This week in 1972, Stevie released his album ‘Talking Book.’ The album later earned him three Grammys including Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for “You Are The Sunshine Of My Life.” https://ClassicMotown.lnk.to/SWTalkingBook
The Playlist Series: Songs You Will Hear at an African American Family Function
Sister Sledge: “We Are Family” Frankie Beverly & Maze: “Before I let Go” S.O.S. Band: “Don’t Stop the Music” Slave: “Just A Touch of Love” One Way: “Cutie Pie” Patrice Rushe: “Forget Me Nots” The Isley Brothers: “For the Love of You” Juvenile: “Back that Ass Up” Curtist Mayfield: “Pusherman” Al Green: “Let’s Stay Together” Stevie Wonder: “Isn’t She Lovely” R. Kelly: “Step in the Name of Love” Luther Vandross: “Never Too Much" Shalamar: “Make That Move” Teena Marie: “Square Biz” Kool & the Gang: “ Get Down On it” Sugar Hill Gang: “Rappers Delight” Earth, Wind & Fire: “Reasons” Strafe: “Set it Off” The Gap Band: “You Dropped A Bomb on Me” Chic: “Good Times” Montel Jordan: “This “is How we Do It” Evelyn Champagne King: “Love Come Down” Club Nouveau: “Why You Treat Me So Bad” McFadden & Whitehead: “Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now” Sly and The Family Stone: “Family Affair: Al Green: “Love and Happiness” Switch: “I Call Your Name” 68 Boyz: “Tootsee Roll” The O'Jays: “Love Train“ Carl Carlton: "She’s A Bad Mama Jama” The Whispers: “Rock Steady” Johnny Kemp: “Just Got Paid” Kool & the Gang: “Celebration” Ohio Players: “Love Roller Coaster” Al Green: “Tired of Being Alone” Marcia Griffiths: “ Electric Boogie (The Electric Slide)” Roger: "I Want to Be Your Man” Ohio Players: “Fire” Earth, Wind & Fire: “September” The Commodores: “Brick House” Michael Jackson: “Billie Jean” Chaka Khan: “Ain’t Nobody” Whitney Houston: “I wanna Dance With Somebody” Parliament: “Flashlight” DJ Casper: “Cha Cha Slide” Zap: “ Computer Love” The Whispers: “And the Beat Goes On” S.O.S.: “Just Be Good to Me” Frankie Beverly & Maze: “Happy Feelings” Cameo: “Candy” Vaughan Mason & Crew: “Bounce, Rock, Skate, Roll“ Guy: “I Like” Cheryl Lynn: “Got to Be Real” Cupid: “Cupid Shuffle” The Gap Band: “Outstanding”
October 27, 1973 - 43 Years Ago Today: Gladys Knight & The Pips began a two-week run at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart with their single, “Midnight Train To Georgia.” This Jim Weatherly-penned song was the group’s 25th single to chart on the Hot 100 and it was their 18th Top 40, 5th Top Ten and first and only No. 1 on the Hot 100. It also enjoyed a 4-week run at No. 1 on the Billboard R&B Chart becoming their 5th of 10 chart-toppers on that particular chart. The single was an enormous success and was certified Gold and remains their most popular signature song. It earned Gladys Knight and The Pips a Grammy for Best R&B Vocal Group. The single was also inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and ranks at No. 439 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
Updates! *03/15* I had originally intended on keeping it short, but due to reader enthusiasm, here is a master version. Each contribution was appreciated, you freaks rock. Please keep in mind that this list does not cover all and every single band with POC, but is here to highlight diversity within alternative genres.
As an addition to the goth/post-punk/alt band masterpost, here’s a list of bands featuring members of color. Most are influential, others new discoveries or future freak gods. Thanks to research and helpful readers, here’s a bit of sick sound suitable for all taste buds:
Goth, dark or industrial:
Creature Feature- Erik X is an evil composer and organ player with a special gift for raising the dead.
