Tag: Motown

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame & Museum to Host FREE Admission Day with Special Events in Honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, OH is hosting its 14th annual FREE admission day in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday, January 19, 2015 from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The Museum will offer a day filled with live performances, education programs and family activities that will highlight how people use music to find their voice and create a sense of community.

Visitors are invited to experience the Rock Hall’s many exhibits that showcase how Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees and other artists have used popular music to communicate ideas to a wide audience and bring about social change.  The day of events is sponsored by KeyBank.

In addition to free admission, visitors will be able to enter for a chance to win a Museum membership, as five Family Roller memberships will be raffled off during the day.  For a list of current exhibits and for more information about this and other Rock Hall events, visit http://www.rockhall.com.

Klipsch Audio stage entertainment lineup:

Jason Walker of Sounds of Entertainment will emcee the events.

The Antioch Spiritual Arts Choir, an acclaimed co-ed choir from Antioch Baptist Church who focus on spirituals, folk and gospel music.

West Side Community House’s Summer of Sisterhood program began in 2010 under the leadership of Ali McClain, youth services director.  The program teaches girls ages 10-18 how the power of creative expression can positively change their community and even the world.  The girls work intensively for eight week with professional teaching artists to create original songs, music videos, and live performances of their work.

The Distinguished Gentlemen of Spoken Word, a powerful performance arts and spoken word group comprised of adolescent males (age 12-19) from various inner city Cleveland communities.

Inspire *1* One, a band comprised of former students from Cleveland School of the Arts.

Lake Erie Ink, a writing space for youth is a non-profit that provides creative expression opportunities and academic support to youth in the greater Cleveland community.  LEI works with youth from different socio-economic, cultural and academic backgrounds, using creative writing to increase literacy and social engagement. The organization offers creative expression workshops onsite and off, to youth of all ages, including an after school program, weekly evening workshops for teens, and monthly weekend workshops and open mics.

Foster Theater Programming:

Programming will be taught by the Rock Hall’s award-winning education staff.  Seating is limited. Attendance will be on a first-come first-served basis.

Special Presentation:  “Rock and Roll and the Civil Rights Movement”
This program will explore how a range of artists, from Mahalia Jackson and Sam Cooke to Berry Gordy at Motown and rock and roll pioneer Fats Domino created a popular music that empowered African Americans to take their rightful place in American society. Young people of all races flocked to their performances and embraced their music, which helped to break down the walls and barriers that the Civil Rights movement was fighting against.

Album Spotlight: Marvin Gaye’s What’s Goin’ On
This special presentation will focus on the making and impact of Marvin Gaye’s landmark 1971 album, which still resonates for listeners today. The full album will be played, with no interruption, with discussion to follow. Continue reading “The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame & Museum to Host FREE Admission Day with Special Events in Honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”

Born On This Day 74 Years Ago: Temptations Lead Singer and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer David Ruffin

David_Ruffin_-_Feelin'_GoodDavis Eli “David” Ruffin (January 18, 1941 – June 1, 1991) was an American soul singer and musician most famous for his work as one of the lead singers of The Temptations (1964–68) during the group’s “Classic Five” period, and was the lead don such famous songs as “My Girl“, “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg, and “I Wish It Would Rain.”  Ruffin would have been 74 today.

Known for his unique raspy and anguished tenor vocals, according to Wikipedia.com, Ruffin was ranked as one of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time by Rolling Stone magazine in 2008.  He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989 for his work with The Temptations, and into Cleveland’s R&B Hall of Fame in 2013 as a solo artist as well a Temptations member.  Fellow Motown recording artist Marvin Gaye once said admiringly of Ruffin that, “I heard [in his voice] a strength my own voice lacked.”

To see video of Ruffin in action on one of the Temptations classics, click below and enjoy:

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

 

Happy 64th Birthday, Music Legend Stevie Wonder (VIDEO)

stevieAccording to Wikipedia.org, Stevie Wonder was born May 13, 1950 in Saginaw, Michgan, and has spent over fifty years as a revered, award-winning musician, singer-songwriter, record producer, and multi-instrumentalist. A child prodigy, he has become one of the most creative and loved musical performers of the late 20th and early 21st century.  Wonder signed with the Motown label at the age of eleven and continues to perform and record for Motown as of the early 2010s. He has been blind since shortly after birth.

Among Wonder’s works are singles such as “Superstition”, “Sir Duke”, “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” and “I Just Called to Say I Love You”; and albums such as Talking BookInnervisions and Songs in the Key of Life. He has recorded more than thirty U.S. top ten hits and received twenty-two Grammy Awards, the most ever awarded to a male solo artist, and has sold over 100 million albums and singles, making him one of the top 60 best-selling music artists. Wonder is also noted for his work as an activist for political causes, including his 1980 campaign to make Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday a holiday in the United States.

