CASHBOX Magazine has a rich history dating back to the 1940's. As you can imagine thousands of artists have passed through our doors. You can see them in our archive pages. We realized that for various reasons many deserving artists quickly became a thing of the past and have long been forgotten. Others have continued to stay in the mainstream to this day. With the New CASHBOX Hall Of Fame we are going to level the playing field and awards will be presented based on strict criteria by industry veterans.
Initially we will present awards for those still alive from the 30's forward. We will also induct four posthumous awards each month. Inductees will be chosen by industry professionals at CASHBOX and Record World Magazine as well as outside music veterans who have been instrumental in driving this initiative.
Our goal is simple. Give recognition that is earned, not bought while creating a music ecosystem that is genre based and NOT a melting pot of other Hall of Fame collections. It will be accurate, consistent and we will also reach out to the public for their input and suggestions.
We believe that this interactive approach will build excitement and recognition around the world.
CASHBOX Hall Of Fame
The Allman Brothers Band combined deeply Southern strains of music — blues, country, and gospel — with boisterous rock & roll and their jazzy, jam-oriented style. Thus they created the "New South" sound, drafting a template to be used for decades by everyone from Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Marshall Tucker Band to My Morning Jacket and the Drive-By Truckers.
Brothers Gregg and Duane Allman grew up in Daytona Beach, Florida, and played in various bands until 1963, when they formed the Escorts, which became the Allman Joys in 1965. After their version of Willie Dixon's "Spoonful" failed as a single, the two brothers and three other band members went to L.A., where they signed with Liberty Records as the Hourglass. They recorded two albums (Hourglass, 1967, and Power of Love, 1968) before heading to Muscle Shoals, Alabama, to record at Fame Studios. Liberty rejected the resulting tapes, and Duane and Gregg returned to Florida, staying in Jacksonville.
Soon after, the brothers joined the 31st of February, whose drummer was Butch Trucks. After recording an album, Gregg went back to L.A. to make good on the Liberty contract. Duane stayed in Jacksonville, where he began playing with the Second Coming.
FREDDIE HART is a man of integrity, faith, and determination that leaves a legacy for everything he did, done well and with documentation and awards to highlight those accomplishments. We talk about singer songwriter legends and then there is ONE Freddie Hart who truly can’t be compared to many others. Freddie Hart is a well known name gaining so much of his fame from the song, “Easy Loving” and given the Country Music Association (CMA) awards in l971 and l972 for it! He charted 30 singles between l957 and l987 and then started to include Gospel Music and recording 200 songs overall!
He was born in Loachapoka, Alabama in a very large family of 15 children, and grew up in nearby Phenix, Alabama where he has the honor of a street named after him! At 12 years old…yes TWELVE YEARS OLD, he joined the Civilian Conservation Corp and at FOURTEEN YEARS OLD enlisted in the Marine Corp (I believe he did really fibb on his age) and spent time in Guam and Iwo Jima in the Pacific during World War II.
Freddie is such an interesting man. As a child, he did everything practically that there was to do in the nearby area, from working in the cotton fields, lumber jacking and even washing dishes and flipping burgers! He had an interest in martial arts and liked acrobatics, earning a 4th to 6th degree Black Belt in Jujitsu and Judo,and taught when he got out of the service living in California. To make it more interesting Freddie is another kind of artist and likes to paint!
Freddie now goes between California and Nashville to his studio, to record music. The list is quite long for those who have recorded some of his 200 recorded songs. In 1950 he moved to California and joined Lefty Frizzel’s band shortly after when introduced to Capitol Records where Carl Smith recorded “Loose Talk: his very first number one song in l955. He is in the Hall of Fame in Alabama, Colorado, Idaho,Arkansas and Life Time Achievement Awards, as well as MANY others including the more well known CMA awards for “Easy Loving” and this recent award earlier this month, from NACMAI, North American Country Music Assoc International in Pigeon Forge. His Gospel Songs are titled, “Heavenly Wonderful, Heavenly Beautiful” and another, “Where He Leads Me” from a few year’s ago.
