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Darryl Phinnessee

The Man Behind

'Tossed Salads and Scrambled Eggs'


TINSELTOWNWhen it hit the airwaves in 1993, the long-running NBC sitcom, "Frasier," became a fan favorite, but so, too, did its catchy theme song. frasier theme song - Search (


The unforgettable lyrics "Hey baby, I hear the blues 'a-call in,' Tossed salads and scrambled eggs" were part of the Zeitgeist of the 1990s, as it became one of the era's most memorable and recognizable theme songs. The song became just as popular as the show itself.


Music industry veteran Darryl Phinnessee is the man who wrote the memorable words. He has largely remained behind the scenesuntil now surprising many who had no idea a Black man had written the lyrics for the timeless theme song. While his name has always been on the creditspeople are now able to put a name to a face.


“I’m really happy that people like the song,” Phinnessee said. “And, I think it’s great that they’re using the song for the new show.”


With the reboot of "Frasier" on Paramount +, the theme song’s popularity has been revived, recapturing its original fan base while being introduced to a new audience.


The meaning behind the show’s popular lyrics continues to be discussed. Just what is meant by “Tossed salads and scrambled eggs?”


Who better to reveal the meaning of the lyrics than the man who famously wrote them?


The song is experiencing a resurgence.


"Yeah, it still appears to be popular," said Phinnessee, an East St. Louis, Ill. native. “Of course, I'm pleased about that."


Phinnessee, and Bruce Miller, who wrote the music, had worked on other projects together when Miller approached him about writing the lyrics for a new show called, “Frasier” about a Seattle-based radio psychiatrist played by Kelsey Grammer.


"He explained the show setup, the character Frasier, and what he did for a living," said Phinnessee, whose multi-hyphenates include singer, lyricist, songwriter, vocal music director, arranger, and producer. "Frasier was the second TV theme song we wrote together. I sometimes write the melody but always the lyrics for things I've done with Bruce. He told me the guy from 'Cheers' has a spin-off series and has moved to Seattle. He has all these "crazies" calling him."


Phinnessee said the show's creators didn't want a "right-on-the money" song about Frasier's profession.


"When Bruce said, "He's got all these crazies calling him, the first two things I wrote down were, ‘Tossed salads, and scrambled eggs,’ which are metaphors for people's mixed up brains," recalled Phinnessee. They didn't want me to talk about psychiatry, "crazy" people, or anything directly related to the show’s premise. So 'mixed nuts' was too on-the-money. The twist in the show is we get to see the psychiatrist’s quirky personal life.”



"The lyrics express Frasier's uncertainty about handling his listener's constant flood of issues, his "blues," said Phinnessee. "When I wrote that line, "tossed salads and scrambled eggs", I thought, 'That's it.' That's how Frasier thinks! I wanted to write something that felt as if Frasier himself was saying it. After all, psychiatrists, like chiropractors, see everybody as being in need of some kind of fix. That's why the song works for the reboot as well.”


In a y! entertainment article published recently on, Miller admitted he wasn't initially enthusiastic about the lyrics. He’s quoted as saying, “I got him (Phinnessee) the music, and he came up with 'Tossed salads and scrambled eggs.' I didn't know what to think at first. It was like, 'Do I want to present this?' And he (Phinnessee) was pretty adamant that it worked.”


"Bruce had faith in me, and we presented a united front," said Phinnessee. "When we pitched it to the studio, some in the room were like, 'Huh?' And I thought, ‘Yes’ because it's the kind of expression in art that I find most rewarding – where you don't see it at first, but upon examination, it's all there."


“Tossed Salads and Scrambled Eggs,” which garnered an Emmy nomination in 1994 for Outstanding Individual Achievement in main title theme music, was not Phinnessee’s only venture into writing television show themes. In collaboration with Miller, he also wrote the theme songs for “Kids Say The Darndest Things,” “Til Death” and “Union Square.”


Phinnessee’s love of music began when he was just five years old.


“I remember being in church singing with the congregation,” Phinnessee recalled. “ I would sing the melody with everyone and then I would sing a third below or above the melody. Sometimes a fifth above it. Singing, and hearing the harmonies, came easy to me. At that age, I figured everybody knew how to do it.”