Plastique Noir-the Brazilian band that made the song “Empty Streets” that’s just too dark to handle.
O. Children - contrary to popular belief, Tobi O’Kandi is not, in fact, a black reincarnation of Ian Curtis.
Dev Hynes - a British musician who started out in a punk band Test Icicles then went solo as a folk/indie musician as Lightspeed Champion and now is doing an electronic/R&B thing as Blood Orange.
L’Arc-en-Ciel - Okay, so these guys are Japan’s other most famous export. These guys got known outside of japan for doing some major anime theme songs (Fullmetal Alchemist, Gundam 00, NANA live action movie, etc) and were the first Japanese act to headline Madison Square Garden (Japanese rock bands really like New York for some reason). Their bassist tetsuya (formally known as tetsu) gets bonus points for being one of Japan’s only out LGBT celebrities (he’s Bi).
Tenger Cavalry - a folk metal band based out of Bejing who describe their style as “Mongolian folk metal”. Like this and you’d probably enjoy Ego Fall.
Cthonic - Taiwanese metal band who’s lead singer is also the president for the Taiwanese branch of Amnesty International.Most of their music deals with their goal of an independent Taiwan and they’re really REALLY great.
Body Count- Ice T’s metal band rules. It would be a little tastier with ice cubes though.
Hirax - pioneering thrash/speed metal band (with hardcore influences). Katon De Pena is one of the most distinctive vocalists of the then-burgeoning California metal scene. Though they never achieved the success of some of their contemporaries like Metallica or Slayer, they have long been an insiders’ favorite and cited as an influence by bands ranging from Napalm Death to Cannibal Corpse to Darkthrone.
X Japan - Probably Japan’s most famous metal export. These guys are the reason Visual Kei (basically Japan’s gothic metal scene) exists. All those flashy JRock bands wouldn’t exist without X Japan. They also recently just played a huge show at Madison Square Garden.
Maximum the Hormone - Also known as “the guys that did that weird opening and ending to death note”, MTH do a fantastic combination of metal, punk, and even pop. The best part about MTH is that their lyrics don’t make sense even when translated so you can just have mindless fun listening to them even if you understand Japanese.
Suffocation - one of the most influential death metal acts of all time. Terrance Hobbs’ incredible mastery of the guitar allowed the band to blend complex technicality into the genre without sacrificing raw brutality.
Acrassicauda - Iraqi heavy metal. There is a film called “Heavy Metal in Baghdad”, about the band. Another documentary called Global Metal, which is by the same director as Heavy Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey, is highly recommended.
Sigh - one of the first japanese black mack metal bands led by a fierce lady.
BIS (Brand-New Idol Society) - considered “alternative Japanese idols”, and have done some amazing things including recruiting a new member who was rumored to be a high school girl and turned out to be Junko Koshino, a famous fashion designer who is 74 yrs old. Their song + video for MURA-MURA is excellent.
Go Betty Go - chicano rock, “pop punk”. Several of their songs are in Spanish.
ELLEGARDEN - JAPAN’S BEST 90s/EARLY 2000s POP PUNK ROCK EXPORT I’M NOT EVEN KIDDING. Part of what contributes to this is Takeshi Hosomi (singer/rhythm guitarist) writing ¾ of the band’s discography in perfect english. Unfortunately they went on hiatus in 2006, but that spawned two more fantastic bands: Takeshi does experimental progressive indie in the HIATUS (its the same guy I swear), and guitarist Shinichi Ubukata formedNothing’s Carved In Stone which is basically a Japanese alt. rock supergroup.
Shonen Knife - you can’t talk about japanese girl rock without the literal originators of the movement/popularity. Because Kurt Cobain said he listened them, a HUGE surge of all girl bands started popping up over Japan.
