The Smithereens are an American rock band from Carteret, New Jersey, United States. The group formed in 1980 with members Pat DiNizio (vocals & guitar), Jim Babjak (guitar & vocals), Mike Mesaros (born December 11, 1957), (bass guitar & vocals), and Dennis Diken (drums & percussion). This original lineup continued until 2006, when Mesaros left the band and Severo Jornacion took over on bass guitar until Mesaros’ return in 2016. After DiNizio died in 2017, the band continued performing live shows as a trio (Babjak, Mesaros and Diken) with various guest vocalists.
The band are perhaps best known for a string of hits in the late 1980s through the mid 1990s, including “Only a Memory”, “A Girl Like You” and “Too Much Passion”. The Smithereens have collaborated with numerous musicians, both in the studio (Belinda Carlisle, Julian Lennon, Lou Reed, Suzanne Vega) and live (Graham Parker and The Kinks). The band’s name comes from a Yosemite Sam catchphrase, “Varmint, I’m a-gonna blow you to smithereens!”
Sam & Dave were an American soul and R&B duo who performed together from 1961 until 1981. The tenor (higher) voice was Sam Moore (born 1935) and the baritone/tenor (lower) voice was Dave Prater (1937–1988).
Nicknamed “Double Dynamite”, “The Sultans of Sweat”, and “The Dynamic Duo” for their gritty, gospel-infused performances, Sam & Dave are considered one of the greatest live acts of the 1960s. Many subsequent musicians have named them as an influence, including Bruce Springsteen, Al Green, Tom Petty, Phil Collins, Michael Jackson, Elvis Costello, The Jam, Teddy Pendergrass, Billy Joel and Steve Winwood. The Blues Brothers, who helped create a resurgence of popularity for soul, R&B, and blues in the 1980s, were influenced by Sam & Dave – their biggest hit was a cover of “Soul Man”, and their act and stage show contained many homages to the duo.
According to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Sam & Dave were the most successful soul duo and brought the sounds of the black gospel church to pop music with their call-and-response records. Recorded primarily at Stax Records in Memphis, Tennessee, from 1965 through 1968, these included “Soul Man”, “Hold On, I’m Comin'”, “You Don’t Know Like I Know”, “I Thank You”, “When Something is Wrong with My Baby”, “Wrap It Up”, and many other Southern Soul classics. Except for Aretha Franklin, no soul act during Sam & Dave’s Stax years (1965–1968) had more consistent R&B chart success, including 10 consecutive top 20 singles and three consecutive top 10 LPs. Their crossover charts appeal (13 straight appearances and two top 10 singles) helped to pave the way for the acceptance of soul music by white pop audiences, and their song “Soul Man” was one of the first songs by a black group to top the pop charts using the word “soul”, helping define the genre. “Soul Man” was a number one Pop Hit (Cashbox: November 11, 1967) and has been recognized as one of the most influential songs of the past 50 years by the Grammy Hall of Fame, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Rolling Stone magazine, and RIAA Songs of the Century. “Soul Man” was featured as the soundtrack and title for a 1986 film and also a 1997–1998 television series, and Soul Men was a 2008 feature film.
Sam & Dave are inductees in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Vocal Group Hall of Fame, the Memphis Music Hall of Fame, and the Rhythm & Blues Music Hall of Fame. They won a Grammy Award for “Soul Man” and they received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019. Rolling Stone ranked Sam & Dave No. 14 its list of the 20 Greatest Duos of All Time.
The Moody Blues are an English rock band formed in Birmingham in 1964, initially consisting of keyboardist Mike Pinder, multi-instrumentalist Ray Thomas, guitarist Denny Laine, drummer Graeme Edge, and bassist Clint Warwick. The group came to prominence playing rhythm and blues music. They made some changes in musicians but settled on a line-up of Pinder, Thomas, Edge, guitarist Justin Hayward, and bassist John Lodge, who stayed together for most of the band’s “classic era” into the early 1970s.
Their second album, Days of Future Passed, which was released in 1967, was a fusion of rock with classical music which established the band as pioneers in the development of art rock and progressive rock. It has been described as a “landmark” and “one of the first successful concept albums”. The group toured extensively through the early 1970s, then took an extended hiatus from 1974 until 1977. Founder Mike Pinder left the group a year after they re-formed and was replaced by Swiss keyboardist Patrick Moraz in 1978. In the following decade they took on a more synth-pop sound and produced The Other Side of Life in 1986, which made them the first act to earn each of its first three top 10 singles in the United States in a different decade. Health troubles led to a diminished role for founder Ray Thomas throughout the 1980s, though his musical contributions rebounded after Moraz departed in 1991. Thomas retired from the band in 2002.
The band’s last album was the Christmas album December (2003), after which they eschewed recording any further albums. However, they continued to tour throughout the first decade of the 2000s and still reunite periodically for events, one-off concerts, short tours and cruises.
