With this in mind, Radio
George is providing artist information about all of the artists who
recorded the songs on this channel. Unless otherwise noted, the notes
are based on information from finetune.com.
Beginning with a
lightweight AOR sound, Ambrosia's albums steadily improved over time
as they toughened up their music. They enjoyed early hits with "Holdin'
On To Yesterday", and "Nice, Nice, Very Nice. The albums "Life Beyond
L.A.” (1978) and “One Eighty” (1980) saw a fusion of keyboards and
guitar replace the laid-back sound of previous albums. The band
enjoyed Top 5 hits in 1978 with "How Much I Feel" and in 1980 with
"Biggest Part Of Me", while "You're The Only Woman” also reached the
The first half of
the 1970s was the heyday of introspective songwriting and
close-harmony singing. America was at the forefront of the commercial
end of this movement, releasing a string of singles that dominated the
radio for years. Following their debut smash, "Horse With No Name," a
Neil Young-derived, hallucinatory song-story, America scored again and
again with singles and a series of records whose titles for some
reason all began with the letter "H."
Detroit, Michigan, the Amboy Dukes achieved notoriety for their
rendition of "Journey To The Center Of The Mind", which featured Ted
Nugent's snarling guitar and reached the Top 20 in 1968. The brashness
of their version of "Baby Please Don't Go" set the tone for the
band's subsequent albums on which rather dumb lyrics often undermined
the music. But the band rocked out on instrumentals Frequent changes
in personnel made little difference to the Amboy Dukes" development,
as the band increasingly became an outlet for Nugent's pyrotechnics.
He unveiled a new line-up in 1974 with “Call Of The Wild,” the first
of two albums recorded for Frank Zappa's record label. The guitarist
then abandoned the band's name altogether and embarked on a highly
successful solo career.
In their classic
mid-1960s lineup, the Animals were one of the most formidable British
blues groups, helping to spearhead the British Invasion led by the
Beatles. Though heavily influenced by American blues artists, the
Animals created their own voice, personified by the gruff, scrappy
singing of Eric Burdon. After the original group fell apart in 1967,
Burdon carried on as a solo artist, occasionally leading various new
versions of the Animals.
Archie Bell & the Drells
Once Americans got
wind of the joyful guitar and bass licks and infectious drum breaks on
"Tighten Up," they were goners, and Archie Bell & the Drells wrote
their way into the soul music history books. Though Bell and his
bandmates were originally from Houston, they caught the ear of
Philadelphia International's Gamble and Huff, who helped turn them
into mainstays of the Philly Soul scene. After Bell returned from
Vietnam in 1969, the group was able to tour and record several more
albums over the course of the '70s. They had three more hits, but
dissolved in 1980 for solo pursuits. Bell, however, continued to teach
crowds how do the Tighten Up well into the 2000s.
Though an often
neglected figure in soul and pop music, Arthur Alexander influenced
the likes of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones and helped create the
inimitable "Muscle Shoals Sound" when he recorded the first single
ever at FAME studios--1961's "You Better Move On." Although he
recorded sporadically throughout the '70s, '80s, and '90s, and helped
bridge the gap between soul and country music as both a singer and a
writer in Nashville, he never again matched his '60s fame. Alexander
passed away in 1993.
clean-cut image kept them from being embraced by the counterculture,
the Los Angeles-based Association was one of the finest harmony groups
of the '60s. Their albums, lushly produced by Bones Howe, and centered
around the group's sophisticated, multi-part vocal harmonies, yielded
hit after hit in the mid-to-late '60s.
Admired for both
their infectious surfer music and their sophisticated, multi-tracked
pop productions, the Beach Boys created a lasting impression on
popular music through their complex harmonies and Brian Wilson's
genius for composition and arrangement. Their 1966 album, “Pet
Sounds,” is a psychedelic-pop masterpiece that easily ranks among the
most influential albums of the rock era. Brian's emotional
difficulties eventually prevented him from performing, but his
brothers and buddies carried on without him, singing his songs and
spreading that California sunshine all over the world. In 1999, Brian
launched a solo world tour, showcasing his Beach Boys compositions,
and has continued to perform live as well.
