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Category Archives: black music artists

“Al Green-Lets Stay Together”

“Al Green-Lets Stay Together”


Early Career

Having noted that Al had been trying to sing like Jackie Wilson, Sam Cooke, Wilson Pickett and James Brown, Mitchell became his vocal mentor, coaching him into finding his own voice. Before releasing his first album with Hi, Green removed the final “e” from his name. Subsequently, Green released Green Is Blues, which became a moderate success. Green’s follow-up album, Al Green Gets Next to You, featured Green’s hit R&B cover of The Temptations’ “I Can’t Get Next to You”, recorded in a slow blues-oriented version. The album also featured his first significant hit, “Tired of Being Alone”, which sold half a million copies and was certified gold, becoming the first of seven consecutive gold singles Green would record in the next couple of years.

Green’s next album, Let’s Stay Together, solidified his place in soul music with the title track becoming his biggest hit to date, reaching number one on both the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B charts. The album became his first to be certified gold. His follow-up, I’m Still in Love with You went platinum with the help of the singles, “Look What You Done for Me” and the title track, both of which went top ten on the Hot 100. His next album, 1973’s Call Me spawned three top ten singles including “You Ought to Be with Me”, “Call Me (Come Back Home)” and “Here I Am (Come and Take Me)”. Green’s album, Livin’ for You, released at the tail-end of 1973, became his last album to be certified gold.

In addition to these hit singles, Green also had radio hits with songs such as “Love and Happiness”, his cover of the Bee Gees’ “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart”, “Simply Beautiful”, “What a Wonderful Thing Love Is” and “Take Me to the River”, later covered successfully by new wave band Talking Heads and blues artist Syl Johnson. Green continued to record successful R&B hits in the next several years including “Livin’ for You”, “Let’s Get Married”, “Sha-La-La (Makes Me Happy)”, “L-O-V-E (Love)” and “Full of Fire”. By the time Green released the album, The Belle Album in 1977, however, Green’s record sales had plummeted, partially due to Green’s own personal issues during this time and his desire to become a minister.[8] His last Hi Records album, Truth n’ Time, was released in 1978 and failed to become a success. Two years later, he left Hi for Myrrh Records and recorded only gospel music for the next decade and a half.

 

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EDWIN STARR – AGENT OO SOUL

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Career
The biggest hit of Starr’s career, which cemented his reputation, was the Vietnam War protest song “War” (1970). Starr’s intense vocals transformed a Temptations album track into a number one chart success, which spent three weeks in the top position on the U.S. Billboard charts, an anthem for the antiwar movement and a cultural milestone that continues to resound in movie soundtracks and hip hop music samples. It sold over three million copies, and was awarded a gold disc.[1] “War” appeared on both of Starr’s War & Peace album and its follow-up, Involved, produced by Norman Whitfield. Involved also featured another song of similar construction titled “Stop the War Now”, which was a minor hit in its own right.

Moving to England in 1973, Starr continued to record, most notably the song “Hell Up in Harlem” for the 1974 film Hell Up in Harlem, which was the sequel to Black Caesar, an earlier hit with a soundtrack by James Brown. In 1979, Starr reappeared on the charts with a pair of disco hits, “(Eye-to-Eye) Contact” and “H.A.P.P.Y. Radio”. “Contact” was the more successful of the two, peaking at #65 on the US pop charts, #13 on the R&B chart, #1 on the dance chart, and #6 on the UK Singles Chart. “H.A.P.P.Y. Radio” was also a Top Ten hit in the UK, reaching #9 on the chart in mid-1979. By now, he had joined the well-established disco boom and had further singles on 20th Century Records. Over the years, he released tracks on a variety of labels, including Avatar, Calibre, 10 Records, Motown (a return to his former label for a 1989 remix of “25 Miles”), Streetwave and Hippodrome. His Starr café empire still enjoys success in and around Essex.

In 1985, Starr released “It Ain’t Fair”. Despite garnering the attention of many in the soul and dance clubs, it fell short of becoming a hit. Starr appeared on the charity number one single “Let It Be” by Ferry Aid in 1987. Later that year, Starr teamed up with the Stock, Aitken and Waterman production company for the club hit “Whatever Makes Our Love Grow”. In 1989, a number 17 UK hit by the Cookie Crew called “Got to Keep On” sampled a portion of “25 Miles”.[2] This track was then featured on a 1990 dance medley made for the BRIT Awards, which made number 2 in the UK Singles Chart.[3] A club mix of various artists, it included the previous years remix of “25 Miles”.

In 1989, Starr also joined Ian Levine’s Motorcity Records, releasing six singles and the album Where Is the Sound, as well as co-writing several songs for other artists on the label. Starr resurfaced briefly in 2000 to team up with the UK band Utah Saints to record a new version of “Funky Music Sho Nuff Turns Me On”. He appeared again in 2002 to record a song with the British musician Jools Holland, singing “Snowflake Boogie” on Holland’s compact disc More Friends; and to record another track with Utah Saints, a so-far-unreleased version of his number one hit “War” – his last-ever recording.

