Rock - The Pioneers - Rock '51 - '63 | Rock '62 - '69-The British Invasion | Rock '68 - '74
Influential Rock Musicians
(Click on individual Musician's Biography section to visit Musician's Home Page)
The Beach Boys - Bill Haley & His Comets - Bobby Darin - Bobby Lewis - Bo Diddley - Buddy Holly - The Cadets - Carl Perkins - The Chantays
The Chantels - The Chiffons - The Chordettes - Chuck Berry -The Coasters - The Crystals -Danny & the Juniors - Dee Dee Sharp - Dick Dale
Dion and The Belmonts - Dorsey Burnette - Jack Scott - Johnny Burnette - The Drifters - Eddie Cochran - Elvis Presley - Fabian - Fats Domino
The Five Satins - The Four Tops - Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers - Freddy Cannon - Gene Vincent - Ike Turner - Jackie DeShannon - Jackie Wilson
Jan & Dean - Jerry Lee Lewis - Little Anthony & the Imperials - Little Richard - The Marcels - Martha & the Vandellas - The Marvelettes - The Marvelows
The Moonglows - Paul Anka - Pat Boone - Petula Clark - Raelettes - Ricky Nelson - Ronnie Hawkins - The Ronettes - Ronny & the Daytonas
Roy Orbison - Shangri-Las - Shirelles - Silhouettes - Supremes - Surfaris - The Temptations - Tommy James & the Shondells - Wilbert Harrison
Throughout the history of music individual performers have had a major impact on the music scene. These influential/notable musicians have left their mark by expanding the envelope of their respective genres, either through technical proficiency, experimentation/exploration, or persona. The following list of notable/influential Rock Musicians is by no means complete. The musicians listed are those that readily came to mind, and any additions to the list can be sent using the link at the bottom of the page. The individual home pages for the musicians listed can be reached by clicking on their name in the bio section
The Beach Boys - The Beach Boys are an American rock band. Formed in 1961 the group gained popularity for its close vocal harmonies and lyrics reflecting a California youth culture of cars and surfing. Brian Wilson's growing creative ambitions later transformed them into a more artistically innovative group that earned critical praise and influenced many later musicians. The group initially comprised singer-musician-composer Brian Wilson, his brothers, Carl and Dennis, their cousin Mike Love, and friend Al Jardine. This core quintet, along with early member David Marks and later bandmate Bruce Johnston, were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988. The Beach Boys have often been called "America's Band", and Allmusic.com has stated that "the band's unerring ability... made them America's first, best rock band." The group has had thirty-six U.S. Top 40 hits (the most of any U.S. rock band) and fifty-six Hot 100 hits, including four number one singles. Rolling Stone magazine listed The Beach Boys as one of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. According to Billboard, in terms of singles and album sales, The Beach Boys are the No. 1 selling American band of all time. 'Artist Discography'
Bill Haley & His Comets - Bill Haley & His Comets was an American rock and roll band that was founded in 1952 and continued until Haley's death in 1981. The band, was one of the earliest groups of white musicians to bring rock and roll to the attention of white America and the rest of the world. From the end of 1954 until the end of 1956 the group would place nine singles into the Top 20, one of those a number one and three more in the Top Ten. Bandleader Bill Haley had previously been a country performer; after recording a country and western-styled version of "Rocket 88", a rhythm and blues song, he changed musical direction to a new sound which came to be called rock and roll. Although several members of the Comets became famous, Bill Haley remained the star. With his spit curl and the band's matching plaid dinner jackets and energetic stage behaviour, many fans consider them to be as revolutionary in their time as The Beatles or the Rolling Stones were in theirs. Following Haley's death, no fewer than six different groups have existed under the Comets name, all claiming (with varying degrees of authority) to be the official continuation of the group led by Haley. As of early 2008, three such groups are still actively performing in the United States and internationally. 'Artist Discography'
Bobby Darin - Bobby Darin (born Walden Robert "Bobby" Cassotto, May 14, 1936 – December 20, 1973) was one of the most popular American big band performers and rock and roll teen idols of the late 1950s and early 1960s. Darin is widely respected for being a multitalented, versatile performer who conquered many music genres, including pop, jazz, folk and country. Unknown to the public, the fact his health was dangerously fragile strongly motivated him to succeed within the limited lifetime he feared. He was also an actor, songwriter and music business entrepreneur. His wish for a legacy was "to be remembered as a human being and as a great performer." Among his many other contributions, he became a goodwill ambassador for the American Heart Association. 'Artist Discography'
Bobby Lewis - born February 17, 1933 in Indianapolis, Indiana is an African-American rock and roll and R&B singer. Raised in an Indianapolis orphanage, he learned to play the piano by age six. Adopted at age twelve, he moved to a home in Detroit, Michigan, growing up with the influences of the pioneer blues musicians until the advent of rock and roll. Lewis began to build a musical career in the 1950s and in 1960 appeared at the Apollo Theatre in New York City. He recorded a 45rpm single called "Tossin' and Turnin" that went to No.1 on the Billboard charts in July of 1961. Later that year, he had a second Top Ten song, "One Track Mind," which would be his only other major hit record. Bobby Lewis' song, "Tossin' And Turnin", composed by Ritchie Adams and Malou Rene, has become a recognized piece of American popular culture. 'Artist Discography'
Bo Diddley - (December 30, 1928 - June 2, 2008), is the author of a body of songs - including “Who Do You Love?,” “Road Runner,” “Mona,” “Before You Accuse Me” and “I’m a Man” - that are among the earliest examples of rock and roll rising out of its source material in rhythm and blues. Bo Diddley broke new ground in rock and roll’s formative years with his unique guitar work, indelible African rhythms, inventive songwriting, and larger-than-life personality. Born Ellas Otha Bates, was an original and influential American rock & roll singer, guitarist, and songwriter. He was known as "The Originator" because of his key role in the transition from blues music to rock & roll, influencing a host of legendary acts including Buddy Holly, Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton. He introduced more insistent, driving rhythms and a hard-edged guitar sound on a wide-ranging catalog of songs. Accordingly, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and also received the Rhythm and Blues Foundation Pioneer Lifetime Achievement Award." He was also known for his technical innovations, including his trademark rectangular guitar. Bo Diddley received an honorary degree from the University of Florida in August 2008 that was accepted by his daughter, Evelyn Kelly, on his behalf. 'Artist Discography'
Buddy Holly - Charles Hardin Holley, known professionally as Buddy Holly (7 September 1936 – 3 February 1959), was an American singer-songwriter and a pioneer of rock and roll. The change of spelling of "Holley" to "Holly" came about because of an error in a contract he was asked to sign, listing him as Buddy Holly. That spelling was then adopted for his professional career. Although his success lasted only a year and a half before his death in an airplane crash, Holly is described by critic Bruce Eder as "the single most influential creative force in early rock and roll." His works and innovations were copied by his contemporaries and later musicians, notably The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, and exerted a profound influence on popular music. In 2004, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked Holly #13 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. 'Artist Discography'
The Cadets - The Cadets is an American doo wop group. The group began as a gospel group, the Santa Monica Soul Seekers, in the late 1940s. The members were Lloyd McCraw, Willie Davis, Austin "Ted" Taylor, Aaron Collins, Glendon Kingsby, and Will "Dub" Jones. In 1955, the group auditioned for Modern Records, and were accepted. The group decided to switch to the popular R&B style, with the exception of Kingsby, who left to continue in gospel music. Modern came up with the name "The Cadets", and the group released their first single, "Don't Be Angry"/"I Cry". Collins led the A side while Taylor led the flip side. The group followed with several more singles. One of them was slated to be a cover of The Feathers' "Why Don't You Write Me?" Modern worried that this single may compete with "Don't Be Angry", so it was recorded on their subsidiary label, RPM Records, and was credited to "The Jacks". Davis led "Why Don't You Write Me?", and the flip side, "Smack Dab In The Middle", was led by Jones. Many more singles followed, with the five recording as "The Cadets" on Modern, and "The Jacks" on RPM. McCraw left at the end of the year, and was replaced by Pete Fox. The group signed up to the Buck Ram management agency in March of 1956, and continued churning out singles.