The Brothers Gibb
began performing together as children in Australia. When Barry, Robin,
and Maurice moved to England to make it big in the 1960s, they began
performing Beatles-influenced pop music, but their music was
distinguished by their uncanny three-part harmonies and unusual
songwriting style. After a brief slump, the group reinvented
themselves in the mid 1970s by adopting a disco pop sound, thus
reclaiming their superstar status. In January 2003, Maurice Gibb
passed away, and although Barry and Robin didn't rule out performing
together again, they officially disbanded the Bee Gees.
Butler and the Enchanters
Billy Butler, was so inspired by his older brother Jerry, who at the
time sang with The Impressions. While attending high school, he formed
Billy Butler and the Four Chanters, a close harmonied fifties doo-wop
group, and recorded :Found True Love”. After two members left, the
name was changed to Billy Butler and The Enchanters. Billy had a
punchier, more uptempo sound than his brother, and was a great
example of the finest features of the Chicago soul sound. Similar to
Motown in its full, brassy production, it was earthier, with stronger
tinges of gospel, doo-wop, and Latin influences. A songwriter of note,
he contributed material to fellow Chicago soul greats Major Lance,
Gene Chandler, and his brother, Jerry. ~ Richie Unterberger, All
Vera & Judy Clay
Billy Vera & Judy
Clay were less notable for their music than for their historical
importance: certainly the first interracial recording duo in soul
music, this late-'60s team may have been the first interracial
recording duo of any sort. Vera was a New York songwriter with some
minor when he brought his composition "Storybook Children" to Atlantic
executive Jerry Wexler. It was their only hit single. Vera initially
tried to record it with Nona Hendryx (then with Patti LaBelle & the
Bluebelles), but when that idea didn't pan out, he teamed up with
Born Judy Lee,
Clay had joined the gospel group the Drinkard Singers (who also
featured Cissy Houston) in the late '50s, and had recorded soul
singles throughout the '60s without notable success. Billy eventually
formed the Beaters in L.A., hitting number one in 1986 with "At This
Moment," and is very active today as an R&B historian, liner note
writer, reissue compiler, and member of the Rhythm & Blues Foundation.
~ Richie Unterberger, All Music Guide
Blackbyrds were formed in 1973 by jazz trumpeter Donald Byrd. A doctor
of ethnomusicology, Byrd lectured at Washington, DC's Howard
University and the group, named after “Black Byrd,” the artist's
million-seller, was drawn from his students. The Blackbyrds' debut
album charted in the soul, jazz and pop listings, while the follow-up,
“Flying Start,” featured their 1975 Top 10 single, "Walking In
Rhythm". This performance became the group's first major success.The
following year the group hit the charts again with "Happy Music"
reaching the Top 20. Sadly, the unit's spirit of adventurw gave way to
a less spirited direction. The compulsive rhythmic pulse became
increasingly predictable as the group, once so imaginative, pursued a
style reliant on a safe and tested formula, the repetitiveness of
which brought about their demise.
Blood, Sweat & Tears
concieved by Al Kooper, Blood, Sweat & Tears was the first and best of
the jazz-rock horn bands. Though Kooper departed after the debut
album, new singer David Clayton-Thomas led the band to huge commercial
success with a more pop-oriented approach. BST--in both its Kooper and
Clayton-Thomas incarnations created Top 40 hits out of far-flung
musical influences including jazz, classical music and one or two
other musical niches.
The Blossoms began
their career in Los Angeles, in 1954 under the name of the Dreamers
But after working
with various other singers, by 1957 the quartet was renamed the
Blossoms. Their own records were interspersed with session work for
Duane Eddy and several singles under such pseudonyms as the Coeds And
became a permanent fixture on the TV show Shindig. By 1965 the
group had been reduced to a trio, and "Son-In Law", a response to
Ernie K-Doe's "Mother-In-Law", was their only single to chart. They
had a minor R&B hit in 1967 with "Good Good Lovin'". The line-up
underwent several further changes, with two ex-members, forming the
Girlfriends and another joining the group Honey. One of the girls kept
a version of the Blossom going into the 1980’s.
