The great SMILEY LEWIS (Overton Lemon) whose bad luck besides his original name, was to be caught in the musical draft of Fats Domino, got his nickname cause he had no front teeth. He later bought teeth and put out some rockin boogie, but Fats’ shadow always draped him.
Shirley & Lee
Although Little Eva and Bobby Nunn teamed up for Doublecrossin Blues in 1949, it might have SHIRLEY & LEE who were the earliest example of a successful (boy-girl) duet. These two school friends enjoyed success in the 50s with Feel So Good, Lee Goofed, I’m Gone, I Feel Good, Rock All Night, and million-seller Let the Good Times…
SHIRELLES were first black female group to record a #1 hit, Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow.
During some of RUDY LEWIS’ recording sessions for the Drifters they used a pretty slick female group for backup vocals. Dionne Warkwick, Doris Troy and Cissy Houston. That’s strong as ammonia! Check out Mexican Divorce.
Here’s two DJs you might of heard of. From 1948 to 1952, BB King was spinning for WDIA Memphis. He had 2 shows, The Sepia Swing Club and Heebie Jeebies. When he left RUFUS THOMAS took over as DJ.
ROCKING CHAIR released in 1932 by the Mills Brothers was said to include the first talking bass part. Their greatest hit came in 1942, Paper Doll. Sold 6 million copies. A Donut and a Dream is still a requested smoothie shag song.
ROCKET 88 was recorded in 1951 by Ike Turner and sung by Jackie Brenston. Ike later said, “Man we were just tryin to put together something to get gas to get back home.” Great song, but an obvious updated knock-off of Joe Liggins’ Cadillac Boogie in 1947 about a Cadillac 8. Both great songs but Joe’s came…
1960 Top Artists
THE 1960s was an era of isms du jour. Race riots, war protests, space race, Nam, alternative lifestyles, bra and draftcards being barbequed…we circled the moon and no one wrote a song about it. Society was spinning counter-clockwise. And so was danceable music. The top album artists of the1960s were The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Monkees, Elvis,…
What with drugs, disco, the Beatles, and kids droppin acid or droppin out in the 1970s, we all thought R&B and our beach music wouldn’t survive. Top selling album of the decade was The Wall by Pink Floyd. Not a hot request at local beach music clubs. Not exactly danceable without hallucinogens.
Like a thousand other great R&B stars, SAM COOKE (1931-64) was originally a gospel singer, starting with the Soul Stirrers. Within a few years he had his own record label & publishing company. His musical flame burned bright, tragic and short. In 1958 he and Lou Rawls were hospitalized in a serious car accident. In…