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Vicki Randle

Vicki Randle

Vicki Randle was born on December 11, 1954. She is a singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and composer who became the first woman to be a member of The Tonight Show Band, starting with host Jay Leno in 1992.

Vicki Randle is a native of San Francisco, where she was born the eldest of seven children into a musical family, including her father, a jazz pianist, and her brother, Tom, an opera singer. In fact, her mother’s baby shower took place at the Oakland club at which her father was accompanying Billie Holiday.

When Randle was nine, she found a discarded Silvertone guitar, and taught herself to play Beatles songs, singing all the harmonies and other musical instrument parts. Becoming a multi-faceted, multi-talented multi-genre singer guitarist, bass player, and drummer followed, and the result is a 40-year-long career playing with the biggest names in music. Randle has also recorded countless ads and motion picture soundtracks, and has performed on almost every continent.

Randle was lead singer and percussionist with The Tonight Show Band with Jay Leno, led first by Branford Marsalis, then Kevin Eubanks for 18 years, where she performed with numerous guest acts, including Sirs Elton John and Paul McCartney, Al Green, Patti LaBelle, Garth Brooks, and James Taylor.

Randle has toured with Kenny Loggins, Lionel Richie, George Benson, Wayne Shorter, Dr. John, Jeffrey Osborne, and Laura Nyro; performed with Mickey Hart, Joan Baez, and Bonnie Raitt; performed lead vocals with Herbie Hancock, Taj Mahal, and George Benson; and provided background vocals, guitar, and percussion with performers as diverse as Aretha Franklin, Pete Escovido, Pharoah Sanders, Todd Rundgren, Cris Williamson, and the late Levon Helm.

Openly lesbian, Randle recounted for “The Advocate” about being out on the set of the “The Tonight Show”—accepted by both Jay Leno and Kevin Eubanks. “They knew I was gay when they hired me. Kevin’s one of the most open people I’ve ever met.” She added with humor that Leno “basically outed me to everybody as soon as I got there.”

We thank Vicki Randle for her contributions to music, and for her support of our community.

The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is a civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and same gender loving (LGBTQ/SGL) people, including people living with HIV/AIDS.