Taking place at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the Wattstax was organized by Memphis-based Stax Records as a way to recognize the seventh anniversary of the Watts Riots. Isaac Hayes' set began with him being driven to the stage in a gold station wagon as the emcee, Jessie Jackson, hyped the crowd. The band played the “Theme from Shaft” as Hayes walked on stage in a hood and cloak. Hayes threw the cloak off revealing his bare chest covered in a vest of gold chains. And that’s all before he sang a single note! The performance that followed was perfect hot buttered soul.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum will open its latest featured exhibit, Common Ground: The Music Festival Experience on Friday, April 25, 2014. The exhibition will be an engaging look at the music festival as more than just an outdoor concert, but as a community experience. Whether it‘s forging human bonds, building a sense of community, providing broad exposure for musical artists or as one of the most important economic engines of the music industry, the story of the music festival is inextricably linked with music’s powerful cultural impact around the ...
Sly and the Family Stone were the virtual embodiment of the Woodstock Nation: integrated, soulful and funky. Even with several hit records behind them, the audience wasn’t prepared for the funk-driven soul revue laid down by the Family Stone. Few, if any, white audience members had ever experienced anything like their showmanship. Sly and the Family Stone rewrote the book on performance.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum will open its latest featured exhibit, Common Ground: The Music Festival Experience on Friday, April 25, 2014. The exhibition will be an engaging look at the music festival as more than just an outdoor concert, but as a community experience. Whether it‘s forging human bonds, building a sense of community, providing broad exposure for musical artists or as one of the most important economic engines of the music industry, the story of the music festival is inextricably linked with music’s powerful cultural impact around the globe. Visit Common Ground: The Music Festival Experience to immerse yourself in this story.
Debates about the predominance of singer over song (or vice versa) reign eternal. The Temptations' "My Girl" makes a case for the song. It has one of the most memorable melodies of the rock era, one of Smokey Robinson's most memorable lyrics, and a choral structure that could serve any harmony group from early-1950s doo-woppers to Boyz II Men. Here, meaning comes just as much from atmospheric production and arrangement (also by Robinson, with fellow Miracle Ronnie White) as it does from the song itself. The sound has the ozone-intoxicated feeling you get after a summer thunderstorm. Bass and guitar parts – particularly that unforgettable intro – rank with the era's most exquisite, and also set up the declamatory crooning of lead vocal. Perhaps the most thrilling moment comes with the soaring bridge: strings and guitar shimmer against the Temptations' hey hey hey, out of which Ruffin emerges with a swooping yet understated oooh yeah. The offhanded ejaculation gives the rest of the lyrics' romanticism complete credibility.
The Temptations are among the artists featured in the Detroit section of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum's Cities and Sound exhibit, part of the Museum's permanent collection.
Born on March 1, 1944, Roger Daltrey injected the Who's songs with expressive muscularity and passion. Daltrey made a natural rock and roll frontman, theatrically swinging the microphone and proving the ideal, angst-projecting foil to Who songwriter/guitarist Pete Townshend's "windmill" strumming and instrument destroying antics and drummer Keith Moon's explosive – sometimes literally – playing. With rock-steady bass virtuoso John Entwistle, the four evolved from purveyors of Mod-era "maximum R&B" to visionary, literary creators of concept album narratives and singular rock opera productions. Simply put: the Who created some of rock and roll's most enduring and powerful anthems.
In mid-1965, Daltrey and the Who were unflagging devotees of R&B, though their reverence ultimately started to stifle creativity. Hoping to shake things up on the compositional front, manager Kit Lambert demanded a new anthem to go with the image they didn't have yet. Pete Townshend responded with a primitive home demo of "My Generation." Arranged as a talking blues number, it didn't sound much like his generation. With a terse order to make it beefier, Townshend returned with a version deemed chunky enough to warrant a group whack at a demo session, which Lambert ...