In grade school and high school Phinnessee was the lead singer in an R&B quintet called, the Deltones. The group won a number of talent shows all over East St. Louis.


"We rehearsed four to five hours, five to six nights a week, and won the large majority of those talent shows," said Phinnessee, "We were one of the most popular groups in East St. Louis. Everybody knew us.”


In college, with the same work ethic, he would lead one of the most popular bands, "Real To Real,” in the Southern Illinois area.


When he graduated from Southern Illinois University with a Bachelor of Music, Phinnessee, who had always planned to move to New York City, helped a fellow graduate drive across the country to Los Angeles, met a number of people in the music business, and instead decided to head west.


Once in Los Angeles, he began work as a recording session singer. Soon thereafter, he was touring with Michael Jackson as vocal music director on "Bad" and a featured soloist for Jackson's "Bad," "Dangerous" and "History" world tours.


Phinnessee was also a featured singer on tours with numerous A-listers, including Rod Stewart, Lionel Richie, and Don Henley. Recording with Stevie Wonder, Ringo Starr, Whitney Houston, and working with Quincy Jones and Spike Lee, to name a few, it's a sure bet that millions have seen or heard his work.


Today, Phinnessee is a music veteran with an extensive industry background. He has an enviable, storied career. At the top of his game, Phinnessee is a "first call" session singer and touring vocalist.


He's been a featured soloist with the Norwegian Wind Ensemble & Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. He was also a featured vocalist in the films "This Is It," "Annabelle: Creation," "Save the Last Dance" (also as a composer), and "Dance Academy," as well as "Under Suspicion." He was an animated character in Hanna Barbera's "I Yabba Dabba Do," performing the theme song at Pebble's and Bam Bam's wedding.


A Grammy Award-winner (Best Jazz Vocal Performance, Duo Or Group "Free Fall"), Phinnessee was also a vocalist on "Dancing with the Stars" from 2007-2013.


He is currently working on a solo EP called, "The Dream."


"I've contributed in many ways to a lot of popular music, but the ‘Frasier’ theme song is one of the things I'm most proud of," said Phinnessee. "People worldwide know the lyrics I created. Those lyrics wouldn't exist if I didn't exist. That, to me, is humbling and rewarding."

Shakur: A Star on Hollywood 'Walk'

HOLLYWOOD (CNS)A star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame was unveiled June 7 posthumously honoring slain rapper Tupac Shakur for a five-year career in which he sold more than 75 million records and received six Grammy nominations.

Allen Hughes, director of the FX docuseries "Dear Mama: The Saga of Afeni and Tupac Shakur," and Jamal Joseph, author of the 2006 biography "Tupac Shakur Legacy" and a producer of "Dear Mama: The Saga of Afeni and Tupac Shakur," were among those taking part in the ceremony in front of Amoeba Music at 6212 Hollywood Blvd. The cere- mony was emceed by radio host Big Boy.

Shakur's sister Sekyiwa "Set" Shakur accepted the star on behalf of the family.


Tupac Shakur.

"It fills my heart with honor to stand here today represen- ting the Shakur family," she said. "Tupac knew deep down that he was always meant for something great. And as his sister, I had the privilege to watch that greatness unfold."

The star is the 2,758th since the completion of the Walk of


Fame in 1961 with the initial 1,558 stars. The ceremony came nine days before the 52nd anniversary of Shakur's birth in Harlem. Raised by his mother, Afeni Shakur, a political activist and member of the Black Panther Party, in Baltimore, she was intent on escaping Baltimore's mayhem, relocating to Marin City when he was 17.

Shakur connected with the popular Bay Area rap crew Digital Underground, starting as a roadie and back-up dancer, and eventually working his way up to contributing a verse to "Same Song" from the soundtrack for the comedy horror film "Nothing But Trouble."

Shakur was signed by Interscope Records which released his first solo album, "2Pacalypse Now," in 1991, which was certified gold by the recording industry trade group the Recording Industry Association of America for selling 923,455 units.

Shakur's second studio album, "Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z" was certified platinum for selling more than 1 million copies. Shakur's third studio album, "Me Against the World" released in 1995 when he was serving a prison sentence for a sexual abuse conviction for forcibly touching a woman's buttock in his hotel room. It received a Grammy nomination for best rap album, and its lead single, ``Dear Mama,'' was nominated for best rap solo performance.

