Morris Day was indelibly imprinted upon the cultural zeitgeist with his scene-stealing appearance in Prince’s Purple Rain, released in 1984. A consummate showman, his compelling stage presence and equally mesmerizing dance moves elevated him to super-stardom and made him a household name.
However, Morris Day’s career began long before that in Minneapolis, where he and Prince were classmates and formed a high school band, Grand Central. Prince was signed to Warner Brothers Records when he was 19, and, as part of his contract, he was able to produce outside projects. One of these ultimately morphed into Morris Day & the Time (which also launched the careers of Time members Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, known for their production work with Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, the SOS Band, Boyz II Men and dozens of other chart-topping acts). The Time also included founding member Monte Moir (keyboards), who, along with Morris Day, is still in the group.
Supremely funky, but with pop hooks and rock-n-roll energy to spare, Morris Day & the Time had numerous hits, including “Jungle Love,” “Cool,” “Get it Up” and many more. Part of the “Minneapolis sound” associated with Prince, this was dance music at its pinnacle, music built on a foundation of visceral, driving rhythms and irresistible grooves.
However, as good as the music is – and it is very good – it was Morris Day and the Time’s live performances and signature choreography that made them a headline attraction. The deal was sealed when, in 1984, Morris Day & the Time were featured in Prince’s film, Purple Rain (though by then, Morris was the only founding member of the Time remaining). Day’s onstage persona – and his taste in fashion – scored big with audiences, and he showed himself to be a capable actor as well.
Ongoing issues with Prince – who still had creative control and produced all of the Time’s music – caused Morris Day to quit the group in 1985. A five-year hiatus followed, until the original members reunited for the 1990 film Graffiti Bridge and released Pandemonium featuring the song “Jerk Out” – the best-selling single of their career.
In the 1990s, they enjoyed a resurgence of popularity as their music was sampled by numerous hip-hop and R&B artists, including Salt-N-Pepa, Domino, Timbaland, MC Hammer, Suga Free and many others.
The resurgence continued when, in 2001, Morris Day & the Time were featured in director Kevin Smith’s comedy, Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back, where they became part of the plot line and performed “Jungle Love” (with Jay and Silent Bob joining them onstage) during the end credits. Day says that Smith “had written the script with us in mind,” and indeed the film is something of an homage – if you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor and look it up on YouTube!
In 2008, Morris Day & the Time performed a duet with Rihanna at the 50th Annual Grammy® Awards, and also played a series of shows in Las Vegas. A new album, Condensate came out in 2011 (under the name, “The Original 7ven”), and the band played on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
The current lineup features Morris Day and Monte Moir, along with Torrell Ruffin (guitar), Jeff McNeely (keyboards), Rickey Smith (bass) and Garry Johnson (drums). In total to date, Morris Day has sold over ten million records, either under his own name or as a member of the Time.
This show will most definitely be a party, so don’t miss out on this opportunity to see Morris Day & The Time live!
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