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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 1970, from 1972 under the name Björn, Benny, Agnetha och Anni-Frid. The acronym ABBA was adopted in 1973. Their victory in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974, with Waterloo, launched the most successful international career to emerge from that context. During the period 1974–82 the group attained global popularity with songs such as Mama Mia (1975), Fernando (1976), Dancing Queen (1976), The Name of the Game (1977), Take a chance on me (1978) and Super Trouper (1980), all of which were number one hits in the UK, and albums such as ...

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Barry Long

(b Port Chester, NY, Dec 16, 1944). American jazz guitarist, composer, and bandleader. He grew up in Greenwich, CT, and began playing guitar at the age of 14. He was primarily self taught until he studied at the Berklee College of Music (1962–6) and with Jack Petersen. Abercrombie joined Johnny Hammond’s touring band after the blues organist had spotted him performing with other Berklee students at Paul’s Mall in Boston. After studying briefly at the University of North Texas, in 1969 he moved to New York where he performed and recorded in Billy Cobham’s jazz-rock band Dreams (1970), joined Chico Hamilton’s group, and recorded with Gato Barbieri (1971), Barry Miles (1972), and Gil Evans (1974). Abercrombie attracted wider attention performing with Cobham’s fusion band Spectrum from 1974. He also toured with Jack DeJohnette and recorded his debut album, ...

Article

[Abrams, Richard Louis ]

(b Chicago, IL, Sept 19, 1930). American pianist, composer, and administrator. After receiving private piano lessons, he studied at the Chicago Musical College and taught himself the system of composition devised by Joseph Schillinger. He began to work professionally in 1948 and performed regularly at the Cotton Club in Chicago during the 1950s, accompanying visiting musicians such as Dexter Gordon, Sonny Stitt, and Max Roach. After composing and arranging for the Walter “King” Fleming band in the mid-1950s, Abrams joined the hard bop ensemble MJT+3 and made his recording debut on the group’s album DADDY-O PRESENTS MJT+3 (1957, VJ 1013). Beginning in 1961 Abrams led the Experimental Band, a composer-centered rehearsal ensemble whose members included the double bass player Donald Rafael Garrett, Jack DeJohnette, Roscoe Mitchell, and the reed player Joseph Jarman. He subsequently co-founded the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) in 1965...

Article

AC/DC  

Robert Walser

Australian heavy metal band. Formed in Sydney in 1973 by the brothers Angus Young (b Glasgow, Scotland, 31 March 1955; guitar) and Malcolm Young (b Glasgow, Scotland, 6 Jan 1953; d Elizabeth Bay, Australia, 18 Nov 2017; guitar), its best-known line-up stabilized in 1975 with Mark Evans (b Melbourne, 2 March 1956; bass), Phil Rudd (b Melbourne, 19 May 1954; drums), and Bon Scott (Ron Belford Scott; b Kirriemuir, Scotland, 9 July 1946; d East Dulwich, London, 19 Feb 1980; vocals). Cliff Williams (b 14 Dec 1949) replaced Evans in 1977, and upon Scott’s death, he was replaced by Brian Johnson (b 5 Oct 1947). By 1976, they were Australia’s leading rock band and decided to move to London in the hope of broader success, which they achieved in the UK and the USA by the end of the decade. They are known for crude, rowdy, and sometimes juvenile lyrics that celebrate excess, transgression, and communal bonding, delivered through very hoarse, sometimes screaming, vocals. Their music is blues-based, displaying few of the Baroque influences that strongly affected most heavy metal bands. It is usually built around riffs that are primarily chordal and rhythmic rather than melodic. Their ensemble work is both forceful and precise, featuring effective use of the two guitars for complementary rhythm parts. Their most popular and critically respected album is ...