Bobby Bland earned
his enduring blues superstar status the hard way: without a guitar,
harmonica, or any other instrument to fall back upon. All Bland had to
offer was his magnificent voice, a tremendously powerful instrument in
his early heyday, injected with charisma and melisma to spare. Just
ask his legion of female fans, who deemed him a sex symbol late into
For all his promise, Bland's musical career ignited slowly. He was a
founding member of the Beale Streeters, the fabled Memphis aggregation
that also included B.B. King and Johnny Ace. Single reclease in 1951
and the next year bombed. Thanks to working with a lot of talented
people (in terms of arrangers, musicians, and other music industry
professionals) and just plain hard work, Bobby’s star status rose
nicely throughout the 60’s. The singer re-teamed with his old pal B.B.
King for a couple of mid-'70s albums that broke no new ground but
further heightened Bland's profile. ~ Bill Dahl, All Music Guide
Note: Bland has been a guest singer at a number of Van Morrison’s
concerts and was featured on a track on Morrison’s 2007 compilation
album, “Best of Van Morrison, Vol. 3.”
Formed in Chicago
in 1966, the Buckinghams’ first hit, "Kind Of A Drag", was their only
gold disc. The band enjoyed a consistent run of chart successes
throughout 1967, achieving two further Top 10 entries with "Don't You
Care" and "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy'. Despite those slick, commercial
singles, their albums showed a desire to experiment. Unable to
reconcile their image and ambitions, the quintet split up in 1970.
electric guitars to Bob Dylan songs, the Byrds helped invent
folk-rock, as well as becoming early proponents of psychedelic rock
and popularized country-rock as well. Led by Roger McGuinn and his
distinctive Rickenbacker guitar sound, the mid-1960s lineup--also
featuring David Crosby, Gene Clark, and Chris Hillman--achieved fame
with their unique take on Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man." Personnel
changes resulted in a core band of only McGuinn and Hillman.
Ultimately, McGuinn assumed full control of the Byrds legacy, and
their harmonies and distinctive guitars have influenced countless
quintet, initially called the Carnations, was formed in 1953 in New
York. The Cadillac's debut single, "Gloria", was released in July
1954, and although it did not chart at the time, it was later
considered a doo-wop classic.
Their next two
singles, "No Chance"/"Sympathy" and "Down The Road", failed to chart,
but "Speedoo", released in October 1955, did reach number 17 in the
Billboard R&B charts.
The Cadillacs were
one of the groups that changed members soon after their first record
was released and with some regularity after then as well. This caused
their original audience was confused about their direction. The group
split in two early in 1957, with both parties continuing to use the
name Cadillacs and remaining on the same record label, with one group
recording as the Original Cadillacs.
Neither of the
spinoff groups could match their former achievements. Reunions of the
various formations of the Cadillacs have occurred from time to time,
and even recorded a new album in 1997.
Groovy and His Bubblegum Army
team of Jerry Kasenetz and Jeff Katz built the sound and spirit of the
bubblegum era, producing the biggest bubblegum hits of the day, making
records for the Ohio Express, the 1910 Fruitgum Company, and numerous
others. “Super K Productions” played fast and loose with proper
credits, with countless aliases disguising the fact that they
were actually responsible for the vast majority of bubblegum releases.
"Yummy, Yummy, Yummy" was a million-selling hit in early 1968, the
song that captures the sound of bubblegum rock probably better than
any other. This type of music offered a sharp contrast from the
Beatles, Rolling Stones and others whose more ambitious and
serious-minded hits also charted during the turbulent year of 1968.
They had a dozen Top 40 hits in less than two years.
So great was the popularity of bubblegum in general and Super-K
Productions in particular that the duo was even approached by the
Hanna-Barbera animation studio to produce a cartoon series; to be
titled “Captain Groovy and His Bubblegum Army,” the show never got off
the ground although it did generate a single by the same name.
