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ABBA  

Alf Björnberg

Swedish pop group. Its members were Benny Andersson (b Stockholm, 16 Dec 1946), Agnetha Fältskog (b Jönköping, 5 April 1950), Anni-Frid Lyngstad (b Ballangen, Norway, 15 Nov 1945) and Björn Ulvaeus (b Göteborg, 25 April 1945). Having established separate careers within Swedish pop they started working together in ...

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Richard Beckett

English record company. It was established in London in 1988 by the DJs Eddie Piller and Gilles Peterson. Their original intention was that the label would represent an alternative to the nascent acid house scene, based more around live musicians than the technology so central to acid house. Their policy stated ‘no house music’ and championed obscure soul and funk artists of the 1960s and 70s. Peterson left in ...

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Michael Ethen

(b Kingston, ON, Nov 5, 1959). Canadian rock singer, songwriter, and guitarist, and photographer. The son of a diplomat, he spent his youth in England, Israel, Portugal, and Austria. After returning with his family to North America, he began performing and recording at the age of 15 with rock bands in British Columbia and Ontario. In ...

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Allan F. Moore

English rock group. Formed in 1960 as the Alan Price Combo, a jazz trio based in Newcastle upon Tyne, they became the Animals two years later when Price (b 19 April 1942; organ), Chas (Bryan James) Chandler (b 18 Dec 1938; bass guitar) and John Steel (...

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Ian Peel

(b Truro, 1971). English composer and DJ. Other pseudonyms include AFX, Caustic Window, Blue Calx, Dice Man, Power-Pill, Q-Chastic, Soit-P.P. and Polygon Window. He started experimenting with electronic hardware and sound in his early teens, releasing these recordings on his acclaimed début album, ...

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Liz Thomson

(b 9 Dec, 1950, St Kitts, Leeward Islands). English singer-songwriter. One of five children, she spent the first few years of her life with her grandparents in the West Indies, following the rest of her family to Birmingham in 1958. An introverted youngster, she taught herself piano and guitar and as a teenager, inspired initially by Marianne Faithfull, she began writing and performing her own songs in clubs. While singing in the touring production of ...

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Jeff Place

(b Warsaw, Poland, Dec 2, 1905; d New York, NY, Oct 19, 1986). American record producer of Polish birth. He founded the label Asch in New York in 1939, initially to release local Jewish music. He soon expanded to jazz and American vernacular music releasing records by such musicians as Mary Lou Williams, James P. Johnson, Woody Guthrie, Lead Belly, and Pete Seeger, who subsequently gained widespread acclaim. He then founded Disc (...

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Alexandra M. Apolloni

(b Philadelphia, PA, Sept 8, 1940). American pop vocalist of Italian descent. His career spanned music, film, and television, helping to define the image of the post-war Teen idol. A virtuoso trumpeter, Avalon released instrumental singles early in his career and led a jazz group, Rocco and the Saints, based in Philadelphia. Chancellor Records signed Avalon as a vocalist, aiming to capitalize on his boyish looks. Avalon’s singles for Chancellor include “Venus,” which spent five weeks at number one on the ...

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(b Paris, May 22, 1924). French singer and songwriter. His parents were Armenian immigrants, and he began acting as a child. In 1941 he wrote the lyrics to the song J'ai bu, with music by Pierre Roche, and which brought the songwriting team to the attention of Edith Piaf. Aznavour subsequently wrote songs for Piaf (...

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(b St. Louis, MO, June 3, 1906; d Paris, France, April 12, 1975). American dancer and singer, naturalized French. She started out dancing on the streets of St. Louis with the Jones Family Band, a vaudeville troupe. After touring the South with the Dixie Steppers, she gained attention in the touring company of ...

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Balada  

Daniel Party

Spanish-language variant of the international pop music ballad. A hybrid of Mexican bolero, Italian and French orchestrated love songs, and early rock and roll ballads, balada emerged simultaneously in Spain and throughout the Americas in the late 1960s. Lyrics are invariably about love and purposely lack references to socio-political issues or local events to maximize potential target audiences. Most often performed by a solo singer, early balada moves at a slow to moderate tempo, and the musical accompaniment, by either a rock ensemble or a studio orchestra, is secondary to the voice. Early baladistas include Mexicans Carlos Lico and Armando Manzanero, Cuban American La Lupe, Spaniards Raphael and Julio Iglesias, Brazilian Roberto Carlos, Argentines Leonardo Favio and Sandro, and Chilean band Los Ángeles Negros....