The Moody Blues’ most successful singles include “Go Now”, “Nights in White Satin”, “Tuesday Afternoon”, “Question”, “Gemini Dream”, “The Voice” and “Your Wildest Dreams”. The band has sold 70 million albums worldwide, which includes 18 platinum and gold LPs. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018.
Paulette Tenae Carlson (born October 11, 1952) is an American country singer-songwriter, who rose to fame in the 1980s as the founder and lead vocalist for the country band Highway 101. With Highway 101, she charted four No. 1 hit singles, seven Top 10 hits and won two Country Music Association Awards. As a solo artist, she has charted five times on Hot Country Songs and recorded three studio albums. Her most successful solo single is “I’ll Start with You”, which peaked at number 21 in 1991. Carlson continues to tour and record new music as a solo artist.
Highway 101 was an American country music band founded in 1986 by Paulette Carlson (lead vocals), Jack Daniels (guitar), Curtis Stone (bass guitar, mandolin), and Scott “Cactus” Moser (drums). With Carlson as lead vocalist, the band recorded three albums for Warner Bros. Records Nashville and charted ten consecutive Top Ten hits on the Hot Country Songs chart, four of which went to Number One. After Carlson left in 1990 to pursue a solo career, the band recorded a fourth album for Warner with Nikki Nelson on lead vocals before exiting the label. One album each followed on Liberty, Intersound, and Free Falls Records under various lineups.
The Chicks (formerly known as the Dixie Chicks) are an American country music band composed of Natalie Maines, along with Emily Strayer and Martie Maguire, who are sisters. Their discography comprises eight studio albums, two live albums and 27 singles.
Founded in 1989 as a more bluegrass-oriented band with Maguire and Robison—then going by their birth surnames of Erwin—along with Laura Lynch and Robin Lynn Macy, the band did not achieve mainstream success until Lynch and Macy left and were replaced by lead singer Natalie Maines. Shortly after her joining, the band signed to Monument Records, releasing their breakthrough album Wide Open Spaces in 1998. Both it and its followup, 1999’s Fly, earned the group several Grammy Awards and chart singles. Two more albums, Home and Taking the Long Way, followed in 2002 and 2006, respectively, on Columbia Records. These latter four albums have been certified double platinum or higher by the RIAA, with the highest-certified being Wide Open Spaces at 13× Platinum for US shipments of 13 million copies.
Of the Dixie Chicks’ 25 singles, six have reached Number One on the Billboard country singles chart: “There’s Your Trouble”, “Wide Open Spaces”, “You Were Mine”, “Cowboy Take Me Away”, “Without You”, and “Travelin’ Soldier”. A seventh, a version of the Fleetwood Mac song “Landslide”, was also a Number One hit on the Adult Contemporary chart. Several of their singles have crossed over to the Billboard Hot 100, with their highest-peaking there being the number 4, “Not Ready to Make Nice”.
John Lennon was an English singer-songwriter and one of the four principal members of the Beatles. His first three studio albums are experiments with Yoko Ono using tape loops, interviews, musique concrète, and other avant-garde performance techniques. Lennon also released one live album and three singles under his own name before the break-up of the Beatles. Studio album discography in Lennon’s home idiom of rock and roll begins with Plastic Ono Band from 1970.
By 2012, Lennon’s solo album sales in the US had exceeded 14 million units. He had 25 number-one singles on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart as a writer, co-writer or performer.
Clyde Jackson Browne (born October 9, 1948) is an American singer-songwriter and musician who has sold over 18 million albums in the United States. Coming to prominence in the 1970s, Browne has written and recorded songs such as “These Days”, “The Pretender”, “Running on Empty”, “Lawyers in Love”, “Doctor My Eyes”, “Take It Easy”, “For a Rocker”, and “Somebody’s Baby”. In 2004, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, and given an honorary doctorate of music by Occidental College in Los Angeles, California. In 2015, Rolling Stone ranked him as 37th in its list of the “100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time”.
After graduating in 1966, Browne joined the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, performing at the Golden Bear (Huntington Beach, California) where they opened for The Lovin’ Spoonful. The band later recorded a number of Browne’s songs, including “These Days”, “Holding”, and “Shadow Dream Song”. He also spent a short time in his friend Pamela Polland’s band, Gentle Soul. Browne left the Dirt Band after a few months and moved to Greenwich Village, New York, where he became a staff writer for Elektra Records’ publishing company, Nina Music, before his eighteenth birthday. He reported on musical events in New York City with his friends Greg Copeland and Adam Saylor. He spent the remainder of 1967 and 1968 in Greenwich Village, where he backed Tim Buckley and singer Nico of the Velvet Underground. In 1967, Browne and Nico were romantically linked and he became a significant contributor to her debut album, Chelsea Girl, writing and playing guitar on several of the songs (including “These Days”). In 1968, following his breakup with Nico, Browne returned to Los Angeles, where he formed a folk band with Ned Doheny and Jack Wilce, and first met Glenn Frey.
