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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...

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...

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...

Bob & Earl

Bob & Earl had a massive hit with the often-covered Harlem Shuffle (reportedly George Harrison's favourite song of all time). Earl Nelson died in Los Angeles...

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,...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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Three Coins in the Fountain (1954)

Three American women working as secretaries at the US embassy in Rome throw coins into the city's Trevi Fountain in the hope of meeting...

Not In Front Of The Children

1 9 6 7 - 1 9 7 0 (UK) 37 x episodes 2 x Christmas specials Beginning as a 1967 Comedy Playhouse presentation, Not in Front of the Children was...

Action, The

Formed in Kentish Town in 1963, the front man of The Action was singer Reg King, a natural lunatic in the Keith Moon mould....

Ghost Goes Gear, The (1966)

This 24-carat piece of 60s pop trivia was made as a showcase for the popular British blues-soul band The Spencer Davis Group. The band are...

Wide Awake Club

1 9 8 4 - 1 9 8 9 (UK) Wide Awake Club debuted on Saturday 13 October 1984 as the first live kids show on TV-am. Airing for...

Big Bopper, The

The "Big Bopper" was born Jiles Perry Richardson on 24 October 1930, in Sabine Pass, Texas. Following military service in the Army, he worked as...

Pickettywitch

In one of those occasional spasms of madness that overcome the British record-buying public (and surely the template for League of Gentlemen's duffers Crème Broulee),...

Oh, God! (1977)

God (George Burns) chooses Jerry Landers (country singer John Denver), a supermarket assistant manager, to spread the gospel. But, of course, nobody believes a...