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Velvelettes, The

The Velvelettes were formed by Bertha Barbee at Western Michigan University in the early 60s, with Cal (Carolyn) Gill ending up as the lead singer, although she was only 14-years-old and still in high school...

Betty Everett

Born in Greenwood, Mississippi, in 1939, Betty Everett was playing piano and singing in church by the age of nine. In 1957, she moved to Chicago where she cut religious songs for small labels before being...

Don Covay

Born Donald Randolph in South Carolina in 1938, Don Covay moved to Washington in the early fifties where he performed with his family’s gospel group, The Cherry Keys and later joined Rainbows who often featured...

Bob & Earl

Bobby Byrd and Earl Nelson had both been members of a prolific doo-wop group in Los Angeles called The Hollywood Flames, while Byrd also had a parallel solo career, writing and recording as Bobby Day...

Edwin Starr

Charles Edwin Hatcher was born in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1942. He and his cousins, soul singers Roger and Willie Hatcher, moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where they were raised. In 1957, he formed a doo-wop group called...

Chris Clark

Chris Clark was a 17-year-old, 6-foot platinum blonde when she arrived at Motown's Detroit headquarters in 1963 to audition for Berry Gordy Jnr. The Motown boss signed Chris to his label after she performed an impromptu...

Berry Gordy Jr

Berry Gordy's family, like thousands of others, had moved from the southern states of the USA to Detroit, whose automobile industry in the years between World War I and World War II was a massive...

Supremes, The

In 1961 three teenage girls, Florence Ballard, Diane Ross (not until later would she be known as Diana) and Mary Wilson, began a journey that would carry them from the run-down Brewster housing projects in Detroit's...

Stylistics, The

One of the sweetest soul groups hailing from Philadelphia, with an incredible run of soul smashes from 1971 to 1975, The Stylistics formed from two disbanded groups, The Percussions and The Monarchs. The fragile falsetto of...

Smokey Robinson (& The Miracles)

William 'Smokey' Robinson was born on 19 February 1940, the son of a municipal truck driver from what he called "the suave part of the slums". He formed The Miracles (originally The Matadors) - mostly for fun...

Sam Cooke

Sam Cooke was born one of eight children in Chicago on 22 January 1931, into a strong church-going family. His father was a local minister. His early musical influences (like many of his contemporaries) was gospel...

Sam & Dave

Samuel Moore and David Prater were both from the South, had both spent time as gospel singers, and joined forces as a vocal duo in 1961 after meeting at an amateur show in Miami. Signed by Atlantic...

Percy Sledge

Percy Sledge was born in Leighton, Alabama, in November 1941 and was working as a hospital orderly in 1965 when his former music teacher asked him to sing at a Christmas party. He hadn't sung in...

Motown

With an $800 loan from his family and a roster of unknown young Detroit singers, former record shop owner Berry Gordy Jnr (pictured below) started what he intended to be a small, inner-city recording company. From the...

Jimmy Ruffin

Jimmy Ruffin was born in Collinsville, Mississippi in May 1936. He sang with his family's gospel group, led by his minister father, before moving to Detroit to work for Ford. In 1961 he cut Don't Feel Sorry...

James Brown

Born in a one-room shack in the pinewoods of Barnwell, South Carolina on 3 May 1933, James Joe Brown Jnr. was apparently stillborn and survived entry into the world only thanks to rapid mouth-to-mouth resuscitation performed by...

Jackie Wilson

Jack Leroy "Jackie" Wilson, Jr. (born in Detroit on 9 June 1934) was an African-American singer who played an important part in the transition of rhythm and blues into soul. In his teens, he was a...

Clyde McPhatter

Clyde Lensley McPhatter was born on 15 November 1933 in the tobacco town of Durham, North Carolina. He was one of ten children for George and Eva McPhatter. His father preached at Mt Calvary Baptist...

Chairmen Of The Board

The effervescent vocals of General Norman Johnson did much to secure Chairmen Of The Board a major hit with Give Me Just A Little More Time in 1970. The Virginian first tasted success with The Showmen in 1961,...

Ray Charles

Ray Charles started out smooth - A substandard Nat King Cole - but after signing to Atlantic, his gospel background kicked in and he effectively invented soul. As his vibrant music evolved he blended R&B, Rock & Roll, big...

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Easybeats guitarist George Young dead at 70

23 October 2017 George Young, guitarist in the Sixties band The Easybeats and co-producer on AC/DC's first five albums, has died at the age of 70. Young was the older brother of AC/DC's Angus and Malcolm Young. After...

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James Garner, Rockford Files star, dies aged 86

20 July 2014 James Garner, the US star of hit TV series The Rockford Files and Maverick, and films including The Great Escape has died of natural causes, aged 86. Garner had suffered ill health since a severe...

Elvis Presley crypt to be sold in memorabilia auction

29 May 2012 The private mausoleum crypt in Memphis, Tennessee in which Elvis Presley was first buried is to be sold at auction. The lot includes the crypt itself, the right to open and close the vault...

Hammer Horror – A House in the Country

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R.I.P. Love Boat and Mary Tyler Moore Show star Gavin MacLeod

29 May 2021 Gavin MacLeod, famed as the news writer Murray Slaughter on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Captain Merrill Stubing on The Love Boat, died on Saturday 29 May 2021 at his home in...

Steve Priest, Sweet bassist, dead at 72

4 June 2020 Steve Priest, bassist and co-founder of 1970s glam rock band Sweet, has died at the age of 72. Priest was born in Hayes, West London, in 1948, and became a musician after building his...