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.
March 15, 1912 Sam John “Lightnin” Hopkins, country blues guitarist, singer, and songwriter, was born in Centreville, Texas. Hopkins developed a deep appreciation of the blues at the age of eight, but did not make his first recording until 1946.
December 11, 1926 Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton, singer and songwriter, was born in Ariton, Alabama. Thornton began to sing at a very early age and at 14 she joined the Hot Harlem Revue and toured with them for seven years. Thornton began her recording career in 1951 and the next year recorded “Hound Dog.”
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 […]
January 18, 2000 Jester Joseph Hairston, songwriter, choral conductor, and film and television actor, died. Hairston was born July 9, 1901 in Belews Creek, North Carolina. He graduated cum laude from Tufts University in 1928 and studied music at the Juilliard School. In the early stages of his career, he worked as a choir conductor. […]
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 […]
John Lee Hooker August 22, 1917 John Lee Hooker, singer, songwriter, and blues guitarist, was born in Coahoma County near Clarksdale, Mississippi. At the age of 15, Hooker ran away from home and in 1948 landed in Detroit, Michigan working at the Ford Motor Company and playing in the blues venues and saloons on Hasting […]
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