Carl Perkins - (April 9, 1932 – January 19, 1998), was an American pioneer of rockabilly music, a mix of rhythm and blues and country music, recorded most notably at Sun Records in Memphis, beginning in 1954. At age 6, he began working in the fields, where he heard gospel songs; at night, his father tuned in country music on the radio. John Westbrook, an older field hand, taught him blues guitar, and he began playing and singing country songs with the syncopated attack of the blues. An outstanding performer, his touch on rock and roll music is still heard to this day, especially through his fine compositions and guitar playing. His best known song is "Blue Suede Shoes". According to Charlie Daniels, "Carl Perkins' songs personified the Rockabilly Era, and Carl Perkins' sound personifies the Rockabilly Sound more so than anybody involved in it, because he never changed." Perkins's songs have been recorded by artists as influential as Elvis Presley, The Beatles, and Johnny Cash, which further cemented his place in the history of popular music. 'Artist Discography'
The Chantays - The Chantays are a surf rock band from the early 1960s, best known for the hit instrumental "Pipeline" (1963). It all started in 1961 when 5 high school friends decided to start their own band. Bob Spickard, Brian Carman (co-writers of Pipeline), Bob Welch, Warren Waters and Rob Marshall were all students at Santa Ana High School in California, when they were inspired by a local group called The Rhythm Rockers. Spickard, Carman, Welch, Waters and Marshall got together forming The Chantays. The Chantays recorded and released their hit "Pipeline" in December 1962. "Pipeline" began to get radio play pushing it up the charts in 1963. The Chantays recorded their first full album in 1963 entitled “Pipeline” which included Pipeline, Blunderbus and El Conquistador. Their follow up was “Two Sides of The Chantays” in 1964. Their music combined electronic keyboards and surf guitar, creating a unique ghostly sound. Their songs have been on music charts all over the world which helped make surf music an international success. 'Artist Discography'
The Chantels - The Chantels were the second black girl group to have nationwide success in the United States. The group was established in the early 1950s at St. Anthony of Padua school in the Bronx. The group consisted of Arlene Smith (lead), Sonia Goring, Rene Minus, Jackie Landry Jackson and Lois Harris. They got their name from a rival school, St. Frances de Chantal. They were discovered by Richard Barrett, lead singer of The Valentines and eventually signed to End Records. Their first single was "He's Gone" (Pop #71) in August 1957. In January 1958 they released their second single, "Maybe" (#15 Billboard Hot 100; #2 R & B chart). Several other singles were released on End, though none as successful as "Maybe." The group was dropped by End in 1959, and Arlene Smith decided to go solo. Harris left to pursue a college education. In 1960, Annette Smith (no relation) replaced Arlene Smith, and the group went to Carlton Records, where they had their second huge hit with "Look in My Eyes" (#14 pop, #6 R&B). Several other singles followed and the group switched record labels several times. Personnel changed throughout the 1960s, with their final single released in 1970. 'Artist Discography'
The Chiffons - The Chiffons was an all girl group originating from the Bronx area of New York in 1960. The group was originally a trio comprising Judy Craig (lead singer), Patricia Bennett and Barbara Lee. They formed at James Monroe High School in The Bronx in 1960. At the suggestion of songwriter Ronnie Mack, Sylvia Peterson was added to the group in 1962. Peterson had previously sung with Little Jimmy & The Tops in 1959 when she was 14 years-old. This group had a local hit with "Puppy Love"V-Tone; Len; Swan. Sylvia is sharing the lead with Jimmy on the single's B-Side, "Say You Love Me". Peterson would later lend her leads to Chiffons' killer Bs like "Why Am I So Shy", "Strange, Strange Feeling", "The Real Thing" and the pseudonym sides as The Four Pennies, "My Block" and "When The Boy's Happy". nother group from California also used the name "Chiffons" and recorded three singles, including a version of the Shirelles "Tonight's The Night". According to Craig and Bennett, the New York Chiffons have no connection to the other group. The group hit the number one spot in the United States with their first single "He's So Fine". 'Artist Discography'
The Chordettes - The Chordettes were a female popular singing quartet, usually singing a cappella, and specializing in traditional pop music. The group organized in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, in 1946. The original members of the group were Janet Ertel (1913-November 4, 1988), Carol Buschmann (her sister-in-law), Dorothy Schwartz, and Jinny Osborn (or Lockard) (April 25, 1928-May 19, 2003). In 1952, Lynn Evans replaced Schwartz, and in 1953, Margie Needham replaced Osborn (who was having a baby), though Osborn later returned to the group. Nancy Overton also was a member of the group at a later time. Originally they sang folk music in the style of The Weavers, but eventually changed to a harmonizing style of the type known as barbershop harmony or close harmony. Their biggest hit was Mr. Sandman in 1954. The group was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2001. 'Artist Discography'
Chuck Berry - Charles Edward Anderson "Chuck" Berry (born October 18, 1926 in St. Louis, Missouri) is an American guitarist, singer and songwriter. Chuck Berry is an influential figure and one of the pioneers of rock and roll music. According to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's website, "While no individual can be said to have invented rock and roll, Chuck Berry comes the closest of any single figure to being the one who put all the essential pieces together." Cub Koda wrote, "Of all the early breakthrough rock & roll artists, none is more important to the development of the music than Chuck Berry. He is its greatest songwriter, the main shaper of its instrumental voice, one of its greatest guitarists, and one of its greatest performers." John Lennon was more succinct: "If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it 'Chuck Berry'".
Berry was among the first musicians to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on its opening in 1986. He received Kennedy Center Honors in 2000 in a "class" with Mikhail Baryshnikov, Plácido Domingo, Angela Lansbury, and Clint Eastwood. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked Chuck Berry #5 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. He was also ranked 6th on Rolling Stone's Rolling Stone's 100 greatest guitarists of All Time. 'Artist Discography'
The Coasters - The Coasters are a Rhythm and Blues/rock and roll vocal group that had a string of hits in the late 1950s. Beginning with "Searchin'" and "Young Blood," their most memorable songs were written by the songwriting and producing team of Leiber and Stoller. Although the Coasters originated outside of mainstream doo wop, their records were so frequently imitated that they became an important part of the doo wop legacy through the 1960s. The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, crediting the members of the 1958-era configuration. The Coasters also joined the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1999. 'Artist Discography'
The Crystals - The Crystals, a singing group from the New York City area, were one of the most successful girl groups of the early 1960s, best remembered for the hit singles "He's A Rebel", "Da Doo Ron Ron" and "Then He Kissed Me". In the early 1960s, Barbara Alston, Mary Thomas, Dolores "Dee Dee" Kenniebrew, Myrna Girard and Patricia "Patsy" Wright formed The Crystals through the help of Benny Wells, Barbara's uncle. Soon, the quintet signed with Phil Spector's label Philles Records. Spector then chose Alston to be the group's lead singer by default, which made her very uncomfortable since she had a fear of singing in front of audiences. Their first hit was 1961's "There's No Other Like My Baby" (see 1961 in music). This song's A-side "Oh Yeah, Maybe Baby" (featuring Wright on lead) didn't generate the interest that the more late 50s R&B-flavored, "Chantels-like" B-side did. Their second release, "Uptown" was very topical and socially-aware, as it had the group crooning about loving a boy in the ghetto. After the success of "Uptown", a pregnant Girard was replaced by Dolores "LaLa" Brooks. The next single was 1962's "He Hit Me (And It Felt Like a Kiss)", still widely remembered though only rarely played on the radio due to the touchy subject matter of spousal abuse. Sales were sluggish. 'Artist Discography'
Danny & the Juniors - Danny & The Juniors, individually Frank Maffei, Danny Rapp, Joe Terranova and Dave White, began singing together in the early 1950's at ages 13 and 14 in Philadelphia where they were fans of the local rhythm and blues radio stations. It was there they heard the first stirrings of a new music soon to become known as Rock 'n Roll. The Juvenaires, as they were called then, quickly decided to become part of the new movement and began to perform the new songs as well as their own original material at school dances, local clubs and restaurants Danny And The Juniors have made almost fifty American Bandstand appearances and have been on numerous television shows -- from the old Patti Page Big Record Show to Nashville Now more recently. They've also been featured in three motion pictures and their songs have been in many more. Danny And The Juniors have been covered in many important national publications including Life, Billboard, Cashbox and Teen. The latest of these is a recent USA Today article that points out the broad appeal of Danny And The Juniors and their music across many demographic categories. 'Artist Discography'
Dee Dee Sharp - born Dione LaRue, September 9,1945, is an R&B singer who began her career recording back-up vocals in 1961. In 1962 she began a string of very successful Billboard Hot 100 Top 10 hits: "Slow Twistin'" (with Chubby Checker) (#3), "Mashed Potato Time" (#2), "Gravy (For My Mashed Potatoes)" (#9), "Ride!" (#5) and "Do the Bird" (#10).In 1967 she married record producer Kenny Gamble and has since recorded under the name Dee Dee Sharp-Gamble. She had a brief career resurgence during the disco era: as a member of the Philadelphia International All Stars (which also included Lou Rawls, Billy Paul, Teddy Pendergrass, The O'Jays and Archie Bell) she had a minor hit with "Let's Clean Up the Ghetto." In 1981 she spent four weeks at number one on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart with "Breaking and Entering" / "Easy Money," from her album Dee Dee. 'Artist Discography'
Dick Dale - born Richard Anthony Monsour on May 4, 1937, in Boston, Massachusetts, is a surf rock guitarist, known as "The King Of The Surf Guitar". He experimented with reverberation and made use of custom made Fender amplifiers, including the first ever 100 watt amp. Dale was born to a Lebanese father and a Polish mother, and soon learned to play the drums, the ukulele, the trumpet and finally the guitar. Among his early musical influences was his uncle, an oud player performing belly dance music. Much of his early music shows a Middle Eastern influence; Dale is often credited as one of the first electric guitarists to employ non-Western scales in his playing. Dale himself was an amateur surfer and wanted his music to reflect the sounds he heard in his mind while surfing. While he is primarily known for introducing the use of guitar reverb that would give the guitar a "wet" sound, which has since become a staple of surf music, it was Dale's fast staccato picking that was his trademark. Since Dale was left-handed he was initially forced to play a right-handed model. 'Artist Discography'
