The Spinners (American R&B group)
The Spinners are an American rhythm and blues vocal group that formed in Ferndale, Michigan, in 1954. They enjoyed a string of hit singles and albums during the 1960s and 1970s with producer Thom Bell; the group continues to tour, with Henry Fambrough as the only original member. The group is listed as the Detroit Spinners and the Motown Spinners, due to their 1960s recordings with the Motown label; these other names were used in the UK to avoid confusion with a British folk group called The Spinners. On June 30, 1976, they received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2015, they were nominated for induction into the Roll Hall of Fame. Music critic Robert Christgau has called the Spinners "a renowned show group whose supersmooth producer inhibits improvisation". In 1954, Billy Henderson, Henry Fambrough, Pervis Jackson, C. P. Spencer, James Edwards formed The Domingoes in Ferndale, Michigan, a northern suburb of Detroit; the friends resided in Detroit's Herman Gardens public housing project and came together to make music.
James Edwards remained with the group for a few weeks and was replaced by Bobby Smith, who sang lead on most of the Spinners' early records and their Atlantic Records hits. Spencer left the group shortly after Edwards, joined the Voice Masters and the Originals. George Dixon replaced Spencer, the group renamed themselves the Spinners in 1961; the Spinners' first single, "That's What Girls Are Made For", was recorded under Harvey Fuqua's Tri-Phi Records. The single peaked at number 27 on the Top 100 chart in August 1961. Smith sang lead vocal on this track, coached by Fuqua; the group's follow-up single, "Love I Found You" featured lead vocals by Smith. This song reached number 91 that November, was the last Tri-Phi Records' single to reach the Top 100 charts. Sources debate the extent. Fuqua considered himself a Spinner. In the credits on Tri-Phi 1010 and 1024, the artist was credited for the first two singles and listed as "Harvey". However, most sources do not list him as an official member. James Edwards' brother, Edgar "Chico" Edwards, replaced Dixon in the group in 1963, at which time Tri-Phi and its entire artist roster was bought out by Fuqua's brother-in-law, Berry Gordy of Motown Records.
In 1964, the Spinners were received with high favor. "I'll Always Love You" hit number 35 in 1965. From 1966 to 1969, the group released one single a year, but only the 1966 single "Truly Yours" peaked on the Billboard 100 R&B chart at number 16. With limited commercial success, Motown assigned the Spinners as road managers and chauffeurs for other groups, as shipping clerks. G. C. Cameron replaced Edgar "Chico" Edwards in 1967, in 1969, the group switched to the Motown-owned V. I. P. Imprint. In 1970, after a five-year absence, they hit number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 with writer-producer Stevie Wonder's composition, "It's a Shame" and again charted the following year with another Wonder song the composer produced, "We'll Have It Made", from their new album, 2nd Time Around. However, these were their last two singles for V. I. P. Shortly after the release of 2nd Time Around, Atlantic Records recording artist Aretha Franklin suggested the group finish their Motown contract and sign with Atlantic.
The group made the switch, but contractual obligations prevented Cameron from leaving Motown, so he stayed on there as a solo artist and urged his cousin, singer Philippé Wynne, to join the Spinners in his place as one of the group's three lead singers, with Henry Fambrough, Bobby Smith. When the Spinners signed to Atlantic in 1972, they were a respected but commercially unremarkable singing group who had never had a Top Ten pop hit — despite having been a recording act for over a decade. However, with songwriter Thom Bell at the helm, the Spinners charted five Top 100 singles from their first post-Motown album and went on to become one of the biggest soul groups of the 1970s; the Bobby Smith-led "I'll Be Around", their first top ten hit, was the B-side of their first Atlantic single, "How Could I Let You Get Away". Radio airplay for the B-side led Atlantic to flip the single over, with "I'll Be Around" hitting number 3 and "How Could I Let You Get Away" reaching number 77. "I'll Be Around" was the Spinners' first million-selling hit single.
