I’ve already been dinged about avoiding the Beatles, the group heading the British Invasion of the rock and roll scene here in the USA. Formerly called the Quarrymen or the Silver Beatles, with the byname of the Fab Four, this British musical quartet became the global lodestar for the hopes and dreams of a generation that came of age in the 1960s. Of the four, only Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney still survive, but Beatlemania will live forever. They are widely considered the most influential band of all time, producing twenty number-one hits, and have sold over 188 million records just in the US. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988, with each principal member inducted individually between 1994 and 2015. ‘Nuff said.
Dionne Warwick ranks among the 40 biggest U.S. hit makers between 1955 and 1999, based on her chart history on Billboard’s Hot 100 pop singles chart. She is the second-most charted female vocalist during the rock era (1955–1999).
Many of Warwick’s family were members of the Drinkard Singers, a family gospel group and RCA recording artists who frequently performed throughout the New York metropolitan area. The group morphed into the Gospelaires and then the Sweet Inspirations, who had some chart success, but were much sought-after as studio background singers.
While she was performing background on a Drifters’ recording, Warwick’s voice and star presence were noticed by the song’s composer, Burt Bacharach, who signed her to his company. Thus was formed one of the most successful partnerships in musical history.
She (and Bacharach) had won innumerable awards for their music and she was still producing hits in the 80s and 90s. Her music is the background to my life and probably for many of you, too: (There’s) Always Something There to Remind Me, I’ll Say a Little Prayer, Do You Know the Way to San Jose, That’s What Friends Are For, I’ll Never Fall in Love Again, and this one, Walk On By.
In the late 1950s and early 60s, one style of music that began to dominate the American music charts and youth culture of that day came from the ‘girl groups.’ Comprised mostly of three-to-four young females, typically teenagers themselves, these groups were mostly African American, named The Crystals, The Shirelles, The Ronettes, The Dixie Cups, The Marvelettes, and of course, The Supremes.
Martha and the Vandellas (known from 1967 to 1972 as Martha Reeves & The Vandellas) were an American vocal girl group formed in Detroit in 1957. The group achieved fame in the 1960s with Motown. The group signed with and eventually recorded all of their singles for Motown’s Gordy imprint.
The group’s string of hits included Heat Wave, Quicksand, Nowhere to Run, Jimmy Mack, I’m Read for Love, and Dancing in the Street, the latter song becoming their signature single. Dancing in the Street was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.
During their nine-year run on the charts from 1963 to 1972, Martha and the Vandellas charted over twenty-six hits and recorded in the styles of doo-wop, R&B, pop, rock and roll, and soul.Ten Vandellas songs reached the top ten of the Billboard R&B singles chart and six top ten pop hits on the Billboard Hot 100. Selected members of the group were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995