February 26, 1990 Cornelius E. Gunter, rhythm and blues singer, died. Gunter was born November 14, 1936 in Coffeyville, Kansas. He began recording in 1953 singing backup on Big Jay McNeelly’s “Nervous Man Nervous.” In 1957, he sang the title song for the movie “The Green Eyed Blonde.” From 1958 to 1961, Gunter performed as […]
March 18, 1941 Wilson Pickett, R&B singer and songwriter, was born in Prattville, Alabama. In 1955, Pickett moved to Detroit, Michigan where he joined a gospel group and developed his forceful, passionate style of singing.
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.
January 10, 1976 Chester Arthur Burnett (Howlin’ Wolf), blues singer, guitarist, and harmonica player, died. Wolf was born June 10, 1910 in White Station, Mississippi. During the 1930s, he performed in the South with a number of blues musicians, including Robert Johnson and Son House. His first recording, “How Many More Years,” was produced in […]
December 22, 1939 Ma Rainey, the “Mother of the Blues,” died. Rainey was born Gertrude Malissa Nix Pridgett in Columbus, Georgia in either September, 1882 or April, 1886 and first appeared on stage at the age of 14. In 1904, she began performing with her husband billed as “Rainey & Rainey, Assassinators of the Blues.” […]
January 21, 1984 Jack Leroy “Jackie” Wilson, singer and performer known as “Mr. Excitement,” died. Wilson was born June 9, 1934 in Detroit, Michigan. He gained early fame as a member of The Dominoes. In 1957, Wilson began his solo career with the release of “Reet Petite” and over the next 15 years recorded more […]
December 30, 1928 Elias Otha Bates (Bo Diddley), vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter, was born in McComb, Mississippi. In 1934, his family moved to Chicago, Illinois where in the early 1940s Diddley began to perform. In 1954, he recorded “Bo Diddley” which became a number one R&B hit in 1955. He continued to have hits during […]
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- Ethel Waters – September 1st in African American History
- November 21st in African American History – William Boyd Allison Davis
- August 30th in African American History – Marie Roach Knight
- February 12th in African American History – Roberta Martin
- March 28th in African American History – William Christopher “W. C.” Handy