I Pity the Fool who Doesn’t listen to Be Somebody by Mr. T

It’s hard to explain to kids today (and by “kids today” I mean anyone under 25″) just how awesome Mr. T was in the early ’80s.

Growing up the ’80s I didn’t just idolize Mr. T, I wanted to be the dude. I wanted the gold chains, the awesome mohawk, and the unending ability to pity fools. I loved Mr. T because he was ALWAYS Mr. T. There never seemed to be an “off” switch on that dude.

Even as a little kid I knew that Slyvester Stallone was just an actor. Rocky wasn’t real, it was just a movie. I even had some doubt as to how real wrestling was – I knew Hulk Hogan didn’t just walk around the house tearing his t-shirts off and rocking out to Derringer, he saved that shit for the Main Event.

But Mr. T was Mr. T 24/7. Even when he was playing a role like on The A-Team or in Rocky III, he was still fucking Mr. T. No bullshit there. Not much acting there, what you saw was what you got, all the time.  The dude didn’t even change his act when he met Nancy Reagan or guest starred on Diff’rent Strokes. He even had his own cartoon where he played himself as a gymnast/detective. No matter what you say about Mr. T, you have to admit – that is a commitment to a lifestyle.

The kids loved Mr. T and he loved them back, so in 1984 he made an educational/motivational video for children called Be Somebody…or Be Somebody’s Fool. You should watch it. It’s pretty epic, filled with some great sage-like advice from Mr. T, as well as some “amazing” musical performances.

After you’re done watching it, you’ll probably be jonesing for that epic soundtrack so you can relive the magic and the music wherever you are.

Don’t worry. I have you covered.

Mr. T – Be Somebody
Be Somebody
Treat Your Mother Right
Love Each Other
I Am Somebody
Peer Pressure (New Edition)
Poppin’ and Breakin’
Be Somebody…or Be Somebody’s Fool is a weird and wonderful artifact of the 80s, but the  Be Somebody album is even weirder and more wonderful, this is despite the fact that Mr. T only contributes to three of the eight songs on the album: “Be Somebody”, “Treat Your Mother Right” and “I Am Somebody.”

As you might expect, these are the best/worst songs on the album. Both “Be Somebody” and “I Am Somebody” are message songs (shit, a sample of a dude yelling something that sounds like “Message!” is looped throughout the latter track) about the power of self-esteem and doing your best. “Treat Your Mother Right” is a slow-jam about maternal love, and the less I say about that one the better.

The rest of the album is crazy mixed bag. “Love Each Other” is a ballad about loving each other (duh) sung by someone who is credited as “The Dimples.” A Quick IMDB search reveals this to be Marta Marrero AKA Martika, who appeared in Breakin 2: Electric Boogaloo (not a surprise) and Disney’s Kids Incorporated (really not a surprise) before going on to one-hit wonderdom with “Toy Soldiers.”

The other ballad on the album is “Try”, featuring lead vocals by one Valeria Landsburg, who played Doris on the Fame TV show. While the titular fame seems to have eluded Valeria, she has managed to carve quite the small career for herself in Hollywood, working as an actress, singer, writer and director. Go Valeria!

NOTKB prototype New Edition make an appearance on Be Somebody with “Peer Pressure.” Guess what? It’s about peer pressure and how bad it is. It’s not “Candy Girl” I’ll tell you that much.

The two weirdest tracks on Be Somebody are “Stylin'” and “Poppin’ and Breakin.'” These are straight-up old-school instrumental electro tailor-made for breakdancing. What’s even more amazing is that they’re both pretty damn good too. They also feature a fairly impressive line-up of amazingly talented and diverse session musicians.

The percussionist on both tracks is a dude who goes by the name Munyungo. And if his webpage is to be believed (and why wouldn’t it be) that dude has quite the resume, working with Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis, Stevie Wonder, Sting, and about every Motown band worth a damn. Bassist Michael Henderson, another frequent Miles Davis contributor, joins him on “Poppin’ and Breakin'” as well. When Michael Henderson isn’t rocking the bass on Be Somebody, fellow session musician Kevin Brandon is. A man whose work you may have heard on OutKast, Justin Timberlake and Mary J. Blige records. He’s not a household name, but he’s big enough to have a page on M-Audio where I found this information!

Finally, there’s guitarist Greg Poree, who produced most of the record, and appears on nearly all the tracks. He also worked with Herbie Hancock and Stevie Wonder, as well as Michael Jackson and Aretha Franklin. Today he can be foun as the guitarist on Dancing With The Stars. A show that should totally have Mr. T as a contestant next season.

So that’s a lot of talent, but most of them aren’t really well-known.

Okay, how about Ice T?

That’s right, the Ice T (I assume no relation to Mr. T), served as the “associate producer for Mr. T’s vocal” on Be Somebody. I assume this means he just tried his damnedest not to make Mr. T sound any worse than he already was. It’s crazy the think that he was only three years away from Rhyme Pays when he helped on on this record. You think Coco knows about this skeleton in T’s closet?

Enjoy the Mr. T. There will be more later this week.

That’s right. You’ve been warned.


13 Responses to “I Pity the Fool who Doesn’t listen to Be Somebody by Mr. T”

  1. batgrl says:

    Oh man, I’m totally having a nostalgia trip with this. Had a friend who played Treat Your Mother Right on his radio show, much to the amusement of the rest of us listening, because it was just SO over the top and of course mixed with music that sounded nothing like that. (I’m not even sure what music genre it would fit in, novelty/celeb?) So I’m snagging it just for that – and the rest because I admit, having heard one song I must experience what the rest are like. (I may be sorry later.)

  2. Snowy says:

    The video “Be Somebody…or Be Somebody’s Fool” is just great! My favourite part has to be when Mr. T talks about being yourself and not wearing “label” clothing and soon after appears in his Adidas Mr. T outfits!
    Here in Australia re-runs of the “A Team” have been on the TV recently and my 4 year old loves it! I have an original 7” single of the “A Team” Theme which we sing along to. We also have Mr. T in the “Snickers” ad on TV here which I think was banned in the US? (The one with Mr T on the tank!)
    I take it that if you are to post more Mr. T that you have the “Mr. T’s Commandments” EP from 1984? Aimed at kids once again. Ice T was involved in some of this project too! Cant wait to hear this one.
    There was also to be a “Mr. T” video game with him fighting a mechanized Nazi army in the South American jungle…sounds just about right for Mr. T. Hopefully the game will see the light of day at some point in the future and I cant wait for the soundtrack to this one.
    Mr T is truly a dedicated man to his self identity.

  3. Tim says:

    That’s some impressive pop culture archaeology on the Mr. T albums (both this post and the other one) & I mean that without any sarcasm. I fear to think what you’ll do if you ever start researching your family tree!

  4. Lost Turntable says:

    I wish I could have majored in pop culture archaeology.

  5. Treat Your Mother Right gets played every Mother’s Day, no doubt.

  6. Jacques says:

    Thanks, Lost Turntable for Mr. T’s Be Somebody.
    But do you have any information about the song we listen during the “Workout sequence”? (beginning at 31:45)

  7. Jacques says:

    I’ve found it. The song is “Burn” by Dupont.

  8. Gabe says:

    Can I buy these songs off you please?

  9. Lost Turntable says:


  10. Gabe says:

    Why you gotta be rude ? All I did was ask a question well I got my awnser God Bless!

  11. Lost Turntable says:


  12. Be Somebody says:

    By chance I once listened to a song featuring the same beat and rhythm like “Treat your Mother right.” Does anybody have an idea which song that was?

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