Those who know him best know that he would be the first to say that he is more of a “lover” than a “fighter” and a deep belief in God keeps him centered. His success is well earned and being a motivated individual has enjoyed a storied and wonderful life and at 90 (don’t say that too loud) he is still living life to his fullest out of sheer determination and a love of life for each and every day! His most recent release, “Let’s Witness For The Lord” with ten songs where you will find that comforting and familiar style of the one and only, Freddie Hart sharing music and living life fully!
Bea Wain (born Beatrice Weinsier; April 30, 1917) is an American Big Band-era singer born in the Bronx, New York City. She had a number of hits with Larry Clinton and his Orchestra. After her marriage she and her husband became involved in radio.On a 1937 recording with Artie Shaw, she was credited as Beatrice Wayne, which led some to assume that was her real name. On record labels, her name was shortened (without her permission) to "Bea" by the record company, ostensibly for space considerations. As she explained, "They cut it to 'Bea' Wain. They cut the 'Beatrice' out to 'Bea.' I was just a little old girl singer, but that's the truth. So that's how my name became 'Bea Wain'.
She led the vocal group Bea and the Bachelors (with Al Rinker, Ken Lane, and John Smedberg) and the V8 (seven boys and a girl) on the Fred Waring show. In 1937, Wain joined former Tommy Dorsey arranger Larry Clinton and His Orchestra, which she joined after doing chorus work with Fred Waring and Ted Sttraeter. Her debut with Clinton was made in the summer of 1938 at the Glen Island Casino, New York. She was featured with Clinton on a number of hit tunes, including "Martha" and "Heart and Soul". In 1939, she was voted the most popular female band vocalist in Billboard annual college poll, and that same year she began her solo career. Her first theater tour as a solo led to her being signed for the Your Hit Parade and RCA Victor records
Blackie Lawless, was born Steven Duren on 4th September 1956. He lived in Staten Island, New York, where he hung out with Ace Freley of Kiss Fame. At the age of 13, Blackie was stabbed in a fight and at 14 he was sent to Military School to learn discipline. After 18 months of a two year sentence he was thrown out after beating up a Sargent Major.
Blackie was nine when he got his first guitar and in that same year he earned 16 dollars and 35 cents in his first band called THE UNDERSIDE. At the age of 16 Blackie played with an East Coast band called BLACK RABBIT, tauting his talents around local bars. Another early band was called ORFAX RAINBOW in which he played for quite a while. When a singing vacancy came up with the legendary NEW YORK DOLLS, after Johnny Thunders leaves, Blackie takes it up - he had just turned 18.
After six months playing with the then dying NEW YORK DOLLS, Blackie and fellow DOLLS bassist Arthur Kane decide to leave New York and head to L.A. They form a band called KILLER KANE and release a 33 ½ EP. This includes the tracks MR COOL on Side 1, LONGHAIRED WOMAN and DONT NEED YOU on Side 2. Blackie is known at this time as "Blackie Gooseman". Eventually KILLER KANE breaks up, Arthur decides to go back to New York and Blackie stays in L.A.
In 1977, Blackie and Randy Piper join together to form a band called SISTER. SISTER where amongst the first groups in L.A. to experiment with occult symbolism and face make up. It is also believed that Nikki Sixx (Motley Crue) also played in the band for a while. Out of the SISTER experience Blackie meets up with Chris Holmes. While browsing through the "Beaver Hunt" section of Hustler magazine, Blackie spots ex - U.S. Marine Chris and decides to contact him.
Unfortunately, the late 1970's were a bad time for Heavy Metal and SISTER failed to generate record company interest despite their loyal club following. Other bands that Blackie had played in around this time were CIRCUS CIRCUS and LONDON.
