Black Music Month originated in 1979. Jimmy Carter proclaimed the month of June as Black Music Month to celebrate the wonderful music, the  achievements, births, important timelines, events and to remember those we lost.

1. Tom Turpin

1871: Composer & pianist Tom Turpin was born. He is credited with the first published rag by an African-American, his “Harlem Rag” of 1897 (it was composed by 1892). He passed away in 1922.

2. Sara Martin

1884: Blues singer Sara Martin was born. She was billed ‘The Famous Moanin’ Mama’ and was in her time one of the most popular classic blues singers. She passed away in 1955.

3. Jerry ‘Boogie’ McCain

1930: Jerry McCain was born on this day. He was an electric blues musician best known as a harmonica player. His stage name was ‘Boogie’ McCain. He passed away in 2012.

4. Tommy Hunt (The Flamingos)

1933: Tommy Hunt was born. He is a singer and was a member of The Flamingos.

5. Doug Clark

1936: Doug Clark was born. His group Doug Clark & the Hot Nuts was a rhythm and blues, rock and novelty band that has played party and club dates for more than fifty years. He passed away in 2002.

6. Ella Fitzgerald

1938: Ella Fitzgerald sailed onto the hit list with “A-Tisket, A-Tasket.” It settled in at #1 for an amazing ten weeks, becoming her biggest hit.

7. Jerome Smith

1953: Guitarist Jerome Smith, a member of KC & the Sunshine Band was born. He died in 2000 at age 47 in an accident on a construction site where he was working as a bulldozer operator.

8. Koran Daniels

1958: Saxophonist Koran Daniels was born. He was a member of Atlantic Star and is a composer and teacher.

9. Ike & Tina Turner

1966: Ike & Tina Turner’s thundering “River Deep, Mountain High” reached only #88 pop and #3 on the UK charts.

10. Sam & Dave

1966: “Hold On. I’m Comin’” by Sam & Dave was the Number One R&B song on this day.

11. The Jimi Hendrix Experience

1967: The Jimi Hendrix Experience made their American performance debut at the now-legendary Monterey Pop Festival in Monterey, CA. After playing “Like A Rolling Stone” and “Wild Thing” and setting fire to and smashing his guitar, the crowd went wild. The trio was only booked on the show due to the insistence of Paul McCartney.

12. Nathan Morris

1971: Singer and founding member of Boyz II Men was born.

13. Kid Thomas

1987: Trumpeter & bandleader Thomas Valentine commonly known as Kid Thomas passed away this day. He was 91 years old.

14. Paula Abdul

1988: Choreographer Paula Abdul punched her way onto the charts with “Knocked Out” (#41), her first of fourteen hits through 1995.

15. Sallie Martin

1988: Gospel singer Sallie Martin passed away on this day at age 93. She was nicknamed ‘The mother of gospel music’ for her efforts to popularize the songs of Thomas A. Dorsey and her influence on other artists.

16. Luther Tucker

1993: Luther Tucker was born this day. He was a Chicago Blues, Soul, Rock, Jazz and Gospel musician. He passed away in 1993 at age 57.

17. Robert Cray

1995: Robert Cray performed in front of an audience of more than 72,000 people as the opening act for the Rolling Stones in Landgraaf, the Netherlands.

18. Johnny Reed

2005: Bass singer and member of the Orioles Johnny Reed passed away on this day. The Orioles were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995.

19. Clarence Clemons

2011: Saxophonist for the E Street Band, Clarence Clemons passed away on this day at age 69. Clemons, known as Big Man for his size, 6’5″ and 270 plus pounds, and was one of the key influences in Bruce Springteen’s life & music through 40 years. Last week, NJ Governor Chris Christie signed a resolution declaring January 11th (Clemons’ Birth Date) as Clarence Clemons Day.