Nothing will motivate a man to move forward faster than knowing what's behind Him.


Oscar Pettiford

1. Oscar Pettiford, was a jazz double bassist, cellist and composer known particularly for his pioneering work in bebop. 

In 1942 he joined the Charlie Barnet band and in 1943 gained wider public attention after recording with Coleman Hawkins on his “The Man I Love.” He also recorded with Earl Hines and Ben Webster around this time. He and Dizzy Gillespie led a bop group in 1943. In 1945 Pettiford went with Hawkins to California, where he appeared in The Crimson Canary, a mystery movie known for its jazz soundtrack, which also featured Josh White. He then worked with Duke Ellington from 1945 to 1948 and for Woody Herman in 1949 before working mainly as a leader in the 1950s.

As a leader he inadvertently discovered Cannonball Adderley. After one of his musicians had tricked him into letting Adderley, an unknown music teacher, onto the stand, he had Adderley solo on a demanding piece, on which Adderley performed impressively.

Cissy HoustonSweet Inspirations

2. Cissy Houston, a Grammy Award–winning American soul and gospel singer.    She led a very successful career as a backup singer for such artists as, Mahalia Jackson, Wishbone Ash and Aretha Franklin, and is now primarily a solo artist. She is the mother of singer and actress Whitney Houston and aunt of Dionne Warwick and the late Dee Dee Warwick.

In 1963, then about to give birth to daughter Whitney Houston, she formed the Sweet Inspirations which yielded the hits “Sweet Inspiration”, “I’m Blue”, “Why Am I Treated So Bad”.  Additional founding members were Doris Troy and niece Dee Dee Warwick. Later members (and the ones she recorded with on the Atlantic label) were Sylvia Shemwell, Estelle Brown and Myrna Smith. Throughout the mid-1960s, the group provided backup vocals for several artists, including Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Lou Rawls, Otis Redding, The Drifters, Dusty Springfield, Jimi Hendrix, and Van Morrison (for “Brown Eyed Girl”). Houston is the operatic soprano in the background on Franklin’s hit, “Ain’t No Way”. The group also sang backup for Elvis Presley in Las Vegas on his return to live performances during July and August 1969, and for Cissy’s niece Dionne Warwick.  Houston left the Sweet Inspirations in 1969 to pursue a solo career

Johnny Mathis

3. Johnny Mathis, Pop music singer. Starting his career with singles of standards, he became highly popular as an album artist, with several dozen of his albums achieving gold or platinum status, and 73 making the Billboard charts.  Johnny Mathis has sold 350 million records worldwide.

Z.Z. Hill

4. Z. Z. Hill (Arzell Hill),  blues singer, in the soul blues tradition, known for his 1970s and 1980s recordings for Malaco. His 1982 album, Down Home, stayed on the Billboard soul album chart for nearly two years.  The track “Down Home Blues” has been called the best-known blues song of the 1980s.  This track plus the songs  “Someone Else Is Steppin’ In”, and “Open House” have become R&B/Southern soul standards.

Elombe Brath

5. Elombe Brath, political activist,talk show host and co-founder of the Patrice Lumumba Coalition and cofounder of the first Naturally Natural (hair)beauty contest is born.

Frankie LymonFrankie Lymon and the teenagers

6. Frankie Lymon, R&B/Doo-Wop Musician. A native of the Harlem district of New York City, New York, Frank J. ‘Frankie’ Lymon was considered one of the first African-American teenage pop stars. The multi-talented Lymon formed the music group, ‘Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers,’ in 1956, at the age of 13, and installed himself as there lead singer. The other members of the group included Herman Santiago, Jimmy Merchant, and the late Joe Negroni and Sherman Garnes. The group soon released there debut single, ‘Why Do Falls In Love,’ which landed on the music charts and became a Top 40 hit.

Marilyn McCoo

7. Marilyn McCoo, Songstress (5th Dimensions) and later teamed with her husband Billy Davis Jr. they both were former members of the fifth Dimentions

Patrice Rushen

8. Patrice Rushen, a Grammy Award-winning R&B and jazz vocalist, composer and pianist.

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