Note from BW of Brazil: A great and timely post today considering that November is the Month of Black Consciousness in Brazil. Much is often said about Brazil’s debt to Africa, not only in its culture, the many words in the Portuguese spoken by Brazilians, but in the very veins, faces, skin colors and DNA of its people, whether they identify as black, afrodescendente or not. The word Samba, Brazil’s most popular musical rhythm, was derived from the word semba, a word common to many West African bantu languages (1). Below, become familiar another of Brazil’s enduring cultural practices that have been kept alive for centuries by the descendants of Africans brought to the land that would come to be known as Brazil centuries ago. Be sure to also check out the videos at the end of the article.
So these 2 white guys made a cover of Feeling Myself by Nicki Minaj ft. Beyoncé. It was meant to be a tribute but the outcome is shitty. Nicki and Bey gets trashed for rapping and singing songs like this because they are seen as aggressive, sluts, and it’s blatantly black. These 2 guys come along and do a mediocre cover of the song, barely rapping and softens the song and every white person comes in their pants. When 2 black girls do this song it’s aggressive and intimidating, when white guys do its soft and nice. Yall can’t enjoy anything black unless it gets whitewashed.
Etta James: At Last K-Ci & JoJo: All My Life Whitney Houston: I Will Always Love You John Legend: Stay With You Patti LaBelle: If Only You Knew SWV: You’re Always On My Mind The Isley Brothers: For the Love of You John Legend: You & I Beyonce: Halo Faith Evans: I Love You Four Tops/Whitney Houston: I Believe In You and Me Tammi Terrel & Marvin Gaye/Cheryl Lynn & Luther Vandross: If This World Were Mine Anita Baker: Sweet Love Percy Sledge: When a Man Loves a Woman New Edition: Can You Stand the Rain Rufus & Chaka Khan: Sweet Thing Jill Scott: He Loves Me Nat King Cole & Natalie Cole: Unforgettable Whitney Houston: You Give Good Love Jaheim: Anything Rose Royce: Wishing on A Star Ginuwine: Differences The O'Jays: Stairway to Heaven Mariah Carey: When I Saw You Aaliyah: At Your Best (You Are Love) Dru Hill: These Are the Times Babyface: Every Time I Close My Eye Brian McKnight: Back At One Minne Riperton: Loving You India Arie: Ready For Love Troop: All I Do Is Think of You Prince: Adore Kindred The Family: Where Would I be Chaka Khan: Through the Fire Jagged Edge: Promise Dondria: You’re the One Kevon Edmonds: 24/7 Kem: I Can’t Stop Loving You Stevie Wonder/Luther Vandross/Donell Jones: Knocks Me Off My Feet Tony! Toni! Tone!: Whatever You Want Musiq Soulchild: Dontchange Beyonce: Speechless Seal: Kiss From A Rose Case: Happily Ever After Kem: Share My Life Keyshia Cole: Love Gerald Levert: Made to Love You Musiq Soulchild: Love The Deele: Two Occasions Mawell: Fortunate Xscape: The Arms of the One Who Loves You India Arie: The Truth Tendy Pendergrass: Love T.K.O Kenny Lattimore: For You SWV: Weak Musiq Soulchild: sobeautiful Mariah Carey: Vision of Love Aretha Franklin: You’re All I Need Gladys Kinght & The Pimps: Best Thing That Happened to Me Beyonce: Rather Die Young Luther Vandross: Here and Now Pressure: Love And Affection Heatwave/Luther Vandross: Always & Forever Chaka Khan: Ain’t Nobody John Legend: All of Me Alicia Keys: If I Ain’t Got You Luther Vandross: All The Woman I Need Ruff Endz: Someone to Love You Stevie Wonder: You and I Beyonce: Dangerously In Love Avant & Keye Wyatt: You & I Shanice: I Love Your Smile Maria Carey: Open Arms Musiq Soulchild: Teachme Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway/Beyonce & Luther Vandross: The Closer I Get to You John Legend: P.D.A. (We Just Don’t Care) Stevie Wonder: Signed, Sealed Delivered (I’m Yours) Atlantic Starr: Always Luther Vandross & Mariah Care: Endless Love Blackstreet: Let’s Stay in Love John Legend: So High Lionel Richie & Diana Ross: Endless Love Whitney Houston: Greatest Love of All Mariah Carey: Underneath the Stars Jagged Edge: Good Luck Charm
y'all ever reach some level of annoyance when you see white girls (specifically) listening to trap music and literally acting like they about that life? as if they know every word and use the slang freely… like foreal, y'all get annoyed by that or am i just buggin?