It was awarded a gold disc by the RIAA on October 30, 1972. The 1973 follow-up singles "Could It Be I'm Falling in Love", another million-seller, "One of a Kind", "Ghetto Child" cemented the group's reputation, as well as further that of Bell, a noted Philly soul producer. Following their Atlantic successes, Motown issued a "Best of the Spinners" LP which featured selections from their Motown/V. I. P. Recordings, they remixed and reissued the 1970 B-side "Together We Can Make Such Sweet Music" as a 1973 A-side. In the midst of their Atlantic hits, it crawled to number 91 in the US; the group's 1974 follow-up album, Mighty Love, featured three Top 20 hits, "I'm Coming Home", "Love Don't Love Nobody", the title track. Their biggest hit of the year, was a collaboration with Dionne Warwick, "Then Came You", which hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming each act's first chart-topping "Pop" hit; the song reached the Top 3 of Billboard′s R&B and Easy Listening charts. The Spinners hit the Top 10 twice in the
The Marvelettes was an American girl group that achieved popularity in the early- to mid-1960s. They consisted of schoolmates Gladys Horton, Katherine Anderson, Georgeanna Tillman, Juanita Cowart, Georgia Dobbins, replaced by Wanda Young prior to the group signing their first deal, they were the first major successful act of Motown Records after the Miracles and its first successful girl group after the release of the 1961 number-one single, "Please Mr. Postman", one of the first number-one singles recorded by an all-female vocal group and the first by a Motown recording act. Founded in 1960 while the group's founding members performed together at their glee club at Inkster High School in Inkster, they signed to Motown's Tamla label in 1961; some of the group's early hits were written by band members and some of Motown's rising singer-songwriters such as Smokey Robinson and Marvin Gaye, who played drums on a majority of their early recordings. Despite their early successes, the group was eclipsed in popularity by groups like the Supremes, with whom they shared an intense rivalry.
They managed a major comeback in 1966 with "Don't Mess with Bill", along with several other hits. They struggled with problems of poor promotion from Motown, health issues and substance abuse with Cowart the first to leave in 1963, followed by Georgeanna Tillman in 1965, Gladys Horton in 1967; the group ceased performing together in 1969 and, following the release of The Return of the Marvelettes in 1970, featuring only Wanda Rogers, disbanded for good, with both Rogers and Katherine Anderson leaving the music business. The group has received several honors including induction into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame, as well as receiving the Pioneer Award from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation. In 2005, two of the group's most successful recordings, "Please Mr. Postman" and "Don't Mess with Bill" earned million-selling Gold singles from the RIAA. On August 17, 2013, in Cleveland, Ohio, at Cleveland State University, the Marvelettes were inducted into the 1st class of the Official Rhythm & Blues Music Hall of Fame.
The group that would become the Marvelettes formed at Inkster High School in Inkster, Michigan, a suburb located west of Detroit, Michigan by fifteen-year-old glee club member Gladys Horton in the fall of 1960. Horton enlisted older glee club members Katherine Anderson, Georgeanna Tillman, Juanita Cowart, Georgia Dobbins to join her; the members struggled to come up with a name for their new act until one of the members jokingly took a stab at their own singing abilities, saying "we can't sing yet." Horton altered the saying to "The Casinyets". In 1961, the quintet, now called the Marvels, entered a talent show contest on the behest of their teacher and ended up finishing in fourth place. Though only the first three winners were offered a trip to audition for the fledgling Motown label, two of the girls' schoolteachers advised that they be allowed to audition too. Upon auditioning for Motown executives including Brian Holland and Robert Bateman, they had a second audition with bigger staff including Smokey Robinson and the label president and founder, Berry Gordy, who while impressed with their vocal styles advised them to come back with their own composition.
Returning to Inkster, Georgia Dobbins contacted a local musician named William Garrett, who had an unfinished blues composition titled "Please Mr. Postman". Despite having no previous songwriting experience, Dobbins took the song home and reshaped it overnight to reflect the teenage sound of doo-wop. Prior to returning to Motown, Dobbins left the group due to her growing family and her father, who advised her not to continue her career in show business. Dobbins' departure left Horton in full charge of the group. To replace her, Horton asked Wanda Young, to replace Dobbins; when the group returned and performed their composition, Gordy agreed to work with the group but under the advice that they change their name. Gordy renamed them The Marvelettes and signed the act to Motown's Tamla division in July 1961; the following month, the group recorded "Please Mr. Postman", polished by Brian Holland, Robert Bateman and Freddie Gorman, another songwriting partner of Holland, who moonlighted as a mailman, as well as the song "So Long Baby", sung by Wanda.