Article

John Piccarella

[Alexander, John Marshall ]

(b Memphis, TN, June 9, 1929; d Houston, TX, Dec 25, 1954). American rhythm-and-blues singer and songwriter. He served in the US Navy in World War II, then played piano with the Memphis-based group the Beale Streeters alongside Bobby Bland, Junior Parker, Roscoe Gordon, and B. B. King; they played electric blues in the style of Sonny Boy Williamson, and in the early 1950s recorded for Ike Turner and Sam Phillips. Ace then signed a contract as a solo artist with Don Robey’s Duke recording company; his record “My Song” reached number one on the rhythm-and-blues chart in 1952, as did “The Clock” the following year. Using a smoother style, he made a series of successful recordings in 1953 and 1954, and became a popular live performer. After his death, his song “Pledging my Love” (1955) became his greatest hit; it was later recorded by Elvis Presley, among others. Ace developed a sophisticated type of rhythm and blues, and had more success as a performer of emotional ballads than as a bluesman. His earnest, suppliant style became a model for later romantic singers....

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Musical subculture of the late 1980s and 90s. Acid jazz is largely a fusion of black American musical styles such as funk, soul and hip-hop combined with a visual aesthetic which borrows extensively from both British popular culture of the 1960s and black American street style of the 70s. Fundamentally a form of street style, it combined music, fashion and recreational drug use to create an ‘attitude’ that owed much to the beatniks of the 1960s (hence ‘jazz’) and a nostalgia for the 1960s and 70s, regarded as a time when musicianship was vital to good dance music as opposed to the more contemporary technological emphasis. The term covers a wide range of musical styles, from the electronic disco styling of bands such as Jamiroquai and Brand New Heavies to the Santana-inspired funk rock of Mother Earth and the Mendez Report. The common denominator is usually the influence of funk, drawing on syncopated rhythmic interplay between the instruments and the use of chromatic chord sequences used widely in post-bop jazz but rarely in mainstream pop or dance music....

Article

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 1989 to set up Talkin’ Loud, a rival imprint backed by Polygram, leaving Piller and his assistant Dean Rudland to develop Acid Jazz as a small but fashionable independent label. In the early 1990s they signed bands such as Brand New Heavies and Jamiroquai, who have since achieved considerable commercial success with major record labels. In the late 1990s the company diversified its musical base, with separate labels dedicated to drum ’n’ bass, reggae and pop. In 1994 it acquired the Bass Clef, a jazz club in Hoxton, East London. Renamed the Blue Note, by ...

Article

Ackley  

American family of composers of gospel music. Alfred H(enry) Ackley (b Spring Hill, PA, 21 Jan 1887; d Whittier, CA, 3 July 1960) composed and edited gospel hymns and choruses and was associated with Homer A. Rodeheaver. Alfred's brother, Bentley DeForest Ackley (b Sping Hill, PA, 27 Sept 1872...

Article

Michael Ethen

(Guy)

(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 1978 he began what became a long and successful songwriting partnership with Jim Vallance, with whom he created most songs recorded under his name up to 1987, as well as songs recorded by Rod Stewart, Kiss, Bonnie Raitt, Neil Diamond, and the Canadian groups Prism, BTO, and Loverboy.

Adams’ albums characteristically alternate between down-tempo piano ballads and straight-ahead rock numbers. His third solo album, Cuts like a Knife (1983) launched him to the status of an international celebrity; its singles included the ballad “Straight from the Heart” and the anthem “Cuts like a Knife,” which both featured for weeks on magazine charts and music television. The next album, ...

Article

Gary Carner

[Park Frederick, III ]

(b Highland Park, MI, Oct 8, 1930; d Brooklyn, NY, Sept 10, 1986). American jazz baritone saxophonist and composer. He grew up in Rochester where he took up tenor and baritone saxophones and clarinet, but settled on baritone after moving to Detroit in 1947 as a means of finding work in the city’s fiercely competitive music scene. After serving for two years in the US Army Band, Adams returned to Detroit in 1953 and worked there with Tommy Flanagan, Barry Harris, Kenny Burrell, and Elvin Jones, in the house band at the Blue Bird and at Klein’s. In 1956 he moved to New York and was a member of Stan Kenton’s big band for six months following a recommendation from Oscar Pettiford. From the following year, Adams spent 20 years working in big bands led by Maynard Ferguson, Benny Goodman, Quincy Jones, Lionel Hampton, and Thad Jones and Mel Lewis. During this period he also performed in small ensembles whenever possible and was in demand as a recording artist. Notably, he co-led a quintet with Donald Byrd from ...

