History of Pop Music Rhythm & Blues
Origins • Rhythm and Blues was the description given to music that was primarily marketed to African-Americans during the 1940s. • R & B is a term that has been used to describe different types of music over the years. • 1940s & 1950s: Blues • 1960s: Motown & Soul • 1970s: Soul & Funk • 1980s-Present: Soul & hip hop • R & B used to be called “race” music until 1948 at which point it was deemed offensive and changed. • Early R & B sounded very similar to early rock n’ roll and at times was basically synonymous. • Early artists include: Lloyd Price, Solomon Burke, Ray Charles, Fats Domino, Chuck Berry, and Nat King Cole Sam Cooke Lloyd Price Fats Domino Ray Charles Nat King Cole
Doo Wop • Type of music that developed during the 1950s and 1960s in Philadelphia, New York, and Chicago. • Based around vocal harmonies. • Important Doo Wop groups included: • Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers, The Platters, The Penguins, The Ink Spots, The Drifters, and the Five Satins
Motown • Motown was founded by Berry Gordy in 1960 in Detroit, MI. • The first artist signed to Motown was Smokey Robinson & the Miracles. • Between 1961 and 1971, Motown had 110 top 10 hits. • Motown boasted a stable of artists greater than any other, the list includes all of the following: • The Supremes, Marvin Gaye, Jackson 5, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Stevie Wonder, Mary Wells, The Spinners, Gladys Knight & The Pips, Jr. Walker, Lionel Ritchie, Rick James, Boys II Men, Erykah Badu.
Memphis Soul • While Berry Gordy was recording in Detroit, a number of artists were creating great music in Memphis, TN. • The two main record labels were Stax and Hi Records. • The sound was a little rougher than Motown, complete with horns and saxophones. • The Memphis artists include the following: • Otis Redding, Rufus & Carla Thomas, Sam & Dave, Isaac Hayes, Al Green, Booker T. & the MGs, The Staple Singers, Wilson Pickett
Other Important Artists of the 60s & 70s • Soul music became more important than just music, it united people in a way that other music did not. • Artists came from all corners of the United States, including Chicago, Philadelphia, NYC, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and other major cities. • Some of the major artists of this era include: • Aretha Franklin (Queen of Soul) • James Brown (Godfather of Soul) • Curtis Mayfield • Sly & the Family Stone, Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson, Barry White, The Isley Brothers, Etta James, Archie Bell & the Drells, Ike & Tina Turner, Earth, Wind, & Fire, Parliament Funkadelic, Teddy Pendergrass, & Gil Scot-Heron.
Michael Jackson, Prince, & the 1980s • R & B’s popularity hit a new high in the 1980s due to the unrivaled popularity of Michael Jackson, Prince, and Whitney Houston. • Prince video • The creation of MTV in the early 1980s turned many R & B artists into even bigger sensations. • Other artists who enjoyed popularity during the 1980s: • New Edition/Bobby Brown • Luther Vandross • Janet Jackson • Rick James • Teena Marie • Cameo
1990s R & B • Artists from the 1980s still continued to dominate the charts during the 90s (MJ, Prince, Janet) • New artists began to emerge during the 1990s that would become major forces in popular music. (Mariah Carey, Usher, TLC, R. Kelly, Aaliyah) • 90s R & B had many different styles and faces: • Neo-Doo Wop (Boys II Men, Shai) • Smooth (R. Kelly, Keith Sweat) • Hip Hop (Mary J. Blige, SWV) • Neo-Soul (Maxwell, D’Angelo, Erykah Badu, Angie Stone, Jill Scott)
R & B Today • R & B still dominates the radio stations, clubs, and youth culture. • Some recent artists have had crossover success with the general public. (Destiny’s Child/Beyonce, Usher, Rihanna, Alicia Keys, Ne-Yo, John Legend) • Other artists have pushed R & B into different more adventurous areas (Frank Ocean, The Weeknd, How to Dress Well, & Miguel)