and then when you call them out on it.. you get “oh, i just like the beat”
75-year-old Bob Dylan won
the Nobel Prize for Literature Thursday and the tributes and stories about his life are rolling out. He started performing in NYC in 1961 and became a well-known fighter against racism, classism, violence and discrimination against black Americans during the Civil Rights Movement.
However, everyone tends to forget about the major influence black musicians had on his career:
1. Little Richard
Little Richard was born Richard Penniman in 1932. He was one of the 10 original 1986 inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Lee “Big Bill Broonzy” Bradley
is considered to be one of the leaders of the American folk music revival.
Last year Dylan was honored during the MusicCare Awards and gave a long and revealing acceptance speech. He said that Big Bill Broonzy’s song “Key to the Highway” directly affected his song “Highway 61.”
3. Ma Rainey
Gertrude “Ma Rainey” Pridgett was one of the first professional stage performers to sing American blues. She was most popular in the 1920s and is often called the “Mother of the Blues.”
Dylan referred to her in the 1965 song “Tombstone Blues” and hat-tipped her “Yonder Comes the Blues,” with an updated version titled “Yonder Comes Sin”.
4. Odetta Holmes
She’s known as Odetta, was an American singer, actress, guitarist, songwriter, and a civil and human rights activist, often referred to as “The Voice of the Civil Rights Movement” or “The queen of American folk music”.
Bob Dylan, once said, “The first thing that turned me on to folk singing was Odetta. I heard a record of hers Odetta Sings Ballads and Blues in a record store, back when you could listen to records right there in the store. Right then and there, I went out and traded my electric guitar and amplifier for an acoustical guitar, a flat-top Gibson. … [That album was] just something vital and personal. I learned all the songs on that record”
That’s pretty sad to notice how infrequently African Americans are recognized for their cultural contributions.
Happy 5th Anniversay to Janelle Monáe’s 1st & Critically Acclaimed Album, “The ArchAndroid”
I TOLD MYSELF TO KEEP THIS SHORT. THEN I LAUGHED, BECAUSE WHAT A JOKE. BECAUSE NO WAY. Not when it comes to Janelle. I’D BE DOING MYSELF A GREAT DISSERVICE, SO, TO HELL WITH IT.
Back in 2008, when I first fell upon Janelle Monáe’s MySpace page, it becoming a tool for me to discover new music after I swore to never rely on finding good music on the radio again, I knew I needed her. “Violent Stars, Happy Hunting,” was a song that brought many parts of me, the parts that were trying to divide themselves to give me a chance to “fit into” society, together. I was a Black girl defying the stereotype; a heavy participant in geek culture, a musical theater actress who commanded the stage during my high school productions, and a storyteller, writing short stories to counteract the lack of diversity that rested upon the dusty shelves of the libraries I’d scour, looking for books I couldn’t get bored with so quickly because I didn’t see myself within them.
So when I was in the midst of beginning my freshman year of college, I told myself that I had to change. This was new territory for me. An institution that’s deemed hard, life altering, and even mind fucking, is a place in which you have to prepare yourself for. During the summer after I graduated High School, I told myself I had to adapt; I had to find a way to “take myself seriously,” and that the real world doesn’t has space for geek culture, musical theater, and stories written by Black girls. But when I discovered “The Chase Suite I: Metropolis,” which was constructed by a Carefree Black Girl and her team and sounded like the official soundtrack to a musical feature film, I knew I couldn’t just leave who I really was by the wayside.
