You are looking at  1-20 of 175 articles  for:

  • Popular Music x
  • 20th c. (1900-2000) x
  • Musical Concepts, Genres, and Terms x
  • Music Business, Institutions and Organizations x
Clear All

Article

Deena Weinstein

Both an American Detroit-based hard rock band and the adopted name of its singer and main creative force Vincent Damon Furnier (b Detroit, MI, 4 Feb 1946). Cooper was the son of a minister and the nephew of the storyteller Damon Runyon, after whom he was named. He moved to Arizona, where he attended high school and formed the Nazz. This band eventually took the name Alice Cooper and developed an over-the-top, theatrical shock-rock style that influenced a host of other rock performers.

With snide and clever lyrics, Alice Cooper’s style was mainly hard rock, but some tunes were psychedelic and others would be suitable in a Broadway musical. After moving to Michigan, the band scored numerous hits in the early 1970s. Many of the songs were rebellious youth-focused anthems, including “Eighteen” (Warner, 1971) and “School’s Out” (Warner, 1972). Others centered on ghoulish menace or mere gothic gruesomeness like “Dead Babies” (Warner, ...

Article

Terence J. O’Grady

revised by Bryan Proksch

(b Los Angeles, CA, March 31, 1935). American trumpeter, composer, bandleader, and record company executive. He studied trumpet as a child and left college to play in the army for a two-year period. After three years of producing records on his own, he launched A&M Records with Jerry Moss in 1962. A&M’s first issue was also Alpert’s first recording as a trumpeter and bandleader, The Lonely Bull (A&M, 1962). The title track included sounds from the bullring in Tijuana, Mexico, so Alpert dubbed his band the Tijuana Brass. His music exploited a distinctive combination of Mexican mariachi-style brass with jazz rhythms, which was dubbed Ameriachi. A string of hits including “Mexican Shuffle” (A&M, 1964) and “Tijuana Taxi” (A&M, 1965) followed. In 1966 Alpert had five recordings simultaneously listed on the Billboard Top 20. His cover of “This guy’s in love with you” reached no.1 in ...

Article

Lori Burns and Jada Watson

[Myra Ellen]

(b Newton, NC, Aug 22, 1963). American alternative-rock singer-songwriter, pianist, and record producer. She emerged in the early 1990s amid a resurgence of female singer-songwriters and has been one of the few well known alternative-rock artists to use the piano as her primary instrument. She attended the preparatory division of the prestigious Peabody Conservatory but left the school at the age of 11. She began to play her own music in nightclubs at 14, chaperoned by her father, who was a preacher. After Amos moved to Los Angeles in her late teens to pursue a recording career, her band Y Kant Tori Read released a self-titled album (Atl., 1987). Although this was unsuccessful, Atlantic Records retained her six-album contract.

Amos’s debut solo album, Little Earthquakes (Atl., 1992), earned her critical acclaim for her vocal expressivity, pianistic virtuosity, and fearless exploration of a wide range of personal themes, notably female sexuality, personal relationships, religion, sexual violence, and coming of age. The album ...

Article

Roxanne R. Reed

Gospel ensemble. The Angelic Gospel Singers, or the Angelics, were an African American female gospel quartet based in Philadelphia. Founder, lead singer, and pianist Margaret Allison (1921–2008) a native of McCormick, South Carolina, moved with her family to Philadelphia as a youth. Allison joined the Spiritual Echoes in 1942 and learned vocal arranging, composition, and accompanying techniques. Allison’s family was affiliated with the Pentecostal Church, but stylistically her gospel sound was closer to that of the southern Baptist church and gospel tradition. Allison left the Spiritual Echoes in 1944 to form the Angelics. Joining her were fellow former Spiritual Echoes members Lucille Shird and Ella Mae Norris. The third member was Allison’s sister Josephine MacDowell. The quartet’s sound mimicked that of popular male quartets such as the Fairfield Four and the Dixie Hummingbirds with controlled harmonies and simple accompaniment. The Angelic Gospel Singers commonly performed with the Hummingbirds. As a group, the Angelics performed primarily on the Pentecostal Church circuit. Their rendition of Lucie Campbell’s “Touch Me, Lord Jesus” (...

Article

Bill C. Malone

revised by Barry Mazor

[Chester Burton ]

(b nr Luttrell, TN, June 20, 1924, d Nashville, TN, June 30, 2001). American country-music guitarist and recording company executive. Although the first instrument he played professionally was the fiddle, he became internationally famous as a guitarist. Developed while he was in high school, his guitar style was influenced by Merle Travis, Les Paul, Django Reinhardt, and George Barnes and was characterized by the use of the thumb to establish a rhythm on the lower strings and multiple fingers to play melodic or improvisational passages on the higher strings, sometimes with complex voicings. In the early 1940s Atkins toured with Archie Campbell and Bill Carlisle playing both fiddle and guitar, and appeared with them on WNOX radio in Knoxville. He then toured with the second generation Carter Family as a sideman and in 1946 joined Red Foley. After beginning his association with the “Grand Ole Opry” he settled in Nashville in ...

