Anita Denise Baker (born January 26, 1958) is an American singer-songwriter. Starting her career in the late 1970s with the funk band Chapter 8, Baker released her first solo album, The Songstress, in 1983. In 1986, she rose to stardom following the release of her platinum-selling second album, Rapture, which included the Grammy-winning single “Sweet Love”. She is regarded as one of the most popular singers of soulful romantic ballads during the height of the quiet storm period of contemporary R&B in the 1980s. As of 2017, Baker has won eight Grammy Awards and has five platinum albums and one gold album. Her vocal range is contralto.
It’s all Elton John tunes every Wednesday 2pm ET
Warren William Zevon (January 24, 1947 – September 7, 2003) was an American rock singer, songwriter, and musician.
Zevon’s most famous compositions include “Werewolves of London”, “Lawyers, Guns and Money”, and “Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner”. All three songs are featured on his third album, Excitable Boy (1978), the title track of which is also well-known. He also wrote major hits that were recorded by other artists, including “Poor Poor Pitiful Me”, “Accidentally Like a Martyr”, “Mohammed’s Radio”, “Carmelita”, and “Hasten Down the Wind”. Along with his own work, he recorded or performed occasional covers, including Allen Toussaint’s “A Certain Girl”, Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”, Leonard Cohen’s “First We Take Manhattan”, Steve Winwood’s “Back in the High Life Again”, and Prince’s “Raspberry Beret”.
Zevon’s early music industry successes were found as a session musician, jingle composer, songwriter, touring musician, musical coordinator and bandleader. Despite all this, Zevon struggled to break through in his solo career until his music was performed by Linda Ronstadt, beginning with her 1976 album Hasten Down the Wind. This launched a cult following that lasted 25 years, with Zevon making occasional returns to album and single charts until his death from mesothelioma in 2003. He briefly found a new audience by teaming up with members of R.E.M. in the blues rock outfit Hindu Love Gods for a 1990 album release, although no tour followed.
Known for his dry wit and acerbic lyrics, he was a guest numerous times on Late Night with David Letterman and the Late Show with David Letterman.
Aaron Joseph Neville (born January 24, 1941) is an American R&B and soul vocalist and musician. He has had four platinum albums and four Top 10 hits in the United States, including three that went to #1 on Billboard’s Adult Contemporary chart. His debut single, from 1966, was #1 on the Soul chart for five weeks.
He has also recorded with his brothers Art, Charles and Cyril as The Neville Brothers and is the father of singer/keyboards player Ivan Neville. Neville is of mixed African-American, Caucasian, and Native American (Choctaw) heritage.
In January 2013, paying tribute to the songs of his youth, Blue Note Records released Neville’s My True Story, a collection of 12 doo-wop tunes, produced by Don Was and Keith Richards, with backing by musicians such as Benmont Tench, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Bobby Jay. In October 2015, Keith Richards selected the song “My True Story” as one of his Desert Island Discs. Click here to view the making of this album.
The Box Tops is an American rock band, formed in Memphis in 1967. They are best known for the hits “The Letter”, “Cry Like a Baby”, and “Soul Deep” and are considered a major blue-eyed soul group of the period. They performed a mixture of current soul music songs by artists such as James & Bobby Purify and Clifford Curry; pop tunes such as “A Whiter Shade of Pale” by Keith Reid, Gary Brooker, and Matthew Fisher of Procol Harum; and songs written by their producers, Dan Penn, Spooner Oldham, and Chips Moman. Vocalist Alex Chilton went on to front the power pop band Big Star and to launch a career as a solo artist, during which he occasionally performed songs he had sung with the Box Tops.
The Box Tops’ music combined elements of soul music and light pop. Their records are prime examples of the styles made popular by Moman and Penn at American Sound Studio in Memphis. Many of their lesser known Top 40 hits, including “Neon Rainbow”, “I Met Her in Church”, and “Sweet Cream Ladies, Forward March”, are considered minor classics. As rock critic Lester Bangs wrote in a review of the group’s Super Hits album, “A song like ‘Soul Deep’ is obvious enough, a patented commercial sound, yet within these strictures it communicates with a depth and sincerity of feeling that holds the attention and brings you back often.”
Sidney Matthew Sweet (born October 6, 1964) is an American rock singer-songwriter and musician. Part of the burgeoning music scene in Athens, Georgia, during the 1980s before gaining commercial success in the 1990s, his latest albums, Tomorrow Forever and Tomorrow’s Daughter, were followed by 2018’s Wicked System of Things.