Burl Ives was one of six children born to a Scottish-Irish farming family. He first sang in public for a soldiers' reunion when he was age 4. In high school, he learned the banjo and played fullback, intending to become a football coach when he enrolled at Eastern Illinois State Teacher's College in 1927. He dropped out in 1930 and wandered, hitching rides, doing odd jobs, street singing.
Summer stock in the late 1930s led to a job with CBS radio in 1940; through his "Wayfaring Stranger" he popularized many of the folksongs he had collected in his travels. By the 1960s, he had hits on both popular and country charts. He recorded over 30 albums for Decca and another dozen for Columbia. In 1964 he was singer-narrator of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)
Charlie Christian was a pioneering electric jazz guitarist of the mid-20th century who would go on to greatly influence his successors.
Born on July 20, 1916, in Texas, Charlie Christian grew up in a family of musicians and played piano and the amplified guitar. His guitar skills were such that in 1939 he earned a spot playing with Benny Goodman’s band and alongside greats like Thelonious Monk and Dizzy Gillespie. Christian died at 25 on March 2, 1942 from tuberculosis, yet became a pioneer of electric guitar playing.
Elton Britt (June 27, 1913-June 22, 1972), born James Elton Baker, was a country music guitarist and singer-songwriter.
Elton Britt was born in Marshall, a small town in Searcy County, Arkansas. He recorded over 600 sides and 60 albums for RCA and other labels in more than a 30-year span, and is best known for such hit songs (several of which he wrote or co-wrote) as "Detour", "Chime Bells", "Maybe I'll Cry Over You", "Pinto Pal", and the million-selling wartime hit "There's A Star-Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere".
A singer, bandleader, radio and television performer, songwriter and standard-setting yodeler, he starred in at least two films in the late 1940s and had hit records as late as "The Jimmie Rodgers Blues" in 1968.
He died June 23, 1972, five days before his 59th birthday, due to heart attack.
He had at least four children. at least three boys and one daughter. His Father was James Baker and had two sisters Gretta Sanders and Druse Baker,who was known for her strange random clogging, and several brothers.
Irish singer Enya was born Eithne Ní Bhraonáin on May 17, 1961, in Gweedore, Donegal, Ireland. Born into a family of musicians, Enya played keyboard alongside her siblings in the Irish band Clannad before pursuing a solo career.Apr 2, 2014
1. Orinoco Flow
2. Carribean Blue
3. Book of Days
4. Anywhere Is
5. Only If...
6. The Celts
7. China Roses
8. Sheperd Moons
10. Storms In Africa
12. Paint the Sky with Stars
13. Marble Halls
14. On my way Home
15. The Memory of Trees
George Baker is a Dutch singer and songwriter who, with his band George Baker Selection, scored two international hits in the 1970s, "Paloma Blanca" and "Little Green Bag". He is now a solo artist.
Jason Warner and deMarco DeCiccio are the kind of guys who finish each other's sentences - literally.
The partners in song and in life have spent the past decade building a career as contemporary Christian and pop artists, in Houston and beyond. (They've been a couple just as long, too.) There have been charting hits, a feature-length documentary and nonstop touring. But until recently, the duo thought they were done with cross-country dates.
"We got tired of the road," Warner says.
"We just got to a point where," DeCiccio adds before they finish the thought together without missing a beat."We wanted something more."That something more was fraternal twins Mason and Noah, born in May 2011 via surrogacy. DeCiccio is Mason's biological father, and Warner is Noah's biological father. Each parent legally adopted the other child."It was really the most ideal dream we could have had," Warner says. "They're so both our children. There's no concept of one's his and one's mine. When I look at Mason, there's no separation. That little boy is just as much my son as Noah is."Texas does not recognize same-sex adoptions but does allow for second-parent adoption. Warner has written a book, "The Journey of Same Sex Surrogacy," due this fall, that chronicles their experience. "We use to be 'the boys.' Now they're the boys. They don't care about us anymore," DeCiccio says with a smile. "'How are the boys? Gifts for the boys. We like that."