Kasenetz and Katz's fortunes dwindled during the early 1970s, and by
1972 the bubblegum fad was basically over -- they later worked on
projects with 10cc, Bo Diddley and others, but never again recaptured
their peak success. ~ Jason Ankeny, All Music Guide
Christine Clark joined Motown Records as a receptionist in 1964 and
followed a familiar career structure within the company by graduating
from office work to a recording contract. Her strident, bluesy vocals
led her to be nicknamed "The White Negress" by British fans, but this
style excluded her from Motown's musical mainstream. After having an
R&B hit with "Love Gone Bad" in 1966 on the VIP subsidiary label, she
graduated to Tamla Records in 1967, where she found some success with
"From Head To Toe". In 1969 she became the Vice-President of Motown's
film division, co-writing the screenplay for Lady Sings The Blues
in 1971. In 1981 she was appointed Vice-President of Motown
Productions, with jurisdiction over the company's creative affairs.
Clark left the organization in 1989 and re-recorded "From Head To Toe"
with producer Ian Levine for Motor City Records in 1991. (Not to be
confused with the dance music artist of the same name.)
Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose
A Florida family
group, Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose had a brief moment in the sun
in 1972, with their self-titled United Artists LP. They scored two pop
hits in "Too Late to Turn Back Now" and "Treat Her Like a Lady," and
the album cracked the pop LP chart at number 29. They actually fared
better with general audiences than R&B and soul fans, who found their
arrangements, harmonies, and style lacking grit and intensity. They
enjoyed one more mild hit in "Don't Ever Be Lonely (A Poor Little Fool
Like Me)." But their two hits are among the most requested songs of
the early '70s that air on oldies stations. ~ Ron Wynn, All Music
"America's First Family Of Music", the quartet of the Cowsills
recorded a single "All I Really Want To Be Is Me" for Johnny Nash's
Joda Records label before coming to the attention of Mercury Records
writer/producer Artie Kornfeld. The Cowsills recorded an album for
Mercury but were dropped after failing to make a commercial impact.
Producer Kornfield stayed faithful to the group and co-wrote and
produced their breakthrough hit, "The Rain, The Park And Other
Things', which reached number 2 on the charts in December 1967. The
single featured additional vocals from the siblings' mother, sister,
and brother, who were subsequently added to the line-up.
happy, bouncy harmonies were evident on the singles "We Can Fly", "In
Need Of A Friend" and the 1968 Top 10 hit "Indian Lake". Their
energetic interpretation of the title song from the rock musical
Hair reached number 2 in May 1969 and proved to be their swan
song. Before they split up in 1972, the Cowsills became the
inspiration for the NBC television series The Partridge Family,
starring David Cassidy, in 1970.
Two 60s groups
claimed the name , although a misspelling differentiated the British
and American bands. Formed in Hinsdale, Illinois, in 1965, the
(U.S.) Cryan Shames made their debut with a version of "Sugar And
Spice', previously a hit for the Searchers. Although the single only
rose to number 49 in the charts in July 1966, interest in the band
proved sufficient to warrant an album.
“Sugar & Spice”
was turned out very fast, and was heavily influenced by the Byrds and
British beat. The band took its time to create more of a personal
sound with their second release, “A Scratch In The Sky.” Here they
showed an understanding of harmony pop similar to the sound of the
The band's final
album, “Synthesis,” contained truly lavish instrumentation. By 1970 ,
it was breakup time. The band continued to perform in various reunion
shows, however, and in 1986 two of the founding members revived the
Cryan Shames name for touring purposes.
rock as we know it might sound very different today. The London-based
band was only together for a brief couple of years (1966-1968), but
their success opened the door for subsequent generations of
blues-rockers and power trios. The jazz-schooled chops of drummer
Ginger Baker and bassist/vocalist Jack Bruce combined with the
psychedelic heavy blues of Eric Clapton's stinging guitar for a level
of improvisational skill never before heard in a rock context. After
Baker and Clapton's reunion in the group Blind Faith, all three
members of Cream went on to lengthy solo careers, ranging from Baker's
experimental jazz to Bruce's folk and jazz to Clapton's traditional
blues and mainstream rock.
