March 14, 1933 Quincy Delight Jones, Jr., trumpeter, music conductor and arranger, record producer, and film composer, was born in Chicago, Illinois. In 1951, Jones won a scholarship to the Berklee College of Music, but abandoned his studies when he received an offer to play in the band of Lionel Hampton.
February 7, 1934 Curtis Ousley (King Curtis), saxophonist, band leader, and record producer, was born in Fort Worth, Texas. Curtis started playing the saxophone at the age of 12 and in 1950 he joined the Lionel Hampton Band. In 1952, he moved to New York City and worked as a session player until the mid-1960s.
February 3, 1939 John William “Johnny” Bristol, musician, songwriter, and record producer, was born in Morganton, North Carolina. After serving in the United States Air Force, Bristol recorded several singles before his label was absorbed by Motown Records in the mid-1960s. At Motown, he teamed with Harvey Fuqua to write and produce some of their […]
March 6, 1936 Sylvia Vanderpool Robinson, singer, record producer, and record company executive and the mother of hip-hop, was born in New York City. Robinson began recording in 1950 under the name of Little Sylvia.
February 19, 1940 William “Smokey” Robinson, Jr., singer, songwriter, and record producer, was born in Detroit, Michigan. In 1955, Robinson co-founded a vocal group called The Five Chimes which was later renamed the Miracles. In 1959, they were one of the first groups to sign with the newly formed Motown Records.
January 11, 1971 Mary Jane Blige, singer, record producer and “Queen of Hip Hop Soul,” was born in The Bronx, New York. Blige spent her early years in Savannah, Georgia where she sang in a church choir. In 1989, she was signed by Uptown Records, becoming the label’s youngest and first female artist. In 1991, […]
December 26, 1999 Curtis Lee Mayfield, singer, songwriter and record producer, died. Mayfield was born June 3, 1942 in Chicago, Illinois. In 1954, Mayfield dropped out of school and joined The Roosters who two years later became The Impressions. When Jerry Butler left the group, Mayfield became the lead singer. The Impressions were successful with […]
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- Maynard Holbrook Jackson, Jr. – June 23rd in African American History
- October 7th in African American History – Desmond Mpilo Tutu
- Matthew Leonard – December 19th in African American History
- Jack Leroy “Jackie” Wilson – January 21st in African American History
- December 14th in African American History – Aloyisus Leon Higginbotham, Jr.