"Me Against the World" was certified as double-platinum for selling more than 3.5 million copies. Shakur's fourth studio album, "All Eyez on Me," released Feb. 13, 1996, seven months before his death, also received a best rap album Grammy nomination, while its singles "How Do U Want It" and "California Love" received nominations for best rap performance by a duo or group.

"All Eyez on Me" was the best-selling album in Shakur's career, selling 5,887,630 units and was certified diamond.

Shakur received a posthumous best rap solo performance Grammy nomination in 2000 for "Changes," part of his "Greatest Hits" album released in 1998.

Shakur starred in the 1992 crime thriller "Juice," the 1993 romance film "Poetic Justice" opposite pop idol Janet Jackson the 1996 crime drama "Bullet," and the 1997 black comedy crime film "Gridlock'd" and 1997 action crime thriller "Gang Related" and co-starred in the 1994 sports drama, "Above the Rim."

Shakur was wounded on Sept. 7, 1996, in a drive-by hit in in Las Vegas and died six days later at age 25. The killing is unsolved.


AHA! THE WEB SWINGER'S A BROTHA THIS TIME"Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse," Sony's latest installment of the lucrative franchise scored the second-biggest opening this year, behind only `"The Super Mario Bros. Movie."

'Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse' soars to $120.5m opening

LOS ANGELES (CNS)—"Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse" opened with $120.5 million this weekend to lead all films at the North American box office, according to the latest industry estimates.

Sony's latest installment of the lucrative franchise scored the second-biggest opening this year, behind only "The Super Mario Bros. Movie," which made $146 million in its first weekend. Second place went to "The Little Mermaid," which took in $40.6 million one week after opening in first place, Comscore reported. The horror film "The Boogeyman," based on a Stephen King story, opened in third place with $12.3 million Friday through Sunday.

"Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3" was fourth with $10.2 million in its fifth week, followed by "Fast X," which grossed $9.2 million in its third week in theaters in the United States and Canada. Rounding out the top 10 domestic releases, as estimated by Comscore, were "The Super Mario Bros. Movie" ($3.3 million), "About My Father" ($2.1 million), "The Machine" ($1.75 million), "SUGA - Agust D TOUR 'D-DAY' in JAPAN: Live VI" ($1.2 million) and "You Hurt My Feelings" ($769,814).

Purple Glaze, purrr-rr-ple glaze...


The Internal Revenue Service and the estate administrator established the value of Prince's estate, Paisley Park, at $156.40 million. The pop star died without a will, and his six surviving siblings were designated as his heirs. Courtesy Paisley Park

Minn. highway honors Prince's legacy

ST. PAUL, Minn.​—The late pop superstar Prince will have a highway named after him in his home state, following a vote by Minnesota lawmakers May 4.

The Senate vote was 55-5 to rename the highway that runs past Prince's Paisley Park museum and studios. Among those watching was his oldest sister, Sharon Nelson. The bill passed the House unanimously last month on the seventh anniversary of Prince's death, and now goes to Gov. Tim Walz, who is expected to sign.

Purple signs will soon go up along a seven-mile stretch of State Highway 5 in the Minneapolis suburbs of Chanhassen and Eden Prairie — designating it the Prince Rogers Nelson Memorial Highway. Prince's friends and fans are footing the bill, said the lead sponsor, Republican

Sen. Julia Coleman, of Waconia.

“Prince was a true genius, a visionary artist who pushed the boundaries of music and cultures in ways that will never be forgotten," Coleman told her fellow senators. "His influence can be heard in the work of countless musicians who came after him, and his legacy continues to inspire new generations of artists to this day.”

Paisley Park, where Prince lived and recorded, now draws visitors from around the world.

Paisley Park is also where Prince died on April 21, 2016, of an accidental fentanyl overdose at age 57. The 65,000-square-foot complex in Chanhassen is now a museum run by his estate as well as an event venue and recoding studio.

Sharon Nelson told reporters her brother’s music will live forever and that his spirt “sneaks up on me some- times.” And she urged fans to take the tour and see his 3,000 shoes on display.

The idea to name the highway after Prince came three years ago from Mark Webster, a longtime friend of the star who works security at Paisley Park. He was among the fans who gathered at the Minnesota Capitol to celebrate the vote. He said they'll find a date that works for fans soon for the signs to go up.