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Kenny Mathieson

(b Tampa, FL, Nov 25, 1931; d Lakeland, FL, Jan 2, 2000). American jazz cornetist, bandleader, and composer, brother of Cannonball Adderley. He took up trumpet as a child at the suggestion of his father, a cornetist, but switched to cornet in 1950. His career was closely linked with that of Cannonball. They formed their first band as children and played together through school, college, and the Army. Adderley then played with Lionel Hampton (1954–5), before joining Cannonball’s new band after the saxophonist’s Café Bohemia debut (1955). He then worked with J.J. Johnson and Woody Herman (1957–9) while his brother was with Miles Davis, after which he spent 16 years as a member of Cannonball’s successful quintet (1959–75). During this period he played the trumpet part for Sammy Davis Jr. in the film A Man Called Adam (1966). Following Cannonball’s death in ...

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John Stanislawski

(b Springhill, LA, Jan 13, 1962). American country music singer. In line with country “hat acts” and neo-traditionalists such as Toby Keith and Tim McGraw, Trace Adkins has forged a working-class image and hard-driving sound by merging honky-tonk with Southern rock, gospel, and blues. His masculine bravado and allegiance to a blue-collar ethos has solidified his position as one of country’s top acts.

After time spent working on an oil rig, Adkins moved to Nashville in 1992 to pursue his musicalcareer. There he met producer Scott Hendricks, who signed him to Capitol Records. His 1996 debut album, Dreamin’ Out Loud, yielded the successful singles “Every Light in the House,” “I Left Something Turned on at Home,” and “(This Ain’t) No Thinkin’ Thing,” which became his first number-one country hit. Despite problems with alcoholism and a drunk-driving charge, his 2001 album Chrome reached the top five on Billboard’s Country Albums chart. In ...

Article

Paul D. Fischer

(b Chicago, IL, Dec 13, 1933). American record producer, songwriter, artist manager, label owner, and entrepreneur. He was most active in the popular-music industry from the 1950s to the 1970s. He held jobs in publishing and became co-manager of Jan and Dean with Herb Alpert. Under the pseudonym Barbara Campbell, the pair co-wrote “Only Sixteen” for Sam Cooke. Adler also co-wrote “Wonderful World” with Alpert and Cooke. In 1964 he founded Dunhill Records, which was sold to ABC in 1966. He later brought the songwriter P.F. Sloan and the singer Barry McGuire together for “Eve of Destruction.” While the manager and producer of the Mamas and Papas, he co-produced the Monterey international pop festival in 1967, insisting that the event be filmed and retaining those rights. The following year he founded Ode Records, which is noted for releasing Carole King’s album Tapestry. He also produced records and directed a series of “stoner” films for Cheech and Chong. He also served as an executive producer for and bought the US rights to the film ...

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Charles Garrett

Article

Robert Walser

American hard rock band. Formed in 1970, the band's best-known line-up was Steven Tyler (Steven Tallerico; b New York, 26 March 1948; vocals), Joe Perry (b Boston, 10 Sept 1950; guitar), Brad Whitford (bReading, MA, 23 Feb 1952; guitar), Tom Hamilton (b Colorado Springs, CO, 31 Dec 1951; bass) and Joey Kramer (b New York, 21 June 1950; drums). The band was initially dismissed by critics, who saw them as imitators of the Rolling Stones, in part because of Tyler's physical resemblance to Mick Jagger. However, by 1976 they were major stars and ended up being very influential on subsequent bands in their own right. Although sometimes considered a heavy metal band, their loose rhythmic feel, Perry's blue-style guitar solos and Tyler's diverse lyrical topics separate them from that genre. They have succeeded with riff-oriented rock songs but also power ballads such as Dream on...

