Legendary producer Quincy Jones has claimed that soul legend Ray Charles introduced him to heroin when he was only 15 years old, adding that Malcolm X was their dealer.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Jones described hanging out with his good friend Ray Charles after performing together in the late 1940s.
“After we finished at the Washington Social Club and a couple of other ones, we’d all go down to Jackson Street to the Elks Club,” he explained. “That’s where all the bebop jam sessions were. Nobody got paid. We didn’t give a damn.
“When they finished playing they’d go over in the corner and they had it on their thumb. I just snuck in the line and got me a little hit.”
Jones, 85, also disclosed that he bought drugs from a young hustler in Harlem called Detroit Red – one of the pseudonyms of Malcolm X. The iconic producer said his five-month stint taking heroin came to an end after he was bedridden from a fall.
“The mistakes are what help you grow and learn,” he said. “That was a big one. [If I hadn’t fallen.] I would have been in New York, where I was hanging out with [jazz musician] Charlie Parker. I would have been a junkie forever. Bird was always high. Thank god we did it and got it over with.”
Jones’ life is the focus of new Netflix documentary Quincy, that spans six incredible decades in music. He has achieved an unprecedented 79 Grammy Award nominations and won 27 Grammys, including a Grammy Legend Award in 1991. Jones famously worked with Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson and Miles Davis, among many others.
Earlier this year, Jones issued a public apology for a series of controversial comments and claims, that included calling The Beatles “the worst musicians in the world” and saying that U2 are no longer writing good songs, while he also alleged that Richard Pryor once had sex with Marlon Brando.