#1 R&B Song 1974: “Woman to Woman,” Shirley Brown
Born: William Christopher “W.C.” Handy, 1873; Garnet Mimms, 1933; Winifred “Blue” Lovett (the Manhattans), 1943
1873 “W.C.” Handy, the Father of the Blues,” was born in Florence, AL.
The first to put jazz and blues on paper, William Christopher Handy, born November 16, 1873, was a brilliant composer who created classics like “St. Louis Blues” (1914), reportedly the most recorded song of all time, and “Memphis Blues” (1912). The bandleader, cornet player, and music teacher first charted pop with “Livery Stable Blues” (#7) in 1918. He died in 1958, the year Nat King Cole portrayed him in a film about his life.
1946 Erskine Hawkins & His Orchestra charted with “Hawk’s Boogie,” reaching #3 R&B.
1963 The Coasters recorded “Taint Nothin’ To Me” (#64). It was their last chart single of the ’60s and the B-side of “Speedo’s Back in Town” featuring Cadillacs’ lead Earl “Speedo” Carroll.
1968 Jimi Hendrix’s Electric Ladyland album topped the American charts, becoming his biggest seller of twenty-eight career albums.
1986 Robert Cray won six W.C. Handy Awards at the seventh annual National Blues Awards Show, hosted by B.B. King.
1991 R. Kelly charted with “She’s Got That Vibe,” his debut single, reaching #7 R&B. It would take the disc four more months to reach the pop charts, leveling off at #59. Kelly’s popularity is reflected by the fact that he had amassed thirty pop hits by 2002 and sixty-seven R&B winners by 2004. The Donny Hathaway-inspired singer/keyboardist first name is Robert.
(SOURCE: Much appreciation to author Jay Warner for his book, “On This Day In Black Music History” [Hal Leonard Corporation, 2006], to whom I am greatly indebted.)
This is my last entry in the series of “On This Day In Black Music History.”
It has been a fabulous journey, as I am sure many readers have enjoyed the great music videos as well as learned so much from the wonderful history of Black American’s influence on America’s musical history—-I know I have leaned a lot, that’s for sure.
It has been a joy to not let remain unknown the names, and profound effect, the many artists have had on their millions of fans, the lasting contributions on such genres as R&B, gospel, blues, bluegrass, hip hop, disco, country and western, folk, jazz, swing, reggae, ragtime, alternative, jump blues, doo wop, opera, and especially the music genre that started my series—-rock ‘n’ roll.
I will forever be grateful and thankful for the many artists who blazed the trails so that others could follow in their footsteps; the many artists who created styles unique unto themselves; the many artists who have gone unknown and forgotten–artists I did not want the world to remain uninformed of; artists who are still with us, still giving us their exquisite talents, and artists who are no longer with us.
So, to those who wrote, sang, performed, regaled, enthralled, made us cry, made us laugh, made us want to get up and dance–and most of all, to the artists whose memories shall always remain with us–in this life–and the next. . . .
I humbly thank you and bow in obeisance to your towering genius.
Thank you Jackie Wilson, B.B. King, Clyde McPhatter, Sam Cooke, Barbara Harris, the Supremes, the Four Tops, the Spinners, the O’Jays, Michael Jackson, the Neville Brothers, the Main Ingredient, the Temptations, the Impressions, Tammi Terrell and Marvin Gaye, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Ferdinand “Jelly Roll” Morton, Scott Joplin, James Ingram, Public Enemy, Eubie Blake, Ella Fitzgerald, Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughn, Billie “Lady Day” Holliday, William “Count” Basie, Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington, Minnie Riperton, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Ike and Tina Turner, Nat King Cole, Natalie Cole, Mary Wells, Martha & the Vandellas, the Coasters, the Drifters, the Platters, the Dixie Cups, the Shirelles, Little Eva, Little Richard, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, Etta James, the Mills Brothers, the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Rissi Palmer, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Howlin’ Wolf, Jimi Hendrix, Sly & the Family Stone, Gamble & Huff, Holland-Dozier-Holland, Dionne Warwick, Whitney Houston, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles. . . . . .