Kathryn Elizabeth Smith was born May 1, 1907 in Greenville, Virgina to Charlotte 'Lottie' Yarnell (née Hanby) and William Herman Smith, growing up in Washington, DC Her father owned the Capitol News Company, distributing newspapers and magazines in the greater D.C. area. She was the youngest of three daughters, the middle child dying in infancy. As a baby, she failed to talk until she was four years old, but a year later she was singing in church socials. By the time she was eight, she was singing for the troops at Army camps in the Washington area during World War I. Smith never had a singing lesson in her life and possessed a 'rich range' of two and a half octaves. Her earliest performances were during amateur nights at Vaudeville theaters in D.C.
Today more than ever. The live-album of the same name, being released in support of their triumphant 1996 reunion tour shows this clearly. Responsible for this achievement are Mr. Stanley Eisen and Mr. Gene Klein, who layed the foundations in 1972 to one of the most remarkable careers in the history of rock.
They played together in the band Wicked Lester in New York City, where they recorded a never-released album, featuring such gems as 'Love Her All I Can' and 'She'.
Unsatisfied with the musical direction, they changed their names to Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons and made a new start with new companions: guitarist Paul Daniel 'Space Ace' Frehley and singing drummer Peter Criscoula, better known as Peter Criss.
Like a Heavy Metal version of the Beatles, Kiss wanted to have four singers in the band. Nevertheless the singing is still split mainly between rhythm guitarist Paul Stanley and bass guitarist Gene Simmons who also writes the majority of the material.
The name KISS eventually probed to be more acceptable than the previously suggested names as ALBATROSS and Hell The first gigs in outrageous make-up, blasting out furious music, quickly brings them in contact with former Hendrix-producer Eddie Kramer, who produces their very first demo.
20th century recording artist Mahalia Jackson, known as the Queen of Gospel, is revered as one of the greatest musical figures in U.S. history.
“Gospel music is nothing but singing of good tidings -- spreading the good news. It will last as long as any music because it is sung straight from the human heart.”
Born on October 26, 1911, in New Orleans, Louisiana, Mahalia Jackson started singing as a child at Mount Moriah Baptist Church and went on to become one of the most revered gospel figures in the U.S. Her recording of “Move On Up a Little Higher” was a major hit and she subsequently became an international figure for music lovers from a variety of backgrounds. She worked with artists like Duke Ellington and Thomas A. Dorsey and also sang at the 1963 March on Washington at the request of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. She died on January 27, 1972.
Born Mahala Jackson on October 26, 1911, in New Orleans, Louisiana, to Charity Clark and Johnny Jackson, she became one of gospel music’s all-time greats, known for her rich, powerful voice that cultivated a global following. The young Mahala grew up in a Pitt Street shack and started singing at 4 years old in the Mount Moriah Baptist Church. When she started to sing professionally, she added an "i" to her first name.
Brought up in a devout Christian family, Jackson still found herself influenced by the secular sounds of blues artists like Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey. Jackson’s sanctified style of performance would also rely upon freer movement and rhythm when contrasted to the styles seen in more conservative congregations.
On September 19, 1997, Rich Mullins met face to face with the "Awesome God" he was so desperatly in love with. He was killed in an automobile accident on his way to a benefit concert in Kansas. Although Rich Mullins is gone, his music and legacy of compassion and service to others lives on today.
Rich Mullins was born on October 21, 1955 in Richmond, Indiana. He began playing the piano at age four and gradually became proficient on guitar and hammered dulcimer, as well. Mullins sang in his high school choir and then went on to attend Cincinatti Bible College. While going to college, he worked in the youth ministry at a local church. Rich was "discovered" in the summer of 1981 when he was touring with Zion Ministries, a group that toured the country and led praise & worship meetings at many retreats. Amy Grant began recording some of his songs, including "Sing Your Praise to the Lord."
With a life that spanned more than 100 years and a catalog that boasted over 1000 songs, Irving Berlin epitomized Jerome Kern's famous maxim that "Irving Berlin has no place in American music -- he is American music."