Article

Article

Akitsugu Kawamoto

American hip-hop group. It was formed in 1995 in Los Angeles by will.i.am (William James Adams, Jr.; b Inglewood, CA, 15 March 1975; rapping, vocals, various instruments), apl.de.ap (Allan Pineda Lindo, Jr.; b Angeles City, Philippines, 28 November 1975; rapping, drums), and Taboo (Jaime Luis Gómez; b Los Angeles, CA, 14 July 1975; rapping, keyboard). The group grew out of Atban Klann (1991–5), a Los Angeles-based group signed for a time to Eazy-E’s Ruthless Records. The Black Eyed Peas developed an approach that fused elements of global pop, jazz-rock, funk, soul, noise music, and a variety of hip-hop styles. Initially considered somewhat of an underground phenomenon, the Black Eyed Peas achieved worldwide commercial success after being joined by Fergie (Stacy Ann Ferguson; b Hacienda Heights, CA, 27 March 1975; rapping, vocals) in 2003. The group’s third and fourth albums, Elephunk (2003) and Monkey Business (2005...

Article

Bronco  

Jesús A. Ramos-Kittrell

[Grupo Bronco, El Gigante de América]

Mexican grupera ensemble. Formed by José Guadalupe Esparza, Ramiro Delgado, Javier Villarreal, and José Luis Villarreal in 1979, this band came together at a time when the genre later known as onda grupera was still in development. Influenced by the sounds of cumbia ranchera music, and romantic ballad, the band became a decisive factor in the commercialization of the grupera phenomenon. Not only did Bronco consolidate cowboy clothing as a grupera staple but they also pioneered the use of elaborate staging, fireworks, and gigantic screens in grupera concerts. After seven years of activity Bronco reached international popularity with the hit “Que no quede huella” (1989), and in 1993 starred in Dos mujeres, un camino, a soap opera that became a commercial hit in Latin America. Clothing, concert entertainment, television, and motion pictures brought international recognition for the band in the United States, Latin America, and Europe. Ultimately, these elements, accompanying Bronco’s enormous record and ticket sales, marked the mainstream emergence of onda grupera. After announcing their retirement in ...

Article

David Wozniak

[Five Brown Brothers, Six Brown Brothers]

American saxophone ensemble of the vaudeville and musical theater stages that was comprised of Canadian-born brothers. The group began as a saxophone ensemble led by Tom Brown (1882–1950), along with his brothers Percy and Vern; brothers Alec and Fred joined to form the Five Brown Brothers in 1908. William joined in 1912, forming the Six Brown Brothers. Personnel in the ensemble was in constant flux, and included musicians not related to the Browns. The sextet contained two each of alto and tenor saxophones, one baritone saxophone, and one bass saxophone. The Brown Brothers benefited from the “Saxophone Craze” of the 1910s and 20s, for which Tom Brown has claimed the ensemble was responsible. At the height of the Brown Brothers’ popularity, they performed in Broadway musicals and music revues such as Chin Chin (1914). The Brown Brothers’ shows were equal parts musical act and comedy show in which the Brothers often appeared in clown costumes, and leader Tom Brown performed in blackface. In ...

Article

Greg Schelonka

(Jaguares)

Mexican rock band. Saúl Hernández formed Caifanes in 1988 with Sabo Romo, Alfonso André, and Diego Herrera. Alejandro Marcovich joined later. Caifanes challenged the norms of mainstream Mexican rock music with their dark, somber music and by dressing in black, using makeup, and performing with disheveled hair. The band’s musical style and their appearance was at first a liability, initially preventing them from landing a record deal. They caught a break when they were invited to open for Argentinean singer Miguel Mateos and impressed his producer. This exposure and the need for Mexican labels to sign bands to compete with Argentine and Spanish bands contributed to their signing a recording contract. Their first album quieted previous doubts with strong sales. They have since been recognized as a key component in the Rock en tu Idioma (Rock in Your Language) movement and in Mexican rock not only for their commercial success but also for their musical ability. Caifanes separated in ...

