Tag Archives: R&B

Almanac – February 16

2004 – Doris Troy died.  American R&B singer, known to her many fans as “Mama Soul”.

She  worked with Solomon Burke, The Drifters, Cissy Houston, and Dionne Warwick, before she co-wrote and recorded “Just One Look”, which hit #10 in the US Billboard Hot 100 in 1963.  Her only foray into the UK Singles Chart, “Whatcha Gonna Do About It“, peaked at #37 in December 1964.

As her solo career peaked, she sang back-up for the Rolling Stones, Humble Pie, Kevin Ayers, Pink Floyd (on their album The Dark Side of the Moon),  George Harrison, Johnny Hallyday, Vivian Stanshall, Dusty Springfield,Nick Drake, Junior Campbell and Carly Simon.

She was signed by The Beatles to their Apple Records label in 1969, and released the Doris Troy album the following year, co-produced  with  George Harrison.

She died from emphysema at her home in Las Vegas, Nevada, aged 67

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Almanac – February 04

1913 – Rosa Parks born.  American civil rights activist. On December 1, 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, Parks refused to obey bus driver James F. Blake‘s order that she give up her seat in the colored section to a white passenger, after the white section was filled.

Parks was not the first person to resist bus segregation, others had taken similar steps in the twentieth century, but NAACP organizers believed that Parks was the best candidate for seeing through a court challenge after her arrest for civil disobedience.

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1968 – Neal Cassady died.  Major figure of the Beat Generation of the 1950s and the psychedelic movement of the 1960s.

He served as the model for the character Dean Moriarty in Jack Kerouac‘s novel On the Road, in which the narrator, Sal Paradise (the personification of Jack Kerouac) states to the reader, “He  (Moriarty/Cassady) was simply a youth tremendously excited with life, and though he was a con-man, he was only conning because he wanted so much to live and to get involved with people who would otherwise pay no attention to him…Somewhere along the line I knew there’d be girls, visions, everything; somewhere along the line the pearl would be handed to me.”

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1975 – Louis Jordan died. Pioneering American musician, songwriter and bandleader who enjoyed his greatest popularity from the late 1930s to the early 1950s. Known as “The King of the Jukebox”, he was highly popular with both black and white audiences in the later years of the swing era.

With his dynamic Tympany Five bands, Jordan mapped out the main parameters of the classic R&B, urban blues and early rock’n’roll genres with a series of hugely influential 78 rpm discs for the Decca label. These recordings presaged many of the styles of black popular music in the late 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, and exerted a huge influence on many leading performers in these genres.

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2009 – Lux Interior died. American singer and a founding member of The Cramps from 1976 until his sudden death in February 2009 aged 62.

When asked why he continued to play live well into his middle age, he told the LA Times:

    “It’s a little bit like asking a junkie how he’s been able to keep on dope all these years, It’s just so much fun. You pull into one town and people scream, ‘I love you, I love you, I love you.’ And you go to a bar and have a great rock ‘n’ roll show and go to the next town and people scream, ‘I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you.’ It’s hard to walk away from all that.”

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Almanac – January 22

1647 – A phantom battle was seen in the skies over Northamptonshire. It was believed to be an action replay of a battle fought eight months earlier, and it continued to appear sporadically for the next two weeks.

The show came complete with the sounds of battle – clashing arms, drumbeats and the groans of the wounded.

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1788 – George Gordon Byron (Lord Byron) born.  English poet and a leading figure in the Romantic movement. Among Byron’s best-known works are the lengthy narrative poems Don Juan and Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage and the short lyric “She Walks in Beauty.” He is regarded as one of the greatest British poets and remains widely read and influential.

Byron was celebrated in life for aristocratic excesses including huge debts, numerous love affairs, rumours of a scandalous incestuous liaison with his half-sister, and self-imposed exile. It has been speculated that he suffered from bipolar I disorder.

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1931 – Sam Cooke born. American gospel, R&B, soul, and pop singer, songwriter, and entrepreneur, considered to be one of the pioneers and founders of soul music.

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Almanac – January 14

1872 – Greyfriars Bobby died. Skye Terrier who became known in 19th-century Edinburgh for spending 14 years guarding the grave of his owner, John Gray (Auld Jock), until he died himself on 14 January 1872.

A year later, Lady Burdett-Coutts had a statue and fountain erected at the southern end of the George IV Bridge to commemorate him.

Several books and films have been based on Bobby’s life, including the novel Greyfriar’s Bobby (1912) by Eleanor Atkinson and the films Greyfriars Bobby (1961) and The Adventures of Greyfriars Bobby (2006).

In 2011 Jan Bondeson at Cardiff University published research that suggests Bobby was actually a Victorian-era publicity stunt by local businesses to drum up tourist revenue. According to Bondeson’s research, Bobby was a stray dog trained to remain in the graveyard; and was actually two different dogs.

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1938 – Allen Toussaint born.  American musician, composer, record producer, and influential figure in New Orleans R&B.

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Almanac – December 23

1688 – King James II of England fled England to  France after being deposed in favor of his nephew, William of Orange and his daughter Mary.

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1935 – Esther Phillips born. American R&B and Soul singer.

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1938 – Discovery of the first modern Coelacanth,  off South Africa. A rare order of fish,  they follow the oldest known living lineage of Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish and tetrapods), which makes more closely related to lungfish, reptiles and mammals than to the common ray-finned fishes.  and were thought to have gone extinct in the Late Cretaceous.  They are considered a “living fossil” due to an apparent lack of significant evolution over the past millions of years –  the Coelacanth is thought to have evolved into roughly its current form approximately 400 million years ago.

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Almanac – December 15

37 – Nero born. Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, Roman Emperor from 54 to 68, and the last in the Julio-Claudian dynasty.

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1859 – Ludwig Lazarus Zamenhof born.  Jewish doctor, linguist, and the creator of Esperanto, the most successful constructed language designed for international communication.

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1890 – Sitting Bull died. Hunkpapa Lakota Sioux holy man who led his people as a tribal chief during years of resistance to United States government policies. Born near the Grand River in Dakota Territory, he was killed by Indian agency police on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation during an attempt to arrest him and prevent him from supporting the Ghost Dance movement.

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1921 – Alan Freed born.  American disc jockey. He became internationally known for promoting the mix of blues, country and rhythm and blues music on the radio in the United States and Europe under the name of rock and roll. His career was destroyed by the payola scandal that hit the broadcasting industry in the early 1960s.

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1932 – Jesse Belvin born. American R&B singer, pianist and songwriter.

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1973 – The American Psychiatric Association voted 13–0 to remove homosexuality from its official list of psychiatric disorders, The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).

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Almanac – November 15

1937 – Little Willie John born.  American R&B singer

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1950 – Graham Parker born.  British rock singer and songwriter,  Graham Parker & the Rumour.

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1998 – Stokely Carmichael died.  Trinidadian-American black activist active in the 1960s American Civil Rights Movement. He rose to prominence first as a leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee  and later as the “Honorary Prime Minister” of the Black Panther Party. Initially an integrationist, Carmichael later became affiliated with black nationalist and Pan-Africanist movements. He popularized the term “Black Power”.

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