Filed under: Purple Snow
Curated by Minneapolis Spokesman-Recorder columnist Norma Jean Williams, the weekly feature “Bachelors In Minnesota” introduced readers to a cross section of eligible Twin Cities African Americans. Over the years, Williams (daughter of Spokesman-Recorder founder, Cecil Newman) spoke with several tradesmen, educators, students, and the occasional musician. Perpetual bachelor, singer, and Scorpio Alexander O’Neal was treated to his own day in Williams’s spotlight in January of 1981.
O’Neal revealed Donny Hathaway as a formative influence, and described his ideal mate as “real and down-to-earth.” He went on to say, “The combination of a pleasant personality, a good understanding of herself, and the complete awareness of the things around her make an outstanding and interesting person to me.”
At the time, O’Neal was the charismatic frontman of Flyte Tyme, featuring bassist Terry Lewis, drummer Garry “Jellybean” Johnson, guitarist Solomon Hughes, and keyboardist Monte Moir. Having just begun a Sunday night residency at P.J. Clark’s in downtown St. Paul, O’Neal himself was mere months away from being cast off from the promising ensemble as Prince swapped the Scorpio for Morris Day, renaming the group The Time. O’Neal would then team up with former Prince collaborator Chris Moon and musical polyglot John Rivers to commit a new incarnation of the Minneapolis Sound to magnetic tape. One of several valiant efforts, “Borrowed Time,” will appear on Purple Snow: Forecasting the Minneapolis Sound, this November.
“I plan to keep pursuing my career as a professional entertainer,” professed O’Neal in his newsprint profile, “and someday, with the blessing of God, I hope to succeed.”
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