Dion and The Belmonts - Dion and the Belmonts were a leading American vocal group of the late 1950s. The group formed when Dion DiMucci joined The Belmonts - Carlo Mastrangelo, Freddie Milano, and Angelo D'Aleo - in late 1957. The Belmonts first recorded in 1957 with Teenage Clementine and Santa Margherita for Mohawk Records. Also recording on Mohawk was Dion DiMucci, who joined the group as lead vocalist shortly thereafter. Now known as Dion and the Belmonts, they recorded "We Went Away" and "Tag Along" for Mohawk before leaving for the newly formed record label, Laurie Records. Their first release on Laurie, "I Wonder Why", brought them their first real success, charting in 1958. They followed it with the ballad "No One Knows", which was also a hit in their local area. They continued recording and, in 1959, were part of a tour that lost three members to a plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa — Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. Richardson (aka The Big Bopper). DiMucci was actually offered a seat on the plane, but thought the fee of $36 was too much for such a short plane ride. Almost immediately after this tragedy, the quartet hit again with "A Teenager in Love". They recorded a few more songs, including "Where or When", which reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in early 1960. 'Artist Discography'
Dorsey Burnette - (December 28, 1932 - August 19, 1979), was an early Rockabilly singer from Memphis, Tennessee and with his younger brother Johnny Burnette and a friend named Paul Burlison was one of the founder members of The Rock and Roll Trio. After graduating from the Catholic High School in Memphis, Dorsey tried his hand as a professional boxer becoming a Southern pro champ before working at a number of daytime jobs, which included a cotton picker, an oiler on a Mississippi riverboat, a fisherman, a carpet-layer. He was finally to work at the Crown Electric Company with Paul Burlison as an apprentice electrician and would spend six years studying for an electrician’s license. Johnny Burnette also worked as a deck hand on barges, which traversed the Mississippi River and though they worked separately, each of them would bring his guitar on board and write songs during his spare time. After work, they would perform those and other songs together at local bars with a varying array of sidemen. Paul Burlison joined them after his discharge from the US Armed Forces and in 1952 or 1953 they formed a group, which may have been called The Rhythm Rangers at the time. Johnny Burnette sang the vocals and played acoustic guitar, Dorsey played bass and Paul Burlison played lead guitar. 'Artist Discography'
Jack Scott - born Giovanni Dominico Scafone Jr., January 24, 1936, is an Canadian/American singer and songwriter. He was the first white rock and roll national star to come out of Detroit, Michigan. He has been called "undeniably the greatest Canadian rock and roll singer of all time." Scott was born in Windsor, Ontario and spent his early childhood in this city just across the river from Detroit. When he was 10, Scott's family moved across the river to Hazel Park, a Detroit suburb. He grew up listening to hillbilly music and was taught to play the guitar by his father. 'Artist Discography'
The Drifters - The Drifters were a long-lived American doo wop/R&B vocal group with a peak in popularity from 1953 to 1962, though several splinter Drifters continue to perform today. They were originally formed by Clyde McPhatter (of Billy Ward & the Dominoes) in 1953. Rolling Stone magazine states that The Drifters were the least stable of the vocal groups due to being low-paid hired musicians of The Drifters' management. The Treadwell Drifters website states that there have been 60 vocalists in the history of the Treadwell Drifters line. Several splinter groups by former Drifters members add to the count. Nevertheless, there are two iterations of The Drifters which are notable. The first classic Drifters formed by Clyde McPhatter was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame as The Drifters or The Original Drifters. The second Drifters formed by Treadwell featuring Ben E. King was separately inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame as Ben E. King and The Drifters. In their induction, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame eclectically selected four members from the classic Drifters, two from the second Drifters, and one from the post-King Treadwell Drifters. According to the Vocal Group Hall of Fame, "Through turmoil and changes the (original) Drifters managed to set musical trends and give the public 13 chart hits, most of which are legendary recordings today." 'Artist Discography'
Johnny Burnette - (March 25, 1934–August 14, 1964) was a Rockabilly pioneer. Along with his older brother Dorsey Burnette and a friend named Paul Burlison, Johnny Burnette was a founding member of The Rock and Roll Trio. He was the father of 1980s rockabilly singer Rocky Burnette. In 1952, the Burnette brothers & Burlison formed a group called The Rhythm Rangers at the time. Johnny Burnette sang the vocals and played acoustic guitar, Dorsey played bass and Paul Burlison played lead guitar. For economic reasons, in 1956, the three young men moved to New York, where they managed to get an audition with the Ted Mack Original Amateur Hour. They won the competition three times in a row, which gained them a place in the finals, a recording contract with Coral Records and they officially became The Rock and Roll Trio. They also gained a manager, band leader Henry Jerome, and a drummer, Tony Austin, who was a cousin of Carl Perkins. 'Artist Discography'
Eddie Cochran - Raymond Edward "Eddie" Cochran (October 2, 1938 – April 17, 1960) was an American rock and roll musician and an important influence on popular music during the late 1950s, early 1960s, and beyond. Cochran was born in Albert Lea, Minnesota, as Edward Ray Cochran. He took music lessons in school, but quit the band to play drums. Also, rather than taking piano lessons, he began learning guitar, playing the country music he heard on the radio. In 1955, Cochran's family moved to Bell Gardens, California. As his guitar playing improved, he formed a band with two friends from his junior high school. During a show featuring many performers at an American Legion hall, he met Hank Cochran (later a country music songwriter). Although they were not related, they began performing together and recorded as The Cochran Brothers. Eddie Cochran also worked as a session musician, and began writing songs, making a "demo" with Jerry Capehart, his future manager. 'Artist Discography'
Elvis Presley - Elvis Aaron Presley, (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977), was an American singer, musician and actor. A cultural icon, he is commonly referred to by his first name, and as the "The King of Rock 'n' Roll" or "The King". In 1954, Presley began his career as one of the first performers of rockabilly, an uptempo fusion of country and rhythm and blues with a strong back beat. His novel versions of existing songs, mixing "black" and "white" sounds, made him popular, and controversial, as did his uninhibited stage and television performances. He recorded songs in the rock and roll genre, with tracks like "Hound Dog" and "Jailhouse Rock" later embodying the style. Presley had a versatile voice and had unusually wide success encompassing other genres, including gospel, blues, ballads and pop. To date, he has been inducted into four music halls of fame. In the 1960s, Presley made the majority of his thirty-one movies—mainly poorly reviewed, but financially successful, musicals. In 1968, he returned with acclaim to live music in a television special, and thereafter performed across the U.S., notably in Las Vegas. Throughout his career, he set records for concert attendance, television ratings and recordings sales. He is one of the best-selling and most influential artists in the history of popular music. Health problems, drug dependency and other factors led to his death at age 42. 'Artist Discography'
Fabian - Fabiano Anthony Forte, born February 6, 1943, better known as Fabian, is a former American teen idol of the late 1950s and early 1960s. He rose to national prominence after performing several times on American Bandstand. In total, he charted 11 hit singles in the Billboard Hot 100. Fabian was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Josephine and Domenic Forte. His father was a policeman and had ill health. Fabian was discovered in 1957 by Bob Marcucci and Peter DeAngelis, owners of Chancellor Records. At the time, record producers were looking to the South Philadelphia neighborhoods in search of teenage talents with good looks, and Frankie Avalon, also of South Philly, suggested Fabian as a possibility. Fabian was sitting on the front steps of his house crying because he had just seen his father taken away in an ambulance. He was spotted and, due to his good looks, Marcucci and DeAngelis asked him if he wanted to get into the record business. Fabian's father could not work any longer and since Fabian was the oldest of three brothers, he took a chance at making some money in the music business to help his family out. He never thought of singing and recording as a career, only as a way of stepping in for his father at the time. And yet, before he knew it, Fabian's popularity soared, and soon thousands rushed to his concerts. At fifteen, Fabian won the Silver Award as "The Promising Male Vocalist of 1958". 'Artist Discography'
Fats Domino - Fats was born Antoine Domino in 1928 in New Orleans. As a child his brother-in-law, who was twenty years his senior, taught him to play the piano. Fats Domino exploded onto the rock-and-roll scene in 1955 when his song, "Ain't That A Shame," was covered by white recording artist Pat Boone. Boone's version went to number one, and Domino's version on Imperial went to number ten. The song established both artists as stars. Fats could be heard in the background on the records of other artists, such as Joe Turner and Lloyd Price. He continued to write songs with Dave Bartholomew, many of which became hits. In 1956 he put five songs in the top forty, including "I'm In Love Again" and Fats' rendition of a song that had reached number one for Glenn Miller in 1940, "Blueberry Hill". The latter went to number two and was Domino's highest charting record ever. Fats Domino had his final top ten song in 1960 with Walking To New Orleans. 'Artist Discography'