In 2009, Wonder was named a United Nations Messenger of Peace. In 2008, Billboard magazine released a list of the Hot 100 All-Time Top Artists to celebrate the US singles chart’s 50th anniversary, with Wonder at number five.

To learn more about Wonder’s life and music, click here.  To hear him do a live version of “As” with a moving speech towards the end, click below:

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson).

NYC’s Motown to Def Jam Art Exhibit Celebrates the Legacy of Black Music

Souleo, Aanisah Hinds, Macy Gray. From Motown to Def Jam.
Souleo, Aanisah Hinds, Macy Gray. From Motown to Def Jam. (Photo: John Brathwaite)

Curator and art afficiando Souleo has put together a multi-destination art exhibition called “Motown to Def Jam” in collaboration with ArtCrawl Harlem in New York City.

The meticulously planned, four-gallery, 49-artist exhibition takes visitors from the early days of Chess Records in the mid 20th century, all the way through to the contemporary offerings of rap and R&B label Def Jam in a series of visionary visual works.  Also referenced in the show are the legendary Stax and Philadelphia International labels that helped pave the way in bringing new African-American sounds to the mainstream.

For pieces in the show, participating artists created or contributed works that described their interpretations of specific songs from singers and rappers at these record labels. Each piece, inspired by a beloved song, or songwriter, from black and American pop music history, brings black music history to life in a new way.

“A lot of people don’t know that June is African-American Music Appreciation Month,” said Souleo. “I wanted to share our struggles and triumphs and the unique ways that we express ourselves. For example, instead of the usual pop hits from Motown, I wanted to use more of the later socio-political music that came out of Motown.”

A lively Black Music Month kickoff

Souleo kicked off the five-weeks exhibit with gallery tours and a series of parties. An exhibition this grand required not one, but four different galleries, and these ancillary events connected them all.

The guides for a special preview tour were celebrity columnist and author Flo Anthony, pop culture critic Patrick Riley, historian John T. Reddick and renaissance media man Walter Rutledge. “I chose these people as the tour guides because they are the experts and they have been in the same room with some of these musical artists. They can give those extra tidbits that you would not get anywhere else,” said Souleo.

Continue reading “NYC’s Motown to Def Jam Art Exhibit Celebrates the Legacy of Black Music”

Motown’s Unsung Female Trio, The Andantes, Finally Gets Acclaim

The Andantes, from left, Jackie Hicks, Marlene Barrow-Tate and Louvain Demps posing during a visit to Motown Historical Museum in Detroit. In their 70s, the unsung backing group who sang on thousands of Motown songs is finally getting acclaim for its contributions to the ground-breaking, chart-topping music made in Detroit in the 1960s and early '70s before the label moved to Los Angeles. The trio gathered recently to see the exhibit, “Motown Girl Groups: The Grit, the Glamour, the Glory.” The Andantes are featured, with equal billing, alongside the Supremes, Vandellas, Marvelettes and Velvelettes. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

The Andantes, from left, Jackie Hicks, Marlene Barrow-Tate and Louvain Demps posing during a visit to Motown Historical Museum in Detroit. In their 70s, the unsung backing group who sang on thousands of Motown songs is finally getting acclaim for its contributions to the ground-breaking, chart-topping music made in Detroit in the 1960s and early ’70s before the label moved to Los Angeles. The trio gathered recently to see the exhibit, “Motown Girl Groups: The Grit, the Glamour, the Glory.” The Andantes are featured, with equal billing, alongside the Supremes, Vandellas, Marvelettes and Velvelettes. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Demps was no mere fan visiting what’s now the Motown Historical Museum. She was one of the women singing the angelic, high harmonies on the recording — and hearing it in Hitsville USA’s Studio A was too much.  “It’s my heart, it’s my heart,” she said.  For Demps and her fellow Andantes, Jackie Hicks and Marlene Barrow-Tate, moments like these have been private, since the wider world knew only their voices, not their faces. But now in their 70s, the unsung backing group who sang on thousands of Motown songs is finally getting acclaim for its contributions to the groundbreaking, chart-topping music made in Detroit in the 1960s and early ’70s before the label moved to Los Angeles.

The trio gathered recently to see the exhibit, “Motown Girl Groups: The Grit, the Glamour, the Glory,” which will run through the summer. The Andantes are featured — with equal billing — alongside the Supremes, Vandellas, Marvelettes and Velvelettes.  The joyous but rare reunion was made possible by a sad event the day before: the funeral of former Miracles member Bobby Rogers. For the Andantes, it made their meeting more poignant.

“It is unfortunate that so many are gone and thank God that we are still here — all of us — to be able to see this and see our dream come true,” said Barrow-Tate, who still lives in Detroit, as does Hicks. The two are retired, but Demps, who lives near Atlanta, still sings solo or with others.