Irving Berlin was born Israel Beilin on May 11, 1888. One of eight children, his exact place of birth is unknown, although his family had been living in Tolochin, Byelorussia, when they immigrated to New York in 1893. When his father died, Berlin, just turned 13, took to the streets in various odd jobs, working as a busker singing for pennies, then as a singing waiter in a Chinatown Cafe. In 1907 he published his first song, "Marie from Sunny Italy," and by 1911 he had his first major international hit -- "Alexander's Ragtime Band."
Over the next five decades, Irving Berlin produced an outpouring of ballads, dance numbers, novelty tunes and love songs that defined American popular song for much of the century. A sampling of just some of the Irving Berlin standards includes "How Deep Is the Ocean," "Blue Skies," White Christmas," "Always," "Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better," "There's No Business Like Show Business," "Cheek to Cheek," "Puttin' on the Ritz," "A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody," "Heat Wave," "Oh! How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning," "Easter Parade" and "Let's Face the Music and Dance." In a class by itself is his beloved paean to his beloved country, "God Bless America."
He was equally at home writing for Broadway and Hollywood. He wrote seventeen complete scores for Broadway musicals and reviews; and contributed material to six more. Among the shows featuring all-Berlin scores were "The Cocoanuts", "As Thousands Cheer", "Louisiana Purchase", "Miss Liberty", "Mr. President", "Call Me Madam", and the phenomenally successful "Annie Get Your Gunn".
Among the Hollywood movie musical classics with scores by Irving Berlin are "Top Hat", "Follow The Fleet", "On the Avenue", "Alexanders's Ragtime Band", "Holiday Inn", "This is the Army", "Blue Skies", "Easter Parage", "White Christmas", and "There's No Business Like Show Business". His songs have provided memorable moments in dozens of other films, from The Jass Singer (1927) to Home Alone (1991). Among his many awards were a special Tony Award (1963) and the Academy Award for Best Song of the Year for "White Christmas" in 1942.
Tom Glazer, a folk singer and songwriter best known for his whimsical children's songs -- particularly one about a mountain of spaghetti -- died on Friday at his home in Philadelphia. He was 88.
Along with Leadbelly, Woody Guthrie, Josh White and Burl Ives, Mr. Glazer was a Big City folk singer, one of a loose coalition of performers who made folk music a national phenomenon in the 1940's, presaging its commercial popularity in the 1960's.
Pete Seeger, a member of the group, remembered Mr. Glazer yesterday as a solid performer who worked well with entertainers of different styles and political beliefs
''He wasn't fancy,'' Mr. Seeger said in an interview. ''He was just straightforward. He had a good sense of humor.''
Those of us who have been around Southern Gospel Music for any length of time know who Naomi Sego is. I think I have mentioned before how I bumped into Naomi Sego – literally. I was at the quartet convention in Louisville several years ago. I was wandering around and I remember stopping to look at the Nelon exhibit. When I turned to go again I walked right into Naomi Sego. I was so embarrassed and apologized a dozen or more times. She looked at me with that kind face of hers and said, “Please excuse me, I’m so sorry.” That little gesture spoke to me and I’ve never forgot it. It is just more testament of the kind of Godly woman that Naomi Sego is.
Naomi was born in Enigma, Georgia as Naomi Easters. This pioneer of Gospel Music has been ministering in song since 1958. Who inspired her to be the person that she is today? Naomi said that her parents had been a great influence on her life. She said that they were Godly parents and that her dad was a minister. Ironically, her dad was saved under the Sego Brothers’ ministry. Naomi said that she was born into a family of seven children. There were four girls and three boys but one of them died at the tender age of ten when Naomi was only three years old.
