(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 ...
Terence J. O’Grady
revised by Bryan Proksch
A free outdoor music festival organized and headlined by the Rolling Stones that took place on 6 December 1969. Goaded by the music press to put on a free show in the wake of the recent Woodstock festival and unprecedentedly high ticket prices for their own shows, the group quickly and haphazardly arranged the festival. The remote Altamont Speedway in the scrubland northeast of San Francisco was used after attempts to hold it at more congenial spots fell through. Possibly at the suggestion of the Grateful Dead’s manager, the Stones hired some members of San Francisco Hells Angels, the notorious motorcycle gang, to work security. Over 300,000 people flocked to the desolate place on a wintry day. Violence, primarily attacks by the Hells Angels on audience members and musicians, began almost immediately, and culminated in the murder of a young African-American man, Meredith Hunter. Documentarians Albert and David Maysles captured Hunter’s knifing at the hands of a Hells Angel, and the rest of the day’s dysfunction and violence in their film ...
Nancy P. Riley
The term “alternative country” refers to Country music of the late 20th century that existed outside of mainstream country (as represented by Nashville and contemporary country radio) and incorporated country music with aspects of punk, rock and roll, and roots influences. During the 1990s, alternative country identified with a punk rock do-it-yourself ethos and a connection to indie-rock fans and scenes, with live venues and independent record labels playing a crucial role in its emergence. Further, the term owes much to the success of underground rock bands like R.E.M. and Nirvana that became commercially successful, marketed as “alternative.”
The mythologized origins of alternative country begins in 1990, when the Belleville, Illinois band Uncle Tupelo released their debut album, No Depression (Rockville Records, 1990), which featured a collection of punk-influence rock songs and ballads with a country influence, including the title track, an edgy cover of the Carter Family tune “No Depression in Heaven.” The album led to a discussion folder on America Online, also named “No Depression,” which in turn led to a bi-monthly magazine of the same name. Although Uncle Tupelo disbanded in ...
AlterNATIVE music combines elements of Western culture with traditional Native American musics and storytelling, including use of western and Native American instruments, Native languages, socio-political and cultural issues, and Native regalia. The origin of the term is attributed to both Keith Secola (Anishinabe) and Jim Boyd (Colville).B. Burton: Moving Within the Circle: Contemporary Native American Music and Dance...
A form of 20th-century club dance music. It became popular in the ‘chill out’ rooms of clubs in London during the late 1980s as music to relax to, away from the more fevered, heavily rhythmic music favoured in the main rooms. Its DJs included Dr Alex Paterson of the Orb and the KLF, who played a mix of wildlife samples, sound effects, hypnotherapy tapes and Pink Floyd. The KLF’s 1989 album, Chill Out, took up this thread and was perhaps the first ambient house record. A seemingly random collection of samples (from the likes of Fleetwood Mac to Acker Bilk), it is best described as a 1980s pop culture version of musique concrète. Like much club dance music, ambient house music is largely electronic, but differs from other styles in that much of it is not intended for dancing: many of its records are arhythmic, and those that feature a rhythm track do so sparingly. It also often lacks a diatonic centre and features perpetual atonality and prolonged washes of chords played on a synthesizer. Other features include samples of wildlife and birdsong. The term ‘ambient’ was eventually applied, unconvincingly, to many other forms of dance music, such as dub and drum ’n’ bass. (For ambient music, ...
American television program. Bandstand premiered in Philadelphia in September 1952, hosted by Bob Horn. Dick Clark became host and producer in July 1956. The show achieved a nationwide audience when it was picked up by the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) and retitled American Bandstand in 1957. ABC moved it to Los Angeles in 1964 and carried the show until 1987. Syndicated broadcasts continued until September 1989.
American Bandstand, which featured teenagers dancing to the top rock and roll and rhythm and blues tunes of the day, brought popular music and dance into millions of households each weekday afternoon. In a popular feature called “Rate-a-Record,” Clark often asked the participants to evaluate the songs, giving rise to the phrase “I’ll give it a 95 because it has a great beat and it’s easy to dance to.” American Bandstand also included dance contests, and each program featured appearances by at least one popular musical act. The artists, who appeared, lip-synching to their latest hits, represented the most popular performers of the era. Although exclusively white in its early years, many of the artists popularized African American music and dance forms. For 37 years, teenagers watching the show absorbed a myriad of the latest dance crazes, including the twist, the locomotion, the stroll, the hustle, the mashed potato, the fish, the madison, disco, and the hand jive. Although virtually every urban area had an imitation show, including ...
Peter C. Muir
(b Chicago, IL, Sept 23, 1907; d Chicago, Dec 2, 1949). American jazz pianist. He was one of the most important figures in the popularization of boogie-woogie. Ammons began playing professionally as a teenager and performed in jazz bands and on the rent party circuit in Chicago. By the late 1920s he was working regularly as the pianist in several small bands, including those of Francis Moseley, William Barbee, and Louis D. Banks. It was with the last of these that he first recorded, in 1934. Around the same time Ammons formed his own six-piece band, the Rhythm Kings, with whom he recorded for Decca in 1936. A seminal event in Ammons’ career was his participation in the “From Spirituals to Swing” concert in Carnegie Hall in 1938 as a member of a boogie-woogie piano trio with Pete Johnson and Meade “Lux” Lewis (the latter had been a close friend and musical influence since childhood). There followed a series of successful solo and small band recordings for the fledgling labels Solo Art and Blue Note that consolidated his reputation among the jazz public. Ammons continued to perform and record in the 1940s and made an important series of more than 30 recordings with the Rhythm Kings for Mercury between ...
