Tammi Terrell (1945-1970)

Tammi Terrell is best known as one of Motown’s great talents although her short life was full of tragedy. Romantic and physically abusive relationships with James Brown and David Ruffin may have cut short a career that included many classic duets with Marvin Gaye. Brain cancer took her life only a month … Read MoreTammi Terrell (1945-1970)

The Spinners (1955- )

Formed in Detroit, Michigan in 1955, the Spinners began as the Domingoes. The five African American founders were Henry Fambrough, Robert ‘Bobbie’ Smith, Robert “Steel” Smith, Billy Henderson, and Pervis Jackson.  All of them attended Ferndale High School in Detroit. Although the group performed for six years, only in … Read MoreThe Spinners (1955- )

The Four Tops (1953-2005)

The Four Tops were a vocal quartet from Detroit, Michigan, composed of Levi Stubbs, Abdul “Duke” Fakir, Renaldo “Obie” Benson, and Lawrence Payton, who were instrumental in defining Motown’s distinct sound during the 1960s. The quartet was one of the longest-lived lineups of the era; they went over 40 … Read MoreThe Four Tops (1953-2005)

The Marvelettes (1960-1972)

The Marvelettes were an all-girl group whose original members were Gladys Horton, Katherine Anderson, Georgeanna Tillman, Juanita Cowart, and Georgia Dobbins.  They came together in a high school glee club in their home town of Inkster, Michigan in 1959. In 1960, they auditioned at year-old Motown records where founder Berry Gordy praised … Read MoreThe Marvelettes (1960-1972)

The Jackson 5 (1965- )

One of the first boy bands, the Jackson 5 consisted of brothers from Gary, Indiana: Jackie (born Sigmund), Tito (born Toriano), Jermaine, Marlon, and Michael Jackson. Though their youth and energetic sound made them seem “bubblegum,” the boys played instruments, had vocal talent and practiced choreography. Their father … Read MoreThe Jackson 5 (1965- )

Donny Hathaway (1945-1979)

Donny Hathaway—singer, pianist, producer, composer, and one of R&B’s strongest talents—was born Donny Edward Pitts on October 1, 1945, in Chicago, Illinois. Hathaway was raised in the Carr Square Housing Projects of St. Louis, Missouri by his grandmother Martha Pitts. At the age of three, Hathaway began singing in … Read MoreDonny Hathaway (1945-1979)