Tamla issued "Please Mr. Postman" on August 21, 1961; the song climbed to the top of the singles chart, reaching #1 that December. Making them the first Motown act to have a #1 hit on the Hot 100. To follow up on this success, Motown had the group record "Twistin' Postman" to take advantage of the twist dance craze and the re-release of Chubby Checker's "The Twist"; the song peaked at #34 on the pop chart in early 1962. Before the end of 1961, Tamla issued the first Marvelettes album named Please Mr. Postman, but it failed to chart; the group's next single, "Playboy", marked the second time one of their singles was written by a band member, this time by Gladys Horton. Like "Postman", the song was retooled by other writers and upon its release in early 1962, reached #7. A fourth hit, "Beechwood 4-5789", co-written by Marvin Gaye, reached #17. During 1962, two more albums would be issued by the band including Smash Hits of Playboy. Following the success of "Beechwood", R&B radio stations frequently played the single's flip side, "Someday, Someway", which paid off sending the song to #8 on the R&B chart---their first double-sided hit.
Due to their success, the group had to leave school in orde
The Velvelettes were an American singing girl group, signed to Motown in the 1960s. The group was founded in 1961 by Bertha Barbee McNeal and Mildred Gill Arbor, students at Western Michigan University. Mildred recruited her younger sister Carolyn, in 9th grade, Cal's friend Betty Kelley, a junior in high school. Bertha recruited a freshman at Flint Junior College. Cal was chosen as the group's lead singer. A classmate at Western Michigan University, Robert Bullock, was Berry Gordy's nephew, he encouraged the group to audition for Motown Records; the group signed to Motown in late 1962 and started recording in January 1963. They recorded at the Hitsville USA studio and "There He Goes" and "That's The Reason Why", produced by William Stevenson, was released as a single via the IPG Records label; the recordings included a young Stevie Wonder playing harmonica. While the group awaited their chance at stardom, they recorded for many producers, some of which were re-recorded by other artists including fellow labelmates Martha and the Vandellas and The Supremes.
The Velvelettes were not used to provide backing vocals since Motown had its in-house backing group, The Andantes. The Velvelettes got their break chartwise in the spring of 1964 thanks to young producer Norman Whitfield, who produced "Needle In A Haystack" as a single for the group, on Motown's VIP Records imprint. "Needle In A Haystack" peaked at number 45 on the Billboard Hot 100 in mid 1964. The group recorded its follow-up, "He Was Really Sayin' Somethin'", with Whitfield again producing, spent time on various Motown-sponsored tours as a support act. In September 1964, after recording "Dancing In The Street" earlier in June, Betty Kelley left the group to join Martha and the Vandellas, the quintet became a quartet; the Velvelettes continued performing, with various members leaving and rejoining, as family matters dictated. By 1967, Millie and Bertha had decided to devote all of their time to raising their families. Cal recruited two new members for concert performances: future Vandella Sandra Tilley, Annette Rogers-McMillan.
With a song on the charts and a place on several concert tours, an album project was started using songs recorded. However, with the growing success of other Motown groups like The Supremes, Motown's attention was diverted and the project was left unfinished; the LP was scheduled for release on Motown's V. I. P. Label, as V. I. P 401. Motown released two additional singles, "Lonely Lonely Girl Am I" and "A Bird In The Hand" on their V. I. P. Imprint. Both singles did not reach the same chart levels as their predecessors; the Velvelettes continued to record new material until September 1967, with the Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson song "Bring Back The Sunshine", retitled "Dark Side Of The World" when Diana Ross released a version of the song. The final Velvelettes single release was "These Things Will Keep Me Loving You", which made #43 on the US R&B Charts. Carolyn Gill began dating Richard Street, lead singer of The Monitors, who would join The Temptations. Sandra Tilley joined the Vandellas, replacing Rosalind Ashford.