Naomi met James Sego in 1948 when the Sego family came to Enigma for a homecoming. They were married in 1949 and had two children, Carlton and Ronnie. Ronnie eventually played the drums for the Sego Brothers and Naomi. The group became very popular in their hometown of Macon, Georgia. Later that local popularity became national when they performed their song, “Satisfied With Me”. It is rumored that Naomi and the Sego Brothers were the first Southern Gospel group ever to sell over a million records when they recorded, “Sorry, I Never Knew You”. That was back in 1964.
Probably the pre-eminent violinist of our time, Itzhak Perlman is known for his brilliant technique, direct interpretation and precision. Mr. Perlman's recordings include not only all standard violin repertoires but those of contemporary composers. He has appeared with every major orchestra in the world, showcasing his talent at music festivals, recitals, and concerts around the world. The man who plays sitting down has never ceased to bring audiences and truly, the world, to its feet in appreciation of his gifts. Mr. Perlman was born to a barber in Israel in 1945. He contracted polio and lost the use of his legs at the age of four. Shortly after, he began to study the violin. After learning the violin at Shulamit High School in Tel-Aviv, he was performing with the Israel Broadcasting Orchestra. He toured with Ed Sullivan's Caravan of Stars, a showcase of talented children. He emigrated to the US in 1958 and under scholarship, Mr. Perlman went on to study at the prestigious Juilliard School of Music in New York with Ivan Galamian. Mr. Perlman made his professional debut playing Wienawski F-sharp minor Concerto at Carnegie Hall in 1963. He won the Leventritt Memorial Competition in 1964, which helped paved the way to his illustrious international career. Mr. Perlman returned to Israel in 1965 with a stunning eight concert and in 1968, made his British debut at Festival Hall with the London Symphony Orchestra. On the 4th of July in 1986, Mr. Perlman was one of 12 first-generation US citizens to be honored with the Medal of Liberty by President Ronald Reagan, in recognition and appreciation of his contributions to America. In December 2000, President Clinton awarded Mr. Perlman the "National Medal of Arts." With the Israel Philharmonic, Mr. Perlman performed several notable recitals in countries previously closed off. In November of 1987, the Philharmonic and Mr. Perlman performed in Warsaw and Budapest. It was the first time the Philharmonic and the violinist had performed in the Eastern Bloc. In April and May of 1990, the Philharmonic and Mr. Perlman journeyed to Russia for the first time, performing recitals in Moscow and Leningrad. The timing of this tour coincided with the 150th anniversary of Tchaikovsky's birth and Mr. Perlman honored the composer. In December 1994, Mr. Perlman and the Israel Philharmonic performed in China and India, marking the first time the Philharmonic played in either nation. Perhaps one of his greatest moments as an artist came when he collaborated with legendary composer John Williams. The film score that was created, with Mr. Perlman as a soloist, was used in the film _Schindler's List (1993)_ which won an Academy Award. Ever a teacher and holder of many teaching posts, Mr. Perlman participated in London South Bank Summer Music Series in 1968 and 1969. He created a master class in violin in 1970, at the Meadowbrooks Festival in the US. Mr. Perlman and his wife founded the Perlman Music Program in 1998 to nurture young musicians, ages 11-18. The program is costly but three quarters of the children receive some sort of financial aid. It includes year-round instruction and mentoring, a six-week summer residency on Shelter Island, New York and an annual international study/performance tour. In Mr. Perlman's 50th birthday year, he performed the major violin repertoire in a special concert series in London. That year was the launch of the Perlman Edition to commemorate his birth. The 20 CD set was released in May 1995. It was chosen by Mr. Perlman himself and included some of his favorite pieces by Sarasate, Wieniawski, Kreisler and Tchaikovsky. Later that year, EMI released a live recording of Beethoven's Triple Concerto with Yo-Yo Ma and the Berlin Philharmonic. The holder of honorary degrees from Harvard, Yale, and Yeshiva Universities, among others, it's Itzhak Perlman's passion for music that recommends him to the world. The joy of making music has seldom been translated so well and it is this combination of talent and personal charm which makes him such an outstanding violinist and the greatest violin virtuoso of our time.