The Five Satins - The Five Satins are an American doo wop group, best known for their song, "In the Still of the Night". The group, formed in New Haven, Connecticut, consisted of leader Fred Parris, Lou Peebles, Stanley Dortch, Ed Martin and Jim Freeman in 1954. With little success, the group reorganized, with Dortch and Peebles leaving, and new member Al Denby entering. The group then recorded "In the Still of the Night", which was originally released as the b-side to the single, "The Jones Girl". The single was released the following year, and "In the Still of the Night" ended up charting at number three on the R&B chart and number 25 on the pop charts. Parris entered the Army soon after, and the group reorganized again, with Martin, Freeman, Tommy Killebrew, Jessie Murphy and new lead Bill Baker. This lineup hit with another highly successful song, Billy Dawn Smith's "To The Aisle". Upon Parris' return from the Army, a new lineup was assembled, consisting of Parris, Lou Peebles (who was in a previous incarnation of the Five Satins), Sylvester Hopkins, Richie Freeman and Wes Forbes. The group would be briefly known as "Fred Parris and the Scarlets", until the Baker-led group split up. At this point, they reverted to the Five Satins name, but had little success on the charts. By the early 1970s the group was Parris, Peebles, Richie Freeman, Jimmy Curtis and Corky Rogers, and they continued recording into the 1980s, with Parris, Richie Freeman, Curtis and Nate Marshall. Meanwhile, Bill Baker started his own Five Satins group in 1981, with former Satin Sylvester Hopkins and Hopkins' brothers Carl and Frank. By the late 1980s, this group consisted of Baker, Harvey Potts, Jr., Anthony Hofler and Octavio DeLeon. Fred Parris continues to perform. Bill Baker died in 1994. In 2003, the Five Satins were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame. 'Artist Discography'
The Four Tops - The Four Tops are an American vocal quartet, whose repertoire has included doo-wop, jazz, soul music, R&B, disco, adult contemporary, and showtunes. Founded in Detroit, Michigan as The Four Aims, lead singer Levi Stubbs (a cousin of Jackie Wilson and brother of The Falcons' Joe Stubbs), and groupmates Abdul "Duke" Fakir, Renaldo "Obie" Benson and Lawrence Payton remained together for over four decades. Among a number of groups who helped define the Motown Sound of the 1960s , the Four Tops were notable for having Stubbs, a baritone, as their lead singer; most groups of the time were fronted by a tenor. Since the late-1980s, the Four Tops have focused on touring and live performances, only recording one album, 1995's Christmas Here With You, released on Motown. On June 20. 'Artist Discography'
Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers - Franklin Joseph "Frankie" Lymon (September 30, 1942 – February 27, 1968) was an African-American rock and roll/rhythm and blues singer, best known as the boy soprano lead singer of a New York City-based early rock and roll group called The Teenagers. The group included five boys, all in their early to mid teens. The original lineup of the Teenagers, an integrated group, included three African-American members, Frankie Lymon, Jimmy Merchant and Sherman Garnes, and two Puerto Rican members, Herman Santiago and Joe Negroni. The Teenagers' first single, 1956's "Why Do Fools Fall in Love", was also their biggest hit. After Lymon went solo in mid-1957, both his career and those of the Teenagers fell into decline. Lymon eventually fell into heroin addiction, and died in 1968 at the age of 25. 'Artist Discography'
Freddy Cannon - born December 4, 1939 in Lynn, Massachusetts, is an American rock and roll singer. He learned to play the guitar as a boy and in high school formed a band. Singing vocals, he emulated the hard-driving style of singing star Little Richard. Picariello eventually signed with Swan Records in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a recording studio in which music promoter Dick Clark had an interest, and who brought him national exposure through numerous appearances on the television program, American Bandstand. In 1959 and the early 1960s, singing under the stage name, Freddy Cannon, and dubbed "Boom Boom" because of his thundering musical renditions, he had three Top 10 hits. 'Artist Discography'
Gene Vincent - Vincent Eugene Craddock, (February 11, 1935 - October 12, 1971) was an American rock'n'roll pioneer musician. His parents, Ezekiah Jackson and Mary Louise Craddock, were shop owners in Norfolk, Virginia. He grew up in Virginia under the influence of country, rhythm and blues and gospel music. He received his first guitar as a gift from a friend at the age of 12. Craddock was a Norfolk native and became involved in the local music scene. He changed his name to “Gene Vincent” and formed a rockabilly band called the “Bluecaps” (a term used in reference to enlisted sailors in the U.S. Navy). The band included Willie Williams on rhythm guitar, Jack Neal on upright bass, Dickie Harrell on drums, Paul Peek singer/guitar and the innovative and influential lead guitarist, Cliff Gallup. Gene Vincent and the Bluecaps soon gained a reputation playing in various country bands in his native Norfolk, Virginia. There, they won a talent contest organised by local radio DJ "Sheriff Tex" Davis, who became his manager.In 1956 he wrote "Be-Bop-A-Lula" and signed a publishing contract with Bill Lowery of The Lowery Group of music publishers in Atlanta, Georgia. Lowery recorded Gene singing "Be-Bop-A-Lula" and secured him a recording contract with Capitol Records. "Be-Bop-A-Lula" was not on Vincent's first album and was not picked by Capitol as the first single to be released. Lowery, however, got Capitol to agree that "Be-Bop-A-Lula" would be the "B-side" of the first single ("Woman Love"). Prior to the release of the single record, Lowery pressed promotional copies of "Be-Bop-A-Lula" and sent them to radio stations throughout the country. By the time Capitol released the single, "Be-Bop-A-Lula" had already gained attention from the public and radio DJs. "Be-Bop-A-Lula" was picked up and played by other U.S. radio stations (obscuring the original "A-side" song), became a hit and launched Gene Vincent as a pop star. 'Artist Discography'
Ike Turner - Ike Wister Turner (November 5, 1931 – December 12, 2007) was an American musician, bandleader, talent scout, and record producer. His first recording, "Rocket 88" by "Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats," in 1951, is considered by some to be the "first rock and roll song" ever. However, he is best known for his work with his then wife Tina Turner as one half of the Ike & Tina Turner duo. Spanning a career that lasted half a century, Ike's repertoire included blues, soul, rock, and funk. Alongside his former wife, he was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991 and in 2001 was inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame. Turner won two Grammy Awards. 'Artist Discography'
Jackie DeShannon - born Sharon Lee Myers, August 21, 1944, is an American singer-songwriter with a string of hit song credits from the 1960s onwards. She was one of the first female singer-songwriters of the rock 'n' roll period. Sharon Myers adopted the name Jackie DeShannon, believed to be the name of an Irish ancestor. Executives at Liberty Records thought the name Sharon Myers would not help sell records. (She once reported that record executives added "Shannon" to "Jackie Dee," one of the names under which she recorded, to create her name.) Recording under various names such as Sherry Lee, Jackie Dee, and Jackie Shannon, she had little success. However, her interpretations of country songs "Buddy" and "Trouble" gained the attention of Eddie Cochran who arranged for her to travel to California and meet singer-songwriter Sharon Sheeley, who formed a writing partnership with DeShannon in 1960. The partnership produced hits such as "Dum Dum" for Brenda Lee and "I Love Anastasia" for The Fleetwoods. 'Artist Discography'
Jackie Wilson - (June 9, 1934 – January 21, 1984) was an American singer. Wilson was important in the transition of rhythm and blues into soul. Gaining fame in his early years as a member of the R&B vocal group, The Dominoes, after going solo in 1957, he went on to record over fifty hit singles over a repertoire that included R&B, pop, soul, doo-wop and easy listening before lapsing into a coma following a collapse on stage during a 1975 benefit concert. By the time of his death in 1984, he had become one of the most influential soul artists of his generation. Jack Leroy Wilson, Jr. was born in Detroit, Michigan, the only son of Jack, Sr. and Eliza Mae Wilson. Growing up in the Highland Park area of North End, Jackie, who was also called "Sonny" by friends, grew up rough, joining a gang called the Shakers and often getting in trouble. He dropped out of high school at the age of 15, and by that time had been sentenced to juvenile detention twice. After his second trip to detention, he discovered boxing, and boxed around the Detroit area, eventually winning the Golden Gloves division in Detroit at the age of 16. After getting married and becoming a father at 17, Wilson gave up boxing for music, forming a group that included cousin Levi Stubbs, who later went on to lead the Four Tops (two more of Wilson's cousins, Hubert Johnson and Levi's brother Joe, later became members of The Contours). He was soon discovered by talent agent Johnny Otis, who assigned him to join a group called the Thrillers. That group would later be known as The Royals (who would later evolve into R&B group, The Midnighters), but Wilson wasn't part of the group when they changed their name and signed with King Records. After recording a few sides with Dizzy Gillespie's record label, he joined The Dominoes after a successful audition to replace Clyde McPhatter, who had left to join The Drifters. Wilson was the group's lead singer for over a year producing the pop hit, "St. Therese of the Roses", before he began a solo career in 1957. 'Artist Discography'
Jan & Dean - Jan and Dean were a rock and roll duo, popular from the late 1950s through the mid 1960s, consisting of William Jan Berry (April 3, 1941 – March 26, 2004) and Dean Ormsby Torrence (born March 10, 1940). Although Jan & Dean pre-dated The Beach Boys, they became most famously associated with the vocal "surf music" craze inspired by The Beach Boys. Their first commercial success was "Jennie Lee" (1958), which reached #8, and was an ode to a local, Hollywood burlesque performer that Jan Berry recorded with fellow Baron Arnie Ginsburg. "Jan & Arnie" released three singles in all. After Torrence returned from a stint in the army reserves, Jan Berry and Dean Torrence began to make music as "Jan and Dean". Jan and Dean reached their commercial peak in 1963 and 1964. The duo scored an impressive sixteen Top 40 hits on the Billboard and Cash Box magazine charts, with a total of twenty-six chart hits over an eight-year period (1958-1966). 'Artist Discography'
Jerry Lee Lewis - Jerry Lee Lewis (born September 29, 1935) is an American rock and roll and country music singer, songwriter and pianist. An early pioneer of rock and roll music, Lewis was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986 and his pioneering contribution to the genre has been recognized by the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. In 2004, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked him #24 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. In 2003, they listed his box set All Killer, No Filler: The Anthology #242 on their list of "500 greatest albums of all time". His earliest influences were country stars Jimmie Rodgers and Gene Autry, and the more rocking music of local black groups, along with the gospel hymns.