Carolyn married Street in November 1969 and he dissuaded her from continuing with the Velvelettes so Gill decided to break up the group and it disbanded. In 1971, "These Things Will Keep Me Loving You" became a hit in the United Kingdom, #34 on the UK Singles Chart. Despite the new success, the group did not reunite until 1984, following a rare concert appearance by the cousins and the sisters at the request of Bertha. Together the Gill sisters and Barbee cousins went on to re-record their original hits and some new songs for the album One Door Closes for Motorcity Records; the group continues to tour today. Three decades after the group left Motown, the company released a CD, The Very Best of the Velvelettes, featuring 15 tracks, including four unreleased selections. A 19-track CD The Velvelettes: The Best Of was released in the UK in 2001; the 2004 The Velvelettes: The Motown Anthology is a double album with 48 tracks. In 2006, the Velvelettes contributed to the double CD Masters of Funk and Blues Present a Soulful Tale of Two Cities.
Lamont Dozier, Freda Payne, George Clinton and Bobby Taylor recorded remakes of songs from Philadelphia International Records. The Velvelettes sang "One Of a Kind Love Affair" recorded by the Spinners; the other CD featured Bunny Sigler and Jimmy Ellis. A Their eponymous album was never completed and never saw release 1966: The Velvelettes 1990: One Door Closes 1999: The Very Best of the Velvelettes 2001: The Velvelettes: The Best Of 2004: The Velvelettes: The Motown Anthology Clemente, John. Girl groups fabulous females. Krause Publication Inc. p. 276. ISBN 978-0-87341-816-4. Clemente, John. Girl Groups Fabulous Females. Author House. P. 623. ISBN 1-4772-7633-5. Girl Group Chronicles: The Velvelettes
The Isley Brothers
The Isley Brothers are an American musical group from Cincinnati, that started as a vocal trio consisting of brothers O'Kelly Isley Jr. Rudolph Isley and Ronald Isley; the group has been cited as having enjoyed one of the "longest, most influential, most diverse careers in the pantheon of popular music". Alongside a fourth brother, the group performed gospel music until Vernon's death a few years after its formation. After moving to the New York City area in the late 1950s, the group had modest chart successes during their early years, first coming to prominence in 1959 with their fourth single, "Shout", written by the three brothers. A modest charted single, the song sold over a million copies. Afterwards the group recorded for a variety of labels, including the top 20 single, "Twist and Shout" and the Motown single, "This Old Heart of Mine" before recording and issuing the Grammy Award-winning hit, "It's Your Thing" on their own label, T-Neck Records. Influenced by gospel and doo-wop music, the group began experimenting with different musical styles incorporating elements of rock and funk music as well as pop balladry.
The inclusion of younger brothers Ernie Isley and Marvin Isley, Rudolph's brother-in-law Chris Jasper in 1973 turned the original vocal trio into a self-contained musical band. For the next full decade, they recorded top-selling albums including The Heat Is On and Between the Sheets; the six-member lineup of the band splintered in 1983, with Ernie and Chris Jasper forming the short-lived spinoff group Isley-Jasper-Isley. Eldest member O'Kelly died in 1986 and Rudolph and Ronald released a pair of albums as a duo before Rudolph retired for life in the Christian ministry in 1989. Ronald re-formed the group two years in 1991 with Ernie and Marvin; the remaining duo of Ronald and Ernie accomplished mainstream success with the albums Mission to Please Eternal and Body Kiss, with Eternal spawning the top twenty hit, "Contagious". As of 2019, the Isley Brothers continue to perform under the lineup of Ernie; the Isley Brothers have had four Top 10 singles on the United States Billboard chart. Sixteen of their albums charted in the Top 40.
Thirteen of those albums have been either certified gold, platinum or multi-platinum by the RIAA. The brothers have been honored by several musical institutions including being inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992. Five years they were inducted to Hollywood's Rockwalk and in 2003, were inducted to the Vocal Group Hall of Fame; the Isley Brothers came from Cincinnati and were raised at the city's Lincoln Heights suburb settling at the satellite town of Blue Ash when they were teenagers. Their father, O'Kelly Isley, Sr. a former United States Navy sailor and vaudeville performer from Durham, North Carolina, Georgia-reared mother Sallye, guided the elder four Isley boys in their singing while at church. Patterning themselves after groups such as Billy Ward and his Dominoes and the Dixie Hummingbirds, the brothers began performing together in 1954, they landed a spot on Ted Mack's Amateur Hour where they won the competition, winning a watch. With Vernon on lead vocals, the quartet soon began touring all over the eastern US regions performing in a variety of churches.
