Aerosmith is the best-selling American hard rock band of all time, having sold more than 150 million records worldwide, including over 70 million records in the United States alone. With 25 gold albums, 18 platinum albums, and 12 multi-platinum albums, they hold the record for the most total certifications by an American band and are tied for the most multi-platinum albums by an American band. The band has scored twenty-one Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, nine number-one Mainstream Rock hits, four Grammy Awards, six American Music Awards, and ten MTV Video Music Awards. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001, and were included among both Rolling Stone’s and VH1’s lists of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time at number 57 and number 30 respectively. In 2013, the band’s principal songwriters, Tyler and Perry, were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and in 2019, the band will receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Diana Ross (born March 26, 1944) is an American singer, actress, and record producer. Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Ross rose to fame as the lead singer of the vocal group The Supremes, who during the 1960s became Motown’s most successful act, and are the best-charting female group in US history, as well as one of the world’s best-selling girl groups of all time. The group released a record-setting twelve number one hit singles on the US Billboard Hot 100, including “Where Did Our Love Go”, “Baby Love”, “Come See About Me”, “Stop! In the Name of Love”, “You Can’t Hurry Love”, “You Keep Me Hangin’ On”, “Love Child”, and “Someday We’ll Be Together”.
Following her departure from the Supremes in 1970, Ross released her eponymous debut solo album that same year, featuring the No. 1 Pop hit “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”. She later released the album Touch Me in the Morning in 1973; its title track was her second solo No. 1 hit. She continued a successful solo career through the 1970s, which included hit albums like Mahogany and Diana Ross and their No. 1 hit singles, “Theme from Mahogany” and “Love Hangover”, respectively. Her 1980 album Diana produced another No. 1 single, “Upside Down”, as well as the international hit “I’m Coming Out”. Her final single with Motown during her initial run with the company achieved her sixth and final US number one Pop hit, the duet “Endless Love” featuring Lionel Richie, whose solo career was launched with its success.
Ross has also ventured into acting, with a Golden Globe Award-winning and Academy Award–nominated performance in the film Lady Sings the Blues (1972); she recorded its soundtrack, which became a number one hit. She also starred in two other feature films, Mahogany (1975) and The Wiz (1978), later acting in the television films Out of Darkness (1994), for which she also was nominated for a Golden Globe Award, and Double Platinum (1999).
She is the only female artist to have number one singles as a solo artist; as the other half of a duet (Lionel Richie); as a member of a trio; and as an ensemble member (We are the World-USA for Africa). In 1976, Ross was named the “Female Entertainer of the Century” by Billboard magazine. In 1993, the Guinness Book of World Records declared her the most successful female music artist in history, due to her success in the United States and United Kingdom for having more hits than any female artist in the charts, with a career total of 70 hit singles with her work with the Supremes and as a solo artist. She had a top 10 UK hit in every one of the last five decades, and sang lead on a top 75 hit single at least once every year from 1964 to 1996 in the UK, a period of 33 consecutive years and a record for any performer.
In 1988, Ross was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Supremes, alongside Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard. She was the recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors in 2007, the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016. Ross is also one of the few recording artists to have two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame—one as a solo artist and the other as a member of the Supremes. In Billboard magazine’s Greatest of All Time Hot 100 Artists chart, she ranked 16th as the lead singer of the Supremes and 26th as a solo artist. Diana Ross ranks among the Top 5 artists of the rock era (1955 to date) on the Billboard Hot 100 when combining her solo and Supremes’ hits.
William Larry Stewart II (March 24, 1937 – January 17, 1970) was an American rhythm and blues singer and pianist who was popular during the 1960s.
Stewart’s weight caused him several health problems, culminating in diabetes, a condition that may have contributed to him having a motorcycle accident in 1969.
He died in a broad-daylight car accident in January 1970, just two months prior to his 33rd birthday. The accident happened when the Ford Thunderbird that Stewart was driving approached a bridge across the Neuse River near Smithfield, North Carolina (presumably on Interstate 95). His car left the highway, ran along the median strip at a slight angle to the highway, struck the bridge abutment, and then plunged into the river, killing Stewart and his three passengers instantly. The other victims in the accident were members of Stewart’s band: Norman P. Rich, 39, of Washington D.C., William Cathey, 32 of Charlotte, N.C., and Rico Hightower, 22 of Newark, New Jersey. The four musicians were driving to a nightclub show in Columbia, South Carolina at the time of the wreck. The car had been purchased only 12 days before and had been driven only 1,400 miles before the accident occurred.
