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).
Ron Carter (born May 4, 1937) is an American jazz double-bassist. His appearances on over 2,500 albums make him one of the most-recorded bassists in jazz history, along with Milt Hinton, Ray Brown and Leroy Vinnegar. Carter is also an acclaimed cellist who has recorded numerous times on that instrument. He also has recorded a large body of classical work, and he contributed to the film score for Desperate Characters (1971).
Eddie James "Son" House, Jr. (March 21, 1902 – October 19, 1988) was an American blues singer and guitarist. House pioneered an innovative style featuring strong, repetitive rhythms, often played with the aid of slide guitar, and his singing often incorporated elements of southern gospel and spiritual music. House was an important influence on Muddy Waters and also on Robert Johnson.
Scott Joplin (between July 1867 and January 1868 – April 1, 1917) was an African American composer and pianist, born near Texarkana, Texas, into the first post-slavery generation. He achieved fame for his unique ragtime compositions, and was dubbed the "King of Ragtime. " During his brief career, Joplin wrote 44 original ragtime pieces, one ragtime ballet, and two operas.
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.
Rahsaan Roland Kirk (August 7, 1935 – December 5, 1977) was a blind American jazz multi-instrumentalist who played tenor saxophone, flute and many other instruments. He was renowned for his onstage vitality, during which virtuoso improvisation was accompanied by comic banter, political ranting, and the ability to play several instruments simultaneously.
Ferdinand "Jelly Roll" Morton (September 20, 1885 – July 10, 1941) was an American ragtime and early jazz pianist, bandleader and composer. Widely recognized as a pivotal figure in early jazz, Morton claimed, in self-promotional hyperbole, to have invented jazz outright in 1902. Morton was the first serious composer of jazz, naming and popularizing the "Spanish tinge" of exotic rhythms and penning such standards as "Wolverine Blues", "Black Bottom Stomp", and "Buddy Bolden's Blues".
Joe "King" Oliver (December 19, 1885 – April 10, 1938) was a jazz cornet player and bandleader. He was particularly noted for his playing style, pioneering the use of mutes. Also a notable composer, he wrote many tunes still played regularly, including "Dippermouth Blues", "Sweet Like This", "Canal Street Blues", and "Doctor Jazz". He was the mentor and teacher of Louis Armstrong.
Charles Edward Anderson "Chuck" Berry (born October 18, 1926) is an American guitarist, singer, and songwriter, and one of the pioneers of rock and roll music. With songs such as "Maybellene" (1955), "Roll over Beethoven" (1956), "Rock and Roll Music" (1957) and "Johnny B.