THIS Magic Moment..............................
Advertising for Bill’s first dance as a promoter.
“While I was in Jackson, Mississippi, listening to the music of the ‘50s and ‘60s and throwing dances to pay my way through college, Prentiss Barnes was performing on the stages of New York City and all across the country. "We were two men from different worlds who were being prepared for a rare breed of friendship.”
SUMMARY This Magic Moment is a heartwarming true story about a Mississippi insurance executive’s unlikely, three-decade friendship with four legendary African American singers and their remarkable journey together. Three were Rock and Roll Hall of Famers – Prentiss Barnes and Harvey Fugua of The Moonglows, Bill Pinkney of The Original Drifters. The fourth was Rufus McKay, a Mississippi treasure and lead singer of The Red Tops. The book is a celebration of the power of music, friendship and trusting God’s plan.
Anyone who fondly remembers the 1950’s and 60’s will love Morris’ vivid descriptions of his childhood, teenage and college years and his nostalgic look back at life and culture during these simpler times.
Music lovers, especially those who are fans of Doo wop, early R&B, vocal group harmony and Rock and Roll, will appreciate the extensive music history and backstories woven throughout the book and be amazed how a fellow fan, a regular guy “not in the business,” was able to have such a front row seat at some of the industry’s biggest events, even performing onstage with some of his heroes.
And, people of faith will be inspired and touched reading how God used Bill and the bonds that were formed among all five of these men to accomplish His purpose and bless all of their lives. Bill knows he would have never had these amazing experiences if he had not trusted God’s urgings and realized that God’s hand was writing the story all along.
This Magic Moment reminds us that true friendship is possible among people with very different backgrounds when we focus instead on the things we have in common; that music has a magical power to bring people together and instill shared, universal emotion; and that sometimes God does work in mysterious ways!
Barnes was the original bass singer of The Moonglows, Rock and Roll Hall of Famers who were considered the best of the doo wop-era groups. Their songs included the Billboard chart-topper “Sincerely” and other ’50s R&B hits such as “See Saw,” “When I’m with You,” and “Ten Commandments of Love.”
Growing up on music like theirs, William H. Morris so loved the rich harmonies and talented performers who visited his hometown that he began work as a music promoter of R&B artists throughout college. Years later, while traveling in Washington, DC, Morris had the chance to relive his youth and attend a Moonglows performance. Excited to hear one of his favorite groups again, he introduced himself during intermission to thank them for all the memories.
As he and the guys started singing some of the standards of that era, just for fun, The Moonglows’ lead singer recognized that Morris’ voice was ideally suited or this type of music and asked Morris to join them onstage to sing in their second set. In that serendipitous meeting and the many to follow—all of them detailed so personably in This Magic Moment—Bill Morris’ life would be forever changed.
Unsolicited gift, following Bill’s performance with Moonglows, 1980.
About a year after his magical moment with The Moonglows, Morris saw a newspaper article about Moonglows singer Prentiss Barnes, who had been permanently injured in an accident years before. Alarmed at Barnes’ plight, and learning that he was living in Jackson, Morris felt compelled to call him. He got the singer’s number, shared with him that he’d sung with The Moonglows once . . . and thus began a friendship that lasted until Barnes’ death.
Bill’s startling discovery of Prentiss's dire circum-
stances in 1981.
Follow up article in the Clarion Ledger in 1994 describing Bill and Prentiss’s friendship developed years earlier.
Waldorf Astoria- NYC, Bill- special guest at the Moonglows Rock & Roll hall of fame induction, 2000.
Bill Morris with Bill Pinkney of the Original Drifters in 2007
at Pinkey’s home, the last time they would see each other.
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of This Magic Moment will benefit MusiCares®, a safety net of critical assistance for music people in times of need associated with the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences. Bill is grateful to MusiCares® for helping Prentiss Barnes in his later years.
*Learn more about MusiCares®