In 1956 Lewis headed for Memphis, to audition for Sam Phillips whose assistant, Jack Clement, was impressed with Lewis' piano style but suggested he play more rock & roll, in a style similar to Elvis Presley's. Subsequently in 1957 -"Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On", sold more than 6 million copies nationally. "Great Balls of Fire", sold more than 5 million copies, followed by more than a half million in sales for 1958 hits "Breathless" and "High School Confidential".
Lewis' high school nickname was "the Killer," and it fit well with his flamboyant piano style that used careening glissandos, pounding chords, and bench-toppling acrobatics. The Killer was knocking them dead until his career came to a stop when he married his 13-year-old cousin, Myra Gale Brown, in December 1957. (She was his third wife; at age 16 he had wed a 17-year-old, and soon after that ended, he got caught in a shotgun marriage.) The marriage lasted 13 years, but at the time Lewis was condemned by the church in the U.S. and hounded by the British press on a 1958 overseas tour. His career ran dry for nearly a decade, though his popularity recovered somewhat in Europe during the mid-1960s. A concert album, Live at the Star Club, Hamburg (1964), recorded with The Nashville Teens, is widely considered one of the greatest live rock and roll albums ever. Music critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine writes: "Live at the Star Club is extraordinary, the purest, hardest rock & roll ever committed to record." Lewis has never stopped touring, and fans who have seen him perform say he can still deliver unique concerts that are unpredictable, exciting, personal and still rock & roll. On February 12, 2005, he was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by The Recording Academy. 'Artist Discography'
Little Anthony & the Imperials - is a rhythm and blues/soul/doo-wop vocal group from New York, first active in the 1950s. Lead singer Jerome Anthony "Little Anthony" Gourdine was noted for his high-pitched falsetto voice influenced by Jimmy Scott. The group has been nominated for possible 2009 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. After a one-off single for Apollo (as "The Chesters"), they landed a record deal with the End label in 1958, at which point their name was changed to the Imperials. ("Little Anthony" was later tagged onto the beginning by DJ Alan Freed.). After many lineup changes and several hits the Imperials are still performing today. 'Artist Discography'
Little Richard - Rev. Richard Wayne Penniman (born December 5, 1932), better known by the stage name Little Richard, is an American singer, songwriter and pianist, who also became a born again Christian and evangelist. A key figure in the transition from rhythm & blues to rock & roll, Penniman blew the lid off the 1950s, laying the foundation for rock and roll with his explosive music and charismatic persona. On record, he made spine-tingling rock and roll. His frantically charged piano playing and raspy, shouted vocals on such classics as “Tutti Frutti,” “Long Tall Sally” and “Good Golly, Miss Molly” defined the dynamic sound of rock and roll, and influenced generations of rhythm & blues, rock and soul music artists. In addition, his original injection of funk during this period, via his saxophone-studded mid-1950s road band, The Upsetters, also influenced the development of that genre of rock music. Little Richard was subsequently honored by being one of seven of the first inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986 and was one of only four of these honorees (along with Ray Charles, James Brown, and Fats Domino) to also receive the Rhythm & Blues Foundation's Pioneer Lifetime Achievement Award. Little Richard's early work was a mix of boogie-woogie, rhythm & blues and gospel music, but with a heavily accentuated back-beat, funky saxophone grooves and raspy shouted vocals, moans, screams, and other emotive inflections that marked a new kind of music. In 1957, while at the height of stardom, he became a born again Christian, enrolled in and attended Bible college, and withdrew from recording and performing secular music. Claiming he was called to be an evangelist, he has since devoted large segments of his life to this calling, though he has returned to recording secular music on numerous occasions over the years. 'Artist Discography'
The Marcels - The Marcels are the guys who put the "Bomp" in the "Bomp-A-Bomp" back in 1961 when their first recording, "Blue Moon" sold over two and a half million copies. The Marcels can boast of three record albums, numerous hit singles, with sales in the millions. They also recorded the theme song, "The Greatest Love" for the motion picture, "The Interns" and appeared with Chubby Checker in the film "Twist Around The Clock." Their signature song, "Blue Moon" has been used in at least four major motion pictures and various TV shows, such as Sha Na Na, Cheers, Moonlighting, Laverne & Shirley, Happy Days, etc. The Marcels were a doo-wop group known for turning beloved American classical pop songs into rock and roll. The group formed in 1959 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with lead Cornelius Harp, bass Fred Johnson, Gene Bricker, Ron Mundy, and Richard Knauss. The group was named by Fred Johnson's younger sister Priscilla, after a popular hair style of the day (the Marcell wave). In 1961 many were shocked to hear a new version of the ballad, "Blue Moon" that began with the bass singer saying, "bomp-bapa-bomp" and "dip-da-dip." Still, the record sold a million copies and is featured in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. The disc climbed all the way to number one in the UK Singles Chart. However all follow-ups sank without trace, and the group became known there as a one-hit wonder. In their U.S. homeland, additional revivals in the same vein as "Blue Moon" - "Heartaches" and "Melancholy Baby" - were less successful, although the former peaked in the Top 10 of Billboard Hot 100 singles chart and eventually sold over one million copies worldwide. 'Artist Discography'
Martha & the Vandellas - known from 1967 to 1972 as Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, were among the most successful groups in the Motown roster during the period 1963-1967. In contrast to Motown girl groups such as The Supremes and The Marvelettes, Martha and the Vandellas were known for a harder, R&B sound, typified in "(Love Is Like a) Heat Wave," "Nowhere to Run," "Jimmy Mack" and, their signature song, "Dancing in the Street." During their nine-year run on the charts from 1963 to 1972, Martha and the Vandellas charted over twenty-six hits and recorded in the styles of doo-wop, R&B, pop, blues, rock and soul. Ten Vandellas songs reached the top ten of the Billboard R&B singles chart, including two R&B number ones. Twelve of the Vandellas' songs charted within the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100, with six songs charting within the Top Ten including "Dancing in the Street," "Heat Wave," "Nowhere to Run" and "Jimmy Mack" being their biggest pop chart-toppers. In 2004, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked Martha and the Vandellas #96 on their list of The Immortals: 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.