Angeles-based quintet Creative Source seemingly appeared out of
nowhere in the early '70s to score with a funky disco rendition of
Bill Withers' "Who Is He (And What Is He to You)." The group,
comprised of Barbara Berryman, Barbara Lewis, Don Wyatt, Steve Ranagan,
and Celeste Rose, was managed by Fifth Dimensions' Ron Townsend and
two of the members were seasoned vets. Lewis sang with the Los Angeles
Elgins, while Wyatt performed with a pair of late-'50s groups (the
Fortunes and the Colts) and also sang in Nat King Cole's background
group for a spell.
Wrongly labeled by many as strictly disco and funk, Creative Source
could mellow out with the best of them, such as "You're Too Good to Be
True," where the male lead sounds like a cross between Tyrone Davis
and Jerry Butler. A lack of promotion and public indifference to their
last two albums caused them both to fizzle. With little backing and no
label after that, Creative Source drifted back into basic Southern
California nine-to-five living. ~ Andrew Hamilton, All Music Guide
Formed in New York
in 1956, the Crests soon became one of the most successful of the
"integrated" doo-wop groups of the period, after being discovered by
Al Browne. Their signature tune and one of doo-wop's enduring
classics, "16 Candles", a heartfelt and beautifully orchestrated
ballad, became a national pop hit at number 2 in the Billboard charts,
paving the way for further R&B and pop successes such as "Six Nights A
Week", "The Angels Listened In" and "Step By Step".
In the late
fifties, the band was almost permanently on the road. They changed
record labels and went through changes in the lineup as various
members left the group. One of them, James Ancrum (who replaced Johnny
Mastro when he tried to pursue a solo career), re-emerged as the
leader of The Brooklyn Bridge, an 11-piece doo-wop group, best
remembered for their 1968 single "The Worst That Could Happen."
What a story!
members of this harmony pop act met while studying at Lafayette
College in New York. Together they formed a "frat" band, the Rhondells,
and styled their music after songs by the Beach Boys and the Four
Seasons. They were "discovered" playing at New Jersey's Alibi Lounge
by New York attorney Nat Weiss, who introduced the band to Beatles
manager Brian Epstein. He signed the Rhondells to his roster.
reportedly suggested their new name, the Cyrkle. The new act then
broke up temporarily, leaving member Tom Dawes free to tour with Simon
And Garfunkel. Paul Simon offered the bass player "Red Rubber Ball", a
song he co-wrote with Bruce Woodley of the Seekers, which gave the
band, who got back together again, a number 2 hit in May 1966.
toured with the Beatles on their final tour but having passed on
another Paul Simon composition, "59th Street Bridge Song (Feeling
Groovy)", which later became a hit for Harpers Bizarre, the Cyrkle
enjoyed their only other Top 20 entry with "Turn Down Day,' hitting
number 16 in August 1966.
Not unlike his
friend Bobby Darin, Dion Dimucci was a native New Yorker who started
out as a rock & roller in the 1950s and went through a series of
drastic stylistic changes. He began as a doo-wop hitmaker with his
group the Belmonts, turning out such smashes as "Runaround Sue" and
"The Wanderer." Over the following decades, the artistically restless
Dion tried his hand at blues, folk-rock, Phil Spector-produced pop,
and hard-edged rock & roll, managing to maintain his credibility and
integrity all along the way, and eventually getting inducted into the
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
One of the
best-known and best-loved R&B vocal groups of all-time, The Drifters
were blessed with some great lead singers (Clyde McPhatter & Ben E.
King), great songwriters (Leiber & Stoller, Pomus & Shuman) and great
producers (Phil Spector, Bert Berns). Despite many personnel changes,
they scored an amazing 11 top-20 records between 1959 and 1964, and
are still on the oldies touring circuit today.