Article

Gunther Schuller

[Cubop]

A jazz style. It was created from a fusion of bop with traditional Cuban elements, that arose in the 1940s, primarily in the work of Dizzy Gillespie; it is distinguished from the more general Latin jazz by the specific influence of Cuban dance, folk and popular idioms. Although a Latin-American or Caribbean influence (Jelly Roll Morton called it the ‘Latin tinge’) is discernible in jazz from the late 19th century, the earliest use of Cuban elements is traceable only to Alberto Socarras and Mario Bauzá in the late 1930s. Afro-Cuban jazz became a clearly defined style and acquired an international following only when Gillespie, who had been influenced by Bauzá, began to collaborate with the outstanding Cuban percussionist Chano Pozo. For Gillespie, Bauzá, and others, the main impulse for the Afro-Cuban movements came from their feeling that American jazz of the 1930s and 1940s, being essentially monorhythmic, needed the kind of enrichment that an infusion of Afro-Cuban polyrhythms would provide....

Article

Wolfgang Bender

A style of African popular music. The term was coined in 1967 by Fela Kuti, who was known as ‘the king of Afrobeat’. Fela played Highlife music while studying music at Trinity College of Music, London (1958–63). Upon his return to Nigeria he referred to the style as ‘highlife jazz’. Geraldo Pino from Sierra Leone visited Lagos around 1966, playing a style referred to as Afro-soul. Pino's success encouraged Fela to develop an individual style.

Fela toured the USA in 1969 and was exposed to that country's Black Power movement. He also heard free jazz and rhythm and blues. His awareness of the political power of music is reflected in his subsequent development of Afrobeat, a fusion of jazz, soul and African musics with lyrics in Pidgin and Yoruba. He consciously highlighted the Africanness of his own music, claiming that he played African music since jazz was originally an African form of music....

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Abel Stewart

(María )

(b New York, NY, Dec 18, 1980). American singer. She is one of the most popular singers of her generation. Her father (originally from Ecuador), a sergeant in the US Army, and her American mother, a Spanish teacher, divorced when Aguilera was seven. As a child, Aguilera placed second on the television show Star Search, and performed on the Mickey Mouse Club along with Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears. In 1998, she launched her recording career with a track for Disney’s animated film Mulan. In 1998 she also signed with RCA, and her first album, Christina Aguilera (1999) reached number one on the Billboard 200. Her singles from that album, “Genie in a Bottle,” “What a Girl Wants,” and “Come on Over Baby” reached Number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Her first Spanish language album, Mi reflejo (2000), stood for 20 weeks at Number 1 on the Billboard Latin charts and earned her a Latin Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Album. In ...

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Bryan S. Wright

(b New York, NY, Sept 19, 1892; d New York, NY, Oct 20, 1953). American songwriter and arranger. He was raised in Manhattan and, after graduating from the City College of New York and Fordham Law School, took a job with publishers Waterson, Berlin, and Snyder. He began writing songs for vaudeville acts and had his first notable success with the 1920 song “I’d Love to Fall Asleep and Wake Up in My Mammy’s Arms” (co-written with Sam Lewis and Joe Young). In the 1920s and 1930s, he wrote arrangements for such dance orchestras as Irving Aaronson’s Commanders and Fred Waring’s Pennsylvanians. He is perhaps best remembered for his Tin Pan Alley collaborations with lyricist Roy Turk, with whom he wrote such songs as “I’ll Get By (As Long As I Have You),” “Mean to Me,” “Walkin’ My Baby Back Home,” “Where the Blue of the Night Meets the Gold of the Day” (which became Bing Crosby’s theme song), and “Love, You Funny Thing!” For a time in the early 1930s, Ahlert lived in Los Angeles where he wrote scores for films such as ...

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J. Bradford Robinson

(b Dairen, China, Dec 12, 1929). Japanese jazz composer, pianist and bandleader. She studied classical music and turned to jazz only in 1947 after moving to Japan. There she was discovered by Oscar Peterson, who urged her to take up a career in the USA. After studying at Berklee College of Music (1956–9) she became a highly regarded bop pianist, especially in groups with the alto saxophonist Charlie Mariano (who was at that time her husband). She worked in Japan (1961), joined Charles Mingus in the USA (1962–3), then returned to Japan until 1965. In 1973 she founded a large rehearsal band in Los Angeles with the tenor saxophonist and flautist Lew Tabackin, whom she had married in 1969. Its first album, Kogun (1974, RCA), was commercially successful in Japan, and the group attracted increasing popularity and critical acclaim until, by ...