He epitomized the indigenous music of the Bronx streets where he grew up. In 1957, he teamed with three neighborhood pals - Fred Milano, Angelo D’Aleo and Carlo Mastrangelo - to form a vocal group that earned a reputation as the best street corner singers for miles. ____ and the Belmonts (named for Belmont Avenue, in the Bronx) perfected four-part harmonies while falling under the spell of rock and roll. The quartet combined the doo-wop sound of their home turf with a raft of rock and roll and R&B influences to come about with songs such as 'Runaround Sue' and 'I Wonder Why'.
One of the first popular black groups, this group can be regarded as forerunners of the doo-wop and rhythm & blues movements that followed. In the wake of their innovative harmonies came a slew of black vocal groups, including the Ravens, the Orioles, the Dominoes and the Drifters. Inspired by big-name jazz bands and old-time vaudeville acts, they got their start in Indianapolis. “If I Didn’t Care,” a million seller, inaugurated a stream of hit ballads in a similar vein, including “My Prayer, “ “We Three,” “Maybe” and “When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano.”
Though his career was relatively brief, cut short by a tragic plane crash, this man was a singer of such commanding stature that to this day he embodies the essence of soul music in its purist form. His name is synonymous with the term soul. He left behind a legacy of recordings made during the four-year period from his first sessions for Stax/Volt Records in 1963 until his death in 1967. Ironically, although he consistently impacted the R&B charts beginning with the Top Ten appearance of “Mr. Pitiful” in 1965, none of his singles fared better than #21 on the pop Top Forty until the posthumous release of “(Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay.”
With the name inspired by a Muddy Waters song, they hold the record for longevity by a rock and roll band. Critical acclaim and popular consensus has accorded them the title of the “World’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band.” Throughout five decades of shifting tastes in popular music, the Stones have kept rolling, adapting to the latest styles without straying from their roots as a lean, sinuous rock and roll band with roots in electric blues and Chuck Berry-style rock and roll. In all aspects, theirs has been a remarkable career, marked by songs such as 'Paint It, Black', '(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction', 'Beast of Burden', and 'Sympathy for the Devil'.
This woman earned the title of “Empress of the Blues” by virtue of her forceful vocal delivery and command of the genre. Her singing displayed a soulfully phrased, boldly delivered and nearly definitive grasp of the blues. In addition, she was an all-around entertainer who danced, acted and performed comedy routines with her touring company. She was the highest-paid black performer of her day and arguably reached a level of success greater than that of any African-American entertainer before her. Some of her better-known sides from the Twenties include “Backwater Blues,” “Taint Nobody’s Bizness If I Do,” “St. Louis Blues” (recorded with Louis Armstrong), and “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out.”
Had they only launched the career of Sam Cooke, they would have earned their place in rock and roll history. Beyond that, however, they set the pace for gospel and pop vocal groups and played a role as forefathers in the development of rhythm and blues. As exponents of the modern gospel quartet sound back in the Forties and Fifties, they took gospel out of local churches and found a national audience for it. The group radically reshaped traditional gospel material and wrote many enduring songs of their own. Their music represented a progression from jubilee singing to a more rhythmic style, and it served as the basis for doo-wop and R&B. Through numerous personnel changes the group came about hits such as 'Peace in the Valley' (Sam Cooke), and 'Stand by Me Father' (Johnnie Taylor).
He is among the greatest producers of rock and roll, and some would passionately argue that he is the greatest ever. His ambitious approach to the art of record production helped redefine and revitalize rock and roll during its early-Sixties slump. He utilized the studio like no producer before him. In exploring its possibilities, he constructed a musical monolith known as the “Wall of Sound.” He produced many artists including The Beatles, John Lennon, George Harrison, Cher, and Ike & Tina Turner, among many others.
They were the quintessential Motown vocal group. The quintet offered a rich blend of voices (most notably the difference between Eddie Kendericks and David Ruffin) accompanied by stylish, coordinated dance moves. With songs and production from some of Motown’s brightest lights - most notably Smokey Robinson ('My Girl') and Norman Whitfield ('Ain’t Too Proud to Beg') - they lived up to their billing as emperors of soul. They delivered the intricate harmonies of streetcorner serenaders and the polished choreography of a Sixties soul revue. Moreover, their story is a long, episodic one of perseverance and dedication that extends from their origins in 1961 to the present day.
This blind prodigy was Motown’s golden child. In his more than 30 years at Motown, he has been a musical icon: first, as a child prodigy; second, as a young man with a soulful, maturing and multifaceted talent; and finally, as an adult driven by the challenge of realizing his ever-deepening inner visions. Over the course of his career, he has been a true musical pioneer whose work has embraced influences as diverse as reggae and jazz. He created music that sounded startlingly fresh in the Seventies by bending synthesizer technology to his own funky, visionary ends. A true child of the Sixties, his idealistic music has remained inseparable from his spirituality and humanitarian outlook. Major songs include 'Superstition', 'Higher Ground', and 'Sir Duke'.
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