With his James
Dean good looks and enormous skill as a songwriter, producer, and
guitarist, Eddie Cochran influenced hordes of apprentice rock
musicians (among them George Harrison and Pete Townshend) before his
death in a tragic car accident in 1960. A pioneer of rockabilly, the
Minnesota-born Cochran had his first major breakthrough performing in
the 1956 film “The Girl Can’t Help It”, and subsequently scored
numerous seminal hits, later covered by artists from the Beatles to
Gary US Bonds
New Orleans R&B
singer Gary U.S. Bonds had a major hit in the early 1960s with
"Quarter to Three," but quickly faded into obscurity. One man who
never forgot Bonds was Bruce Springsteen, who made "Quarter to Three"
a staple of his live set and oversaw the release of Bonds' 1981
comeback album, “Dedication.” The album's follow-up repeated its
predecessor's successful Springsteen-assisted formula, with Bruce
contributing an even bigger percentage of the material. In retrospect
its hard to believe that in the wake of two albums as strong as these
it took Bonds another 22 years after that to return to the studio
again, though he seemingly never tired of playing the Comeback King
role to the hilt.
Glen Campbell had
already enjoyed success as a session guitarist and surrogate member of
the Beach Boys when he scored his first big hit, "Gentle On My Mind,"
in 1967. In the following few years Campbell climbed the country and
pop charts with a number of Jimmy Webb compositions, among them "By
the Time I Get to Phoenix" and "Wichita Lineman." His career hit a
second peak in the '70s, thanks in large part to the hit "Rhinestone
Cowboy." In the '80s Campbell recorded a number of gospel albums as
One of the most
successful instrumental performers in pop history, trumpeter Herb
Alpert was also one of the entertainment industry's shrewdest
businessmen: A&M, the label he co-founded with partner Jerry Moss,
ranks among the most prosperous artist-owned companies ever
established. Born March 31, 1935, in Los Angeles, Alpert began playing
the trumpet at the age of eight. After serving in the Army, he
attempted to forge an acting career, but soon returned to music,
recording under the name Dore Alpert for RCA.
After 1966's “What Now My Love” -- his most popular effort, remaining
at number one for nine weeks -- Alpert continued to dominate the
charts with records. Released in 1969, “Warm” was the first of
Alpert's 11 albums not to crack the Top 20; by 1971's “Summertime,”
his commercial fates had fallen to the point where he no longer
reached the Top 100..
In 1979, Alpert staged a major comeback with “Rise.” Not only did the
album reach the Top Ten, but the title track topped the singles charts
and became the biggest hit of his career. Alpert continued recording
throughout the 1990s. He also established the Herb Alpert Foundation,
a philanthropic organization dedicated to establishing educational,
arts, and environmental programs for children. ~ Jason Ankeny, All
Though they were
often discounted as a teenybopper bubblegum group, Herman's Hermits
were a significant part of the mid-1960s British Invasion scene. While
their early hits featured a bouncy, music-hall-influenced sound, they
scaled greater heights not long after, turning out tracks that stood
up well alongside such peers as the Kinks and the Dave Clark Five.
Singer Peter Noone, a natural-born teen heartthrob, inevitably went
solo (and even made a credible stab at New Wave/power-pop years later
as leader of the Tremblers).
Known as "the
Iceman" for his cool delivery, Jerry Butler is one of the linchpins of
Chicago soul. In the 1950s, he started out singing gospel, and was
subsequently an original member of the Impressions, but around the
turn of the decade he embarked on a highly successful solo career.
Occasionally accompanied by female duet partners (Betty Everett,
Brenda Lee Eager), Butler trademarked an urban soul sound that mixed
in liberal doses of pop stylings and production. Though he never
abandoned singing, Butler entered politics in the '80s, ultimately
becoming the Cook County Commissioner, and pursuing public works with
the same intensity that characterized his musical career.
A genuine American
original, Key West troubadour Buffett mixed Hank Williams with Xavier
Cugat, and in the process introduced Caribbean rhythms to the staid
musical denizens of Nashville. While he's best-known for morsels such
as 1970s classics "Margaritaville" and "Cheeseburger in Paradise,"
Buffett has enjoyed a long and varied career, as well as the enduring
loyalty of his fans, otherwise known as "parrotheads."
Joe & Eddie
Joe & Eddie were
one of the more successful gospel/folk groups to perform in the '60s.
