A family affair that came together in the Los Angeles suburb of Hawthorne, California, in 1961. Three brothers were joined by their cousin and a schoolmate to compose this surf rock five-some. The groups leader, one of the three brothers, demonstrated an aptitude for music at an early age, orchestrating their harmonies, writing the music, and producing the recording sessions. Some of their best known hits are 'California Girls', 'Good Vibrations' and 'God Only Knows'.
This “Fab Four” from Liverpool, England, startled the ears and energized the lives of virtually all who heard them. Their arrival triggered the musical revolution of the Sixties, introducing a modern sound and viewpoint that parted ways with the world of the previous decade. Songs such as 'She Loves You', 'Hey Jude', 'Let It Be', and 'A Day in the Life' are just a few of the gems that mark this band's catalogue. They are arguably the most successful and influential band in the history of the world.
This vocal group served to link Fifties rhythm & blues with Sixties soul music. They epitomized the vocal group sound of New York City. Theirs was the sweet but streetwise sound of R&B suffused with gospel influences. The material they recorded came from a variety of sources, including the songwriting teams of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman, and Gerry Goffin and Carole King. All were New York-based songwriters who wrote evocatively of romance and everyday life in the big city. Well known for songs like, 'This Magic Moment', 'On Broadway', 'Save the Last Dance for Me', and 'Under the Boardwalk'.
The uncontested poet laureate of the rock and roll era and the pre-eminent singer/songwriter of modern times. Whether singing a topical folk song, exploring rootsy rock and blues, or delivering one of his more abstract, allegorical compositions, he has consistently demonstrated the rare ability to reach and affect listeners with thoughtful, sophisticated lyrics. Some of his most popular works include 'The Times They Are a-Changin'', 'Blowin' in the Wind', 'Like a Rolling Stone' and 'Tangled Up in Blue'.
He founded and presided over the musical empire known as Motown. As a young black man working in often inhospitable times, he endeavored to reach across the racial divide with music that could touch all people, regardless of the color of their skin. Under his tutelage, Motown became a model of black capitalism, pride and self-expression and a repository for some of the greatest talent ever assembled at one company. The list of artists who were discovered and thrived at Motown includes the Supremes, Jr. Walker & the All-Stars, the Temptations, the Four Tops, the Miracles, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, the Jackson 5, and Martha and the Vandellas.
This musician is the original folk hero. It was he who, in the Thirties and Forties, transformed the folk ballad into a vehicle for social protest and observation. In so doing, he paved the way for Bruce Springsteen and a host of other folk and rock songwriters who have been moved by conscience to share experiences and voice opinions in a forthright manner. He wrote literally hundreds of songs, including such revered classics as “This Land Is Your Land,” “So Long, It’s Been Good to Know You,” “Grand Coulee Dam,” “I Ain’t Got No Home” and “Dust Bowl Refugees.”
This man survived a life that included brutalizing poverty and long stretches in prison to become an emblematic folk singer and musician. He is renowned for his songs - the best known of which include “Rock Island Line,” “Goodnight, Irene,” “The Midnight Special” and “Cotton Fields” - as well as his prowess on the 12-string guitar. In his sixty-plus years, he essentially lived two distinctly different lives: first, as a field worker, blues singer, rambling man and prisoner in the rural South; second, as a city-dwelling folksinger, performer and recording artist in the urban North. It was, however, not until shortly after his death that a broader public came to know his songs and the mythic outline of his life.
His name is synonymous with the electric guitar. As a player, inventor and recording artist, he was an innovator his entire life. By age 13 he was performing semi-professionally as a country-music guitarist and working diligently on sound-related inventions. In 1941, he built his first solid-body electric guitar, and he continued to make refinements to his prototype throughout the decade. It’s safe to say that rock and roll as we know it would not exist without his invention. He also made his mark as a jazz-pop musician extraordinaire, recording as a duo with his wife, singer Mary Ford (who was born Colleen Summers). Their biggest hits included “How High the Moon” (1951) and “Vaya Con Dios” (1953), both reaching #1.
They rose from the poverty of Detroit’s Brewster housing project to become Motown’s most consistent hitmakers and the most popular female group of the Sixties. They sang in a polished style that bridged the worlds of pop and soul. Their greatest success came with songs tailor-made for them by Motown’s peerless in-house writing and production team of Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland (see “Holland-Dozier-Holland'). Most common hits include 'Where Did Our Love Go?', 'Baby Love' and 'You Can't Hurry Love'.
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