(b Chicago, IL, April 14, 1925; d Chicago, Aug 6, 1974). American jazz tenor saxophonist and bandleader, son of Albert (C.) Ammons. He studied music under Captain Walter Dyett at Du Sable High School and was influenced by Lester Young and Coleman Hawkins. After touring with the trumpeter King Kolax in 1943, he was a member of Billy Eckstine’s seminal big band from 1944 to 1947—Eckstine is said to have given him the nickname Jug, referring to his hat size—and was also a member of Woody Herman’s Second Herd in 1949. Ammons began leading his own small groups in 1947 and had a hit with “Red Top” (named after his wife) that year. In the early 1950s he co-led a popular two-tenor band with Sonny Stitt and in the early 1960s he took part in successful collaborations in a soul-jazz idiom with several organists, including Jack McDuff and Johnny Smith. He served prison sentences for drug offences (...
Lori Burns and Jada Watson
(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 ...
John W. Rumble
(b Columbia, SC, Nov 1, 1937). American country music singer-songwriter, recording artist, and television host. He received his journalism degree from the University of Georgia, but turned to music after Ray Price scored a hit with his song “City Lights” in 1958. Anderson signed with Decca Records in 1958 and joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1961. Known as “Whisperin’ Bill” for his distinctive delivery, he composed many of his hits: “Mama Sang a Song” (Decca, 1962), “Still” (Decca, 1963), “For Loving You” (with Jan Howard; Decca, 1967), and “Sometimes” (with Mary Lou Turner; MCA, 1975), among others, all reached the number one position in Billboard’s “Hot Country Singles” chart. He also crafted Lefty Frizzell’s “Saginaw, Michigan” (Columbia, 1964), Connie Smith’s career-making “Once a Day” (RCA Victor, 1964), and Jean Shepard’s “Slippin’ Away” (United Artists, 1973), among many others.
Tall, handsome, and poised, Anderson hosted his self-titled syndicated television series (...
(b Greenville, SC, Sept 12, 1916; d Norwalk, CA, April 29, 1981). Americanjazz trumpeter. Orphaned when he was four, he grew up at the Jenkins Orphanage in South Carolina. He took up trombone at the age of seven but switched to trumpet in 1929, and learned music theory as a member of the school’s band. In 1932 Anderson and a group of students left the school and formed the Carolina Cotton Pickers. He was a member of the group until 1935, after which he had stints with the orchestras of Claude Hopkins, Doc Wheeler, Lucky Millinder, Erskine Hawkins, Lionel Hampton, and Sabby Lewis, and joined Duke Ellington in 1944. Although he left Ellington’s group in 1947, he returned to work with him again during the periods 1950–59 and 1961–71. He was subsequently based in Los Angeles, playing in the studios and with big bands led by Bill Berry and Louis Bellson. Anderson was a high note specialist, often hitting pitches in the upper register during the climax of pieces; on a recording of “Satin Doll” he made with Ellington in ...
(b Houston, TX, Nov 11, 1928; d Shoreline, WA, March 10, 2016). American jazz and blues singer. At the age of 12, she won a talent contest held at the El Dorado Ballroom in Houston by improvising new melodies to popular songs and in 1941 began performing with Russell Jacquet. In an attempt to remove Anderson from the nightclub scene and improve her academic standing, her family moved to Seattle in 1944. However, this was just as the jazz scene began to thrive there, and Anderson subsequently performed in bands under Bumps Blackwell, Ray Charles, Johnny Otis, and Lionel Hampton. She also recorded with Gigi Gryce (Nica’s Tempo, 1955, Savoy) and toured Scandinavia with Rolf Ericsen (1956). While in Sweden, she recorded her début album Hot Cargo (1956, Met.). This album, coupled with performances championed by Ralph J. Gleason, made Anderson a sensation. However, a legal dispute with Mercury, which prevented her from recording for around five years, then derailed her career. Anderson’s popularity was revived by a celebrated performance at the Concord Jazz Festival in ...
[Johnson, Ivie (Marie); Ivy]
(b Gilroy, CA, July 10, 1905; d Los Angeles, CA, Dec 28, 1949). American jazz singer. She traveled abroad as Ivie Marie Johnson on two occasions; it is unknown whether Johnson was her married name or her given name at birth. She studied singing at a local convent and then for two years with Sara Ritt in Washington, DC. After returning to California, she worked with Curtis Mosby, Paul Howard, and Sonny Clay, and sang and danced in the vaudeville revues Fanchon and Marco and Shuffle Along. She toured Australia with Clay in 1928 before organizing her own show in the United States. After Duke Ellington heard her perform with Earl Hines, she worked with him from February 1931. Ellington thought highly of Anderson, and many critics consider her to be the finest singer to work in Ellington’s band. Certainly her vivacious sense of rhythm and dramatic delivery mark several noted Ellington recordings of the 1930s and early 1940s, including “It don’t mean a thing” (...
