ON THIS DAY IN BLACK MUSIC HISTORY: JULY 29

#1 R&B Song 1957:  “Short Fat Fannie,” Larry Williams

Born:  Jazz musician Charlie Christian, 1916

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1959   The Drifters recorded the samba-style “Dance With Me” (#15 pop, #2 R&B), heralding the Latin influence on Jay & the Americans, Tony Orlando & Dawn, and future Drifter hits.

1959   The Isley Brothers recorded the immortal “Shout.” The song was an adaptation of Jackie Wilson’s perpetual classic, “Lonely Teardrops.”

1965   The Supremes performed at the world-famous Copacabana in New York at the start of a three-week stay, portions of which would be recorded for a future album.

1978   Prince’s debut chart single, “Soft and Wet,” reached #12 R&B and #92 pop. He was named after the Prince Rogers Trio, a jazz ensemble, and was inspired to become a performer after seeing a James Brown concert in 1968, when he was ten. He went on to learn more than twenty instruments.

1978   Earth, Wind & Fire charted with the Beatles’ “Got to Get You Into My Life” from the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, reaching #1 R&B and #9 pop. The (often) ten-member group was considered one of the most exciting live performance acts of the ’70s and ’80s. The band also managed to have forty-eight R&B chart singles through 2004.

1987   Four Tops Day was declared by Michigan Governor James Blanchard to honor the quartet’s contributions to music. The group performed at the governor’s meeting with guest sax player, Arkansas governor and future president  Bill Clinton, backing the act on-stage.

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