Little Willie John (1937-1968)

Little Willie John, born William Edward John on November 15th, 1937, was one of ten children born in Cullendale, Arkansas to Mertis John and mother Lillie John. His family migrated north to Detroit, Michigan in the 1940s so his father could find work. Little Willie John was a musically gifted child who performed … Read MoreLittle Willie John (1937-1968)

Solomon Burke (1940-2010)

Solomon Burke was a minister and renowned singer of rhythm & blues and soul music with a career stretching from the 1950s to his death in 2010. Although never reaching chart-topping fame, Burke is heralded as one of one of the best soul singers of all time. Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on March … Read MoreSolomon Burke (1940-2010)

Aretha Franklin (1942-2018)

In her five decades as a recording artist, Aretha Franklin, the undisputed “Queen of Soul,” became a music legend. Aretha Louise Franklin was born in Memphis, Tennessee on March 25, 1942. Her family soon relocated to Detroit, Michigan, where her father, Reverend C.L. Franklin, became a minister at New Bethel Baptist Church. Rev. Franklin … Read MoreAretha Franklin (1942-2018)

Johnnie Harrison Taylor (1934-2000)

Johnnie Harrison Taylor was an R&B and gospel singer prominent in the 1960s and 1970s.  His career crossed genres and generations spanning around four decades and resulting in three Grammy nominations. He has released dozens of albums and was inducted in to the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 1999. Taylor was born … Read MoreJohnnie Harrison Taylor (1934-2000)

India Arie/India Arie Simpson (1975- )

India Arie is a four-time Grammy award-winning singer, songwriter, actress, and record producer. She has sold over 10 million records worldwide. Arie was born in Denver, Colorado on October 3, 1975 to parents Joyce and Ralph Simpson. When she was 13, her parents divorced and Arie moved with her … Read MoreIndia Arie/India Arie Simpson (1975- )

Jackie Wilson (1934-1984)

A tenor with a four-octave vocal range, Jackie Wilson was one of the most talented and dynamic R&B singers of the 1950s and 1960s. Nicknamed “Mr. Excitement,” Wilson was a charismatic, masterful performer who consistently released hits. Jackie Leroy Wilson was born on June 9, 1934 in Detroit, Michigan, … Read MoreJackie Wilson (1934-1984)

George Clinton and Parliament/Funkadelic (1964-1981)

Parliament/Funkadelic (or P-Funk) is an American Funk music collective founded by George Clinton and largely credited with being the “architects” of the Funk genre. Parliament/Funkadelic recorded over 40 hit singles, as well as three platinum albums. Inspired by Motown, Clinton gradually built up an ensemble of over 50 … Read MoreGeorge Clinton and Parliament/Funkadelic (1964-1981)

Mary J. Blige (1971- )

When Mary J. Blige was born on January 11, 1971, in The Bronx, New York, few observers would have imagined her becoming one of the most successful rhythm and blues (R&B) artists within a musical world increasingly dominated by hip-hop. Blige’s father abandoned the family when she was four. She … Read MoreMary J. Blige (1971- )