"King Of The Jukebox" Louis Jordan was one of the most successful black American musicians of the 20th century. Rolling Stone Magazine has ranked him 59th on a list of the 100 Greatest Artists Of All Time. Jordan was a pioneering songwriter and bandleader, and he was the innovator of the jump blues style - which some consider to be a precursor to rap. The Jump blues classic Let The Good Times Roll was one of his most famous songs, it was recorded in 1946 by Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five. Later in 1949 Jordan recorded Saturday Night Fish Fry - considered by some to be the first rock and roll record. The very charming and funny Jordan was also an actor and major film personality, he also produced dozens of "soundies" such as this one - these 3-minute musicals were an early version of music videos.
By the mid-1920's Washington DC-born Duke Ellington was famous for leading his popular orchestra at New York City's legendary Harlem nightclub The Cotton Club. In 1931 the prominent pianist and bandleader composed the infamous jazz standard It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing), and he was the first to record the song the following year. In 1998 that recording was inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame. This is considered to be the first time anyone used the word "swing" in the title of the song, thus introducing the greater world to the budding swing era. This fantastic clip of Ellington performing the song with his orchestra is from 1943.
In 1963 the New York based pop girl-group The Exciters recorded Doo Wah Diddy Diddy. The following year the British pop band Manfred Mann covered the song under the shortened name Doo Wah Diddy. The song was an international hit for Manfred Mann hitting number one in the UK and in the US, the original version by The Exciters had only hit number 78 on the US charts. After this hugely successful song Manfred Mann began to produce more pop oriented songs, straying from their rhythm and blues beginning.
Tommy James & The Shondells are an American rock and roll band that formed in 1959. In the 1960's the band was part of the growing bubblegum music music movement. In 1968, just after hitting number four on the charts with I Think We're Alone Now, the band soared to number three with the hit song Mony Mony. In 1968 the song was number one in the UK. The song's title was inspired by a sign that hung outside James's apartment window - it read Mutual Of New York. In 1990 English rocker Billy Idol had a number one hit with his cover of this song, and the very same month Tiffany went number one with her cover of the band's I Think We're Alone Now.
The classic song Love Is Strange was written by Bo Diddley in 1956, and although the song was recorded by Diddley that year the recording was never released until 2007. Several months after Diddley the song was recorded by R&B duet group Mickey & Sylvia. The story goes that in 1956 Micky & Sylvia were at a concert at Washington DC's Howard Theatre when they heard the now famous guitar riff played by Jody Williams - Bo Diddley's lead guitar player. Mickey and Sylvia claim to have been inspired by the riff and then written the lyrics of the song themselves - Diddley disputes that. Mickey & Sylvia made a second recording of the track in New York in 1957, that recording features legendary drummer Bernard "Pretty" Purdie - it was the 15-year olds first paid session. The song has been covered and sampled many times, and it's been featured in several hit movies such as Dirty Dancing - whose soundtrack was one of the greatest selling soundtracks of all-time. This video clip featuring the song comes from the 1990's British TV mini-series Lipstick On Your Collar.
Sister Sledge was a popular music group from Philadelphia made up of four actual sisters. Their chart topping disco anthem from 1979 We Are Family is off their 1979 breakthrough album of the same name, produced and written for them by Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers of Chic. 18-year old Kathy Sledge recorded the song's lead vocal 's in one take. In 1979 We Are Family became the theme song for the Philadelphia Pirates, who went on to win the World Series that year - at the opening game Sister Sledge was invited to sing the national anthem.
Many have considered Al Green's Love and Happiness one of the best songs of all-time. The 1972 song off of Green's I'm Still In Love With You album has been covered numerous times, and it has been sampled on at least 75 songs.
Boney M. was a popular 1970's and 1980's disco group that was created by a German record producer in 1976. The German based group was made up of four musicians from the Caribbean. When their first album was released in 1976 their single Daddy Cool went straight to number one in Germany and several other countries. In 1979 Boney M. released their fourth album Oceans Of Fantasy featuring the hit single Gotta Go Home. In 2010 the house music DJ duo Duck Sauce sampled this song for their international hit Barbara Streisand, which earned them a Grammy nomination for best dance recording in 2012.
Take Your Time (Do It Right) was the 1980 debut single of the electro funk and R&B band S.O.S. Band. The popular 1980's band's acronym stands for Sounds Of Success. In 1995 dance music group Max-A-Million covered this song on their second single, which came off their album Take Your Time. Take Your Time has also been sampled dozens of times, such as in Black Sheep's 1991 Strobelite Honey, and in Birdman's Baby You Can Do It in 2002.
Loose Ends was a British R&B band that formed in London 1980. Thieir 1985 hit Hanging On A String (Contemplating) made the trio the first British band to ever have a number one hit on the U.S. Billboard R&B chart. Loose Ends made several albums and had many charting singles before they started to break apart. By the time the group's final album was released in 1990 two of the original three members had left to go their own way. Hanging On A String has been sampled a couple dozen times such as in 2010 by Wiz Khalifa on My Kid Frankie,
"If you like to lounge