Many readers would first think, Naijauto could be making this all up but, No! While Fela Kuti owned more than 50 automobiles, one of his friend has to borrow the Range Rover SUV to make his album cover.
1. Who borrowed Fela Kuti's Range Rover to make album cover?
This musician’s name is Joe King Kologbo and he used to be a “not-so-popular” composer and highlife guitarist that really rocked Nigerian music industry back in the ‘60s & ‘70s.
Even though Joe King Kologbo had a Yoruba origin, he was actually born in Delta State known as “Warri” around the 1930s period.
He was based in and grew up in Abia State, which was known as “Aba” back then and popular for being a trendy centre of fashion and music in Nigeria. Aba was also recognized for serving as home to various popular Nigerian music bands of those days.
Joe King Kologbo built up his entire music career during those periods at the Atlantic Hotel by playing together with the Eastern Star Dance band. But, being based at the Eastern part of Nigeria also handicapped him from being as popular nationally like other musicians of that time like his friend, the renowned Fela Kuti who was also into highlife.
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Joe King Kologbo’s “Sugar Daddy” album cover photo in which he is seen posing with the borrowed Fela Kuti’s Range Rover
Kologbo’s music career even suffered a greater setback when the 1967 Civil war broke out. He got stranded/stuck in Ghana during the time of the Biafran struggle.
However, he returned to Nigeria after the different wars and joined his old friend, Fela Kuti but, never collaborated or played music with him on any of his songs. Kologbo instead, joined the “Victo Olaiya Band”.
Among the few songs of Joe King Kologbo that was really popular during his era was a single titled “Sugar Daddy” which was more of a disco outing/experimental highlife track. On the album cover of this track, one could see King Kologbo posing with a “Range Rover” SUV but only a few people knew that it was his friend, Fela Kuti’s car he had borrowed for the picture.
According to Joe King Kologbo’s son, the photo was taken right at the front of one studio at that time. He said;
“When my father saw the car he said, ‘Hey let’s take a picture with it.’ The picture was later used as the album cover for “Sugar Daddy”.
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2. Fela Kuti's car collection
At that time, the Range Rover SUV was just one out of the total 50 vehicles owned by the internationally popular Fela Kuti back then.
Below are some rare pictures of Fela Kuti and his cars during 1980s.
Fela achieved legendary status for his lifestyle, clothes and cars which numbered more than 50 (Photo: Last.fm)
Fela Kuti in a friend visit in 1989 (Photo: Urban image)
One of Fela Kuti's cars back then (Photo: Urban image)