February 15, 1968 Marion “Little Walter” Jacobs, blues harmonica player, died. Jacobs was born May 1, 1930 in Marksville, Louisiana. Jacobs moved to Chicago in 1945 and from 1948 to 1952 played in Muddy Walters’ band. His harmonica is featured on most of Walters’ classic recordings from the 1950s.
January 29, 1992 William James “Willie” Dixon, blues vocalist, songwriter, and record producer, died. Dixon was born July 1, 1915 in Vicksburg, Mississippi. As a teenager, he began adapting the poems that he wrote into songs and selling them to local music groups. In 1936, he moved to Chicago and helped form the Five Breezes. […]
November 24, 1985 Joseph Vernon “Big Joe” Turner, blues singer, died. Turner was born May 18, 1911 in Kansas City, Missouri. At the age of fourteen, he began working in Kansas City’s nightclub scene. Turner’s career stretched from the barrooms of Kansas City in the 1920s to the European music festivals of the 1980s.
November 17, 2006 Ruth Brown, R&B singer and actress, died. Brown was born Ruth Alston Weston on January 30, 1928 in Portsmouth, Virginia. She recorded her first hit, “So Long” in 1949 and from that time to 1955 she was on the R&B charts for 149 weeks with 16 top 10 blues records, including 5 […]
November 15, 1937 William Edward John (Little Willie John), rhythm and blues singer, was born in Cullendale, Arkansas but raised in Detroit, Michigan. In 1955, John recorded his debut single “All Around the World”. This was followed by such hits as “Fever” (1956), “Talk To Me” (1958), and “Sleep” (1960). Over his career John made […]
November 14, 1936 Cornelius E. Gunter, rhythm and blues singer, was born in Coffeyville, Kansas. He began recording in 1953 singing backup on Big Jay McNeely’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 a member of the Coasters […]
November 11, 1929 Delores LaVern Baker, rhythm and blues singer, was born in Chicago, Illinois. Baker began performing around Chicago under various names before settling on LaVern Baker in 1952. Her first hit recording came in 1955 with “Tweedlee Dee”, which reached number 4 on the R&B charts.
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- March 24th in African American History – Zephaniah Alexander Looby
- Isaac Burns Murphy – February 12th in African American History
- January 25th in African American History – Sarah Louise “Sadie” Delany
- November 16th in African American History – Zina Lynna Garrison
- September 2nd in African American History – Joseph W. Hatchett