The vocal group led by Martha Reeves who, along with fellow Detroit natives Annette Sterling Beard, Gloria Williams, and Rosalind Ashford, Started out as the Del-Phis in 1960. After Reeves landed a secretarial position at the offices of Motown Records, the Del-Phis were asked to record a single for the label's Melody imprint, which did poorly. Gloria Williams left the group shortly after reducing the group to a trio. After backing Marvin Gaye on the superb 1962 record "Stubborn Kind of Fellow," they were renamed Martha & the Vandellas, taking inspiration from Detroit's Van Dyke Street and Reeves' heroine Della Reese. 'Artist Discography'
The Marvelettes - were an American singing girl group on the Motown label. Motown's first successful female vocal group, the Marvelettes are most notable for recording the label's first US #1 pop hit, "Please Mr. Postman", and for setting the precedent for later Motown girl groups such as Martha and the Vandellas and The Supremes. During their eight-year run on the Billboard charts, the group scored nineteen top forty American R&B singles and ten top forty American pop singles. Of these hits, three were top ten pop singles and nine were top ten R&B singles, and one, "Please Mr. Postman," was number one on both charts. The group that became the first Motown success story had pretty small beginnings. Lacking confidence in their singing abilities, Gladys Horton and Georgia Dobbins formed the Casinyets (or "Can't Sing Yets") in their hometown, Inkster, Michigan, with backing vocalists Georgeanna Tillman, Wyanetta Cowart, and Katherine Anderson. In 1961 the quintet, now called The Marvels, entered the Inkster High School talent show, where they finished fourth. Though only the first three winners could win the prize of a trip to audition for the new Motown record company, an exception was made and they were allowed to audition as well. In April they did this for Motown executives Brian Holland and Robert Bateman, with the girls alternating lead parts. They auditioned for Berry Gordy and Smokey Robinson, who scheduled a second audition, after asking if the group had any original material.At the next audition, Georgia arrived with pianist William Garrett, who had also written a few tunes. Georgia had asked Garrett if he had any new songs, and he showed her a blues song called "Please Mr. Postman" that had only a few lyrics and no music. Garrett agreed to Georgia's rewriting the song into something more favorable for a young girl group, as long as he was given songwriting credit. Georgia, who had no previous songwriting experience, took the tune home and reconstructed it overnight, keeping only the title.The song by Dobbins and Garrett turned out to be the Marvelettes' first single and their greatest hit, "Please Mr Postman." The group returned to Motown with the song and a new member, Wanda Young (later Rogers), who replaced Dobbins (whose church-going father was against the idea of his daughter singing in night clubs), giving them, like The Shirelles before them, two lead singers. 'Artist Discography'
The Marvelows - The Marvelows were a soul group from Chicago. After contacting Johnny Pate, the group signed with ABC Records and recorded four sides: "A Friend", "My Heart", "Hey Hey Baby", and "I Do". The last of the four was released as a single and became a US hit, peaking at #7 on the Black Singles chart and scraping the Billboard Top 40 at #37. The group changed its name to The Mighty Marvelows in order to avoid being confused with The Marvellos, and hit the charts only once more, with 1968's "In the Morning". A 1968 LP followed, entitled The Mighty Marvelows, but the group broke up in 1969, reuniting only once, briefly, in 1974. 'Artist Discography'
The Moonglows - were an influential American R&B and doo-wop group based in Cleveland, Ohio. Originally formed in their native Louisville, Kentucky as the Crazy Sounds, the group moved to Cleveland, where legendary disc jockey Alan Freed renamed them the Moonglows (after his own nickname, "Moondog"). Freed helped to promote the group during their early years and, in a common practice of the day, took a co-writer credit as compensation for his efforts. Lead Fuqua served as the group's leader and chief writer. Vocals were split between Bobby "Lester" Dallas and Harvey Fuqua and sometimes, in the group's occasional duet leads, both. The other members were tenor Alexander "Pete" Graves and bass Prentiss Barnes, with Billy Johnson on guitar. The Moonglows recorded one single for Freed's Champagne label in late 1952, and then for Chicago's Chance record label in 1953 and 1954. After a moderately-successful release of the Lester-led version of Doris Day's "Secret Love" on Chance, the Moonglows signed to independent Chicago powerhouse Chess Records in mid-1954. 'Artist Discography'
Paul Anka - born in Ottawa in 1941. He took an interest in music at an early age and began performing when he was 12. His first recording, I Confess, was initially Financed by his father. Paul went to Hollywood on vacation and convinced some record company executives to record it, resulting in his first release, on RPM records in 1956. Eventually this led to his being signed to a contract by Don Costa at ABC. Paul had been infatuated with his babysitter who was five years older than he was and had written a song for her called Diana. He recorded it for ABC-Paramount and it entered the charts in July of 1957, where it remained for eighteen weeks. The song was a worldwide megahit and replaced Debbie Reynolds' Tammy as the number one song on the charts. Suddenly Paul Anka was a star. By 1961 sales of Diana would soar past the 9 million mark. Paul Anka continued to write and record songs. His next big hit, in 1958, was You Are My Destiny which made the top ten. His clean good looks and fresh image gave the world a teen idol who was an alternative to the likes of Elvis Presley. But as things would turn out, Paul Anka was more than just a pretty face. He was also a very good songwriter. Buddy Holly recorded a song that Paul had written, It Doesn't Matter Any More. 'Artist Discography'
Pat Boone - Charles Eugene "Pat" Boone (born June 1, 1934) is an American singer, actor and writer who was one of the biggest stars in the United States and the world in the 1950s. He sold over 45 million albums, had 38 top-40 hits and starred in over 12 popular Hollywood movies. Boone's talent as a singer and actor, his all-american good looks, his charisma and his old-fashioned values all contributed to his status as an American icon. He was an international superstar during the 1950s and 1960s and continues to entertain and perform today, at age 74. Boone was very successful in multiple ways. He hosted a very popular network TV show, "The Pat Boone Chevy Show" from 1957-1959. He has written many books and had a No. 1 Bestseller in the 1950s ("Twixt Twelve and Twenty", Prentice-Hall). His cover versions of African-American rhythm and blues hits had a noticeable impact on the development of the broad popularity of rock and roll. During his tours in the 1950s, Elvis Presley was one of his opening acts. In the 1960s, he focused on gospel music and is a member of the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. Many today believe strongly that he should be a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, including Mike Curb, founder of Curb Records. Boone still holds the Billboard record for spending 220 consecutive weeks on the charts with more than one song. 'Artist Discography'
Petula Clark - born 15 November 1932, is an English singer, actress and composer best known for her upbeat popular international hits of the 1960s, including "Downtown", "I Know a Place", "My Love". "Colour My World", "A Sign of the Times" and "Don't Sleep in the Subway". With more than 70 million records sold worldwide, she is the most successful British female solo recording artist and is cited as such in the Guinness Book of World Records. She also holds the distinction of having the longest span on the UK pop charts of any British female artist — 54 years — from 1954, when "The Little Shoemaker" made the UK Top Twenty, to 2008, when her CD Then & Now: The Very Best of Petula Clark debuted at #17 on the UK Albums Chart .Throughout the forties and fifties Petula was a regular guest on a vast number of radio shows and became something of a television "pioneer" in England, first appearing on experimental TV in the forties and later as host of several of her own television series during the very early years of British programming, with Pet's Parlour being her longest running and most popular. Although she sang regularly in concert, on radio and TV all through the forties, it wasn't until 1949 that she recorded her first song Music, Music, Music and that pretty much sums up her very prolific recording career. 'Artist Discography'
Raelettes - were a girl group in the 1950s, 1960s 1970s, and 1980s, formed, as their name suggests, to provide backing vocals for Ray Charles. Its membership originally consisted of Darlene McCrea, Margie Hendrix, Patricia Lyles, and Gwendolyn Berry. Later members included Mable John, Merry Clayton, and Susaye Greene. The 1980s' set of Raelettes included Avis Harrell, Madlyne Qubeck, Estella Yarobourgh, Trudy Cohran, and Pat Peterson; they recorded with Charles and featured in one of his biggest concerts not long before his death. The concert featured the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and was televised on KCET Television in Canada. Although they were never famed for their singles, they had a number of pop and R&B hits and several have gone on to promising solo careers. According to the biopic Ray, before becoming the Raelettes, the group were known as The Cookies.