Stewart was buried in National Harmony Memorial Park in Landover, Maryland.
Brett Ryan Eldredge (born March 23, 1986) is an American country music singer, songwriter and record producer, signed to Warner Music Group Nashville. The cousin of Terry Eldredge of The Grascals, Eldredge has had five No. 1 singles on the Billboard Country Airplay chart, three of which came from his debut studio album, Bring You Back: “Don’t Ya”, “Beat of the Music”, and “Mean to Me”.
Yvette Marie Stevens (born March 23, 1953), better known by her stage name Chaka Khan, is an American singer and songwriter. Her career has spanned nearly five decades, beginning in the 1970s as the lead vocalist of the funk band Rufus. Khan received public attention for her vocals and image. Known as the “Queen of Funk”, Khan was the first R&B artist to have a crossover hit featuring a rapper, with “I Feel for You” in 1984. Khan has won ten Grammy Awards and has sold an estimated 70 million records worldwide.
In the course of her solo career, Khan has achieved three gold singles, three gold albums and one platinum album with I Feel for You. With Rufus, she achieved four gold singles, four gold albums, and two platinum albums. She has collaborated with Ry Cooder, Robert Palmer, Ray Charles, Quincy Jones, Guru, Chicago, De la Soul, Mary J. Blige, among others. In December 2016, Billboard magazine ranked her as the 65th most successful dance artist of all time. She was ranked at number 17 in VH1’s original list of the 100 Greatest Women of Rock & Roll. She has been nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice; she was first nominated as member of Rufus in 2011.
The Cars were an American rock band formed in Boston in 1976. Emerging from the new wave scene in the late 1970s, the line-up consisted of singer, rhythm guitarist and songwriter Ric Ocasek, bassist and singer Benjamin Orr, lead guitarist Elliot Easton, keyboardist Greg Hawkes and drummer David Robinson.
The Cars were at the forefront of merging 1970s guitar-oriented rock with the new synthesizer-oriented pop that was then becoming popular and flourishing in the early 1980s. Robert Palmer, music critic for The New York Times and Rolling Stone, described the Cars’ musical style: “they have taken some important but disparate contemporary trends—punk minimalism, the labyrinthine synthesizer and guitar textures of art rock, the ’50s rockabilly revival and the melodious terseness of power pop—and mixed them into a personal and appealing blend.”
The Cars were named “Best New Artist” in the 1978 Rolling Stone Readers’ Poll and won “Video of the Year” for “You Might Think” at the first MTV Video Music Awards in 1984. Their debut album, The Cars, sold six million copies and appeared on the Billboard 200 album chart for 139 weeks. As of 2001, the Cars had sold over 23 million albums in the United States.
The band broke up in 1988 and Ocasek stated that a reunion would never happen. Orr died in 2000 from pancreatic cancer. In 2005, Easton and Hawkes joined with Todd Rundgren to form a spin-off band, the New Cars, which performed classic Cars and Rundgren songs along with new material. The surviving original members reunited in 2010 to record a new album, Move Like This, which was released in May 2011, followed by a short tour.
In April 2018, the Cars were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and reunited once more to perform at the induction ceremony. The reunion was their final performance with Ocasek, who died on September 15, 2019 of cardiovascular disease.
The Easybeats were an Australian rock band that formed in Sydney in late 1964. Considered one of the most important rock acts in Australia during the 1960s, they enjoyed a level of success that in their country rivaled the Beatles, and they became the first Australian rock act to score an international hit with the 1966 single “Friday on My Mind”, as well as the one of the few in Australia to exclusively write and record original material.
During their six-year run, they scored fifteen top 40 hits in Australia, including “She’s So Fine”, and “Women (Make You Feel Alright)”, with #1 hits including the aforementioned “Friday On My Mind” and “Sorry”. They broke up in 1969 despite no official announcement; singer Stevie Wright died in 2015, and rhythm guitarist George Young (brother of Angus and Malcolm Young of AC/DC) died in 2017.