When Vernon was thirteen, he was killed after a car struck him as he was riding his bike in his neighborhood. Devastated, the remaining trio disbanded. Convinced to regroup, the brothers decided to record popular music and left Cincinnati for New York in 1957 with their parents' blessings. With Ronnie assuming the lead vocal position in the group, the group got into contact with Richard Barrett, who soon had the group in contact with a variety of New York record producers, they had their first records produced by George Goldner, who recorded the group's first songs, including "Angels Cried" and "The Cow Jumped Over the Moon" for the Teenage and Mark X imprints. The songs were only regional hits, however. By 1959, the group landed a recording deal with RCA Records; that year, mixing their brand of gospel vocalizing and doo-wop harmonies, the group recorded their first composition together, "Shout", a song devised from a Washington, D. C. club performance in which the brothers had covered Jackie Wilson's "Lonely Teardrops".
The original version of the song peaked at 47 on the Billboard Hot 100 and never reached the R&B chart. It sold over one million copies, was awarded a gold disc by the RIAA. Follow-up recordings on RCA failed to chart and the brothers left the label in 1961 signing with Scepter Records. In 1962, the brothers scored their first top 40 hit with the Bert Berns song "Twist and Shout", which reached number 17 on the Hot 100 and number 2 R&B, staying on the charts for 19 weeks; the song had been produced by Berns for the brothers to teach then-struggling producer Phil Spector how to produce a hit. Moving their entire operations to New Jersey, the brothers continued to struggle with recordings forming T-Neck Records in 1964. During that same time period, Jimi Hendrix began playing lead guitar for the brothers' band. Bringing Hendrix with them in the studio, they recorded the song "Testify". On, Hendrix contributed guitar to another Isleys single, "Move On Over and Let Me Dance", recorded for T-Neck through distribution with Atlantic Records.
After neither song charted and Hendrix left them for good in 1965, the brothers signed with Motown Records. Earlier the following year, the group had their second top 40 hit single with "This Old Heart of Mine (I
Dancing in the Street
"Dancing in the Street" is a song written by Marvin Gaye, William "Mickey" Stevenson and Ivy Jo Hunter. It first became popular in 1964 when recorded by Martha and the Vandellas whose version reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and peaked at No. 4 in the UK Singles Chart. It is the group's premier signature song. A 1966 cover by the Mamas & the Papas was a minor hit on the Hot 100 reaching No. 73. In 1982, the rock group Van Halen took their cover of "Dancing in the Street" to No. 38 on the Hot 100 chart and No. 15 in Canada on the RPM chart. A 1985 duet cover by David Bowie and Mick Jagger charted at No. 1 in the UK and reached No. 7 in the US. The song was covered by The Kinks, The Everly Brothers, Grateful Dead and Black Oak Arkansas; the original version of "Dancing in the Street" by Martha and the Vandellas was produced in 1964 by William "Mickey" Stevenson and released as a single on the Gordy Records label. The song was written by Stevenson, Ivy Jo Hunter, Marvin Gaye; the song highlighted the concept of having a good time.
The idea for dancing came to Stevenson from watching people on the streets of Detroit cool off in the summer in water from opened fire hydrants. They appeared to be dancing in the water; the song was conceived by Stevenson, showing a rough draft of the lyrics to Gaye disguised as a ballad. When Gaye read the original lyrics, however, he said. With Gaye and Stevenson collaborating, the duo composed the single with Kim Weston in mind to record the song. Weston passed on the song and when Martha Reeves came to Motown's Hitsville USA studios, the duo presented the song to Reeves. Reeves recounted that she regarded the song as too repetitive. Gaye and Stevenson agreed and including new Motown songwriter Ivy Jo Hunter adding in musical composition, the song was recorded in two takes; the song's writers made sure to include Detroit as one of the cities mentioned with the lyric: "Can't forget the Motor City". The song took on a different meaning when riots in inner-city America led to many young black demonstrators citing the song as a civil rights anthem to social change which led to some radio stations taking the song off its play list because certain black advocates such as H.