Ricky Nelson - Eric Hilliard Nelson was born May 8, 1940, in Teaneck New Jersey. He died in DeKalb, Texas, on New Year's Eve, 1985. Ricky Nelson, who was the first teen idol to utilize television to promote hit records, began a rock and roll music career in 1957. He recorded his debut single, the Fats Domino song "I'm Walkin'", seeking to impress a date who was an Elvis Presley fan. After he performed it on TV, it was a hit, reaching #4 on the charts and selling over a million copies. Soon, each episode of the Ozzie & Harriet television show ended with a musical performance by "Ricky". It was during the sitcom's run that Ozzie Nelson, either to keep his son's fans tuned in or as an affirmation of his reputed behind-the-scenes persona as a controlling personality, kept Ricky from appearing on other TV shows that could have enhanced his public profile, American Bandstand and The Ed Sullivan Show in particular. Ironically, Rick finally did appear on the Sullivan show in 1967, but his career by that time was in limbo. Rick also appeared on other TV shows (usually in acting roles). In 1973, he had an acting role in an episode of The Streets of San Francisco, where he played the part of a hippy flute-playing leader of a harem of young prostitutes. In 1979, he guest-hosted on Saturday Night Live, where he proved to be a good sport in spoofing his TV sitcom image by appearing in a Twilight Zone send-up, where, always trying to go "home", he finds himself among the characters from other 1950s/early '60s-era sitcoms, Leave It to Beaver, Father Knows Best, Make Room for Daddy, and I Love Lucy. 'Artist Discography'
Ronnie Hawkins - born 10 January 1935, is a pioneering rock and roll musician and cousin to fellow rockabilly pioneer Dale Hawkins. Known as "Rompin' Ronnie" Hawkins or "The Hawk," he was a key player in the 1960s rock scene in Toronto and for the next 40 years, performed all over North America, recording more than twenty-five albums. His best-known hits are "Forty Days" and "Mary Lou" (about the song narrator's experiences with a gold digging woman), both were major hits for him in 1959. At the age of nine, his family moved to nearby Fayetteville. After graduating from high school, he studied physical education at the University of Arkansas where he formed his first band, The Hawks, touring with them throughout Arkansas, Oklahoma and Missouri. Hawkins also owned and operated the Rockwood Club in Fayetteville where some of Rock music's earliest pioneers came to play including Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison and Conway Twitty. Hawkins came to Canada in 1958. His first gig was at the Brass Rail Tavern (on Conway Twitty's advice) in London, Ontario where he became an overnight success. It was a result of Hawkins success in London that he decided to move to Canada permanently. His career spans over five decades and 25 records. His hits include, “Forty Days”, “Mary Lou”, and “Hey Bo Diddley”. 'Artist Discography'
The Ronettes - were a girl group of the 1960s from New York City, best known for their work with producer Phil Spector. They consisted of lead singer Veronica Bennett (a.k.a. Ronnie Spector), her sister Estelle Bennett, and their cousin Nedra Talley. Their defining album is Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes Featuring Veronica from 1963, and their most famous songs include "Be My Baby", "Baby, I Love You", "(The Best Part of) Breakin' Up", and "(Walking) in the Rain". In 1961, while standing in line at the Peppermint Lounge, they were mistaken for a singing trio that had not arrived and were ushered on stage. After performing Ray Charles' "What'd I Say", they were signed to appear regularly there and in Miami. Later that year, they danced in shows staged by disc jockey Murray the K, but, contrary to many sources, did not appear in the 1961 film Twist Around the Clock. They did get a record deal with the Colpix label, and, as Ronnie & the Relatives, released their first single "I Want a Boy". They also worked as backing singers for Bobby Rydell, Del Shannon, and Joey Dee. Renamed as The Ronettes, they issued several more singles with Colpix and recorded an album, unissued at the time, but had little early commercial success. In 1963 they came to the attention of producer Phil Spector, who was looking for a new girl group to assume The Crystals' mantle. He was taken with Ronnie's voice and style, and signed The Ronettes to his Philles label. As Spector's new protégées, they were given a strong image as "bad girls", with beehive hairdos, heavy eyeliner, and tight skirts. 'Artist Discography'
Ronny & the Daytonas - were a surf rock group of the early 1960s, whose members included Paul Jensen (vocals, guitar), Don Henderson (bass, guitar), Lynn Williams (drums), Lee Kraft (songwriting, guitar) and John "Bucky" Wilkin (songwriting, guitar, vocals), with contributions from many more such as Ronny Clark. The group was formed in Nashville, Tennessee in 1964 when Bill Justis (best known for his hit "Raunchy") became their manager and formed Buckhorn Music with the help of Wilkins' mother, Marijohn Wilkin, a country music writer. Their primary contribution to popular music was in injecting country-sounds into the burgeoning surf rock scene. Their 1964 debut single "G.T.O." was a big #4 hit on the Billboard Pop Singles chart. After an album and tour in 1964, Ronny & the Daytonas had another hit in 1965 with a ballad, "Sandy", and an album that reflected a similar country-inflected surfer sound. In 1968 Ronny and the Daytonas switched to RCA Records and released a romantic ballad called "Diane, Diane" and the upbeat "All American Girl", both of which had some success on the charts. The band toured for a short time after this before disbanding. The mid-eighties saw some interest in re-uniting various band members for a few one-time engagements. The last known appearance of The Daytonas was a concert in upstate New York on 4 July 1995. As of last edit in 2004, Buck Wilkin Music publishing was licensing Ronny and the Daytonas songs for the U.S. and Canada and occasionally publishes their music on 180 gram vinyl media in limited production runs. 'Artist Discography'
Roy Orbison - Roy Kelton Orbison (April 23, 1936 – December 6, 1988), was an influential Grammy Award-winning American singer-songwriter, guitarist and a pioneer of rock and roll whose recording career spanned more than four decades. Orbison is best known for the songs "Ooby Dooby", "Only the Lonely", "In Dreams", "Oh, Pretty Woman", "Crying", "Running Scared" and "You Got It". He was known for his smooth tenor voice, which could jump three octaves with little trouble. He was rarely seen on stage without his trademark black sunglasses. In 1987, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and in 1989, he was posthumously inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Music became an important part of Orbison's family life. In 1949, at the age of 13, Orbison organized his first band "The Wink Westerners".
When not singing with the band, he played guitar and wrote songs. The band appeared weekly on KERB radio in Kermit, Texas. Orbison achieved his first commercial success in June 1956 with "Ooby Dooby", written by Orbison's friends from college, and produced at Norman Petty's studio in Clovis, New Mexico. Many of the earliest songs he recorded were produced by Sam Phillips, who also produced Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley. rbison was a powerful influence on contemporaries such as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. In 1963, he headlined a European tour with The Beatles, but was eventually demoted to the opening act. He became lifelong friends with the band, especially John Lennon and George Harrison. Orbison would later record with Harrison in the Traveling Wilburys. During their tour of Europe, Orbison encouraged the Beatles to come to the United States. When they toured America, they asked Orbison to manage their tour, but his schedule forced him to decline.
Unlike many artists, Orbison maintained his success as the British Invasion swept America in 1964. His single, "Oh, Pretty Woman", broke the Beatles stranglehold on the Top 10, soaring to No. 1 on the Billboard charts and No. 1 on the British charts. The record sold more copies in its first ten days of release than any single up to that time, and eventually sold over seven million copies. The song later became the signature tune for the film Pretty Woman, named for his song, which brought fame to actress Julia Roberts. Orbison toured with The Beach Boys in 1964, and with The Rolling Stones in Australia in 1965. He was successful in England, logging three No.1 hit singles and was voted top male vocalist of the year several times. 'Artist Discography'
The Shangri-Las - The Shangri-Las formed in 1963 in Queens, New York. Comprising of Sisters Betty and Mary Weiss and twins Margie and Mary-Ann Ganser, they met whilst all attended the Andrew Jackson High School. The four girls practiced performing popular songs of the day and worked hard on their harmonies and routines. They started performing locally and were noticed by record producer Artie Ripp who signed them to Kama Sutra Productions. Their first record was recorded live at a local club and it was called 'Simon Says'. The record wasn't released at this time, but they cut a second record which comprised of an A-side called 'Wishing Well' and the B-side being 'Hate To Say I Told You So'. 'Artist Discography'
The Shirelles - Beginning in 1958 as schoolgirls in Passaic, New Jersey, The Shirelles quickly became rock & roll's first female supergroup and were the inspirations for a legion of female groups that followed. They are universally credited as the originators of the Girl Group Sound that is so beloved by the Baby Boomer generation. Their long string of hits, including Soldier Boy, Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow, Dedicated To The One I Love, Mama Said, and so many others, have been recorded by hundreds of artists, including The Beatles, Dionne Warwick, Aretha Franklin, Eric Clapton & The Yardbirds, The Mamas & the Papas, Bernadette Peters and Smokey Robinson. The members of the quartet were Shirley Owens (the main lead singer; later known as Shirley Alston, then Shirley Alston Reeves), Doris Coley (later known as Doris Coley Kenner, then Doris Kenner Jackson; she sang lead on "Dedicated to the One I Love", "Welcome Home Baby", "Blue Holiday" and a number of 'b' sides and album cuts), Beverly Lee, and Addie 'Micki' Harris. The quartet formed in New Jersey in 1958, and went on to release a string of hits. 'Artist Discography'