Prince's birthday was June 7, but he didn't celebrate birthdays because he was a Jehovah's Witness by faith.


The singer, songwriter, arranger and instrumentalist broke through in the late 1970s and was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2004. He created hits including “Little Red Corvette,” ″Let’s Go Crazy” and “When Doves Cry,” and sold more than 100 million records worldwide.

Several years ago, Prince's 1984 “Purple Rain” was added by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry.

After a six-year legal battle that consumed tens of millions of dollars, the Internal Revenue Service and the estate administrator put the value of his estate at $156.4 million. Since Prince died without a will, his six surviving siblings at the time of his death were designated as his heirs. The three youngest eventually sold most of their interests to the music company Primary Wave.


Actor Jussie Smollett, found guilty in a Chicago criminal court, Dec. 9, 2021, on five of six counts of staging a hate crime, faces up to three years in prison. Screen grab


Found guilty of
staging hate crime

By DAVE BYRNES / December 9, 2021

CHICAGO (CN) — Former “Empire” star Jussie Smollett was convicted of criminal disorderly conduct Thursday for falsely reporting to police that he was the victim of a hate crime.

The openly gay, Black actor was found guilty on five of six counts of violating the section of Illinois’ disorderly conduct law that prohibits false reports to police, after claiming he was attacked in Chicago on Jan. 29, 2019. He was only found not guilty of falsely reporting an aggravated battery; a follow-up report he made to detectives two weeks after the attack.

Smollett faces up to three years in prison, though Smollett’s lead defense attorney Nenye Uche said it is unlikely he will serve prison time given his lack of criminal history and the relatively mild charges.

“This is a class 4 felony. It’s right above a misdemeanor,” Uche said following the trial. The jury deliberated for over nine hours, beginning Wednesday afternoon, before reaching its decision. The road leading to the verdict begins in mid-January 2019, when Smollett received a bigoted hate letter on the set of “Empire” from an unknown sender. The letter depicted Smollett hanging from a tree and called him a “faggot nigger."

“We were obviously all very upset. No one would think that Jussie … would be the subject of this hate mail,” showrunner Brett Mahoney testified on MondayMahoney said Monday that he and other members of the “Empire” crew chose not to make the letter public. He added that they did increase Smollett’s security, something that vexed the actor.

As an escape, both from security and the pressures of performing, Smollett said he would often do drugs with his friend Abimbola Osundairo. Smollett met Abimbola—who he called “Bola” or “Bon”—while he was working as a background actor on the set of “Empire.”

“I liked it. It got me away from everything else, so to speak,” Smollett said.

Here the narratives offered by the state prosecutors and defense attorneys in the case begin to differ. According to the prosecution, Smollett and Abimbola’s relationship was purely platonic. Prosecutors claimed that, frustrated by the studio’s response to the hate letter and perhaps angling for higher pay, Smollet recruited Abimbola, and later Abimbola’s older brother Olabinjo, to help him carry out a hoax hate attack. The goal, Abimbola said in his Monday testimony, was to attract media attention.

“Who was the audience?” defense attorney Shay Allen asked Abimbola last Thursday. “According to Jussie, the media,” Abimbola replied.

Olabinjo corroborated his brother’s statement in his own testimony.

“He went on to explain that he got some hate mail ... and had this crazy idea of getting attacked by two Trump supporters so he could post it on social media,” Olabinjo told prosecutor Samuel Mendenhall.

The brothers testified that they met Smollett at a prearranged spot in Chicago around 2 a.m. on Jan. 29, shouted racist and homophobic slurs at him, poured bleach on his clothes and wrapped a rope around his face, all while dressed as Donald Trump supporters. Following this attack, prosecutors said Smollett altered the appearance of the rope to look more like a noose and hampered the subsequent police investigation by withholding evidence such as his phone and medical records. The lead investigator in the case, former Chicago Police Department detective Michael Theis, said this only increased investigators’ suspicion that the hate crime was a hoax.

“At the end of the investigation, we determined that the alleged hate crime was actually a staged event,” Theis said in his testimony on Nov. 30, later adding, "Everything was way too coincidental."

