March 17, 1919 Nathaniel Adams “Nat King” Cole, jazz pianist and singer, was born in Montgomery, Alabama. Cole learned to play the organ from his mother and began performing in the 1930s with the King Cole Trio. They signed with Capitol Records in 1943 and revenue from Cole’s recordings accounted for so much of Capitol’s […]
March 9, 1933 Lloyd Price, Rock and Roll and R & B singer, was born in Kenner, Louisiana. As a young man, Price had formal musical training on trumpet and piano and sang in the gospel choir.
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.
March 4, 1932 Zenzile Miriam Makeba, singer and civil rights activist, was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. Makeba began her professional singing career in the 1950s with the Manhattan Brothers before she formed her own group, The Skylarks, singing a blend of jazz and traditional South African melodies.
February 26, 1928 Antoine Dominique “Fats” Domino, pianist, singer, and songwriter, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. Domino first attracted national attention with the 1949 release of “Fat Man” which is widely regarded to be the first rock and roll record to sell more than a million copies.
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.
February 16, 1932 Otis Blackwell, singer, pianist, and songwriter, was born in Brooklyn, New York. Blackwell learned to play the piano as a child. In 1952, he won a talent contest at the Apollo Theater, but his real love was songwriting.
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- Henry Highland Garnet – February 13th in African American History
- Clarence LaVaughn “C.L.” Franklin – January 22nd in African American History
- January 8th in African American History – Charles Young
- September 11th in African American History – James Charles Evers
- November 25th in African American History – Clerow Flip Wilson Jr