In the 13th and final installment of our series, we look at the great Bo Diddley. The creator of the Bo Diddley sound and innovator that move R&B to Rock. (music)
Tagged: Black Artist
Born on October 18, 1926, son of a deacon father and a school-teacher mother, Chuck Berry grew up in a hard-working middle-class household. His mother, a skilled piano player, passes on her love of music to her son, but soon he moves away from her baptist hymns and develops a passion for blues, jazz and the harmonies of country music.
It’s midnight; two lonely dirt roads cross near the Dockery Plantation in rural Mississippi. It’s there that a young man with a guitar waits. He wants to strike a deal, his soul for great talent. The Faustian legend goes that a large black man appears. He tunes the young man’s guitar. The devil owns his soul. From that point on Robert Johnson became one of the greatest guitarists of all time and the King of the Delta Blues.
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.
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.