Smollett’s defense team gives a different account. In their version of events, the Osundairo brothers were con men who saw Smollett as a mark for favors. Defense attorneys also put forward the idea that Olabinjo may been violently homophobic, based both on his 2011 conviction for aggravated battery and on texts he sent a friend in which he calls an unnamed man a “fruity ass” and says he’s “done with gaylords.”

“They were wolves in the hen house,” defense attorney Nenye Uche said Wednesday in closing arguments.

According to the defense, Smollett was legitimately targeted by the Osundairo brothers either working alone or with a third, unnamed White individual, perhaps as part of a scheme to have him hire them on as bodyguards.

“You attacked Jussie, because you wanted to scare him into hiring you as security … so you could move back to L.A. and get that $5,000 a week salary,” Allen said to Abimbola on Thursday, who denied the accusation.

Regardless of the narrative, the next chapter in the case is undisputed. Based on testimony from the Osuandairo brothers and the results of Theis’ investigation, a Cook County grand jury indicted Smollett on 16 counts of felony disorderly conduct in March of 2019. Those counts were quickly dropped by the Cook County’s State’s Attorney’s Office. It later became public that the Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx dropped the charges because she thought Smollett was a “washed up celeb” who had been over-charged.

Unsatisfied, the county convened another grand jury and charged Smollett with six new counts of felony disorderly conduct in February of 2020. Chicago attorney Dan Webb and his legal team from the law firm Winston & Strawn were chosen to act as special state prosecutors in Foxx’s stead.

This decision was followed by a year of attorney meetings and discovery and eight days of trial, but now the nearly three-year legal drama has come to a close. Both the prosecution and defense spent the final moments of their closing arguments Wednesday urging the jury to see their side of the story.

Webb said finding Smollett guilty was only common sense, given the weight of evidence against him. “When you decide this case as a jury, you are allowed to use your common sense,” he said.

Uche, meanwhile, urged the jurors not to condemn a man he said he truly believed was innocent. “I need constitutional warriors in that jury room because I can’t speak in there,” he said.

Presiding Cook County Judge James Linn dismissed the jury after they reached their verdict, thanking them for their hard work. Linn also released Smollett on a recognizance bond, choosing not to turn him over to police custody. Smollett left the Cook County Courthouse with his family without giving a statement.

In a press conference following the trial, Webb told reporters that he and his legal team worked pro bono. “We made the decision, if we’re gonna do this, we’re gonna do it for the public,” Webb said.

He also said, alleging that Smollett lied on the witness stand, that he would bring up the issue of perjury at Smollett’s sentencing hearings. Uche maintained that his client did not lie on the stand, but is “absolutely, 100 percent innocent.” He told reporters that they plan to appeal the jury’s decision, which he called “inconsistent.”

“We feel 100% confident this case will be won on appeal,” he said.

A spokeswoman for the Osundairo brothers also gave a statement, in which she said that she and her clients regretted the events leading to this trial, but that they were confident people would forgive Smollett in time.

“You are still your mother’s child. … People will forgive you … just come clean,” the spokeswoman said.

No sentencing date was set Thursday night. Judge Linn and the lawyers will convene Jan. 27 to discuss that and other next steps.

Courthouse News.

SLIM 400

Investigation continues into Inglewood murder of rapper Slim 400

INGLEWOOD (CNS)The investigation was continuing today into the killing of Compton rapper Slim 400, who was gunned down in Inglewood.

The shooting was reported about 8 p.m. Wednesday at Manchester Boulevard and Seventh Avenue. The Los Angeles County coroner's office on Friday identified the slain man as 34-year-old Vincent Cochran Jr.

Paramedics sent to the location at the request of Inglewood police took the mortally wounded man to a hospital, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department. Police have not released details of their investigation into the killing.


Slim 400

According to CBS2, officers on patrol heard the gunshots and responded to find a man on the ground with gunshot wounds. reported that the rapper apparently was shot as he sat in a vehicle in a driveway.

According to TMZ, Slim was born to military parents in Germany, moved to Los Angeles as a young child and was raised in Compton. The rapper was later discovered and signed by the now-nonexistent Pu$haz Ink music label
the same one made popular by YG and DJ Mustard.

"Slim narrowly escaped death back in the summer of 2019 when he was shot nine times in L.A.," TMZ reported. "Slim claimed he was ambushed in the attack while visiting family in Compton." 

City News Service

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