Rhythm and Blues

Big Jay McNeely was there when the emotions of rhythm and blues gave birth to rock and roll. His honkin' sax style gave raw and bold tones to the feelings behind the R&B and Jump Swing styles of the early 1950’s, all of which played a key role in the popular musical trends that would follow. ...
Miriam Bienstock was one of three founders of Atlantic Records, which set the stage for over 60 years of recordings of primarily black artists. In the early years this was one of the only labels giving opportunities for the likes of Ruth Brown and Ray Charles to be heard!  Miriam ran the office and...
Wayne Jackson and his saxophone-playing friend, Andrew Love, formed the Memphis Horns, a group that played on countless recordings and on stage for over 40 years! Wayne, on trumpet, began playing professionally in the late 1950s and teamed with Andrew a few years later. Together they created a...
Ralph MacDonald grew up in Harlem, where he was exposed to many musical traditions. As a drummer, he focused on his African roots and as a songwriter he relied on his soulful understanding of the blues. Ralph wrote "Where Is the Love", the Grammy winning song made popular by Roberta Flack and Donny...
Mike Stoller always had musical ideas as a kid but never felt complete as a songwriter until he met Jerry Leiber. Together Leiber and Stoller redefined R&B and Rock & Roll with a long string of hit songs beginning in the early 1950s for performers such as Big Mama Thornton and Big Joe...
Jerry Leiber was one half of Leiber and Stoller, one of the most influential and successful songwriting teams of the 1950s R&B movement. They played a critical role in the early days of Rock and Roll penning songs for rocks biggest and earliest stars such as Elvis Presley, the Drifters, the...
Ike Turner was well known for his role in the life of Tina Turner and as the guitarist and arranger of her early career. However, during our interview with him, Ike took the time to discuss the early part of his own music career beginning with the first rock and roll song “Rocket 88” for which Ike...
Bo Diddley was the pioneering rhythm and blues performer who taught the industry one main point in the early days of the electric guitar era. With his square cigar box guitar, patented by Gretsch, Bo demonstrated that, if it’s electronic, it could be any shape and size. Soon after he played the...
Charles Connor was a pioneer in the early beat of rock and roll. As a drummer in New Orleans in the early 1950s, he played with Professor Longhair and became the original drummer for Little Richard. In fact, it was Little Richard who asked Connor if he could produce a rhythm that sounded like a...
Eddie Holland gained worldwide fame as a Motown Record’s songwriter and music publisher along with his brother Brian. Eddie was also a recording artist who performed the chart-topping hit “Jamie” in the early 1960s. During the same time he penned a string of hits for some of the biggest names in...

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