussionist and composer with the Minneapolis Grand Central Band, Prince’s (Rogers Nelson) first band; he was two years older than his best friend who was born on June 7, 1958. Day’s mother was the amateur manager of the band.

In 1981, Day and Prince formed The Time (Morris Day and the Time/ The Original 7ven), an ensemble of musicians who played R&B, rock ‘n’ roll, and funk in Minneapolis. The members were Garry George “Jellybean” Johnson, Monte Moir, Jesse Woods Johnson, Jerome Benton, James Samuel “Jimmy Jam” Harris III, Terry Steven Lewis, and Paul Joseph Peterson.

Three years later, in 1984, Day was introduced to a global audience when he co-starred in the musical film Purple Rain, playing himself as a bandleader. This project overlapped with the production of the album, The Oak Tree. It peaked at number 3 on Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop in 1985 and remained charted for 18 weeks. Day co-wrote and produced the single, “Jungle Love” that reached 20th position and charted for 25 weeks. The following year, 1986, the album, The Color of Success reached number 15 and remained charted for 17 weeks, as well as The Character which peaked at number 34 and stayed on the charts for 11 weeks.

On June 4, 1986, Day married Judith Jones, a background vocalist for the legendary baritone Lou Rawls, at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas, Nevada. They had three children, Derran Day, Evan Day, and Tionna Day.

In 1987, Day went solo and released Daydreaming, and it peaked at number 26. “Fishnet” from the album Daydreaming peaked at number 1 and remained charted for 11 weeks. “Love Is a Game,” also from the album, reached number 71 on R&B in 1988. Day returned to The Time in 1988 but continued to do solo work, releasing Are you Ready? which peaked at number 8 in 1989. Day released Gimme Whatcha Got (1989), but it peaked at number 77 on the R&B chart and stayed on the charts for only one week. In 1990, he returned to the movies when he had a supportive role in the action comedy-mystery film The Adventures of Ford Fairlane. The Time was disbanded in 1991.

Day and Judith Jones divorced in 2011 after being together for 25 years. He then married Lorena Day in 2012. Morris Eugene Day’s vocal style and musical reach were pivotal in the Midwestern dance scene of the 1980s.