A.M. Class: Artist of the Week

First and foremost….Happy Black History Month, Everybody!!!!!
I’ve had a really interesting time brainstorming for this week’s edition. Who to write about? What to say? Who cares about any of this stuff anyway? I spent more time than I probably should have grinding over just what this was all going to be about.
And then it hit me like…well…things hit you.
I don’t wanna write about just one artist or one band. I’d like to use this time, this space and this segment to pay homage to the artists that have been personal inspirations to not just me, but countless others across countless miles of this great planet of ours. Their soulful baselines, melodies, riffs and sounds can be found gracing the tracks of bands as rock as The Fratellis or as hard as N.W.A. Sirs and slurs, I’m talking about the roots of music. The music we know and love today.
I’m talking about Blues…and Jazz….and the first real Rock-n-Roll. These genres of music weren’t born in big cities or the corporate mainstream. They were born in the backwoods of our Southern regions, in swamps and in slave quarters as early as the end of the 19th century. As time progressed and population expanded, so too did this type of music’s popularity.
Artists like Robert Johnson and Son House, Howlin’ Wolf, Big Joe Turner, Nina Simone and John Lee Hooker broke barriers and paved the way for the creation and explosion of Rock-n-Roll. Little Richard and Chuck Berry made dancehalls buzz with the stomps and claps of screaming teens. Time passed and others emerged: The Temptations, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder. Their sounds carried on beyond themselves, sliding over to be copied by even larger (and let’s face it, whiter) artists like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.
And then that was it. The wave began. And soulful-soul-filled-stomp and clap it out music took over.
In essence, I guess what I’m getting at is that no matter what your color, gender, age, sex, favorite food or favorite song, you’ve just gotta give mad respect to the ones that started it all. I challenge you to remember to thank those before us for giving us the most amazing gift of all: Great. Freakin’. Music.
Check It Out:
1. John Lee Hooker – The Best of John Lee Hooker (compilation) – 1962
2. Son House – The Legendary Son House: Father Of Folk Blues – 1965
3. Ray Charles – The Genius Hits the Road – (1960)
4. Stevie Wonder – Recorded Live: The 12-Year-Old Genius – 1963
5. The Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers – 1971