A look at the king of the Chicago Electric Blues, the American Blues Legend Muddy Waters.
Grab a bag, add ska, punk, rock, funk, reggae, metal, hip-hop, country, social commentary, humor, mohawks, dreds, and unlimited energy, now shake it up. When well-mixed, pour it on a stage and you have arguably the best live band ever. You have Fishbone in its prime. A band that isn’t capable of being pigeon-holed. There is no single label. The lack of a tag makes the group special, but also may have robbed them of chart hits and household fame.
The definition of Old School Rap is debatable. Most descriptions put Old School as being from the mid-70s until the mid-90s. To me, anything after the early 90s is not Old School. It is merely old. That leads me to a question, what are the most influential early rap songs? Looking at the artists and songs *through the 80s, here is my list of the most notable. By no means is the list all-inclusive. There are too many great songs and artist to mention.
Death is a story of what was and what should have been. The Detroit based proto-punk band came before the founding fathers of punk music. They were ahead of such legends as the Ramones, Sex Pistols, and the Clash. They began five years before the most famous African-American Punk band, Bad Brains (to be covered later in our series). However, it would be thirty years before their first demo album is released. Until then they were known only to the most ardent of punk rock fans.
Heavy mascara and an androgynous sexual appeal, he bangs the piano with his groundbreaking style. His songs delivered with a powerful whooping voice. He is the legend, Little Richard. However, before fame, he was born Richard Wayne Penniman in Macon, Georgia. Influenced by two uncles and a grandfather, all preachers. His young life centers around the church.
Jimi Hendrix may be the best-known artist on our list. He is arguably the greatest electric guitar player of all time. Born left-handed, Jimi would play a right-handed Fender Stratocaster upside down. Before Jimi, other artists unsuccessfully experimented with feedback and distortion. Hendrix masters it making a fluid sound that could peak from his soul.
The lineage of Funkadelic began in the fifties when George Clinton and four Jersey friends create a doo-wop soul group called the Parliaments. The 1960s see them record for various small labels while George is commuting to Detroit to work with Motown. In 1967, after signing a deal with the Revilot label, the Parliaments finally had their first hit “(I Wanna) Testify,” a recording that only George appears on due to the other members being unable to make the session. Session studio artists filled in for the band.
Sister Rosetta Tharpe is one of the most influential artists in the development of rock and roll. Sadly, she may not be a household name, but she is one of the original creators of the rock and roll sound. Known as the “Godmother of Rock and Roll,” Sister Rosetta had an incredible stage presence, impressing audiences since the age of four. A thick beautiful woman in a sequin dress and high heels, she sings with a powerful voice as she plays an electric guitar.
When looking back at the history of rock ‘n’ roll, you may find it strange that music once created and inspired by black artists is now primarily for and by whites. There are black artists associated with the music throughout the decades. They play rock and roll despite an invisible racial barrier. They continue to play for white audiences while inspiring performers of all races. These artists may never hit the charts or become household names. They simply play for their passion.
A look at protest songs including “Strange Fruit”, “Blowin’ in the Wind”, “What’s going on?”, “Fuck the Police” and more (Music, Music History)