LOS ANGELES — Despite his record-breaking success in music for 60 years, Quincy Jones says his proudest achievement is his seven children and six grandchildren.

Jones talked about his life and music career during an hourlong on-stage conversation with Ludacris on Friday night as part of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers’ annual “I Create Music” expo at the Hollywood Renaissance Hotel.

The 77-year-old composer and producer says it’s been “a blessing” to have worked with “every major artist of the 20th century,” including Frank Sinatra, Aretha Franklin and Michael Jackson, but his No. 1 job is “being a good parent.”

“The other things, you know, that’s a gift from God and I cherish it,” he said. “I don’t take it for granted.”

Seeing his children and grandchildred successful is “my Nobel Prize,” Jones said.

Ludacris asked Jones about everything from music to marriage to money. Jones said that music saved him from a “gangster” lifestyle in his native Chicago. He learned all the brass instruments with the aim of mastering the trumpet.

Then he started traveling as a musician, composer and arranger. Jones told the crowd of more than 2,500 to travel the world and “get a big dream, so if you get halfway there, you’re still OK.”

The legendary musician and producer attributed his success to maintaining an open mind.

“I never turn my curiosity off,” he said.

Nominated for a record 79 Grammy Awards, Jones said his favorite musical memory was recording a song with Franklin in 1971. “It was a moment when God was in the studio and it was magic,” he said.

Jones’ next musical goal is to master songwriting. But the future of music, he said, will sound a lot like the music people have loved for millennia.

Plea for forgiveness nets man second chance

NEW YORK — A lovers’ private quarrel has played itself out in a very public way – with the man begging forgiveness by wearing a sandwich board on a Manhattan square.

Jeff Ragsdale and Megan Brady had dated for a half year, until he got scared she’d leave him and told her she was “a lying, untrustworthy person.”

His 29-year-old girlfriend stopped returning his calls.

So on Thursday, the 32-year-old computer consultant planted himself near her office in Madison Square Park.

On the sandwich board, he wrote, “I was verbally abusive. I’m sorry, Megan.”

He repeated the spectacle Friday, hoping her colleagues would see him and tell her. Finally, one did.

She told The New York Times she was touched by his willingness to humiliate himself. They planned to meet again.

Geico announcer gets canned over ‘retarded’

WASHINGTON — Veteran voice-over artist and bit actor D.C. Douglas got canned last week from one of his most profitable gigs – being an announcer on some Geico Insurance ads – after the dulcet-toned Californian phoned in an insult to FreedomWorks, the Washington activist group that organizes many “tea party” events, back during the health care debates.

Offended at the racist and homophobic insults attributed to protesters during that debate, Douglas left a voice mail asking how many “mentally retarded” people worked for them and how they would spin it “when one of your members does actually kill somebody.”

Then he left a stage name he often works under and his home number.

“I was a doofus,” he said Friday from his home studio in Los Angeles. (He has also called that astute move “certainly not constructive.”)

FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe released a recording of Douglas’s call Tuesday and encouraged supporters to call Douglas at his home, then to call Geico.

A couple of hundred angry calls and 10 hours later, Douglas found out his contract had been canceled.

Douglas apologized profusely for using “mentally retarded” as a pejorative (“I meant to say ‘mentally deficient’ ”) and said he did not blame Geico for cutting him loose.


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