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Charles Fox and Digby Fairweather

(b Welwyn Garden City, April 17, 1930). English jazz trombonist, arranger and bandleader. He studied the trombone and the double bass at the GSM in London, and formed his first traditional jazz band in 1949. In 1953 he helped to organize a band that was led by Ken Colyer, at that time the most ardent British propagandist for traditional New Orleans music. The following year Barber took over the band; Colyer was replaced by Pat Halcox, and the ensemble soon became one of the most popular and technically accomplished groups of its kind. From the mid-1950s Barber helped foster British interest in blues by bringing over such American musicians as Muddy Waters, the harmonica player Sonny Terry and the guitarist and singer Brownie McGhee. He made several tours of the USA beginning in ...

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Jairo Moreno

(b Brooklyn, NY, April 29, 1929; d Hackensack, NJ, Feb 17, 2006). American conga player, bandleader, and producer of Puerto Rican descent. He began playing percussion informally during time in Germany as part of the US occupation army (1946–9). Returning to New York City in ...

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Dave Laing

(b Cardiff, Jan 8, 1937). Welsh pop singer. With a booming yet imperious contralto and an arresting stage presence, Shirley Bassey was one of Britain’s most popular singers of show tunes and pop ballads during the 1950s and 60s. Her forte was the melodramatic ballad, usually taken from a successful musical play or popular film. Thus, early in her career Bassey made hit recordings of ‘As long as he needs me’ (from Bart’s ...

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Ian MacDonald

English pop group. Ringo Starr (Richard Starkey; b Liverpool, July 7, 1940; drums, voice), John Lennon (John Winston Lennon; b Liverpool, 9 Oct 1940; d New York, 8 Dec 1980; rhythm guitar, keyboards, harmonica, voice), Paul McCartney (James Paul McCartney; b Liverpool, 18 June 1942...

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Walter Everett

English pop group. George Harrison (b Liverpool, England, Feb 25, 1943; d Los Angeles, Nov 29, 2001), John Lennon (John Winston (Ono) Lennon; b Liverpool, Oct 9, 1940; d New York, Dec 8, 1980), Paul McCartney (James Paul McCartney; b Liverpool, June 18, 1942...

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Susan Fast

(b Wallington, Surrey, June 24, 1944). English blues-rock guitarist. Along with Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page, he pioneered hard-rock and heavy-metal guitar playing. He played with the Yardbirds, the (1965–7), then created the Jeff Beck Group, which went through several personnel changes, the earliest including Rod Stewart (vocals) and Ron Wood (bass). The album ...

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Todd Decker

(b Chicago, IL, Feb 14, 1894; d Beverly Hills, CA, Dec 26, 1974). American Entertainer, actor, and violinist. The son of Jewish immigrants from Poland and Lithuania, he began playing violin at age six and was considered a local prodigy. By age 17 he was playing in vaudeville pit orchestras and soon moved onto the stage. Benny paired up with a pianist—initially Cora Salisbury, then Lyman Wood—in his signature musical act of this time, “From Grand Opera to Ragtime.” After brief service in the US Navy during World War I, Benny returned to vaudeville as a single in an act emphasizing comedy over music. He married Mary Livingstone (Sadye Marks) in ...

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Craig A. Lockard

(b Vienna, Austria, May 2, 1924). American and Israeli actor and singer. Born into a Jewish family, he spent his youth in Austria. Following the Nazi occupation the Bikel family escaped to Palestine, where he made his stage debut in 1943. Moving to London to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, he began his acting career in ...

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Leonidas Economou

Greek singer and composer. He began his career as a laïko composer and bouzouki soloist and sang only occasionally. He made his first great hit as a singer in 1956, with a song by Manos Hadjidakis, but he became widely known in the early 1960s when Mikis Theodorakis chose him as the main interpreter of some of his most important works. His career peaked between ...