Susanna Lee Hoffs (born January 17, 1959) is an American vocalist, guitarist, actress and songwriter. She is best known as a co-founder of The Bangles. In 2006, Hoffs teamed up with fellow Ming Tea rocker Matthew Sweet; under the name “Sid n Susie”, they recorded fifteen cover versions of classic rock songs from the 1960s and 1970s for an album titled Under the Covers, Vol. 1. The album was released in April 2006. On July 18, they appeared on Late Night with Conan O’Brien to promote the album and tour. The duo released another album Under the Covers, Vol. 2 on July 21, 2009, which included covers of songs by Fleetwood Mac, Carly Simon, Rod Stewart and others. In 2012 Under the Covers, Vol. 3 was released.
Paul Antony Young (born January 17, 1956) is an English singer, songwriter and musician. Formerly the frontman of the short-lived bands Kat Kool & the Kool Cats, Streetband and Q-Tips, he was turned into a 1980s teen idol by subsequent solo success. His hit singles include “Love of the Common People”, “Wherever I Lay My Hat”, “Come Back and Stay”, “Every Time You Go Away” and “Everything Must Change”, all reaching the top 10 of the UK Singles Chart. Released in 1983, his debut album No Parlez, the first of three UK number-one albums, made him a household name. His smooth yet soulful voice belonged to a genre known as “blue-eyed soul”. At the 1985 Brit Awards, Young received the award for Best British Male. Associated with the Second British Invasion of the US, “Every Time You Go Away” reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1985. It also won Best British Video at the 1986 Brit Awards.
In July 1985, Young appeared at Live Aid held at Wembley Stadium, London, performing the Band Aid hit “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” (having sung the opening lines on the original single release), and his own hits “Come Back and Stay” and “Every Time You Go Away”, with Alison Moyet joining him on stage to perform “That’s The Way Love Is”. Since the mid-1990s, Young has performed with his band Los Pacaminos.
Young met his wife, former model Stacey Smith, on his video for “Come Back and Stay” in 1983. They married while they were living in Los Angeles in November 1987. They had three children: daughters Levi (born March 1987), Layla (born August 1994), and son Grady Cole (born January 1996). Young and Smith split up in May 2006 and then reconciled in March 2009. On January 28, 2018, it was announced that Stacey Young had died of brain cancer, aged 52.
Stephen Fain Earle (born January 17, 1955) is an American rock, country and folk singer-songwriter, record producer, author and actor. Earle began his career as a songwriter in Nashville and released his first EP in 1982.
His breakthrough album was the 1986 album Guitar Town. Since then Earle has released 15 studio albums and received three Grammy awards. His songs have been recorded by Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Levon Helm, The Highwaymen (country supergroup), Travis Tritt, Vince Gill, Patty Loveless, Shawn Colvin, Bob Seger, and Emmylou Harris. He has appeared in film and television, and has written a novel, a play, and a book of short stories.
Clarence George Carter (born January 14, 1936) is an American blues and soul singer, musician, songwriter and record producer. His most successful songs include “Slip Away” (1968), “Back Door Santa”, “Too Weak to Fight”, “Patches” (1970), and “Strokin'” (1985).
Crystal Gayle (born Brenda Gail Webb; January 9, 1951) is an American country music singer widely known for her 1977 hit “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue”. Initially, Gayle’s management and record label were the same as that of her oldest sister, Loretta Lynn. Not finding success with the arrangement after several years, and with Lynn’s encouragement, Gayle decided to try a different approach. She signed a new record contract and began recording with Nashville producer Allen Reynolds. Gayle’s new sound was sometimes referred to as middle-of-the-road (MOR) or country pop, and was part of a bigger musical trend by many country artists of the 1970s to appeal to a wider audience. Subsequently, Gayle became one of the most successful crossover artists of the 1970s and 80s. Her floor-length hair has become synonymous with her name.
Gayle is said to have begun her career in the 1960s performing as a background singer in Lynn’s band (although Gayle says this technically never happened). Lynn helped her sign a recording contract with Decca Records in 1970. Having minor success, she was encouraged to develop her own musical identity. Under the direction of producer Reynolds at United Artists Records, Gayle shifted towards a country pop style that was more successful. In 1975, “Wrong Road Again” became Gayle’s first major hit. However, it was in 1977 when Gayle achieved her biggest success with “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue.” The single topped the Billboard country chart, crossed over to the top five of the Billboard Hot 100 and became a major international hit.
