Just a fraction of the black women who have paved the way for pop artists.
Black culture has without doubt had a monumental influence on the world of pop music since as far back as the 1920s. And while the likes of Chuck Berry, Ray Charles, Bob Marley and Michael Jackson have certainly played important roles, today we look at the sometimes overlooked black women who have really proved essential to musical progress.
Ella Fitzgerald (1946) / Photo Credit: William P. Gottlieb
1. Ma Rainey
Continue reading: 10 Black Female Artists Who Shaped Pop Music
When Rick Hall opened up his record studio FAME Studios in the small town of Muscle Shoals, Alabama, it became something of a rock 'n' roll myth when some of the finest music ever written began to pour out of it. Hits from the likes of Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Percy Sledge, Wilson Pickett and Otis Redding became international, and Hall even managed blur the distinction between white and black a little as his all-white session group, The Swampers, became deeply respected among the funk and soul artists. After the session group separated themselves from Hall, some of them set up their own studio, the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, and became the Muscle Shoals Sound Rhythm Section. From here, musicians began to shine their brightest as The Rolling Stones, Elton John, Willie Nelson, Paul Simon and Bob Dylan all left that town as legends as if enchanted by the beauty of Muscle Shoals.
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Muscle Shoals tells the story of the 'singing river' and its apparent influence of the seminal music recorded nearby.
Located along the Tennessee River is Muscle Shoals - a small town in Alabama and an unlikely breeding ground for some of America's most creative and interesting music. Under the influence of "the singing river" as the Native Americans called it, Muscle Shoals has helped create some of the most important songs of all time.
Etta James Recording At Muscle Shoals Studio
At the heart of the Muscle Shoals sound is Rick Hall - sounds like a wrestler, actually the founder of FAME studios, home of house band The Swampers.
Muscle Shoals was just a town in Alabama with an extraordinary habit of producing some of the finest music in the world. It started out with Rick Hall and his FAME Studios, producing hits from the likes of Percy Sledge, Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding and Etta James. And not only that, even at the heart of racial distinction in America, he found the ability to join both black and white in unity over the love of soul music. Even after Hall's session group split up, some of them went to name themselves The Swampers, later becoming known as the Muscle Shoals Sound Rhythm Section when they opened the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio. From here came legendary tunes from The Rolling Stones, Elton John, Willie Nelson, Paul Simon and Bob Dylan. So just what was it that made Muscle Shoals the must-be place for artist in the seventies?
Continue: Muscle Shoals Trailer
Etta James Friday 22nd May 2009 performs at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival New Orleans, California
Date of birth
25th January, 1938
Date of death
20th January, 2012