Rap Brown began playing the song while organising demonstrations. "Dancing in the Street" had two meanings. The first is the one. "The British press aggravated Reeves when someone put a microphone in her face and asked her if she was a militant leader. The British journalist wanted to know if Reeves agreed, as many people had claimed, that "Dancing in the Street" was a call to riot. To Reeves, the query was patently absurd.'My Lord, it was a party song,' she remarked in retrospect". While Berry Gordy had created the Black Forum label to preserve black thought and creative writing, he kept the Motown record label and the popular hits it produced from being too political. "Berry Gordy Jr. was wary about affiliating his business with any organization of movement that might negatively influence his company's commercial success". "Motown records had a distinct role to play in the city's black community, that community—as diverse as it was—articulated and promoted its own social and political agendas.
These local agendas, which reflected the unique concerns of African Americans living in the urban north, both responded to and reconfigured the national civil rights campaign". The movement lent the song its secondary meaning and the song with its second meaning fanned the flames of unrest; this song and its associated political meanings did not exist in a vacuum. It was a partner with its social environment and they both played upon each other creating meaning that could not have been brought on by one or the other alone; the song therefore became a call to reject peace for the chance that unified unrest could bring about the freedom that suppressed minorities all across the United States so craved. "Dancing in the Street" peaked at No. 2 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart when it was released as the group's third album Dance Party's first single in 1964, with "There He Is" included as a B-side. It was kept from the top spot by, Do Wah Diddy Diddy by Manfred Mann."Dancing in the Street" reached the Top 5 on the UK Singles Chart peaking at No. 4 in a 1969 release after peaking at No. 28 on the chart and helped to revive the Vandellas' success in the UK.
On April 12, 2006, it was announced that Martha and the Vandellas' version of "Dancing in the Street" would be one of 50 sound recordings preserved by the Library of Congress to the National Recording Registry. Lead singer Martha Reeves said she was thrilled about the song's perseverance, saying "It's a song that just makes you want to get up and dance". In 2013, the original Motown recording was remixed for club and summer celebration airplay by Minneapolis' Billboard charting producer/remixer Joel Dickinson as well as Danny Shaffer. Billboard named the song #29 on their list of 100 Greatest Girl Group Songs of All Time. Lead vocals by Martha Reeves Background vocals by Betty Kelly, Rosalind Ashford, William "Mickey" Stevenson, Ivy Jo Hunter Instrumentation by The Funk Brothers Marvin Gaye: drums James Jamerson: bass guitar Jack Ashford: percussion, vibes Ivy Jo Hunter: percussion Henry Cosby: saxophone Thomas "Beans" Bowles: saxophone Russ Conway: trumpet Herbert Williams: trumpet Paul Riser: trombone George Bohannon: trombone Robert White: guitar Eddie Willis: guitar Joe Messina: guitar In 1966, the folk rock group, the Mamas & the Papas, recorded a cover version of the song "Dancing in the Str
Rhythm and blues
Rhythm and blues abbreviated as R&B, is a genre of popular music that originated in African American communities in the 1940s. The term was used by record companies to describe recordings marketed predominantly to urban African Americans, at a time when "urbane, jazz based music with a heavy, insistent beat" was becoming more popular. In the commercial rhythm and blues music typical of the 1950s through the 1970s, the bands consisted of piano, one or two guitars, drums, one or more saxophones, sometimes background vocalists. R&B lyrical themes encapsulate the African-American experience of pain and the quest for freedom and joy, as well as triumphs and failures in terms of relationships and aspirations; the term "rhythm and blues" has undergone a number of shifts in meaning. In the early 1950s, it was applied to blues records. Starting in the mid-1950s, after this style of music contributed to the development of rock and roll, the term "R&B" became used to refer to music styles that developed from and incorporated electric blues, as well as gospel and soul music.