In late 2002, Edwin Starr appeared with many R&B stars on the “Rhythm, Love, and Soul” edition of the PBS series American Soundtrack. His performance of “25 Miles” was included on the accompanying live album that was released in 2004.

Starr remained a hero on England’s Northern Soul circuit and continued living in England for the remainder of his life.[4]

Death
On April 2, 2003, at the age of 61, Starr suffered a heart attack and died while taking a bath at his home in Bramcote near Nottingham.[4] He left a wife, Annette Mary Hatcher, a son André Hatcher, and two grandchildren Alonté Renfroe and Maryah Hatcher.

His brother Angelo Starr is now fronting the Team, the band Edwin Starr had been touring with for over 20 years. His previous band, Total Concept Unlimited, became Rose Royce after adding a female singer.

He is buried in Wilford Hill Cemetery in West Bridgford, Nottingham. His headstone reads “Agent 00 Soul”.

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“These Arms Of Mine ~ Otis Redding”

These Arms Of Mine ~ Otis Redding:

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Otis Ray Redding, Jr. (September 9, 1941 – December 10, 1967) was an American singer-songwriter, record producer, arranger and talent scout. He is considered one of the greatest singers in the history of American popular music and a seminal artist in soul and rhythm and blues. His singing style was powerfully influential among soul artists of 1960s and helped exemplify the Stax sound.

Born and raised in the US state of Georgia, Redding quit school at age 15 to support his family, working with Little Richard’s backing band, the Upsetters, and also performing at talent shows for prize money. In 1958, he joined Johnny Jenkins’s band, the Pinetoppers, and toured the Southern states as a driver and musician. An unscheduled appearance on a Stax recording session led to a contract and his first single, “These Arms of Mine,” in 1962. Stax released Redding’s debut album Pain in My Heart two years later.

Initially popular mainly with African Americans, Redding later reached a wider American popular music audience. Along with his group, he first played small gigs in the American South, then performed in the western states at the popular Los Angeles night club Whisky a Go Go. European appearances included London, Paris and other major cities.

After appearing at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, Redding wrote and recorded his iconic “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” with Steve Cropper. The song became the first posthumous number-one record on both the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B charts after his death in a plane crash. The Dock of the Bay became the first posthumous album to reach number one on the UK Albums Chart.

Redding’s premature death devastated Stax. Already on the verge of bankruptcy, the label soon discovered that Atlantic Records owned the rights to his entire song catalog.

Redding received many posthumous accolades, including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He received the honorific nickname King of Soul. In addition to “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay,” “Respect” and “Try a Little Tenderness” are among his best-known songs.

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“The Young Hearts ~ I’ve Got Love For My Baby”

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Biography

An R&B vocal group from Los Angeles, California, USA. Original members were Ronald Preyer, Charles Ingersoll, Earl Carter, and James Moore. The Young Hearts were typical of the falsetto-lead stand-up vocal groups that populated the R&B scene of the late 60s and early 70s. Their impact was purely on the R&B charts, getting moderate hits with ‘I’ve Got Love For My Baby’ (number 19 R&B) in 1968 for the Minit subsidiary of Imperial Records, and ‘Wake Up And Start Standing’ (number 48 R&B) in 1974 for 20th Century. A stay at ABC Records in 1977 produced an album and several singles that did nothing, and the group faded after that.

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The Young Hearts ~ I’ve Got Love For My Baby:

 

“The Brothers Johnson – I’ll Be Good To You 1976”

“The Brothers Johnson – I’ll Be Good To You 1976”

The Brothers Johnsonwas an American funk and R&B band consisting of American musicians and brothers George (“Lightnin’ Licks”) and Louis E. Johnson (“Thunder Thumbs”). They achieved their greatest success from the mid-1970s to early ’80s, with three singles topping the R&B charts (“I’ll Be Good to You””Strawberry Letter 23”, and “Stomp!”).

Background

Guitarist/vocalist George and bassist/vocalist Louis formed the band Johnson Three Plus One with older brother Tommy and their cousin Alex Weir while attending school in Los Angeles, California.[1][2] When they became professionals, the band backed such touring R&B acts as Bobby Womack and the Supremes. George and Louis Johnson later joined Billy Preston’s band and wrote Music in My Life and The Kids and Me for him before leaving his group in 1973. In 1976, The Brothers covered the Beatles’ song, Hey Jude, for the ephemeral musical documentary All This and World War II.

Quincy Jones hired them to play on his LP Mellow Madness, and recorded four of their songs, including Is It Love That We’re Missing? and Just a Taste of Me.

After touring with various artists including Bobby Womack and Billy Preston, they were hired by Quincy Jones for a tour in Japan and produced their debut album Look Out For #1, released in March 1976 (#9 US) Their Right on Time album was released in May 1977 and reached number 13 on the Billboard Hot 200. Blam!! came out in August 1978 and reached number 7 on the Billboard 200.