The Andantes were the go-to backup singers for most Motown artists, including Gaye, Stevie Wonder, The Four Tops and the girl groups themselves. “Save the Children” came from Gaye’s “What’s Going On,” one of Motown’s greatest — and last — albums recorded in Detroit. The Andantes sang backup on many of the record’s cuts — including the title track — and even traveled with Gaye to his hometown of Washington, D.C., in 1972 to perform the disc in its entirety at the Kennedy Center.  Motown Museum officials say the trio, almost always anonymously, sang on more songs than any other group at Motown. They were the female and vocal equivalent to the Funk Brothers, the label’s house band that itself was largely anonymous in its time but gained acclaim through the 2002 documentary film, “Standing in the Shadows of Motown.”

Continue reading “Motown’s Unsung Female Trio, The Andantes, Finally Gets Acclaim”

R.I.P. Former Temptations Member Otis “Damon” Harris

The Temptations in 1972 (L to R): Richard Street, Melvin Franklin, Otis Williams, Dennis Edwards and Damon Harris. (Photo: Getty Images)

Otis “Damon” Harris, a former member of the Temptations, died at age 62 on Monday (February 18), according to the Baltimore Sun. The singer passed away at Baltimore’s Joseph Richey Hospice following a 14-year battle with prostate cancer which a family spokeman told the Sun had greatly worsened last summer.

Born in 1950, Harris joined Motown hitmakers The Temptations at age 21 in 1971 after a stint in a Temptations cover band called the Young Tempts with high school friends. The young musician, who sang lead on the Temptations’ Grammy-winning Hot 100 No. 1 hit “Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone” in 1972, was in the group until 1975.

Harris went on to release two albums with his childhood friends in the group Impact, which produced the singles “Happy Man” and “Give A Broken Heart A Break.” Harris followed his time in Impact with a solo album, 1978’s “Silk,” before choosing to leave the music industry.   

During his later years, he was an activist for the group Stand Up to Cancer and his own Damon Harris Cancer Foundation, encouraging men to receive regular cancer screenings, as he himself had delayed in seeing a doctor prior to his cancer diagnosis.

article by Chris Payne via billboard.com

Marvin Gaye-Inspired Stage Play to Hit Theaters Tonight

Marvin Gaye performing on stage (Photo by David Redfern/Redferns)

Marvin Gaye performing on stage (Photo by David Redfern/Redferns)

The story of the late, legendary Motown artist Marvin Gaye will be coming to a stage near you, thanks to the efforts of his sister Zeola “Sweetsie” Gaye.  My Brother Marvin is said to provide behind-the-scenes insights in the life of the “Let’s Get It On” singer.  “Through the years, I became taken aback and disappointed with everything that had been written, said and published about my family, especially my brother Marvin that wasn’t accurate,” Zeola Gaye said in a press release.  The cast for the show includes Lynn Whitfield in the role of Gaye’s mother and Keith Washington as the singer himself.

“In the play, I simply wanted to set the record straight. I wanted to leave a true account about Marvin the man and our family. People need to know what really happened and Marvin would want his fans to really know what happened. We are finally bringing the truth the world needs and must know,” Zeola added in her press release.  The show will be on tour throughout several major American cities including Houston, Baltimore and Motown’s birthplace of Detroit starting today (February 15) and concludes in the spring.  Click here to buy tickets.

article via thegrio.com

Bettye LaVette Back With New CD and Autobiography

Bettye LaVette  (Chang W. Lee/The New York Times)

WEST ORANGE, N.J. — Bettye LaVette makes no apologies for her life. Sitting cross-legged on an Art Deco chair in her living room here, sipping wine, she was animated and gritty as she talked about the decades she spent singing in clubs and cursing her “buzzard luck,” while her contemporaries, like Aretha Franklin and Diana Ross, became superstars.

“I thought I was going to die in obscurity,” said Ms. LaVette, 66. “I’m still going to die broke but not obscure.”

It has been 50 years since Ms. LaVette, then a teenage mother from a working-class Detroit home, recorded her first single, “My Man — He’s a Lovin’ Man,” which became a hit on Atlantic Records and seemed to foretell a bright future. But she quarreled with Jerry Wexler of Atlantic Records and left the label, and even though she recorded dozens of other R&B singles in the 1960s, including the minor hit “Let Me Down Easy,” her career never took off. She survived as a club performer and appeared in “Bubbling Brown Sugar” on Broadway and on tour. Her long-delayed first album in the early 1980s didn’t sell. By the late ’90s, she was popular only among European R&B enthusiasts. Continue reading “Bettye LaVette Back With New CD and Autobiography”

Paul McCartney Helps Restore Historic Motown Piano

Sir Paul McCartney performs during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Sir Paul McCartney performs during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

DETROIT (AP) — A damaged 1877 Steinway grand piano used by Motown artists during the record label’s “Hitsville USA” heyday has been restored, thanks to a little help from Paul McCartney, and he’s set to play it when it’s unveiled next month. Continue reading “Paul McCartney Helps Restore Historic Motown Piano”