Report: New Orleans musician, composer, producer Harold Battiste dies at 83 _lowres

Harold Battiste. Photo provided by the Harold Battiste Papers, The Historic New Orleans Collection.

New Orleans jazz musician and composer Harold Battiste died Friday at the age of 83, according to an article on WWL-TV.com.

Battiste's work as a composer, producer and arranger helped shape the careers of Sonny and Cher, Sam Cooke, Dr. John and dozens of others since the 1960's.

"Sonny wouldn't do anything without me," Battiste told The Advocate music writer John Wirt in a 2010 interview. "Sonny knew what I could do better than I knew. He told me, 'Man, you're better than most of these cats out here!' But I didn't know that anything that I did had that much value. I got $125 for 'I Got You Babe.' That's all."

According to Wirt, Battiste didn't reap big financial rewards from Sonny and Cher, but his work with the duo did mean he could fulfill his highest priority, supporting his family. He also genuinely liked Bono, Wirt wrote.

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