Two of the duo’s songs were featured on the soundtrack of the 1976 film Mother, Jugs & Speed. The instrumental track Thunder Thumbs and Lightnin’ Licks refers to the brothers’ nicknames. Get the Funk Out Ma Face was cowritten with Quincy Jones.

Their popular album Light Up The Night was released in March 1980 and rose to #5 on the Billboard 200. It was number 46 on the “Top 100 LPs of 1980” list in Rolling Stone Magazine. The brothers self-produced the subsequent album, Winners; released in July 1981, it only reached #48 on the Billboard 200.

Among their most popular songs are I’ll Be Good to You (Billboard Hot 100 #3 in 1976), Strawberry Letter 23 (Hot 100 #5 in 1977, originally recorded by Shuggie Otis), Ain’t We Funkin’ Now (1978), and Stomp! (Hot 100 #7 and Hot Dance Music/Club Play #1 in 1980). Their styles include funk, and R&B ballads. Each album also included at least one instrumental cut that would either be considered lite jazz (Tomorrow 1976, Q 1977, Smilin’ On Ya 1980, Tokyo 1984) or Funk (Thunder Thumbs &Lightning Licks 1976, Brother Man 1976, Mista Cool 1978, Celebrations 1980).

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“Donna Summer – On the radio (HQ)”

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On the Radio

” is a song by American singer and songwriter

Donna Summer,

released in late-1979 on the Casablanca record label. It was written for the soundtrack to the film Foxes and included on Summer’s first international compilation album On the Radio: Greatest Hits Volumes I & II. It was released as a single and became, in January 1980, her tenth top-ten hit in the U.S. as well as her eighth and final consecutive top 5 single. “On the Radio” peaked at number five on the Billboard Hot 100 and number nine on the soul chart.[1] The song was also Summer’s fourteenth entry on the Billboard Disco chart, where it peaked at number eight.[2] In Canada, it peaked at number two.[3]

The song was released in three formats: the radio 45rpm single; the 5+ minute version included on Summer’s Greatest Hits double album package, and a DJ Promo 7+ minute version released on 12″ single (and included on the Foxes film soundtrack album). This last version was later released on the Bad Girls CD digipack double CD release. The Foxes soundtrack also includes an instrumental version of the song in a ballad tempo and crediting Moroder as a solo artist. In the film, the ballad tempo is heard with Donna Summer’s vocals. The disco version is never heard. Donna Summer performed “On the Radio” on many television shows such as American Bandstand. The instrumental parts of this song were occasionally heard on the US version of The Price Is Right in the early 80s when they displayed jukeboxes and stereos as prizes. While the first two versions included all written lyrics, the DJ Promo omitted the final verse, opting instead to repeat the third. Only the first “short” version ended with the famous “on the radio – adio – adio” echo vocal effect.

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“Aretha Franklin – Rock With Me”

“Aretha Franklin – Rock With Me”


Aretha Louise Franklin (born March 25, 1942) is an American singer and musician. Franklin began her career singing gospel at her father, minister C. L. Franklin’s church as a child. In 1960, at the age of 18, Franklin embarked on a secular career, recording for Columbia Records but only achieving modest success. Following her signing to Atlantic Records in 1967, Franklin achieved commercial acclaim and success with songs such as “Respect”, “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” and “Think”. These hits and more helped her to gain the title The Queen of Soul by the end of the 1960s decade.
Franklin eventually recorded a total of 112 charted singles on Billboard, including 77 Hot 100 entries, 17 top ten pop singles, 100 R&B entries and twenty number-one R&B singles, becoming the most charted female artist in the chart’s history. Franklin also recorded acclaimed albums such as I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You, Lady Soul, Young, Gifted & Black and Amazing Grace before experiencing problems with her record company by the mid-1970s. After her father was shot in 1979, Franklin left Atlantic and signed with Arista Records, finding success with her part in the film, The Blues Brothers and with the albums, Jump to It and Who’s Zoomin’ Who?. In 1998, Franklin won international acclaim for singing the opera aria, “Nessun Dorma”, at the Grammys of that year replacing Luciano Pavarotti. Later that same year, she scored her final Top 40 recording with “A Rose Is Still a Rose”. Franklin’s other popular and well known hits include, “Rock Steady”, “Something He Can Feel” (from the soundtrack to the 1976 film Sparkle), “Jump to It”, “Freeway of Love”, “Who’s Zoomin’ Who”, “Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves”, “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)” (with George Michael), “It Isn’t, It Wasn’t, It Ain’t Never Gonna Be” (with Whitney Houston) and a remake of The Rolling Stones song “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”.

Franklin has won a total of 18 Grammy Awards and is one of the best-selling female artists of all time, having sold over 75 million records worldwide.[1] Franklin has been honored throughout her career including a 1987 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in which she became the first female performer to be inducted. She was inducted to the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005. In August 2012, Franklin was inducted into the GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame.[2] Franklin is listed in at least two all-time lists on Rolling Stone magazine, including the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, in which she placed number 9, and the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time in which she placed number 1.[3][4]

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