American musician Herb Alpert won Grammy Awards as a successful bandleader and solo artist and co-founded the independent A&M Records label.
“I made the music that was coming out of me. I had all these songs in my head that I'd played over the years, and I was mainly drawn by their melodies. Being an instrumentalist, I couldn't do otherwise because I rarely had the advantage of a lyric. Most of the songs the Tijuana Brass did were ones I whistled when I was alone.”
Born on March 31, 1935, in Los Angeles, California, Herb Alpert began his career in the music industry as a songwriter. He formed A&M Records with Jerry Moss in 1962, and went on to enjoy success with Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass and as a solo artist. After selling A&M in the late 1980s, Alpert devoted more time to his art and philanthropy while continuing to churn out award-winning music.
Herbert Alpert was born to immigrant Eastern-European Jewish parents on March, 31, 1935, in Los Angeles, California. Growing up in a family of musicians, the shy boy picked up a trumpet for the first time at age 8. He received classical training from Benjamin Klatzkin, a former principal trumpet for the New York Philharmonic, and was competing in local talent shows by the end of high school. After playing with a U.S. Army band, Herb Alpert went to work for Keen Records with his friend Lou Adler. They enjoyed some success as songwriters with "Baby Talk" for Jan and Dean in 1959 and "Wonderful World" for Sam Cooke in 1960.
Alpert became friends with a fellow young music executive named Jerry Moss, and the two enjoyed driving to Tijuana, Mexico, to watch bullfights. Struck by the charged atmosphere of these events, Alpert began working on a double-horned track with session musicians. After forming A&M Records with Moss, the trumpet player enjoyed his first hit as an artist and executive with the release of "The Lonely Bull," by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass.
Your Hit Parade ”The “King of Swing”
For a kid who liked jazz, Chicago was a great town to grow up in. Musicians had begun working their way north from New Orleans about the turn of the century, and by the early 1920s giants like "Jellyroll" Morton, Sidney Bechet, "King" Oliver and Louis Armstrong were playing in Chicago and making history.
Kids who paid attention to this development were going to make history themselves in a few more years - Bud Freeman, Davie Tough, Eddie Condon, Milt Mesirow (Mezz Mezzrow), Gene Krupa, "Muggsy" Spanier, Jimmy McPartland, Jess Stacy - and a kid in short pants who played the clarinet.
Benny Goodman was only 10 when he first picked up a clarinet. Only a year or so later he was doing Ted Lewis imitations for pocket money. At 14 he was in a band that featured the legendary Bix Beiderbecke. By the time he was 16 he was recognized as a "comer" as far away as the west coast and was asked to join a California-based band led by another Chicago boy, Ben Pollack.
Goodman played with Pollack's band for the next four years. His earliest recording was made with Pollack, but he was also recording under his own name in Chicago and New York, where the band had migrated from the west coast. In 1929, when he was just 20, Benny struck out on his own to become a typical New York freelance musician, playing studio dates, leading a pit orchestra, making himself a seasoned professional.
By 1934 he was seasoned enough to be ready for his first big break. He heard that Billy Rose needed a band for his new theatre restaurant, the Music Hall, and he got together a group of musicians who shared his enthusiasm for jazz. They auditioned and got the job.
Then Benny heard that NBC was looking for three bands to rotate on a new Saturday night broadcast to be called "Let's Dance," a phrase that has been associated with the Goodman band ever since. One band on the show was to be sweet, one Latin, and the third hot. The Goodman band was hot enough to get the job, but not hot enough to satisfy Benny. He brought in Gene Krupa on drums. Fletcher Henderson began writing the arrangements - arrangements that still sound fresh more than a half century later. And the band rehearsed endlessly to achieve the precise tempos, section playing and phrasing that ushered in a new era in American music. There was only one word that could describe this band's style adequately: Swing.
