made the kind of Rock ‘n’ Roll you think only exists in the movies.
Richard pounds the piano, scats out some vocals, the weak of heart faint, the old women scold, and the only thing the sun-dress-&-white-gloves-wearing, fan-carrying bastions of middle-class Americana can think to say are words like “Well, I never”, and “Land sakes!”.
There was never anything ‘little’ about Little Richard – the hair was huge, the performances were grandiose, and the character was most definitely larger than life.
Little Richard’s music was monumentally important to the early years of rock and roll, but just as important to the future of rock was Richard’s irrepressible personality, the kind of flamboyant rock diva that some would label a menace to society, while others would hail as a living legend.
Born in December 1932, Richard Wayne Penniman was one of 12 children born to Bud and Leva Mae Penniman of Macon. His father sold bootleg liquor and owned a bar called The Tip In Inn, while his mother ran a rapidly growing household.
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Inductee Rockin Roll Hall Of Fame:
(vocals; born December 11, 1944)
Known as “Little Miss Dynamite,” Brenda Lee – who stood all of four feet, nine inches tall – was blessed with a powerful voice that belied her size. She could sing rockabilly, country and pop standards with equal conviction, and her versatility as an interpreter has allowed her a career of extraordinary longevity. She is the kicking, countrified upstart of “Jambalaya” and “That’s All You Gotta Do,” the pert, jaunty rocker of “Sweet Nothin’s” and “Let’s Jump the Broomstick,” the heartbroken balladeer of “I’m Sorry” and “Break It to Me Gently,” the sophisticated songstress of “I Just Want to Be Wanted” and “You Can Depend on Me,” and the country storyteller of “Big Four Poster Bed” and “Nobody Wins.” She is also indelibly associated with the holiday season, as her 1958 recording of “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” has become a standard that’s heard every year and is ensconced at #4 on the all-time list of popular seasonal records.
Brenda Lee was born Brenda Mae Tarpley in Atlanta, Georgia. Her vocal skills were evident early on, as she won her first talent contest at age five. She performed on a local radio show and at seven became a regular on a Saturday-afternoon TV show. Soon after, she began performing for money, which her family desperately needed after the untimely 1953 death of her father in a construction accident. In 1956, she auditioned for country singer Red Foley and wound up joining the cast of Ozark Jubilee, a Missouri-based country-music TV show. That May, she signed to Decca Records, inaugurating a prolific and hit-filled recording career. Her third single, “One Step at a Time,” was her first to chart, reaching #15 on the country chart and just missing the pop Top Forty by three places. Her major breakthrough, and the biggest hit of her career, was “I’m Sorry,” which inaugurated a string of ballads that did quite well for her in the early ..
Watch “Jambalaya – Brenda Lee (Avery Winter, 2010)” on YouTube
Sammy Davis Jr.
Sammy Davis Jr. was often billed as the “greatest living entertainer in the world”.
He was born in Harlem, Manhattan, the son of dancer Elvera Davis (née Sanchez) and vaudeville star Sammy Davis Sr.. His father was African-American and his mother was of Puerto Rican ancestry. Davis Jr. was known as someone who could do it all–sing, dance, play instruments, act, do stand-up–and he was known for his self-deprecating humor; he once heard someone complaining about discrimination, and he said, “You got it easy. I’m a short, ugly, one-eyed, black Jew. What do you think it’s like for me?” (he had converted to Judaism).
A short stint in the army opened his eyes to the evils of racism–a slight man, he was often beaten up by bigger white soldiers and given the dirtiest and most dangerous assignments by white officers simply because he was black–and he helped break down racial barriers in show business in the 1950s and 1960s, especially in Las Vegas, where he often performed; when he started there in the early 1950s, he was not allowed to stay in the hotels he played in, as they refused to take blacks as customers. He also stirred up a large amount of controversy in the 1960s by openly dating, and ultimately marrying, blonde, blue-eyed, Swedish-born actress May Britt.
He starred in the Broadway musical “Golden Boy” in the 1960s. Initially a success, internal tensions, production problems and bad reviews–many of them directed at Davis for playing a role originally written for a white man–resulted in its closing fairly quickly. His film and nightclub career were in full swing, however, and he became even more famous as one of the “Rat Pack”, a group of free-wheeling entertainers that included Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford.
A chain smoker, Davis died from throat cancer at the age of 64. When he died, he was in debt. To pay for Davis’ funeral, most of his memorabilia was sold off.
Watch “Sammy Davis Jr (7 yrs old) – You Rascal You” on YouTube