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A classically-trained pianist, Hancock began his career with the solo album Takin' Off in 1962, the source of his Signature Song "Watermelon Man". However, his career really took off once he joined Miles Davis' "second great quintet" a year later, where he stayed until 1968. In the quintet, he developed his signature style and started incorporating elements of rock music (especially towards the end).
After being kicked out of the quintet , Hancock restarted his solo career. He proved to be just as experimental and wide-ranging as his mentor Davis, incorporating Funk, rock and Soul into his music and becoming the first jazz musician to fully embrace synthesizers and electric keyboards. With his 1974 album Head Hunters, he helped pioneer jazz fusion and obtained another Signature Song, "Chameleon". He moved in a more pop-oriented direction in the late seventies (which is frequently regarded as a Seasonal Rot by fans and critics), then in an electronic-industrial style alongside Bill Laswell in The Eighties (which gave him another big hit, "Rockit"), before returning to fusion and experimentalism in The Nineties, where he's stayed since. He won a Grammy in 2007 for his album of Cover Versions River: The Joni Letters.
- Black Sheep Hit: The hip-hop-electro-industrial hit "Rockit".
- Cool Shades
- Dancing Pants: "Rockit".
- Epic Rocking: In his jazz-fusion era especially.
- Sampled Up: It's happened a few times - "Bring Down the Birds" (for "Groove Is in the Heart" by Deee-Lite), "Hang Up Your Hang Ups" (for "All Nite (Don't Stop)" by Janet Jackson), the Head Hunters version of "Watermelon Man" (Sanctuary" by Madonna) and "Cantaloupe Island" (for US 3's "Cantaloop").
- Sesame Street Cred: Appeared in an episode where he showed off the capabilities of electronic synthesizers.
- Shout-Out: The Cowboy Bebop episode "Speak Like a Child" takes its name from one of Hancock's songs.
- Signature Song: "Cantaloupe Island", "Watermelon Man", "Chameleon" and "Rockit".
- Surreal Music Video: "Rockit".
- ↑ officially for staying too long in Brazil on his honeymoon; the real reasons we can't really guess