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. Mother Willie Mae Ford Smith
1904: Willie Mae Ford was born. She was also known as Mother Willie Mae Ford Smith and was a gospel singer and considered as one of the greatest. In 1990 Smith was inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame. She passed away in 1994. (Photo: YouTube)
2. Katherine Henderson
1909: Katherine Henderson was born. She was a blues singer and performed in Minstrel shows and the Vaudeville circuit. She passed away in 1947. (Photo: YouTube)
3. Milt Hinton
1910: Milt Hinton was born. He was “the dean of jazz bass players,” was a jazz double bassist and photographer. He was nicknamed “The Judge”. He passed away in 2000 at age 90. (Photo: YouTube)
4. Helen Humes
1913: Blues & Jazz singer Helen Humes was born. She performed all over Europe including the prestigious Nice Jazz Festival in the mid-1970s. She received the Music Industry of France Award in 1973, and the key to the city of Louisville in 1975. She passed away in 1981 at age 68. (Photo: YouTube)
5. Lena Horne
1941: The recording of ‘St. Louis Blues’ launched the illustrious career for Lena Horne. (Photo: Tumblr)
6. Luther Thomas
1950: Luther Thomas was born. He is an alto saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist from St. Louis. He is known for his free jazz playing drawing also on funk.
7. Randy Jackson
1956: Randy Jackson was born. He is a bassist, singer, record producer, entrepreneur and television personality. He is also a judge on American Idol and the executive producer for MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew.
8. Shirley & Lee
1956: Shirley & Lee’s “Let the Good Times Roll” was released. It climbed to #20 in the US charts. The song, written by Shirley & Lee has been recorded by a number of different singers in various genres; blues, pop, jazz, country, rock and roll and R&B.
9. The Cleftones
1956: Other songs released on this day include “Can’t We Be Sweethearts” by the Cleftones, Your Way” by the Heartbeats’ and “Castle in the Sky” by the Bop Chords.
10. The Shields
1958: ‘You Cheated’ by The Shields was released. It reached #12 on the pop charts and #11 on the R&B.
11. Chico Debarge
1966: Singer and musician Chico Debarge was born. Chico is the only male DeBarge that does not sing in the falsetto range that is well known in his family, he sings tenor.
12. Chubby Checker
1970: Chubby Checker was arrested when police found marijuana in his car in Niagara Falls, NY.
13. Memphis Bleek
1978: Happy Birthday to rapper Memphis Bleek
1979: Chic’s “Good Times” charted on its way to #1 R&B for six weeks and #1 pop for one week.
15. Donna Summer
1979: ‘Hot Stuff’ by Donna Summer was the Number One Song on this day. (Photo: Retna)
16. Miles Davis
1983: Miles Davis, Ray Charles, and B.B. King, among others, performed at New York’s Kool Jazz Festival.
1997: Brandy appeared in the lead role of the ABC/Disney TV production of Cinderella.
18. Jerome Richardson
2000: Jerome Richardson passed away. He was a jazz musician, tenor saxophonist, and flute player, who also played alto sax, baritone sax, clarinet and piccolo. He played with Charles Mingus, Lionel Hampton, Earl Hines, just to name a few. He was 80 years old.
19. Emanuel Laskey
2006: Northern Soul legend and star of 60’s Detroit, Emanuel Laskey passed away on this day after a battle with cancer at age 62. (Photo: YouTube)