Gayle continued having success from the late 1970s and through late 1980s. Her biggest hits included “Ready for the Times to Get Better” (1977), “Talking in Your Sleep” (1978), “Half the Way” (1979) and “You and I” (1982). In the 1990s, Gayle shifted artistic directions by recording various genres of music. This included an album of inspirational music titled Someday (1995) and an album of standards called Crystal Gayle Sings the Heart and Soul of Hoagy Carmichael (1999). During the decade she also owned and operated a fine arts shop called “Crystal’s Fine Gifts and Jewelry”. Her most recent studio release was in 2019 and Gayle has since continued to tour throughout the world.
Gayle has won one Grammy Award and has been nominated for several others since the 1970s. She has also won five Academy of Country Music awards; those awards include receiving the Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award in 2016. In addition, she has won two Country Music Association awards and three American Music Awards. Rolling Stone ranked her among the 100 greatest country artists of all time and CMT ranked her within their list of the 40 greatest women of country music. Gayle has her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was inducted as a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 2017.
Elvis Aaron Presley (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977), or simply Elvis, was an American singer and actor. Dubbed the “King of Rock and Roll”, he is regarded as one of the most significant cultural figures of the 20th century. His energized interpretations of songs and sexually provocative performance style, combined with a singularly potent mix of influences across color lines during a transformative era in race relations, led him to both great success and initial controversy.
Presley was born in Tupelo, Mississippi, and relocated to Memphis, Tennessee, with his family when he was 13 years old. His music career began there in 1954, recording at Sun Records with producer Sam Phillips, who wanted to bring the sound of African-American music to a wider audience. Presley, on rhythm acoustic guitar, and accompanied by lead guitarist Scotty Moore and bassist Bill Black, was a pioneer of rockabilly, an uptempo, backbeat-driven fusion of country music and rhythm and blues. In 1955, drummer D. J. Fontana joined to complete the lineup of Presley’s classic quartet and RCA Victor acquired his contract in a deal arranged by Colonel Tom Parker, who would manage him for more than two decades. Presley’s first RCA Victor single, “Heartbreak Hotel”, was released in January 1956 and became a number-one hit in the United States. Within a year, RCA would sell ten million Presley singles. With a series of successful network television appearances and chart-topping records, Presley became the leading figure of the newly popular sound of rock and roll; though his performative style and promotion of the then-marginalized sound of African-Americans led to him being widely considered a threat to the moral well-being of the White American youth.
In November 1956, Presley made his film debut in Love Me Tender. Drafted into military service in 1958, Presley relaunched his recording career two years later with some of his most commercially successful work. He held few concerts, however, and guided by Parker, proceeded to devote much of the 1960s to making Hollywood films and soundtrack albums, most of them critically derided. Some of his most famous films included Jailhouse Rock (1957), Blue Hawaii (1961), and Viva Las Vegas (1964). In 1968, following a seven-year break from live performances, he returned to the stage in the acclaimed television comeback special Elvis, which led to an extended Las Vegas concert residency and a string of highly profitable tours. In 1973, Presley gave the first concert by a solo artist to be broadcast around the world, Aloha from Hawaii. Years of prescription drug abuse and unhealthy eating habits severely compromised his health, and he died suddenly in 1977 at his Graceland estate at the age of 42.
Having sold over 400 million records worldwide, Presley is recognized as the best-selling solo music artist of all time by Guinness World Records. He was commercially successful in many genres, including pop, country, rhythm & blues, adult contemporary, and gospel. Presley won three Grammy Awards, received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award at age 36, and has been inducted into multiple music halls of fame. He holds several records, including the most RIAA certified gold and platinum albums, the most albums charted on the Billboard 200, the most number-one albums by a solo artist on the UK Albums Chart, and the most number-one singles by any act on the UK Singles Chart. In 2018, Presley was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
On the evening of Tuesday, August 16, 1977, Presley was scheduled to fly out of Memphis to begin another tour. That afternoon, Ginger Alden discovered him in an unresponsive state on the bathroom floor of his Graceland mansion. Attempts to revive him failed, and he was pronounced dead at Baptist Memorial Hospital at 3:30 p.m. He was 42 years old.
President Jimmy Carter issued a statement that credited Presley with having “permanently changed the face of American popular culture”. Thousands of people gathered outside Graceland to view the open casket. One of Presley’s cousins, Billy Mann, accepted US$18,000 (equivalent to $80,000 in 2021) to secretly photograph the body; the picture appeared on the cover of the National Enquirer’s biggest-selling issue ever. Alden struck a $105,000 (equivalent to $470,000 in 2021) deal with the Enquirer for her story, but settled for less when she broke her exclusivity agreement. Presley left her nothing in his will.