Browne’s first songs, such as “Shadow Dream Song” and “These Days”, were recorded by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Tom Rush, Nico, Steve Noonan, Gregg Allman, Joan Baez, the Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, the Byrds, and others. Browne did not release his own versions of these early songs until years later. Soon after this, Rolling Stone mentioned Browne as a “new face to look for” and praised his “mind-boggling melodies”.
American singer-songwriter Bruno Mars has released three studio albums, one EP, 29 singles (seven as a featured artist) and three promotional singles. With estimated sales of over 26 million albums and 200 million singles worldwide, Mars is one of the best-selling artists of all time. Six of his singles are among the best-selling singles of all time: in order of release date, “Just the Way You Are”, “Grenade”, “The Lazy Song”, “When I Was Your Man”, “Uptown Funk” and “That’s What I Like”. According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), he has sold 90.5 million copies in the United States. His first two albums have sold 5.04 million copies in the US alone. In 2012, Mars was named 2011’s best selling music artist worldwide. In 2021, he became the first artist to receive five diamond certified songs in the United States.
Louis Charles “B.W.” Stevenson (October 5, 1949 – April 28, 1988) was an American country pop singer and musician, working in a genre now called progressive country. “B.W.” stood for “Buckwheat”. Stevenson was born in Dallas, Texas and attended W.H. Adamson High School with other musicians Michael Martin Murphey, Ray Wylie Hubbard, and Larry Groce.
Stevenson performed and was taped for the intended pilot of Austin City Limits on October 13, 1974. However, the recording quality was deemed too poor to broadcast. Willie Nelson’s performance taped the following night was aired as the first episode of the program.
Stevenson’s biggest hit was “My Maria”, co-written with Daniel Moore. “My Maria” reached No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 for the week ending September 29, 1973 and was covered later by Brooks & Dunn, for whom it was a three-week No. 1 country hit in mid-1996. Among Stevenson’s other singles are “The River of Love” (#53), “Down to the Station” (#82), and the original version of Daniel Moore’s “Shambala” (#66); a cover version by Three Dog Night, reached No. 3.
Stevenson recorded one Contemporary Christian album. titled Lifeline, produced by Chris Christian, his neighbor in Beverly Hills, and it had success on Christian radio with the hit “Headin’ Home”. His album Rainbow Down the Road was completed posthumously and included a duet with Willie Nelson on “Heart of the Country”. Author Jan Reid devotes a chapter to Stevenson in his book The Improbable Rise of Redneck Rock, dubbing him “The Voice”.
Stevenson died following heart valve surgery after developing a staph infection at the age of 38. Since his death, Poor David’s Pub in Dallas has held an annual songwriting competition in his memory.
Frederick Anthony Jackson (born October 2, 1956) is an American singer. Originally from New York, Jackson began his professional music career in the late 1970s with the California funk band Mystic Merlin. Among his well–known R&B/soul hits are “Rock Me Tonight (For Old Times Sake)” (1985), “Have You Ever Loved Somebody” (1986), “Jam Tonight” (1986), “Do Me Again” (1990), and “You Are My Lady” (1985). He contributed to the soundtrack for the 1989 film, All Dogs Go to Heaven with the Michael Lloyd-produced duet “Love Survives” alongside Irene Cara. He also appeared in the movie King of New York.
T. Rex were an English rock band, formed in 1967 by singer/songwriter and guitarist Marc Bolan.
The T. Rex discography consists of four “Tyrannosaurus Rex” and eight “T. Rex” studio albums (one of which appeared with different names and track lists in different territories), 22 compilation albums, seven live albums, two extended plays, six “Tyrannosaurus Rex” and 22 “T. Rex” singles.
The group came to an end after Bolan’s death in a car crash in September 1977.
Shalamar is a Grammy award winning American R&B and soul music vocal group active since the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s. Shalamar’s classic line-up on the SOLAR label consisted of Howard Hewett, Jody Watley, and Jeffrey Daniel. It was originally a disco-driven vehicle created by Soul Train booking agent Dick Griffey and show creator and producer Don Cornelius. They went on to be an influential dance trio, masterminded by Cornelius. As noted in the British Hit Singles & Albums, they were regarded as fashion icons and trendsetters, and helped to introduce “body-popping” to the United Kingdom. Their collective name, “Shalamar”, was picked by Griffey.
Franklin Joseph Lymon (September 30, 1942 – February 27, 1968) was an American rock and roll/rhythm and blues singer and songwriter, best known as the boy soprano lead singer of the New York City-based early rock and roll group The Teenagers. The group was composed of five boys, all in their early to mid-teens. The original lineup of the Teenagers, an integrated group, included three African-American members, Frankie Lymon, Jimmy Merchant, and Sherman Garnes; and two Puerto Rican members, Joe Negroni and Herman Santiago. The Teenagers’ first single, 1956’s “Why Do Fools Fall in Love”, was also their biggest hit. After Lymon went solo in mid-1957, both his career and that of the Teenagers fell into decline. He was found dead at the age of 25 on the floor of his grandmother’s bathroom from a heroin overdose. His life was dramatized in the 1998 film Why Do Fools Fall In Love.