They enjoyed a healthy run of albums throughout the decade, ending
their career with a "best-of" retrospective in 1967 while they were
still hot. ~ Bradley Torreano, All Music Guide
shot to fame in 1958 when he co-starred with actor Chuck Connors (as
his son Mark), in the television series The Rifleman. In 1961
his debut single "Daydreams" made the lower reaches of the Billboard
Top 100, but subsequent releases fared better, including the 1962 Top
10 smash, "Cindy's Birthday", - which later became a UK Top 20 hit for
Shane Fenton aka Alvin Stardust - "Your Nose Is Gonna Grow" and
"Rumors", all of which highlighted his "teen appeal" voice and
appeared on his Top 40 album “A Young Man's Fancy.”
Born Lugee Alfredo
Giovanni Sacco, inGlenwillard, Pennsylvania. A former student of
classical music, Christie moved to New York in 1963 where he sang
backing vocals on a variety of sessions. Before beginning his string
of hits, Christie recorded unsuccessfully with such groups as the
Classics, Lugee And The Lions, and the Tammys.
Although his high
falsetto was reminiscent of an earlier era, and similar to that used
successfully by Frankie Valli and Del Shannon, "The Gypsy Cried", the
artist's debut solo single, achieved sales in excess of one million in
1963. The following year "Two Faces Have I" proved equally successful
but, unable to avoid the military draft, Christie's career was
interrupted. He achieved a third golden disc with "Lightnin' Strikes"
(1966), arguably his finest record, which pitted the singer's vocal
emotionalism against a solid, Tamla/Motown Records-styled backbeat.The
single also charted in the UK, where its follow-up, "Rhapsody In The
Rain" (1966), was another Top 20 entry, despite a ban in deference to
its "suggestive lyrics".
In 1969, Christie
had his final Top 10 hit with "I'm Gonna Make You Mine', his style
virtually unchanged from the earlier hits. His final album for Buddah
Records, 1971’s “Paint America Love,” was a bizarre and commercially
unsuccessful attempt to accomodate new developments in music. Numerous
singles followed on small labels into the 80s, but Christie was unable
to regain any commercial ground. He has spent most of the past two
decades performing on the rock 'n' roll revival circuit.
Manfred Mann started out as part of the 1960s British invasion,
combining jazz, blues, pop, and the songs of Bob Dylan. In the '70s
his band added synthesizers and Bruce Springsteen songs, and turned
into the thinking man's rock band. The common thread in both
incarnations: fantastic musicianship and a sense of humor.
List pianist Oscar
Peterson among the most prodigiously recorded artists in all of jazz.
Peterson primarily worked in a trio setting, alternately with guitar &
bass or bass & drums, though he also performed solo, with larger
groups, and with a full orchestra. Possessing dazzling technique,
Peterson always delivered the musical goods in a powerfully swinging
style. Peterson died in December, 2007.
There are few
musicians in modern pop music who can truly be called "genius," but in
the case of Ray Charles, the term applies. His innovative singing,
drawing on both gospel and pop, has inspired legions of great singers.
With a long, prolific recording career that began in 1949, Charles
became perhaps the finest interpreter of pop music in the postwar
years. A gifted pianist, songwriter, and vocalist, he was a master of
every style he attempted, be it R&B, country, blues, or soul. The man
who wrote such indelible R&B classics as "I Got a Woman" and "What'd I
Say" passed away in 2004, a legend several times over.
As the Righteous
Brothers, singers Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield virtually invented
what's come to be known as blue-eyed soul. The duo's grandest moment
came with their 1964 smash "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'," a Phil
Spector-produced classic whose soulfulness and epic sweep made it a
timeless favorite. The group peaked shortly thereafter and broke up in
'68, though they occasionally reunited in the ensuing decades. Bobby
Hatfield died in 2003.
A lot of people
simply aren’t aware of the incredible background of this amazing
When he was 11,
the family moved from his small hometown in Virginia to Washington,
DC, after his father, a competent musician who played guitar, banjo
and fiddle, progressed from being a cotton picker to become a computer
programmer, and augmented his pay for the government job by playing at
local dances (his mother also played piano). Clark played banjo and
mandolin at an early age and was playing guitar at dances with his
father by the time he was 14. He won the National Banjo Championship
at the ages of 16 and 17, the latter occasion resulting in an
appearance at the Grand Ole Opry. He considered a baseball career in
his late teens but at 18 became a professional boxer.