Article

Benjamin J. Harbert

Publishing company. It was founded in 1953 by Grand Ole Opry manager Jim Denny and performer Webb Pierce. It was one of the original Nashville music publishing companies, competing with Acuff-Rose and Tree. Along with the Grand Ole Opry, these companies contributed to the initial consolidation of the country music industry. Its building was located on 7th Avenue across the street from the studio of Owen Bradley, a legendary local producer. With Bradley and an association with Decca Records, Cedarwood quickly surpassed Acuff-Rose as the premiere Nashville publishing house. Songs published under the Cedarwood name formed the repertoire of the Nashville country music industry; significant recorded works included “The Long Black Veil” by Lefty Frizzell, “So Wrong” by Patsy Cline, “Detroit City” by Bobby Bare, “Daddy Sang Bass” by Johnny Cash, and “The Comeback” by Faron Young. Other notable songwriters whose work was published by Cedarwood include Marijohn Wilkin, Buddy Holly, Danny Dill, Cindy Walker, Ronnie Self, and John D. Loudermilk. In the mid-1960s, Cedarwood began to develop its religious music catalog. Co-founder Denny died in ...

Article

Edgardo Díaz Díaz

Puerto Rican dance band. Founded by Cayetano Cesar Concepción Martínez (1909–74), it first performed on 14 June 1947, alongside Noro Morales’ orchestra at the New Yorker Club in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Its lineup consisted of three trumpets, three saxophones or clarinets, and a rhythm section (piano, bass, timbales, conga, and bongos), as well as a singer who alternated slow boleros with faster guaracha-like genres. Boleros were arranged in a strophic format, with lyrics in the charge of the bolerista, or bolero singer, and Concepción performing solo melodies on trumpet during introductory and inner instrumental sections. Between 1947 and 1954 Joe Valle (1921–80) was the orchestra’s main singer; he was considered to be among Puerto Rico’s most notable boleristas. The orchestra was best known for presenting its ballroom versions of the popular plena to affluent audiences. A lively sound otherwise played by arrabal and rural ...

Article

Roben Jones

[John Henderson ]

(b Whitehaven, TN, April 8, 1931). American singer-songwriter, producer, publisher, and entrepreneur. He began playing bluegrass while in the military and after his discharge in 1952, played at radio stations in Wheeling, West Virginia, and Boston. While enrolled in Memphis State University (from 1954), he worked nights and weekends at the Eagle’s Nest club. After working briefly for Fernwood Records, he was hired by Sun Records, where he recorded Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash, among others. He wrote hits for several of Sun’s artists, including Johnny Cash’s singles “Ballad of a Teenage Queen” and “Guess things happen that way” (both Sun, 1958).

Clement left Sun in 1960 to became a staff producer for RCA in Nashville. In 1963 he moved to Texas, started a publishing company, and produced Dickey Lee’s hit “Patches” (Smash, 1963). After returning to Nashville in 1965, he discovered and produced Charlie Pride and wrote songs for a variety of country artists, including Pride (“Just between you and me,” RCA Victor, ...

Article

Charles Garrett

Article

Richard Johnston

Guitar, mandolin, and ukulele manufacturer. It was founded in Houston, Texas, in 1976 by Bill Collings (b 1948), who had moved from Ohio to Texas following a failed attempt at medical school. After building a few guitars and some banjos, Collings moved to Austin in 1979. His background as a machinist led him to emphasize precise jigs and fixtures even when he was working out of a small single-car garage. Demand for Collings guitars, specifically for updated versions of Martin and Gibson flat-top styles from the 1930s, prompted his move to a 1,000-square-foot shop in 1989. Two woodworkers were hired, including Bruce Van Wart, who is still in charge of wood selection and top voicing on the firm’s acoustic guitars. By this time, production had increased to a level that allowed sales to a few retailers.

In late 1991 the company relocated to a much larger facility on the outskirts of Austin, and the number of Collings guitar models, and employees, began to grow. Bill Collings was one of the first flat-top guitar builders to offer fully carved arch-top models as well. These deluxe jazz guitars were quickly accepted as the equals of those from premier American builders, and they sold for similar prices; but only a few were completed each year. Collings was also one of the first small, independent guitar companies to incorporate CNC (computer numerical control) carving machines for building both guitar parts and the precise tooling to aid in their assembly, which is still done by hand. One of the signature differences between the Collings models and the Gibson and Martin originals that inspired them is that Collings uses an unglued bolted mortise and tenon neck joint, rather than a traditional dovetail....

