According to a Jerry Wexler 1952 interview, the first RACE RECORD was Crazy Blues released by Okeh records in 1920. He implied that might of been the first release of “genuine negro music”. And the song was so hot it was hustled up and down the Southern coast by by Pullman porters, many of whom cashed in…
PUGILISTS with great voices. All these dudes were kickass on stage and badass in the boxing ring. Billy Ward, Bo Diddley, Roy Hamilton, Roy Brown, James Brown, Lee Dorsey (who fought as Kid Chocolate) & Golden Glove champion Jackie Wilson. Probably Big Mama Thornton should be on this list.
The PLATTERS – Buck Ram made memorable changes by adding lead Tony Williams and female vocalist Zola Taylor with Herb Reed, David Lynch and Alex Hodge. First song of note in 1955 was Only You, a #1 R&B hit. One of the few groups to incorporate a female singer. Each original member was given 20% ownership…
Louisiana farm boy, PERCY MAYFIELD became a freight-hoppin hobo at 15. Later worked as a dry cleaner, Pullman cook and pool hustler. “I fell in love with sadness because there’s more truth in it….so I ventured over into the world of sadness.” And his attitude showed in his choice of songs. Two Years of Torture, Lost…
Open The Door Richard
They say the first fade, instead of a stop on a hit record was OPEN THE DOOR RICHARD, written and sung by Jack McVea with hilarious lyrics about roommate Richard. Louis Jordan’s rappy cover might of been the coolest. “He was booted, he was obnoxiated, inebriated, just plain drunk” Louis Jordan’s version is funny as it gets.
One Hit Wonders
The top two ONE-HIT WONDERS in Billboard chart history are In the Year 2525 by Zager and Evens and Dominique by The Singing Nuns in 1963.
Nat King Cole
For years one of the clearest most elegant voices ever, was just a piano player in a trio. When star vocalist Billie Holliday didn’t show for a gig, the club convinced NAT KING COLE to fill in. Classy Nat soared to crossover stardom. Became 1st black host of a TV show in ’56. Guess who…
MUDDY WATERS took his gravelly voice, his beat up guitar and his Mississippi soul to Chicago in 1943. He discovered the electric guitar and set the table for Wolf, Diddley and Chuck Berry. His Hoochie Coochie Man recording session included Little Walter (harmonica), Jimmy Rogers (guitar), Willie Dixon (bass), and Elgin Evan on drums.
The melody for MY PRAYER, a #1 hit by the Platters in 1956 was once a French song, Avant de Mourir.
A group called Crazy Sound was playing a gig in Cleveland when a DJ in the audience called Alan Freed, held up the phone so he could listen. Freed was so impressed he started his own label and renamed them THE MOONGLOWS. They lasted one record with Freed and went to Chess, and recorded Sincerely which went…