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#ThrowbackThursday: Remembering James Avery

James Avery And Will Smith On The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air

by Sean Smith

Yesterday we learned of the sad news that actor James Avery passed away on Tuesday at the age of 68 due to complications following open heart surgery.

Avery is most notably remembered for his role as Uncle Phil on the 1990s sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. The Atlantic City born actor is also remembered for being the voice of Shredder in the original edition of the animated television series Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He also made appearances on a number of notable TV series including That 70’s ShowDharma& Greg, and CSI to name a few. His movie credits include roles of varying levels of prominence to include The Blues BrothersThe Brady Bunch Movie, and Dr. Dolittle 2. He also has a role in the upcoming film Wish I Was Here, which will premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

James Avery had a lot of success in his acting career and his talent will be sorely missed in the entertainment industry. While our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of James Avery during this time of loss, we would also like to take this time to remember his life and career.

With Avery’s most prominent role being that of Phillip Banks, or “Uncle Phil” as Will Smith’s character called him, we thought we would take a moment today to commemorate the life of Avery by remembering the theme song from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.

Written and performed by Will Smith, the song played at the beginning of each episode over a music video style film sequence showing The Fresh Prince acting out the lyrics to the story telling based lyrics of the tune. The original opening sequence ran around 1:50 in length but was later shortened to allow for more content to be included in each episode. This shortened version ran about 1:10 in length and cuts out a significant portion of the middle section to the original song.

The song itself, though wildly popular to this day in popular culture, was never released as a single in the United States. It was not released at all in America until the full original version was included on Will Smith’s 2002 Greatest Hits album. It was however released as a single in the Netherlands back in 1992 where it charted to the #3 spot. This European version has bit of a different sound to it and was released under the title “Yo! Home to Bel Air.”

So in honor of the late James Avery, aka Uncle Phil, this week’s #ThrowbackThursday here on Clizbeats remembers the theme song to the classic sitcom starring Avery, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Enjoy!

 The Fresh Prince 

“The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air Theme” 

DJ Jazzy Jeff And The Fresh Prince 
“Yo Home To Bel Air” 
Jive Records
The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air Opening Sequence And Theme (Edited Intro)

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