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. Lena Horne
1917: Lena Horne was born on this day. She was an award winning singer, dancer, actor, recording artist, entertainer and civil rights activist. She announced her retirement 1980, but the next year starred in a one-woman show, Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music, which ran for more than three hundred performances on Broadway and earned her numerous awards and accolades. She passed away in 2010 at age 92.
2. Andrew HIll
1937: Jazz pianist and composer Andrew Hill was born on this day. He is recognized as one of the most important innovators of jazz piano in the 1960s. His most-lauded work was recorded for Blue Note Records, spanning nearly a decade and a dozen albums. He passed away in 2007 at age 75.
3. Florence Ballard
1943: Singer Florence Ballard was born on this day. She passed away in 1976 at age 32.
4. William Brown
1946: William Brown was born on this day. He was a member of the R&B group Ray, Goodman & Brown. (Photo: YouTube)
5. The Dominoes
1951: “Sixty Minute Man” by the Dominoes was the Number One R&B Song on this day.
6. The Orioles
1953: The Orioles’ legendary “Crying in the Chapel” was recorded. It reached #1 R&B and #11 pop.
7. The Five Keys
1956: Aladdin Records sued the Five keys for breach of contract when the quintet signed with Capitol Records. The same day, the Velours’ debut 45, “My Love Come Back” was issued.
8. Stevie Wonder
1972: Stevie Wonder performed in Vancouver, British Columbia, as the opening act for the Rolling Stones on an eight-week North American tour.
9. Sylvia Robinson
1973: Sylvia Vanterpool Robinson’s “Pillow Talk” reached #14 in the United Kingdom. It had reached #1 on R&B for two weeks, #3 on the pop chart with Billboard’s Hot 100. Written and produced by Ms. Robinson and Michael Burton, the song became famous for Ms. Robinson’s sultry moaning and breathing. The song was released by the Vibration label, with the B-side entitled “My Thing”. It sold over two million copies, and was awarded a gold disc by the R.I.A.A. in May 1973.
10. The Jackson Five
1984: The Jackson 5 charted with “State of Shock,” which featured a duet by Michael Jackson and the Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger. It reached #3 pop and #4 R&B.
11. Bobby Brown
1989: Bobby Brown made a personal appearance at the HMV store on London’s Oxford Street and police had to close off the thoroughfare as 4,000 fans attempted (among other things) to get his autograph. During the near-riot scene, six fans were hospitalized and one was brought back to life (so to speak) by a kiss from the star.
12. Mariah Carey
1990: Mariah Carey’s self-titled debut album charted. It would take the ten-song collection thirty-six weeks to make it to #1.
13. Montell Jordan
1995: Montell Jordan, Boyz II Men and Mary J. Blige performed at the Starwood Amphitheater in Antioch, TN.
14. Notorious B.I.G.
1995: Notorious B.I.G., Brandy, Blackstreet, Naughty by Nature, and Method Man, among others, performed at the Byrne Meadowlands Arena in East Rutherford, NJ, at the Hot 97 Summer jam.
15. Phyllis Hyman
1995: Singer, songwriter and actress Phyllis Hyman took her life on this day by overdosing on prescription drugs in her New York City apartment . Her suicide note read in part: “I’m tired. I’m tired. Those of you that I love know who you are. May God bless you.” She was 45 years old.
16. George Clinton
1997: George Clinton, Erykah Badu and Cypress Hill began the House of Blues Smokin’ Grooves tour at the Great Woods Center for the Performing Arts in Mansfield, MA. Badu originally performed under the name M.C. Apples in a rap trio before becoming part of the duo Erykah Free.
17. Joseph Henderson
2001: Jazz saxophonist Joseph A. Henderson passed away on this day. His career spanned more than forty years. He played with many of the leading musicians of his day and recorded for several prominent labels, including Blue Note. He was 64 years old.
18. Regina Bell
2001: Regina Bell performed at the White House on this day in celebration of Black Music Month.
19. Pistol Allen
2002: Drummer Pistol Allen passed away on this day. He was the primary recording session drummer for Motown Records and a member of the Funk Brothers. He was posthumously inducted into the Michigan Rock & Roll Legends Hall of Fame in 2010 as a member of the Funk Brothers. He was 69 years old.