The KSA Memoir: Meet man who dashed me my 1st set of musical equipments + My Encounter with Bolarinwa Abioro

KSA….In his early days as up coming band leader

1967, Mr. Segun Ogundele, who had been a fan, did me a totally unexpected
favor.  One day, Ogundele, who played
music before becoming a manager with Kingsway Stores, called me to
announce that he wanted me to come and inspect some equipment he owned. 

 I went to see the equipment and to my
surprise he asked me to take them. 
Unbelievable!  I convinced myself
that I had not heard him well because he sounded as if he was giving them out
free.  That, actually, was what he
meant.  No strings attached.  I could not believe what was happening because,
by the standards of the time; those equipments were modern.
KSA with his mentor, Baba Salah, the man he fought, Fatai Rolling Dollars and the man he loved, Commander Ebenezer Obey (MFR)
The Bolarinwa Abioro

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were also what I needed most.  My band
members were dazed when they saw them.  Ogundele
thus became the first person to give me musical equipment free of charge.  Shortly after, we bought our own equipment
and I decided that it was high time I owned my own band and I quit leading one
owned by another person.  I broke free,
formed my own band and named it Sunny Ade and his All Weather band.  Even with my new name, creating a distinct
musical identity was still a dream.  But not
for long, within one year, I was made for a record deal.  A woman, named Alhaja Masha or Sisi
, came to my house and said African Songs Limited, owned by the
late Chief
Bolarinwa Abioro
, had sent her to seek me out.  ‘What
I asked.  She replied that they wanted to record me and
had detailed her to track me.  Sisi
added that I needed to go with her to discuss the terms of the deal.  I told her I would visit the company the next
Emperor Pick Peters….The Man Chief Bolarinwa Abioro used to taunt KSA after their fight
next day, I went with her to see Chief Abioro at the company’s office
around Herbert Macaulay in Yaba.  That was my first meeting Chief
, who explained that they wanted me as the second artiste on
their bill.  The first artiste I was
told, was Ayinde Bakare.  I almost
fainted with excitement and did not even bother to ask what was involved.  All I cared about was to record an album, not
long stories.  I was assigned an artiste
manager to monitor my rehearsals.  The
artiste manager would come to my house and we would rehearse together.  Our rehearsals were held in the morning when
residents must have gone to their various places of work.  We could not rehearse overnight because the
music would disrupt resident’s sleep.

“And just one year
after forming a band, I was already a recording artiste.  My excitement grew when the record was played
on the radio a few weeks after its release. 
I was on Cloud Nine.  I did not
even go to the studio to ask about anything else; not about royalty or the
details of the contract I signed.  I was
too thrilled to care about what the contract said or did not say”.
KSA with his boss turned foe, Chief Bolarinwa Abioro
Our 1st
album sold 13 copies?
we made our first recording, a three minute album recorded at the Ikoyi studios of the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation (now
Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria). 
It was titled Alanu Lo Oluwa and was recorded by Chief
Fola Meadows
the band, whether the record sold well or not was not a major concern.  The only thing that interested us was that we
had become members of the musical elite – recording artistes.  It was a privilege only a few enjoyed.  While with Idowu Owoeye, we never
managed to record an album; with Moses Olaiya, we did, but just once.  And just one year after forming a band, I was
already a recording artiste.  My
excitement grew when the record was played on the radio a few weeks after its
release.  I was on Cloud Nine.  I did not even go to the studio to ask about
anything else; not about royalty or the details of the contract I signed.  I was too thrilled to care about what the
contract said or did not say.  All I said
to Chief
was that I regarded him as my father and urged him to treat me
as his son.
any case, the contract was not a joint contract.  Chief Abioro insisted that each
member of the band must sign individually. 
It suited me because I did not want to be a sole signatory, as I wanted
to avoid a situation in which band members would be asking: ‘Where has all the money gone?’  I thought it
was good that we all went there to sign and if there was a need to ask for our
money, we would ask as a group.  After a
while, we were told that the album sold 13 copies.  We could not care less, as long as the music
was enjoying airplay.  It also won us
more fans.
KSA….A greatness foretold
in retrospect, I realized that we sold ourselves short by not sitting down to
work out the business side of music.  We
were too drunk on fame because our record was being played alongside those of I.K
Ayinde Bakare, Dele Ojo, Theophilus Iwalokun and
others.  We always went to Fola
, saying we heard our record being played on air during the week
and we would thank him for giving us airplay. 
We did not know that we were the raw materials for both the recording
companies and the radio stations or that, we should, by right, be paid for
being on air.  I remember when I led a
group of musicians to the National Assembly in the Second Republic.  We were there to complain over the non-payment
of royalties or unauthorized use of materials. 
I was shocked when the legislators told us that whoever had copied our
materials was doing us a favor. 
Lawmakers saying we should be happy that our records were being pirated?
Very true!  They were so serious about it
until the late Bobby Benson erupted in anger and really gave it to them.
KSA….Learnt biggest philosophy of how to run a band from Moses Olaiya aka Baba Salah
failed, selling only 13 copies.  At least, that was what African Songs Limited
made us believe.  Psychologically,
however, it helped the band immensely. 
With the generous airplay we got, we started to believe that with time,
we could make it big.  Perhaps! real big.
Emperor Pick Peters….KSA cut him to size with ‘Ekilo F’omode’
The Platinum album…
happened sooner than expected; in the same year.  That year, I went to watch the final of the National Challenge Cup at Onikan Stadium.  It was played between Lagos’ Stationery
Stores Football Club and the football team of Western Nigeria Broadcasting Service (WNBS), Ibadan.  Stores won the cup, playing
attractive football.  I was so impressed
by their football that I went to Chief Abioro and told him that I
wanted to make a record commemorating their victory.  Abioro was in favor of it.  The album was titled Challenge Cup.  Though recorded in 1967, it was released in 1968.  It turned out an inspired hunch, as the
record sold well over 500,000 copies, from 13 copies to Platinum album and just
at the second attempt?  God surely
KSA…The Enigma
a few years, I decided to give the band a new identity.  This came in the shape of a name change. From
Ade and His All Weather
Band, I renamed it Sunny Ade and His Green Spots Band. The
name was inspired by I.K. Dairo’s band which was Blue
Spot Band
.  But after about a
decade of performing under this name, a cigarette manufacturing firm came out
with a brand called Green Spot Cigarette. 
The brand became popular and its popularity bred confusion.  The radio jingle for it also featured my
music.  I have never smoked, but I do not
hate smokers.  However, I believed that
there was a need to make a distinction between the cigarette brand and my
music.  That distinction came in the form
of another name change, this time to Sunny
Ade and His African Beats
.  The
various name changes created no problem because I had become well known,
especially for churning out hit after hit. Without sounding immodest, I had
become something of a meal ticket for Chief Abioro’s African Songs Limited.  But things seemed destined to change in my
relationship with Chief Abioro and African Songs Limited.
from the book; KSA: My Life, My Music by
King Sunny Ade. Read ‘My battles with Chief Bolarinwa Abioro’
tomorrow on this blog