Presley’s funeral was held at Graceland on Thursday, August 18. Outside the gates, a car plowed into a group of fans, killing two young women and critically injuring a third. About 80,000 people lined the processional route to Forest Hill Cemetery, where Presley was buried next to his mother. Within a few weeks, “Way Down” topped the country and UK singles chart. Following an attempt to steal Presley’s body in late August, the remains of both Presley and his mother were exhumed and reburied in Graceland’s Meditation Garden on October 2.
We will feature Elvis – 30 #1 Hits, Moody Blue from 1977, Elvis Movie Soundtrack from 2022
Deana Kay Carter (born January 4, 1966) is an American country music singer-songwriter who broke through in 1996 with the release of her debut album Did I Shave My Legs for This?, which was certified 5× Multi-Platinum in the United States for sales of over 5 million. It was followed by 1998’s Everything’s Gonna Be Alright, 2003’s I’m Just a Girl, 2005’s The Story of My Life, and 2007’s The Chain. Overall, Carter’s albums have accounted for 14 singles, including three which reached Number One on the Billboard country charts: “Strawberry Wine”, “We Danced Anyway”, and “How Do I Get There”.
Carter was born in Nashville, Tennessee, the daughter of singer Fred Carter, Jr. Despite her famous father, she did not have a smooth path to a recording deal. After an initial lack of success at age 17, she entered the University of Tennessee, majoring in rehabilitation therapy and becoming a member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority, and a Sigma Alpha Epsilon Little Sister, also known as a “Little Sister of Minerva.” During college, she sang at various campus locations, performing for the enjoyment of singing, rather than with the intent of pursuing a musical career. She was also a local bartender at the Back Door Tavern (BDT) on Kingston Pike. After she graduated, she worked with recovering stroke and head injury patients. Although she found the work rewarding and worthwhile, she eventually realized that her first love was music, and decided to pursue the music career she had left.
The Monkees are an American rock and pop band originally active between 1966 and 1971, with reunion albums and tours in the decades that followed. Their original line-up consisted of the American actor/musicians Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith, and Peter Tork with English actor/singer Davy Jones. The group was conceived in 1965 by television producers Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider specifically for the situation comedy series The Monkees, which aired from 1966 to 1968. The band’s music was initially supervised by record producer Don Kirshner, backed by the songwriting duo of Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart.
The four actor/musicians were initially allowed only limited roles in the recording studio for the first few months of their five-year career as “the Monkees”. This was due in part to the amount of time required to film the television series. Nonetheless, Nesmith composed and produced some songs from the beginning, and Tork contributed limited guitar work on the sessions produced by Nesmith. All four contributed lead vocals to various tracks. They eventually fought for the right to collectively supervise all musical output under the band’s name, acting as musicians, singers, songwriters, and producers.
Following the television show’s cancellation in 1968, the Monkees continued to record music until 1971, after which the group broke up. A revival of interest in the television show came in 1986, which led to a series of reunion tours and new records. The group has reunited and toured several times since then with different line-ups (but always containing Micky Dolenz and at least one of the other original members) and with varying degrees of success. Jones died in February 2012, Tork died in February 2019 and Nesmith died in December 2021.
Dolenz described The Monkees as initially being “a TV show about an imaginary band… that wanted to be the Beatles that was never successful”. Ironically, the success of the show led to the actor-musicians becoming one of the most successful bands of the 1960s. The Monkees have sold more than 75 million records worldwide making them one of the biggest selling groups of all time with international hits, including “Last Train to Clarksville”, “Pleasant Valley Sunday”, “Daydream Believer”, and “I’m a Believer”. Newspapers and magazines reported that the Monkees outsold the Beatles and the Rolling Stones combined in 1967, but Nesmith admitted in his autobiography Infinite Tuesday that it was a lie that he told a reporter.
The Staple Singers were an American gospel, soul, and R&B singing group. Roebuck “Pops” Staples (December 28, 1914 – December 19, 2000), the patriarch of the family, formed the group with his children Cleotha (April 11, 1934 – February 21, 2013), Pervis (November 18, 1935 – May 6, 2021), and Mavis (b. July 10, 1939). Yvonne (October 23, 1937 – April 10, 2018) replaced her brother when he was drafted into the U.S. Army, and again in 1970. They are best known for their 1970s hits “Respect Yourself”, “I’ll Take You There”, “If You’re Ready (Come Go with Me)”, and “Let’s Do It Again”. While the family name is Staples, the group used “Staple” commercially.
The Lovin’ Spoonful is an American rock band which was popular during the mid-to late-1960s. Founded in New York City in 1965 by lead-singer/songwriter John Sebastian and guitarist Zal Yanovsky, it is best known for a number of hits which include “Summer in the City”, “Do You Believe In Magic”, “Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind?”, and “Daydream”. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000.