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Posts Tagged ‘James Brown’

RIP, Charles Bradley (September 23, 2017) American Soul Singer

Posted by themusicsover on September 23, 2017

Charles Bradley
November 5, 1948 – September 23, 2017

2011. Photo by Vince Hans

Charles Bradley, the revered soul singer who found success late in life, died after a his battle with stomach cancer at the age of 68.  Born in Gainesville, Florida, Bradley moved to New York City at the age of eight to live with his mother who had left him with his grandmother when he was a toddler. In 1962, his sister took the young teen to James Brown’s legendary show at the Apollo Theater, and like many kids who saw the Godfather of Soul perform, Bradley immediately took to practicing Brown’s songs and dance moves.  When he was 14, he ran away from home to escape his family’s life of poverty. He spent the first couple of years living on the streets until he found Job Corps who taught him to cook and help him find a job.  The next 25 years or so found Bradley working as a chef mostly along the west coast and into Canada while playing small club gigs along the way.  Bradley moved back to New York to be with his mother in 1996, and finally started making some decent money impersonating James Brown under the stage name, Black Velvet.  It was during one of these shows that he was discovered by up-and-coming soul revival label, Daptone Records.  After releasing a series of 7″ singles by him, Daptone put out Bradley’s debut album, No Time For Dreaming, in  2011. Two more albums followed, including 2016’s Changes, which included his staggering cover of the Black Sabbath song of the same name.  In 2012, the documentary, Soul of America, which told his story and included live performances, was released to critical acclaim.  Label mate and soul great, Sharon Jones lost her battle with cancer on November 18, 2016.

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Died On This Date (August 21, 2013) Sid Bernstein / Legendary Concert Promoter; Brought The British Invasion To America

Posted by themusicsover on August 21, 2013

Sid Bernstein
August 12, 1918 – August 21, 2013

sid-bernsteinSid Bernstein was a concert promoter who was largely responsible for the onset of the British Invasion by setting up the first US concerts by England’s biggest rock bands at the time.  In 1964, Bernstein felt the excitement building for the Beatles so he contacted their manager Brian Epstein, and convinced him to let him promote two shows at Carnegie Hall after their first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. The demand for tickets was so huge, that he arranged their legendary Shea Stadium concert the following year.  By doing so, he became the first promoter to ever set up a rock concert in a sports stadium.  Bernstein went on to organize the first five Rolling Stones shows in America.  He also brought fellow British Invasion groups, Herman’s Hermits, the Moody Blues, and the Kinks over for their first US shows.   The list of others Bernstein organized early major early concerts for include Judy Garland, Tony Bennett, Ray CharlesFrank Sinatra, and James Brown who once credited Bernstein for being the only significant promoter to work with Black acts during the ’60s.  Sid Bernstein was 95 when he passed away on August 21, 2013.



 

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Died On Ths Date (April 14, 2013) George Jackson / Southern Soul Great

Posted by themusicsover on April 14, 2013

George Jackson
1936 – April 14, 2013

george-jacksonGeorge Jackson was an American southern soul singer and songwriter who penned a number of songs that became major hits throughout the ’70s and ’80s.  Born in Greenville, Mississippi, Jackson eventually settled in Memphis where he wrote songs for such studios and labels as FAME, Goldwax, Muscle Shoals, Malaco and Hi Records.  Over the years, Jackson released numerous records but none achieved the popularity of song of his that were recorded by others.  In 1970, the Osmonds recorded his “One Bad Apple,” which ultimately topped the pop charts.  And Bob Seger had a huge hit with “Old Time Rock And Roll” thanks in part to  Tom Cruise’s iconic dance scene to it in the 1983 film, Risky Business.  The song, co-written with Thomas Jones III, has since become a Classic Rock staple.  Jackson’s “The Only Way Is Up” as performed by Yazz and Coldcut topped the US dance charts and UK charts in 1988.  Others who have recorded his include Otis Clay, James Brown, Ike & Tina Turner, Z.Z. Hill, and Clarence Carter.   George Jackson died of cancer on April 14, 2013.  He was 68.

Thanks to Tom Ashburn of The Dark End Of The Street on KOOP 91.7FM for the assist.

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Died On This Date (May 1, 2012) Charles “Skip” Pitts / Prominent Guitarist On “Shaft”

Posted by themusicsover on May 1, 2012

Charles Pitts
April 7, 1947 – May 1, 2012

Charles Pitts was a Memphis guitarist whose style of playing has prompted many sources to include him on the list of the architects of funk and soul guitar. By the time Pitts was just 11 years he had picked up the guitar and was learning on the street corners around his Washington DC neighborhood.  One of his early teachers was none other than neighbor, Bo Diddley, who offered the boy tips on how to play.  His other early sources of inspiration came from the likes of James Brown and Otis Redding who he saw perform at the Howard Theater which sat next door to a hotel his uncle owned.  Pitts eventually became a session player for Stax Records, playing on records and/or performing live with Wilson Pickett, Gene Chandler, the Isley Brothers, and Rufus Thomas, to name s few.  In 1971, Pitts came up with the iconic “wah wah” guitar sound that helped make Isaac Hayes‘ “Theme From Shaft” one of the most iconic songs of all time.  He went on to play with Hayes for nearly 40 years.  In later years, his riffs were been sampled by the Beasite Boys, Eazy-E, Massive Attack, and Dr. Dre.  Charles Pitts died of cancer on May 1, 2012.  He was 65.

Thanks to Paul Bearer for the assist.

 



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Died On This Date (February 1, 2012) Don Cornelius / Creator & Host Of “Soul Train”

Posted by themusicsover on February 1, 2012

Don Cornelius
September 27, 1936 – February 1, 2012

Don Cornelius was the creator, writer, producer, and host of the extremely influential American dance program, Soul Train.  Launched in October of 1961 after Cornelius noticed a void of nationally broadcast television shows that catered to the African-American audience, Soul Train ran until March of 2006.  Cornelius hosted the program from its inception until 1993.  Soul Train has been praised for influencing countless African-American kids while bringing black music into the white neighborhoods.  Over the years, the show featured lip-synched performances by everyone from James Brown, Marvin Gaye and Aretha Franklin, to Michael Jackson, Ice Cube and Prince.  Two popular segments of the show were the “Soul Train Scrabble Board” where two dancers tried to un-scramble letters to identify a significant person in African-American culture, and the oft-imitated “Soul Train Line” where the dancers formed two lines and then strutted their stuff with a partner down the middle.  In 1987, Cornelius launched the Soul Train Awards, a nationally broadcast program that honored the year’s best artists in R&B, Soul, Jazz and Hip-Hop.  The show ran until 2000.  Throughout the years, Cornelius was honored and/or parodied in countless sit-coms, rap songs, and films.   In the early hours of February 1, 2012, police responded to the home of Don Cornelius where they found him dead of what initially appeared to have been a self-inflicted gunshot wound.  He was 75.

Thanks to Bruce Kilgour at Slipped Disc Entertainment for the assist.

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