What happens when two musical giants collide, when two Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees defying genres and generations share the stage? On October 28, 1970 just that happened on Johnny Cash's TV variety show, when he welcomed "the great Louis Armstrong." Cash opened the introduction, remarking: "This country has given the world three original art forms – country music, jazz and Louis Armstrong."
Promoting his 1970 collection of country and western standards (fittingly titled Country & Western) and sporting an oversized cowboy hat, Armstrong sang "Crystal Chandeliers," the country classic originally sung by Charley Pride; and "Ramblin' Rose," a song made popular by Nat King Cole.
With the performance wrapped, Armstrong took a seat beside Cash, both musicians holding their instruments of choice: a trumpet and a guitar, respectively. "You've been at it a long time," Cash said to Armstrong. "I know that. We did a little research on some of your recordings; we find that on July 16, 1930, you played trumpet on a session with the late Jimmie Rodgers, the Father of Country Music. That was in Hollywood, right?"
Armstrong explained the ostensibly unlikely pairing: "We had a meeting one morning and Jimmie said, 'Man, I ...
At the end of the 1960s, traditional R&B was moving in different directions: toward Motown and its pop-ready "Sound of Young America," and the grittier Southern soul of Stax/Volt and Fame Recording Studio. Etta James sided with the latter. Born January 25, 1938, as Jamesetta Hawkins in Los Angeles, California, she had moved from a gospel choir to a girl trio to the Johnny Otis Revue by the time she had her first R&B hit at 17. “I might have been a little church girl singing gospel, but I loved all the music – soaked it up like a sponge," said James. "I remember Charles Brown, who killed me with 'Drifting Blues.' I’d hear that good time music floating out onto the street, whether it was some smooth blues like T-Bone Walker or sophisticated jazz….[I’d] poke my head into a joint, amazed by the men in their stingy-brim hats and them gators on their feet, chicks poured into skintight dresses, laughing and flirting and carrying on.”
In the spring of 1961, “At Last” became a Number Two R&B hit and remains ...
In a decade marred by tumult, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr had emerged as the charismatic voice of the civil rights movement, advancing the cause with a resonant message of nonviolence and peaceful civil disobedience. He was the loudspeaker for thousands crying out, the channel through which the civil rights movement found unity. With King's assassination on April 4, 1968, the world lost among its most fearless leaders.
News of King's assassination sent shockwaves across the country and people took to the streets in frustration. As day broke in Boston on Friday, April 5, government officials nervously anticipated another night of unrest, yet an unlikely keeper of the peace came forward and helped unite a community: James Brown.
Variously dubbed "the Godfather of Soul," "the Hardest Working Man in Show Business" and "Mr. Dynamite" among other monikers, Brown had been scheduled to perform in the city's center, at the Boston Garden. Amid great civil strife, Mayor Kevin White faced a quandary: aggravate a tense situation by canceling the event for overtly racial fears or dismiss concerns expressed by law enforcement. His decision came ...
In January 1961, Motown signed the Supremes, an all-female group who emerged from the poverty of Detroit’s Brewster housing project to become among Motown’s most consistent hitmakers and the most popular female group of the 60s.
Representing the Motown sound at its most stylized, the Supremes were the 1960s’ biggest group after the Beatles. They scored 10 Number One hits, including five in a row, right in the midst of the British Invasion. Diana Ross’ vocals achieved their greatest affect in this period because producers/songwriters Holland-Dozier-Holland supplied her with novel concepts that capitalized on her penchant for melodrama. “Stop! In the Name of Love” could be the most dramatic of them all. HDH recordings used gospel elements more proudly and directly than any other Motown productions – the ever-present Motown tambourine is a gospel trademark, for example. But HDH never limited themselves.
“Stop! In the Name of Love” benefits from James Jamerson’s earthquake bassline, the track's baritone sax riff and ringing vibes undercurrent, and an organ part adding tension to Ross' chilling moment: “Stop!” Stylistically, Ross had little more relationship to gospel than Frank Sinatra does, but HDH didn't put her in church, they simply ...