In the 1960s, several British rock bands such as the Rolling Stones, the Who and the Animals were referred to and promoted as being R&B bands. Their mix of rock and roll and R&B is now known as "British rhythm and blues". By the 1970s, the term "rhythm and blues" changed again and was used as a blanket term for soul and funk. In the 1980s, a newer style of R&B developed, becoming known as "contemporary R&B", it combines elements of rhythm and blues, soul, hip hop, electronic music. Popular R&B vocalists at the end of the 20th century included Prince, R. Kelly, Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey. In the 21st century, R&B has remained a popular genre becoming more pop orientated and alternatively influenced with successful artists including Usher, Bruno Mars, Chris Brown, Justin Timberlake, The Weeknd, Frank Ocean and Khalid. Although Jerry Wexler of Billboard magazine is credited with coining the term "rhythm and blues" as a musical term in the United States in 1948, the term was used in Billboard as early as 1943.
It replaced the term "race music", which came from within the black community, but was deemed offensive in the postwar world. The term "rhythm and blues" was used by Billboard in its chart listings from June 1949 until August 1969, when its "Hot Rhythm & Blues Singles" chart was renamed as "Best Selling Soul Singles". Before the "Rhythm and Blues" name was instated, various record companies had begun replacing the term "race music" with "sepia series". Writer and producer Robert Palmer defined rhythm & blues as "a catchall term referring to any music, made by and for black Americans", he has used the term "R&B" as a synonym for jump blues. However, AllMusic separates it from jump blues because of R&B's stronger gospel influences. Lawrence Cohn, author of Nothing but the Blues, writes that "rhythm and blues" was an umbrella term invented for industry convenience. According to him, the term embraced all black music except classical music and religious music, unless a gospel song sold enough to break into the charts.
Well into the 21st century, the term R&B continues in use to categorize music made by black musicians, as distinct from styles of music made by other musicians. In the commercial rhythm and blues music typical of the 1950s through the 1970s, the bands consisted of piano, one or two guitars, bass and saxophone. Arrangements were rehearsed to the point of effortlessness and were sometimes accompanied by background vocalists. Simple repetitive parts mesh, creating momentum and rhythmic interplay producing mellow and hypnotic textures while calling attention to no individual sound. While singers are engaged with the lyrics intensely so, they remain cool, in control; the bands dressed in suits, uniforms, a practice associated with the modern popular music that rhythm and blues performers aspired to dominate. Lyrics seemed fatalistic, the music followed predictable patterns of chords and structure; the migration of African Americans to the urban industrial centers of Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles and elsewhere in the 1920s and 1930s created a new market for jazz and related genres of music.
These genres of music were performed by full-time musicians, either working alone or in small groups. The precursors of rhythm and blues came from jazz and blues, which overlapped in the late-1920s and 1930s through the work of musicians such as the Harlem Hamfats, with their 1936 hit "Oh Red", as well as Lonnie Johnson, Leroy Carr, Cab Calloway, Count Basie, T-Bone Walker. There was increasing emphasis on the electric guitar as a lead instrument, as well as the piano and saxophone. In 1948, RCA Victor was marketing black music under the name "Blues and Rhythm". In that year, Louis Jordan dominated the top five listings of the R&B charts with three songs, two of the top five songs were based on the boogie-woogie rhythms that had come to prominence during the 1940s. Jordan's band, the Tympany Five, consisted of him on saxophone and vocals, along with musicians on trumpet, tenor saxophone, piano and drums. Lawrence Cohn described the music as "grittier than his boogie-era jazz-tinged blues". Robert Palmer described it as "urbane, jazz-based music with a heavy, insistent beat".
Jordan's music, along with that of Big Joe Turner, Roy Brown, Billy Wright, Wynonie Harris, is now referred to as jump blues. Paul Gayten, Roy Brown, others had had hits in the style now referred to as rhythm and blu
Martha and the Vandellas
Martha and the Vandellas were an American all-female vocal group formed in 1957. The group achieved fame in the 1960s with Motown. Selected members of the group were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995. Formed in 1957 by friends Annette Beard, Rosalind Ashford and Gloria Williams, the group included Martha Reeves, who moved up in ranks as lead vocalist of the group after Williams' departure in 1962; the group signed with and recorded all of their singles for Motown's Gordy imprint. The group's string of hits included "Come and Get These Memories", "Heat Wave", "Quicksand", "Nowhere to Run", "Jimmy Mack", "Bless You" and "Dancing in the Street", the latter song becoming their signature single. 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, blues and roll and soul. Ten Vandellas songs reached the top ten of the Billboard R&B singles chart, including two R&B number ones, six Top Ten Pop Hits on the Billboard Hot 100.