Silhouettes - The Silhouettes were one of the classic one-shot groups from the 50's, and the one hit song that they did had tremendous success. The group was formed as a gospel quartet in 1955 in Philadelphia and originally known as the Gospel Tornados. They consisted of Billy Horton, Richard Lewis, Raymond Edwards, and Earl Beal, and all were from Philadelphia. They began to do rhythm-and-blues songs and changed their name, first to the Thunderbirds and later to the Silhouettes. Doo-wop was very popular in the late 50's and group member Richard Lewis collaborated with the group's arranger, Howard Biggs, to write what became one of the most successful doo-wop songs of all time. Get A Job was recorded by the Silhouettes in 1957 for Junior, then released on Ember the following January. It went to number one on both the pop and rhythm-and-blues charts, but was to be the group's only hit song. A popular rock-and-roll revival group formed at Columbia University in the late 60's, Sha Na Na, took its name from the lyrics to Get A Job. The Silhouettes re-formed in the early 80's to tour as an oldies group. Billy Horton died in 1995 in Germantown, Pennsylvania and Raymond Edwards passed away in March, 1997 in Philadelphia. 'Artist Discography'
The Supremes - an American female singing group, were one of the signature acts on Motown Records during the 1960s. Originally founded as The Primettes in Detroit, Michigan in 1959, The Supremes' repertoire included doo-wop, pop, soul, Broadway show tunes and disco. They were the most commercially successful of Motown's acts, with twelve of the group's singles peaking at number one on the Billboard Hot 100. Most of these hits were written and produced by Motown's main songwriting and production team, Holland-Dozier-Holland. At their peak in the mid-1960s, The Supremes rivaled The Beatles in worldwide popularity, and their success made it possible for future African-American R&B and soul musicians to find mainstream success. Founding members Florence Ballard, Mary Wilson, Diana Ross and Betty McGlown, all from the Brewster-Douglass public housing project in Detroit, formed The Primettes as the sister act to The Primes (with Paul Williams and Eddie Kendricks, who would go on to form The Temptations). Barbara Martin replaced McGlown in 1960, and the group signed with Motown the following year as The Supremes. Martin left the act in early 1962, and Ross, Ballard and Wilson carried on as a trio. During the mid-1960s, The Supremes achieved mainstream success with Ross as lead singer. In 1967, Motown president Berry Gordy renamed the group Diana Ross & The Supremes and replaced Ballard with Cindy Birdsong. Ross left to pursue a solo career in 1970 and was replaced by Jean Terrell, at which point the group's name returned to The Supremes. After 1972, the lineup of The Supremes changed more frequently; Lynda Laurence, Scherrie Payne and Susaye Greene all became members of the group during the mid-1970s. The Supremes disbanded in 1977 after an eighteen-year run. 'Artist Discography'
The Surfaris - The original band members were Ron Wilson (drums), Jim Fuller (Lead guitar), Bob Berryhill (rhythm guitar) and Pat Connolly (bass). Saxophone player Jim Pash joined after their Wipe Out/Surfer Joe recording sessions at Pal Studios recording. Ken Forssi, later of Love fame, also played bass with The Surfaris. Ron Wilson's energetic drum solo made "Wipe Out" one of the best-remembered instrumental song of the period. "Wipe Out" is also remembered particularly for its introduction before the music starts, a cracking sound (imitating a breaking surf board), and a maniacal laugh followed by the only two words of the song, "wipe out". "Wipe Out" is often regarded as being the surfing anthem. "Wipe Out" was written in the studio by the four original members on the spot (Berryhill, Connolly, Fuller, Wilson), and was originally going to be titled "Switchblade" which was rejected by the group since the cracking board sound of a wipe out was more exciting. The band released a series of records, with two other singles,"Surfer Joe" and "Point Panic", having an impact on the charts. (Point Panic is a renowned surfing venue in Hawaii named after the song.) The Surfaris disbanded in 1966 but have periodically reunited and are still active as of 2008, performing and recording, often re-recording their old and new songs. They still perform as Bob Berryhill's Surfaris and Jim Fuller's Surfaris (two separate groups) all over United States and Europe with a large fan base. Drummer Ron Wilson died 7 May 1989, one month short of his 45th birthday. Wilson had released an album of his songs, entitled Lost It In The Surf, on Bennet House Records of Grass Valley, California, recorded in June 1987. A very small number of cassettes of this album were produced. Lost It In The Surf included a cover of "Louie Louie", complete with Scottish bagpipes. 'Artist Discography'
The Temptations - are an American vocal group that achieved fame as one of the most successful acts to record for Motown Records. The group's repertoire has included, at various times during its five-decade career, R&B, doo-wop, funk, disco, soul, and adult contemporary music. Formed in Detroit, Michigan in 1960 as The Elgins, the Temptations have always featured at least five African American male vocalists/dancers. The group, known for its recognizable choreography, distinct harmonies, and onstage suits, has been said to be as influential to soul as the Beatles are to rock. Having sold an estimated 22 million albums by 1982, The Temptations are one of the most successful groups in music history and were the definitive male vocal group of the 1960s. In addition, they have the second-longest tenure on Motown (behind Stevie Wonder), as they were with the label for a total of 40 years: 16 years from 1961 to 1977, and 24 more from 1980 to 2004 (from 1977 to 1980, they were signed to Atlantic Records). As of 2007, the Temptations continue to perform and record for Universal Records with the one living original member, founder Otis Williams, still in its lineup. The original group included members of two local Detroit vocal groups: The Distants, which featured second tenor/baritone Otis Williams, first tenor Elbridge "Al" Bryant and bass Melvin Franklin; and first tenor/falsetto Eddie Kendricks and second tenor/baritone Paul Williams (no relation to Otis) from The Primes. Among the most notable future Temptations were lead singers David Ruffin and Dennis Edwards (both of whom became successful Motown solo artists after leaving the group), Richard Street (another former Distant), Damon Harris, Ron Tyson, Ali-Ollie Woodson, Theo Peoples, and G.C. Cameron. Like its sister female group, the Supremes, the Temptations' lineup has changed frequently over the years. Over the course of their career, the Temptations have released four Billboard Hot 100 number-one singles and 14 Billboard R&B number-one singles. Their material has earned them three Grammy Awards, while two more awards were conferred upon the songwriters and producers who crafted their 1972 hit "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone". 'Artist Discography'
Tommy James & the Shondells - was a 1960s American rock and roll group. They had two number one singles in the U.S. — "Hanky Panky" (1966) and "Crimson and Clover" (1968) — but also released five other top ten hits, including "I Think We're Alone Now," "Mony Mony," and "Crystal Blue Persuasion." The band initially formed in 1959 as Tom and the Tornadoes, with the then only 12-year-old Tommy James as lead singer. In 1963, he re-named the band The Shondells after one of James' idols, guitarist Troy Shondell. The same year, they recorded the Jeff Barry/Ellie Greenwich song, "Hanky Panky" (originally a B-side by The Raindrops) . James' version sold respectably in Michigan, Indiana and Illinois, but the record label, Snap Records, had no national distribution. The single failed to chart, and the Shondells disbanded. Two years later, a Pittsburgh radio station unearthed the forgotten single and touted it as an "exclusive." Listener response encouraged the station to play it regularly. Another Pittsburgh disc jockey played his copy of the single at various dance parties, and demand soared. Bootleggers responded by printing up 80,000 black market copies of the recording, which were sold in Pennsylvania stores. James first learned of all this activity after getting a telephone call in December 1965 from Pittsburgh disc jockey "Mad Mike" Metro, to come and perform the song. James contacted his fellow Shondells, but they had moved past their musical ambitions and did not want to travel to Pittsburgh. With Vale, Rosman, Kessler, Pietropaoli, and Magura as his new Shondells, James now had a touring group to promote the single. James went to New York, and sold the master of "Hanky Panky" to Roulette Records. With national promotion behind it, the single became a national number one hit in June, 1966. Before long, Kessler, Pietropaoli, and Magura were replaced by Gray and Lucia. The group carried on with constant success until early 1970, when James became exhausted from the strenuous touring and decided to drop out. His four bandmates carried on for a short while under the name of Hog Heaven, but disbanded soon afterwards. 'Artist Discography'
Wilbert Harrison - (January 5, 1929 – October 26, 1994) was an American singer/pianist/guitarist/harmonica player.Born in Charlotte, North Carolina, Harrison had a Billboard No.1 record in 1959 with the song "Kansas City". The song was written in 1951 and was one of the first credited collaborations by the team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. Harrison recorded "Kansas City" for Harlem music entrepreneur Bobby Robinson, which caused a furor with Herman Lubinsky and Savoy Records. Harrison recorded for the Fire and Fury record labels, which were owned and operated by Bobby Robinson at his Harlem record shop, Bobby's Happy House of Hits on 125th Street, west of the Apollo Theatre. Harrison's records are especially notable for the presence of the brilliant guitarist Wild Jimmy Spruill, whose solo on "Kansas City" is one of the most memorable in the history of rock and roll. After this success, Harrison continued to perform and record but it would be another ten years before he recorded "Let's Work Together" that made it on the Billboard Hot 100 and was later a hit for Canned Heat. This was a slightly modified re-cut of his 1962 single "Let's Stick Together". This, in turn, was later a big hit for Bryan Ferry in 1976. In 1970, he had some success with "My Heart Is Yours". He toured for many years with a band known as "Wilbert Harrison and The Roamers" as well as a solo act/one-man band. Harrison died in 1994 in a Spencer, North Carolina nursing home at the age of 65. In 2001, his recording of "Kansas City" was given a Grammy Hall of Fame Award. His recording has also been named as one of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. 'Artist Discography'
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