Quincy Jones Recalls Jaw-Dropping Story On How Ray Charles Got Him Hooked On Heroin

And according to his memory, Malcolm X was a drug dealer, too...

Legendary music biz mogul Quincy Jones blew the wigs off of the internet back in February with an explosive tell-all interview exposing some of the industry’s most repressed and rawest secrets.

For Hollywood Reporter’s “Awards Chatter” podcast, he’s ready to spill more on some of the legends we’ve known to come and love, such as his best friend and late jazz soul musician Ray Charles. Quincy met Ray at 14 years old after watching him perform at Seattle’s Black Elks Club and the two hit it off immediately. He’d eventually begin tagging along with the “Hit the Road, Jack” jazz genius, who was three years his senior. It was during this time that Quincy revealed he was not only introduced to heroin by Ray, but picked up a dangerous habit for it when he was just a teenager.

  • Quincy recalled the moments from the 1940s when he’d run with Ray and company…

    “He got me hooked for five months, at 15,” he said of his fortunately short-lived experience with heroin abuse. “After we’d finish the Washington Social Club and a couple of other ones, we’d all go down to Jackson street to the Elks Club. When they’d finish playing, everybody would go into a corner. Ray would let me get in the corner, and they had it on their thumb. I just snuck in a line and got me a little hit.”

  • The 85-year-old also revealed that iconic human rights radical Malcolm X was known back then for much more than just activism…

    According to Quincy, the Black nationalism leader also slung dope in Detroit. Malcolm went by a different social moniker during that time, too. “He was,” he confirmed when host Scott Feinberg mentioned Quincy’s former statements that Malcom was, indeed, a drug dealer. “In front of the Majestic Hotel in Detroit. We used to call him ‘Detroit Red.’ [He] had his Italian suits on – that’s why when Spike Lee did Malcolm X, I said, ‘Malcolm couldn’t walk around the Blue Zoot’s marching down the street, he’s a dope dealer.’”

    He broke the habit quick though, he admitted, after falling down five flights of step once while under the influence. “I was just high,” Quincy said. “But that’s not good for a trumpet player.”

  • Decades later, Quincy’s not ashamed of it, however, but proud of his growth from such a wild time

    “The mistakes are what help you grow and learn,” he concluded on the conversation, “and that was a big one.”

    Amen to that, Q.

    Listen to the full podcast convo at the 20:27 mark over at Hollywood Reporter here.

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