Teenagers Rosalind Ashford and Annette Beard first became acquainted after a local music manager hired them to be members of a girl group he named The Del-Phis. Ashford & Beard, along with then-lead vocalist Gloria Williams, performed at local clubs, private events, church benefits, YMCA events and school functions, they were being coached by Maxine Powell at Detroit's Ferris Center. One of the group's first professional engagements was singing background for singer Mike Hanks; the group had up to six members, shortened to four. After another member left the group, she was replaced by Alabama-born vocalist Martha Reeves, a member of a rival group, the Fascinations, had been a member of another group, the Sabre-Ettes. In 1960, the group signed their first recording contract with Checker Records, releasing the Reeves-led "I'll Let You Know"; the record flopped. The group recorded for Checkmate Records, a subsidiary of Chess Records, recording their first take of "There He Is"; that record, featuring Williams on lead vocals flopped.
Separated, Reeves returned to a solo career performing under the name Martha LaVaille, in hopes of getting a contract with emerging Detroit label Motown. After Motown staffer Mickey Stevenson noticed Reeves singing at a prominent Detroit club, he offered her his business card for an audition. Reeves showed up at Motown on a wrong date. Stevenson upset, told Reeves to look out for clients and other matters. Soon Reeves became Stevenson's secretary and was responsible for helping acts audition for the label. By 1961, the group, now known as The Vels, were recording background vocals for Motown acts. Prior to her success as lead singer of The Elgins, Sandra Edwards recorded the song "Camel Walk", in 1962, which featured the Vels in background vocals; that year, the quartet began applying background vocals for emerging Motown star Marvin Gaye, singing on Gaye's first hit single, "Stubborn Kind of Fellow" After Mary Wells failed to make a scheduled recording session feigning a short illness, the Vels recorded what was a demo recording of "I'll Have to Let Him Go".
Motown was so impressed by the group's vocals – and Martha's lead vocals in the song – that the label CEO Berry Gordy offered to give the group a contract. Figuring that being in show business was too rigorous, Williams opted out of the group. With Williams out, the remaining trio of Ashford and Reeves renamed themselves The Vandellas, after Detroit's Van Dyke Street and Reeves' favorite singer, Della Reese. Following their signing to Motown's Gordy imprint in 1962, the Vandellas struck gold with their second release, the first composition and production from the famed writing team, Holland–Dozier–Holland, titled "Come and Get These Memories", it became the Vandellas' first Top 40 recording, reaching number twenty-nine on the Billboard Hot 100 and peaking at number six on the R&B chart. Their second hit, "Heat Wave", became a phenomenal record for the group, reaching number four on the Hot 100 and hitting number one on the R&B singles chart for five weeks, it became their first million-seller and got the group their only Grammy Award nomination for Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance.
The group's success continued with their second Top Ten single and third Top 40 single, "Quicksand", another composition with Holland-Dozier-Holland and reached number eight pop in the late fall of 1963. Around that time, pregnant with her first child and set to get married, chose to leave her singing career behind by 1964. Betty Kelley of the Velvelettes, was brought in shortly afterward to continue the Vandellas' rise; the next two singles, "Live Wire" and "In My Lonely Room" were less successful singles, failing to reach the Pop Top 40. However, their next single, "Dancing in the Street", rose up to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and found global success, peaking at #21 on the UK Singles Chart in 1964. In 1969, "Dancing in the Street" was re-issued and it was plugged on radio stations, it did not take long for the song to peak at #4 in the UK, thus making the song one of the all-time favourite Motown single releases ever. The song became a million-seller, one of the most played singles in history.
Between 1964 and 1967, singles like "Wild One", "Nowhere to Run", "Love (Makes Me Do Foolis