After six months of broadcasting coast to coast the band was ready for a cross-country tour. The band was ready but the country was not. The tour was a disaster until its last date in August, 1935, at the Palomar Ballroom in Los Angeles. The only plausible explanation for what happened there is that "Let's Dance" was aired three hours earlier on the west coast than in the east. The kids in Los Angeles had been listening, and thousands of them turned out to hear the band in person at the Palomar. They hadn't even come to dance; instead they crowded around the bandstand just to listen. It was a new kind of music with a new kind of audience, and their meeting at the Palomar made national headlines.
When the band headed east again, after nearly two months at the Palomar, they were famous. They played for seven months at the Congress Hotel in Chicago, where Teddy Wilson joined them to complete the Benny Goodman Trio. Back in New York Lionel Hampton made it the Benny Goodman Quartet, and the band was a sensation at the Hotel Pennsylvania's Madhattan Room.
The band made it even bigger at the Paramount Theatre, where lines began forming at breakfast time and continued through the last daily show. It was grueling for the kids who waited for hours to dance in the aisles. It was more grueling for the band; they returned each night to the Madhattan Room for still more swing.
At the age of 28 Benny Goodman had reached what seemed to be the pinnacle of success. The new radio program, "The Camel Caravan," was scheduled in prime time, and the whole nation listened not only to the band itself but to the intelligent commentary by some of the most influential critics of the day, including Clifton Fadiman and Robert Benchley.
But it was not quite the pinnacle. On January 16, 1938, Sol Hurok, the most prestigious impresario in America, booked the Benny Goodman band into Carnegie Hall. For generations Carnegie Hall had been the nation's greatest temple of musical art, home of the New York Philharmonic and scene of every important artist's debut (even if they had played in a hundred other concert halls first).
So this was a debut not only for Benny Goodman but for jazz. Though many others followed him to Carnegie Hall, there has never been another concert with such an impact. It even made his "classical" Carnegie Hall debut more newsworthy a few years later when Benny returned there to launch his second career, as a soloist with major symphony orchestras and chamber groups.
Benny Goodman was indisputably the King of Swing - the title was invented by Gene Krupa - and he reigned as such thereafter until his death in 1986 at age 77. Over the years he played with the greatest figures in jazz: Bix Beiderbecke, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Mildred Bailey, Bessie Smith and countless others. Many of those who played with him as sidemen later achieved fame as leaders of their own bands, as soloists, or even as movie or TV actors - Harry James, Ziggy Elman, Gene Krupa and Lionel Hampton to name a few. A list of Benny's hits would fill a book. In fact it filled several books by his devoted discographer/biographer Russ Connor.
Pop singer Ricky Martin was a member of Menudo as a teenager and is now known for such solo pop hits as "Livin' La Vida Loca" and "She Bangs."
Born December 24, 1971, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Ricky Martin began appearing in commercials at age six. He was a member of teen singing group Menudo until he turned 18. After finishing high school, he appeared on stage and television while also pursuing his solo music career. His debut English album and single were hugely successful. He continues to make music in both Spanish and English today.
Born Enrique Jose Martin Morales IV, he began appearing in commercials on local television around the age of six. He auditioned three times for the teen singing group Menudo before finally earning a spot in 1984. In his five years with Menudo, Martin toured around the world, singing in several languages. He reached the group's age limit of 18 in 1989, and returned to Puerto Rico just long enough to finish high school before moving to New York to pursue a solo acting and singing career. His debut solo album, Ricky Martin, was released in 1988 by the Sony Latin division, followed by a second effort, Me Amaras, in 1989.
Martin traveled to Mexico to appear in a stage musical; the gig led to a role as a singer on the 1992 Spanish-language telenovela, Alcanzar una Estrella, or To Reach a Star. The show proved so popular that he reprised the role in a movie version of the serial. In 1993, Martin moved to Los Angeles, where he made his American TV debut in the NBC sitcom Getting By. In 1995 he acted on ABC's daytime soap opera, General Hospital and in 1996 he starred in the Broadway production of Les Miserables.