Little Richard (Richard Wayne Penniman) (1932-2020)

Richard Wayne Penniman, also known as Little Richard, is considered one of the most influential artists in the early years of rock and roll.  This singer, songwriter, and pianist was born in 1932 in Macon, Georgia, the son of Charles “Bud” Penniman and Leva Mae … Read MoreLittle Richard (Richard Wayne Penniman) (1932-2020)

Otis Blackwell (1932-2002)

Otis Blackwell was an American songwriter, singer, and pianist whose work significantly influenced rock ‘n’ roll. His compositions include Elvis Presley’s “Don’t Be Cruel,” “All Shook Up” and “Return to Sender,” Little Willie John’s “Fever,” Jerry Lee Lewis’s “Great Balls of Fire” and “Breathless” (with … Read MoreOtis Blackwell (1932-2002)

Def Jam Records (1984- )

Def Jam Records, created by hip-hop entrepreneur Russell Simmons, is one of the most successful black-owned record labels in the history of the United States.  Its success and influence on music and popular culture are paralleled only by Motown Records in the 1960s and 1970s. … Read MoreDef Jam Records (1984- )

Robert “Bumps” Blackwell (1918-1985)

Robert “Bumps” Blackwell was a musician, producer, and composer who worked with the top names in early jazz and rock and roll.  Blackwell was born in Seattle, Washington on May 23, 1918.  By the late 1940s his Seattle-based “Bumps Blackwell Junior Band” featured Ray Charles … Read MoreRobert “Bumps” Blackwell (1918-1985)