Article

Colpix  

Christopher Doll

Record company. Formed in 1958 by Columbia Pictures, Colpix originally aimed to market soundtracks and spin-off recordings of Columbia’s movies and Screen Gems’ (another Columbia subsidiary) television shows. Colpix’s catalog featured scores by such illustrious film composers as Bernard Herrmann and a young John Williams, although the company’s biggest movie-derived success came in 1962 with Maurice Jarre’s Oscar-winning score for Lawrence of Arabia. On the television side, the company’s focus was split between animated characters (the Flintstones, Huckleberry Hound), comedians (George Burns, Woody Allen), and comely young actors-turned-singers (Paul Petersen, Shelley Fabares, both from The Donna Reed Show). Other notable acts included the celebrated singer Nina Simone (at Colpix from 1959 to 1964) and the Marcels (“Blue Moon”). In late 1962 Colpix began to shift more attention toward the pop market, acquiring Aldon Music and, with it, the recording label Dimension and its crop of successful Brill Building pop songwriters. Yet this new direction did not yield much commercial interest, and Colpix folded in ...

Article

Horace Clarence Boyer

(b Columbia, SC, 1918; d Philadelphia, PA, Sept 4, 1967). American gospel singer. She studied music at Temple University and subsequently became a school teacher. In 1938 she heard Willie Mae Ford Smith sing gospel music in Washington, DC, and decided to adopt the style. She began singing in towns in the Washington area, where she soon became known as the “Sweetheart of the Potomac,” a title that remained with her throughout her career. She began recording in the early 1950s and by 1953 was one of the major gospel stars, specializing in the “song and sermonette” (where the first half of the song is delivered as a sermon and the second half is sung). Her most popular recordings, all made during the 1950s, include “Amen,” “Evening Sun,” and “Stop Gambler.” She performed most often with the support of a male quartet, beginning a song softly and subtly, then building in volume and drama as the song progressed....

Article

John Clemente

Girl group formed in Coney Island, New York, in 1954. Dorothy Jones, (Ethel) Darlene McCrea, and Jones’s cousin Beulah Robertson won third place in the Apollo Theater’s amateur contest. This led to their first single, “All Night Mambo/Don’t let go” (Lamp Records, 1954). The songwriter and manager Jesse Stone got them signed to Atlantic Records, where they recorded during the period 1955–6; their second single, “In Paradise/Passing Time” (1956) was written by Neil Sedaka. The Cookies also backed other artists on the Atlantic roster, with Margie Hendricks replacing Robertson in 1956. Two years later, McCrea and Hendricks accepted Ray Charles’ offer to be part of the Raelettes.

In 1960 Jones assembled another trio, with McCrea’s sister Earl-Jean and cousin Margaret Ross. They undertook studio work with Sedaka and subsequently with Carole King and Gerry Goffin. The Cookies scored their own hits with “Chains” (Dimension) and “Don’t say nothin’ bad (about my baby)” (Dimension). They continued backing other singers and recording demos for Goffin and King, and between ...

Article

Bárbara Idalissee Abadía-Rexach

[El Combo]

Puerto Rican orchestra founded in 1954 by the percussionist, bandleader, and composer Rafael Cortijo (b Santurce, PR, 11 Jan 1928; d San Juan, PR, 3 Oct 1982). Its plena-influenced, percussive style gained an audience in Puerto Rico through appearances on the television show “La taberna india” and performances throughout the island, and became popular all over Latin America. The orchestra, whose members were Afro-Puerto Ricans, disbanded in 1962. However, the group’s songs, particularly those recorded by Ismael Rivera, remain part of the Puerto Rican popular music repertoire. One of its most enduring hits is “El negro bembón,” written by Bobby Capó. After legal and financial problems, Cortijo formed another orchestra, El Bonche, with his adopted niece Fe Cortijo. He lived for a time in New York, but returned to Puerto Rico and recorded a comeback album with the support of Tite Curet Alonso. In 1974 El Combo was reunited to perform a concert in Puerto Rico....

Article

John Clemente

Vocal quintet. It was formed in Brooklyn, New York, and was closely associated with the producer Phil Spector and the girl group phenomenon of the early 1960s. Lead vocals were generally shared between Barbara Alston (b Baltimore, MD, 1943) and Dolores “LaLa” Brooks (b Brooklyn, 1947), although their most successful hit featured the Los Angeles-based session singer Darlene Love (b Hawthorne, CA, 1941).

The group’s manager Benny Wells had them record demos in the hope of securing club work, and these caught the attention of Spector, who signed them to the label Philles. Their first hit was “There’s no other” (1961), followed by the social commentary of “Uptown” (1962, which reached number 13 on the Billboard chart), and the controversial “He hit me (and it felt like a kiss)” (1962), which was withdrawn from circulation.

By this time disagreement over material and arrangements had left the group at odds with Spector. He issued what became the group’s biggest hit without them singing a note: “He’s a rebel” was recorded in ...