Blind Willie McTell (May 5, 1898 – August 19, 1959) was an influential American blues singer, songwriter, and guitarist. He was a twelve-string finger picking Piedmont blues guitarist, and recorded 149 songs between 1927 and 1956.
"Blind" Lemon Jefferson (September 24, 1893 – at some point in Mid-December, 1929) was a blues singer and guitarist from Texas. He was one of the most popular blues singers of the 1920s, and has been titled "Father of the Texas Blues". Jefferson's singing and self-accompaniment were distinctive as a result of his high-pitched voice and originality on the guitar.
Charles Mingus, Jr. (April 22, 1922 – January 5, 1979) was an American jazz musician, composer, bandleader, and human rights activist. Having released numerous records of high regard, Mingus is considered one of the most important composers and performers of jazz as well as a pioneer in bass technique. Dozens of musicians passed through his bands and later went on to impressive careers.
Gloria Gaynor (born Gloria Fowles on September 7, 1949 in Newark, New Jersey), now living in Green Brook, New Jersey, is an American singer, best-known for the disco era hits; "I Will Survive", "Never Can Say Goodbye" (Hot 100 #4, 1974), "Let Me Know (I Have a Right)" (Hot 100 #42, 1980) and "I Am What I Am" (Hot 100 #82, 1983).
James Brown (born James Joseph Brown, Jr. ) (May 3, 1933 – December 25, 2006) was an American singer and entertainer. Referred to as "The Godfather of Soul", Brown is recognized as one of the most influential figures in the 20th century popular music and was renowned for his vocals and feverish dancing. He was also called "the hardest working man in show business". As a prolific singer, songwriter, dancer and bandleader, Brown was a pivotal force in the music industry.
John Lee Hooker (August 22, 1917 – June 21, 2001) was an American blues singer-songwriter and guitarist, born in Coahoma County near Clarksdale, Mississippi. Hooker began his life as the son of a sharecropper, William Hooker, and rose to prominence performing his own unique style of what was originally closest to Delta blues. He developed a 'talking blues' style that was his trademark. Though similar to the early Delta blues, his music was metrically free.
James Marshall "Jimi" Hendrix (born Johnny Allen Hendrix; November 27, 1942 – September 18, 1970) was an American guitarist, singer and songwriter. He is often considered to be the greatest electric guitarist in the history of rock music by other musicians and commentators in the industry, and one of the most important and influential musicians of his era across a range of genres.
Kurtis Walker, better known by his stage name Kurtis Blow, is an American rapper and music producer. He is one of the first commercially successful rappers and the first to sign with a major record label. "The Breaks", a single from his 1980 debut album, is the first certified gold rap song.
Huddie William Ledbetter(January 1888 – December 6, 1949) was an iconic American folk and blues musician, notable for his strong vocals, his virtuosity on the 12-string guitar, and the songbook of folk standards he introduced. He is best known as Leadbelly or Lead Belly. Though many releases list him as "Leadbelly," he himself spelled it "Lead Belly. " This is also the usage on his tombstone, as well as of the Lead Belly Foundation.
Mississippi John Hurt (July 3, 1893 or March 8, 1892 — November 2, 1966) was an influential country blues singer and guitarist. He sang in a loud whisper, to a melodious finger-picked guitar accompaniment.
Miles Dewey Davis III (May 26, 1926 – September 28, 1991) was an American jazz trumpeter, bandleader, and composer. Widely considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, Miles Davis was, with his musical groups, at the forefront of several major developments in jazz music, including cool jazz, hard bop, modal jazz, and jazz fusion.
Mance Lipscomb (April 9, 1895 – January 30, 1976) was an influential blues singer, guitarist and songster. Born Beau De Glen Lipscomb near Navasota, Texas, he as a youth took the name of 'Mance' from a friend of his oldest brother Charlie (Mance short for emancipation).
Whitney Elizabeth Houston (born August 9, 1963) is an American singer, actress, and former fashion model. A relative of several prominent soul singers, including her mother Cissy Houston, cousins Dee Dee and Dionne Warwick and godmother Aretha Franklin, Houston began singing at her New Jersey church as a member of a junior gospel choir at age eleven.
Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington (April 29, 1899 – May 24, 1974) was an American composer, pianist, and big band leader. Duke Ellington became one of the most influential artists in the history of recorded music, and is largely recognized as one of the greatest figures in the history of jazz, though his music stretched into various other genres, including blues, gospel, movie soundtracks, popular, and classical.
Ike Wister Turner (November 5, 1931 – December 12, 2007) was an American musician, bandleader, talent scout, and record producer. Considered to be one of the fathers of rock and roll, his first recording, "Rocket 88" by "Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats," in 1951, is considered by some to be the "first rock and roll song" ever. However, he is best known for his work with his ex-wife Tina Turner as one half of the Ike & Tina Turner revue.
Charles "Buddy" Bolden (September 6, 1877 – November 4, 1931) was an African American cornetist and is regarded by contemporaries as a key figure in the development of a New Orleans style of rag-time music which later came to be known as jazz.
Tina Turner (born Anna Mae Bullock; November 26, 1939) is an American singer and actress whose career has spanned more than 50 years. She has won numerous awards and her achievements in the rock music genre have earned her the title "The Queen of Rock 'n' Roll". Turner started out her music career with husband Ike Turner as a member of the Ike & Tina Turner Revue. Success followed with a string of hits including "River Deep, Mountain High" and the 1971 hit "Proud Mary".
Beyoncé Giselle Knowles (born September 4, 1981), known as Beyoncé, is an American R&B singer, songwriter, record producer, actress and model. Born and raised in Houston, Texas, she enrolled in various performing arts schools and was first exposed to singing and dancing competitions as a child. Knowles rose to fame in the late 1990s as the lead singer of the R&B girl group Destiny's Child.
Ray Charles (September 23, 1930 – June 10, 2004) was an American musician. Charles was a pioneer in the genre of soul music during the 1950s by fusing rhythm & blues, gospel, and blues styles into his early recordings for Atlantic Records. He also helped racially integrate country and pop music during the 1960s with his crossover success on ABC Records, most notably with his Modern Sounds albums.
Ed Blackwell (October 10, 1929 – October 7, 1992) was an American free jazz drummer born in New Orleans, Louisiana, known for his extensive work with Ornette Coleman. Blackwell's early career began in New Orleans in the 1950s. He played in a bebop quintet that included pianist Ellis Marsalis and clarinetist Alvin Batiste. There was also a brief stint touring with Ray Charles.
Kanye Omari West (born June 8, 1977) is an American rapper, singer, and record producer. West first rose to fame as a producer for Roc-A-Fella Records, where he eventually achieved recognition for his work on Jay-Z's album The Blueprint, as well as hit singles for musical artists including Alicia Keys, Ludacris, and Janet Jackson. His style of production originally used pitched-up vocal samples from soul songs incorporated with his own drums and instruments.