Roxanne R. Reed
(b Anguilla, MS, March 21, 1919; d Hazel Crest, IL, 15 June, 1995). American gospel director, singer, composer, and publisher. Anderson established a career forming and training gospel groups in Chicago. His formative years were spent as one of the original Roberta Martin Singers, one of the premiere gospel groups of the 1930s and 1940s. He left briefly, between 1939 and 1941, to form the first of his many ensembles, the Knowles and Anderson Singers with R.L. Knowles. He rejoined Martin, but ultimately resigned because of the travel demands. In 1947 he formed Robert Anderson and his Gospel Caravan, but after several members left in 1952, he formed a new set of singers that recorded and performed under the name the Robert Anderson Singers through the mid-1950s. Throughout his career, Anderson recorded on a multitude of labels including Miracle and United with Robert Anderson and the Caravans; and later with the Robert Anderson Singers, on Apollo. Anderson wrote, and often sang lead on, many of the songs his groups performed, including “Why Should I Worry” (...
(b Chicago, IL, Oct 5, 1934; d Honolulu, HI, May 29, 2009). American educator and organist. He attended Illinois Wesleyan University and Union Theological Seminary (MSM 1957, DSM 1961), studying organ with Lillian McCord, Robert Baker, and, as winner of a Fulbright grant for two years, Helmut Walcha in Frankfurt, Germany. An exacting, demanding, and colorful organ teacher, Anderson spent his entire career (1960–98) in the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, where he mentored a large number of prize-winning organists, served as organist of the school’s Chapel, and was honored with the highest academic rank, University Distinguished Professor. Three recordings for the Aeolian-Skinner Organ Company’s King of Instruments series organized as three separate programs, one each of 18th-, 19th-, and 20th-century organ music, illustrate a brilliant stylistic command of organ repertory spanning all periods from the earliest to the most contemporary. Holder of the highest certificate from the American Guild of Organists (FAGO), Anderson served that organization as National Councilor for Education and was program chair for two national conventions of the Guild in Dallas. He toured widely as a recitalist in the USA and Europe and was frequently employed as a competition adjudicator and organ consultant....
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” (...
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 (b 4 Feb 1941; drums) were joined by Hilton Valentine (b 21 May 1943; guitar) and Eric Burdon (b 11 May 1941; vocals). Their style was founded in Burdon's ‘wild’ persona and raw voice, which showed the particular influence of John Lee Hooker and Ray Charles, and on Price's gospel-influenced organ style. Their version of House of the Rising Sun (Col., 1964) became a number one hit in the UK and the US despite being over four minutes long. Typical of their style, it featured Burdon's agonized delivery and Price's economical solos. Their next few singles were comparative failures but their producer Mickie Most achieved further success by importing Brill Building material, such as ...
S. Timothy Maloney
(b Ottawa, ON, July 30, 1941). Canadian singer-songwriter, naturalized American. He was singing for amateur shows and local radio stations by the age of ten and formed the Bobby Soxers vocal trio while still in high school. At 15 he recorded one of his own songs in Hollywood and in 1957 signed a songwriting and recording contract with ABC-Paramount in New York. His first single, “Diana” (EMI Columbia, 1957), was a number one hit and became one of the best-selling records in pop music history. Other hits followed, including “You are my destiny” (ABC-Paramount, 1958), “Lonely Boy” (ABC-Paramount, 1959), and “Put your head on my shoulder” (EMI Columbia, 1959). He also has more than 400 songs to his credit, many of which have been covered by other artists, among them, Buddy Holly, Johnny Mathis, Patti Page, Elvis Presley, Sammy Davis Jr., Barbra Streisand, and Michael Bublé. “My Way” (Reprise, ...
Frances R. Aparicio
[Muñiz, Marco Antonio]
(b New York City, Sept 16, 1968). American singer, songwriter, and actor of Puerto Rican ancestry. Named after the famous Mexican singer Marco Antonio Muñiz (b 1933), Marc Anthony has become one of the most famous and important Latino singer-songwriters in the United States. Because of the excellence of his voice and his commitment to his Latino and Caribbean roots, he has become the biggest selling salsa artist of all time, with over 10 million albums sold worldwide. After singing house and freestyle music in English in his early career, Marc Anthony revitalized salsa music with a series of early 1990s musical hits that paved the way for the 1999 Latin pop explosion. He has successfully crossed linguistic borders, singing both in English and Spanish within the same album and thus contesting the label of “crossover.” His stage performances and the hybrid musical arrangements that have cast traditional Puerto Rican songs like “Preciosa” and “Lamento borincano” as salsa songs embody his Nuyorican identity in the public space, thus exemplifying the transnational nature of salsa music. Some of his best-known songs in English include “I Need to Know” and “You Sang to Me.”...