Fighting as a
light-heavyweight, he won 15 fights in a row before the next fight
convinced him he should look elsewhere for a living. He found work in
clubs and appeared on local radio and television in such shows as the
Ozark Jubilee and Town And Country Time. In 1955, he joined Jimmy Dean
on his Washington television show Country Style, and when Dean left
for New York, Clark was given the show.
instruments, joked and sang and gradually built himself a reputation,
but in the early 60s, he decided to seek fame further afield and
became lead guitarist and frontman for Wanda Jackson. He stayed with
her for about a year and played lead guitar on her hit recording of
"Let's Have A Party". When she gave up her band, Jim Halsey took on
the role of Clark's manager and soon found him a spot on one of the
most popular network television shows, The Beverly Hillbillies.
Here he appeared in the dual role of Cousin Roy and (dressed as a
woman) his mother Big Mama Halsey. He also signed for Capitol Records
and released his first album, which contained both songs and
In 1963, he was
given the chance to play on the Tonight Show on television,
owing to the fact that Jimmy Dean was hosting the program. This led to
further invitations to appear on other top television shows and his
popularity rapidly grew. In later years he hosted many of the shows
During the 60s,
somewhat ironically, he had country hits with pop songs.
Double-charted hits included Charles Aznavour's "Yesterday When I Was
Young" and "September Song'. During the mid-60s, he fronted the
Swingin" Country television series and in 1969, CBS invited him to
co-host their new country comedy show Hee Haw with Buck Owens. This
program became one of the most popular on television, so much so that
when CBS dropped it in 1971 because they felt it did not create the
right impression for the company, it was immediately syndicated by the
show's producers and even grew in popularity.
During the 70s,
Clark had a great number of country chart hits, including "Thank God
And Greyhound", "Riders In The Sky", "Somewhere Between Love And
Tomorrow" and "Come Live With Me", his only number 1 country hit. He
also made several popular television commercials.
to become one of country music's biggest stars and to enable himself
to keep up a punishing schedule of concert appearances, he learned to
fly and piloted himself around the States. He was one of the first
country artists to star in his own show on Las Vegas strip, where he
still appears regularly, usually backed by an orchestra.
Clark also became
the first star to take his show to the Soviet Union, when in January
1976, he played to packed houses during a 21-day tour of Riga, Moscow
and Leningrad. The same year, Clark also played concerts with Arthur
Fiedler and the Boston Pops Orchestra. In 1977, he appeared at
Carnegie Hall, New York, and in 1979, he recorded an album with blues
artist Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown.
Between 1979 and
1981, he recorded for MCA but during the late 80s, he was with several
labels. Although he had no major hits, a version of "Night Life"
registered country hit number 50 for him in 1986.
In later years, he
become involved in cattle ranching, publishing, advertising and
property. During his career, he won many CMA awards including
Comedian Of The Year 1970, Entertainer Of The Year 1973, Instrumental
Group Of The Year (with Buck Trent) in 1975 and 1976 and was nominated
as Instrumentalist Of The Year every year from 1967 to 1980, winning
in 1977, 1978 and 1980. He guested on the Opry many times over the
years but did not become a member until 1987. He has appeared in
several films and in 1986, he co-starred with Mel Tillis in the comedy
western Uphill All The Way, which they both also produced.
Clark is a talented multi-instrumentalist and all-round entertainer,
who is equally at home with various types of music.
In his brief yet
luminous career, Sam Cooke made perhaps a dozen recordings that were
milestones of soul, and laid the groundwork for most of the
R&B-related music that would dominate the charts for decades
afterward. Cooke's signature sound fused the passion of his beloved
gospel music with a silky-smooth, assured pop-vocal style. As a
singer, songwriter, and producer, he was one of the most important
figures in both pop and soul music in the 20th century. In 1964, while
still at the prime of his musical ability, Cooke was murdered in a
California hotel--a sudden end for a gifted and influential artist.