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...One of the first American pop vocal groups to gain international fame, the Ink Spots were responsible for stylistic innovations which led to rock and roll, rhythm and blues, and doo-wop. Originally formed in 1931 in Indianapolis, Indiana...

The Coasters

Artist Pages

...The late 1950s and early 1960s material by the Coasters provided a link between the older doo-wop sound, blues, and the new rock and roll. Formed in 1955, the Coasters evolved out of the Los Angeles doo-wop group the Robins after two of its...
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...The sound of R & B/soul music in the late 1960s would have been completely different if not for the career of Aretha Franklin. Aretha was born in Memphis, Tennessee. Her father was C. L. Franklin (a civil rights activist and preacher...

Memphis, TN: Beale Street

Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World Volume IV : Locations: North America

Continuum, 2016

Encyclopedia Articles

...Beale Street is a thoroughfare in downtown Memphis, Tennessee. By the beginning of the twentieth century it had become the city’s center for black business, culture and entertainment. The main entertainment district was between Second...

James Brown

Artist Pages

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...The energetic performances and illustrious career of the Godfather of Soul, James Brown, earned him the moniker “The Hardest Working Man in Show Business.” Born in 1933 in South Carolina, Brown grew up in extreme poverty. His family moved...

Otis Redding

Artist Pages

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B.B. King

Artist Pages

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...As a figure commonly recognized as “the King of the Blues,” B.B. King’s almost seventy-year career saw seventy-four entries on the Billboard R & B charts and the evolution of his form into various idioms of popular music. Born in 1925...
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...As one of the most prolific artists to emerge from the Beale Street scene in Memphis, Tennessee, Bobby Bland’s career spanned fifty years. Born in 1930 in the small town of Barretville, Tennessee, Bland dropped out of school after third...

Louis Jordan

Artist Pages

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...The “King of the Jukebox,” Louis Jordan, became a star among both white and black audiences during a period when the two were intentionally kept separate. Jordan was born in Arkansas in 1908. His father was a music teacher who taught his...