See, Janelle Monáe REVITALIZED me. My 18-year-old self needed her, because if not for her, I’m not sure I would have been resuscitated in time to become the woman I am today and will continue to become tomorrow and forever.
So today is important, because today is the 5th Anniversary of her debut album, “The Archandroid,” which is an album I ALSO realized I needed when I revisited in last summer.
There are ways in which I try to explain how pivotal it is, because it is so thought out, I sit beside myself questioning HOW she and the Wondaland team did it. The subject matters that reign supreme within the sounds and sung poetry of this album is one that seems too advanced for many of us to grasp, which is why I wasn’t ready for it when I was 20 years old, the year being 2010 when it came out. I remember listening to it then, excited for my mental mentor, ready to be taken to a sweet place after I pressed play.
But… I didn’t get it.
The sound was great, and a few songs stuck with me, but I wasn’t open minded enough to truly UNDERSTAND the album for what it is, which is a storybook in motion through sounds. A story about someone trying to find their place in a world that won’t accept them for who they are. Trying to find love within the people in which they wish to join, trying to find answers in a place that only makes you question yourself and not the grand scheme…
Trying to find light in a world that is truly dark.
I couldn’t love the album because I didn’t know better. I didn’t know this album speaks for the systemic affects of racism, misogyny, homophobia, and so many other ways in which we are told to fit the stereotype or be cast off to perish in our lonesomes. And it felt like fate, that as I began to uncover these systems that taught me self-hate so they could PROFIT off of me, that as I began to venture towards who I am, Janelle’s music resurfaced into my life. I began to embrace parts of me I shunned because they weren’t correct. Last summer, I visited “The Electric Lady,” album and fell in love for reasons I’ll probably highlight as lengthy as here when the 5th anniversary comes along. And after wearing it out, I thought to myself, “Hm… Why don’t you listen to ‘The ArchAndroid’ again?”
And after listening to each track, one after the other, the only words I can sum up were:
This album is reminiscent of a curtain that pulls itself to reveal a door to your utmost imagination. To the truth. And if we were all conscious enough, if we were all willing to look inside ourselves, a listen and breakdown of this album could save the world.
This isn’t an exaggeration. Even if Afrofuturism, which is what this album COULD be categorized under (Jane isn’t here for labels, so I wouldn’t want to pin her and her music under any specifics), isn’t your thing, taking a listen to such genius work and doing your best to break it down, unlocking the truth and self reflection in which this album speaks, it can break barriers.
Janelle is a gift. She’s so beyond her years, and every time I listen to this amazingly constructed album, I’m taken to what the world could look like if we continue to turn the other cheek. This album isn’t meant to be pretty and even dreamy, which can be hard because with certain tracks like “Sir Greendown,” “Mushrooms & Roses,” and “57821,” you find yourself drifting into a feeling reminiscent to falling high within a kaleidoscope. This album is meant to SPEAK. It’s meant to kick and scream, rebel against the nonsense this country, alone, force-feeds to us in order to, well, keep order, like in tracks “Come Alive!” and “
And what also amazes me is that when this album came out, Janelle was MY AGE. She was 24 years old. She thought this through, this whole story, this whole effort, way before 24 years old in order to have been able to RELEASE it when she did… Do you know how conscience one has to be in order to do that?! After listening to this album, reading up on her ideologies, learning about her upbringing and her dreams for a better tomorrow, can you understand how much respect this woman deserves?
Everything that I question about myself, Janelle compliments. So this goes without saying how exciting this day is.
The ArchAndroid turns 5 years old today, and I am so proud of Janelle and the Wondaland team. It’s given birth to resilience within the Black women community. Fire. I’m happy to see where her journey in life brought her, and I’m so thrilled to be alive and mentally equipped to understand her work. I am so excited to follow in her footsteps in being a PART of the change.
Happy Anniversary, ArchAndroid.
Now, I’m gonna go dive head deep within the Land of Wondaland.