Rhythm and Blues

Brenda Russell had a series of hit R&B recordings in the 1970s, 80s and 90s including “Piano In The Dark” and “So Good, So Right.” The success of her recording career as a singer led to her songwriting career, which included penning the musical score for the Broadway version of The Color Purple...
Wolf Stephenson met Tommy Couch (the founder of Malaco Records) while the two studied pharmacy in college. They began booking musical acts for their college parties and soon expanded to events and night clubs in and around Oxford, Mississippi. In 1963, Wolf met Rick Hall (the founder of Fame...
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...
Crystal Taliefero is primarily a percussionist, yet she plays many other instruments including the bass and several wind instruments. In 1986, she began her long association with LP, her first endorsement, and since that time has also promoted Sabian Cymbals and ProMark Drum Sticks. While touring...
Allen Toussaint represented one of the quintessential New Orleans sounds. Toussaint’s compositions and songs seamlessly blend blues, jazz, ragtime, R&B, and funk to create an amalgam that is unique and readily identifiable to New Orleans. Starting on piano in the 1940s and initially influenced...
Benny Turner grew up in a music family and after his brother, Freddie King, took him to a session with Howlin’ Wolf and Willie Dixon, he was hooked. While Benny played guitar with the Kindly Shepherds in the 1950s, he also spent time playing bass with Freddie and touring with R&B singer Dee...
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...
This audio only interview was conducted by David Schwartz and donated to the NAMM Oral History program: Jerry Wexler became a major contributor to the record business in the 1950s and 60s with his work as a producer at Atlantic Records. Many feel it was Jerry who coined the phrase “rhythm and blues...
Verdine White has become a close friend to the NAMM family thanks to his dedication to music education and music advocacy programs around the world.  He has supported the efforts to keep music in public schools and has performed countless events to raise money for such causes.  As the bassist for...
Norman Whitfield Jr grew up surrounded by music. His father was the noted songwriter, Norman Whitfield, who penned such classic hits as “I Heard It Through the Grapevine”, “Just My Imagination”, “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone”, and the disco era hit “Car Wash”. Norman Whitfield Jr followed in his father...

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