From cradle to grave (literally) Prince Olayiwola Fatai Olagunju, popularly known on the music scene as Fatai Rolling Dollar (FRD) was born on the 22nd of July 1927 and served music lovers with unrivalled entertaining tunes. His stage performances were ones to behold; energetic displays with irrepressible enthusiasm. FRD's His love for the melodic art was not to be disputed because he never made us question his passion. He started his musical career in 1953, mentoring a number of musicians including Ebenezer Obey and the late Orlando Owoh. One of his skills was his finesse and dexterity at playing the guitar. In 1957, he formed an eight-piece band called 'Fatai Rolling Dollar and his African Rhythm Band', and they recorded numerous seven-inch singles for Phillips West Africa Records. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="350"] Source: tribune.com.ng[/caption] Among several of our beloved musicians doing us proud in Nigeria and beyond, FRD created a style of music and was popularly known for the track “Won Kere Si Number Wa” (meaning “They cannot match us”). Fatai’s fusion of the agidigbo thumb-piano with broader traces of highlife and Latin themes influenced the likes of Fela Kuti, King Sunny Ade and many other West African musicians. He was also described by the BBC as a "nationally celebrated performer." Unfortunately, FRD disappeared from the music scene for about 25 years battling poverty in Lagos before finally making a comeback.Musician Ade Bantu told the BBC that FRD had lost none of his talent and was still entertaining on stage. "You are talking about a gentlemen in his 80s still performing and recording and playing very well - he was like a metronome." [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="595"] Source: jideodukoya.com[/caption] In an interview with AFP newS agency, Frd bemoaned the hip-hop music that now dominates in Nigeria and the tendency for young musicians to hide under such umbrella instead of doing music the right way. He also emphasised that "a good musician should know how to play any instrument", showing his irritation with artists he accused of sometimes being "lazy" and simply seeking "easy money." He passed away on 12 June, 2013 at the age of 85. FRD had three wives and 16 children. He died as the oldest surviving artiste in Nigeria. The guitarist and singer had "enthralled his teeming followers with a musical career of more than 64 years", Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan said during a tribute to the music icon. Jonathan therefore believed the vacuum FRD's death has created in the Nigerian entertainment industry will be hard to fill. By Azeez Sanusi
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