Ethel Waters (October 31, 1896 – September 1, 1977) was
an Oscar-nominated American blues vocalist and actress. She was the second
African American to ever be nominated for an Academy Award.
Ethel Waters was the first black Superstar...an innovator
who opened all the theatrical doors hitherto closed to black performers of her
day, to attain the towering position she reached as a headliner. She fought
hard and long to achieve solo star status in the white world of vaudeville,
night clubs, Broadway theater, radio, films and television.
More than any other black performer of the century, Ethel
Waters was a woman of the theatre, and the celebrity she attained in maturity
as an actress tended at times to overshadow-at least in memory-the importance
of her accomplishments and influence as a singer.
Her talents defied categorical limits. She was the
fountainhead of all that is finest and most distinctive in jazz and popular
singing. Widely imitated during the 30's and 40's, one still hears echoes of
Ethel Waters in many singers who came after her. Joe Turner, Bing Crosby, Ivie
Anderson, Lee Wiley, Mildred Bailey, Connie Boswell, and Ella Fitzgerald have
acknowledged their debt to her.
Her range soared easily from a low, chest tone to a high,
clear head voice: on records she sang from a low E to high F, just over two
octaves, and on "Memories of You" she hits a spectacular high F
sharp. Her diction was clear and impeccable, colouring the lyrics with the proper
emotion necessary to express the feelings she wanted to convey.
Her eighty year life was a turbulent one filled with low
valleys and high peaks. In her autobiography, His Eye is on the Sparrow, she
frankly detailed the squalor of her sordid childhood and early struggles. Her
singing career began with amateur night performances in Philadelphia, then
slowly moved in the black theatre circuit, where she was billed as "Sweet
She began recording in 1921 for the Black Swan label,
continuing with that company through 1924. When she introduced
"Dinah" at the famous Plantation Club (Broadway and 50th Street) in
New York City in 1925, she met with such success that she was signed by Columbia
Records, for whom she was to make many of her most famous recordings during the
next decade. Her career continued to escalate in such black shows as Africana,
The Blackbirds of 1928 (and 1930) and Rhapsody in Black.
In 1929, she made her
film debut in the new talking films, singing "Am I Blue?" and
"Birmingham Bertha" in On with the Show, remade a few years later as
In 1933, her sensational rendition of "Stormy
Weather" at the Cotton Club made her the talk of the town; when Irving
Berlin heard her sing it, she was signed for his As Thousands Cheer, a revue
starring Marilyn Miller and Clifton Webb. She stopped the show with "Heat
Wave" and "Suppertime" and was elevated to co-starring status.
At the same time, she became the first Negro to star in a sponsored
coast-to-coast radio show, accompanied by the Jimmy Dorsey orchestra. Her
Broadway career continued its spectacular ascent with the hit shows At Home
Abroad, Mamba 's Daughters, Cabin in the Sky, and Member of the Wedding. Later,
she filmed the latter two, appearing also in Gift of Gab, Cairo, Tales of
Manhattan, Pinky, and The Sound and the Fury. These films and her numerous
recordings remain a legacy for audiences too young to have been or heard this
legendary performer at her peak.
Her last years
were spent touring with the evangelist Billy Graham, still performing
occasionally, until her death on September 2, 1977, in Chatsworth, California.
Ethel Waters remains a towering figure in the history of
jazz and American music. (info from jazzateria.com)
The divine Ethel Waters sings her signature song 'Am I Blue'. This is from the 1929 film 'On With The Show'. This film was originally shot in 2 part Technicolor - now sadly lost with only a b&w print surviving. Try and imagine how great this number would have been in colour. Also seen in the cut-away shots is comedienne Louise Fazenda.
Jody Miller (born November 29, 1941) is an American
country music singer. Born as Myrna Joy Miller, she was born in Phoenix,
Arizona and raised in Oklahoma.
Discovered by actor Dale Robertson, she began her career
in the early 1960s as a folk/pop singer, singing in the Los Angeles area and
appearing on Tom Paxton's television series. She released her first album on
Capitol Records in 1964 and had a modest pop hit that year with "He Walks
Like a Man".
In 1965, she participated in the San Remo Festival as a
team companion of Pino Donaggio. Since the Festival was created as a composers'
competition, Miller and Donaggio presented differently arranged versions of the
entry "Io Che Non Vivo (Senza Te)". The song came in on # 7 and was
only a moderate hit until Dusty Springfield recorded an English version in 1966
which was eventually released as "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me".
Also in 1965, Jody Miller released an answer record to
Roger Miller's blockbuster hit "King of the Road", titled "Queen
of the House" (which became her signature hit, peaking at number 12 on t
Billboard Hot 100 and at number 5 on the country singles chart). Miller won the
Grammy award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance for the song in 1966.
Miller also scored a second top 40 pop hit that year with
"Home of the Brave", a #25 Hot 100 hit that was historically
significant for tackling the issue of nonconformity and tolerance. Ahead of its
time, its theme prevented it from making any headway on the more conservative
country charts of 1965. By the mid 1960s, Miller became a pioneer crossover
female vocalist, opening the doors for Linda Ronstadt, Anne Murray, and Olivia
Newton-John, and others as a pop singer recording a strong country influence,
finding success in both genres.
Miller's pop success petered out by the late 1960s. Tammy
Wynette's record producer, Billy Sherrill, was a fan of Miller's and signed her
to Epic Records in 1970 to record specifically for the country market. She had
two country hits right off the bat in 1970 with "Look At Mine" nearly
making the Top 20 and a Top 20 hit with "If You Think I Love You Now (I
Just Started)" in early 1971. She recorded a remake of the '60's pop hit
(by the Chiffons), "He's So Fine," and it hit the top 5 on the country
chart and #55 on the pop chart that summer. She was nominated for another
Several major country hits followed, many of them remakes
of pop/rock classics such as "Baby I'm Yours," "Be My
Baby," and "To Know Him is to Love Him". Among the new country
songs she had hits with were the top tens "There's a Party Goin' On,"
"Good News," and "Darling, You Can Always Come Back Home."
She also continued to have hits with cover versions of pop hits like
"House of the Rising Sun", a hit for The Animals,
"Reflections," this is not the hit for Diana Ross and the Supremes,
and "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman", an Aretha Franklin
Miller's last top 30 country hit was 1977's "When
the New Wears Off Our Love" and two years later she made her final chart
appearance. She went into semi-retirement in the 1980s, at which time she and
her husband owned a ranch in Oklahoma.
Miller returned in 1987 with the independently released
My Country, which consisted entirely of patriotic songs; it caught the
attention of President-elect George H.W. Bush, who invited her to perform at
his 1988 inaugural ball. Afterward, Miller's now-grown daughter Robin
encouraged her to return to country music and the two formed a duo. In 1990,
they tried to secure a record contract in Nashville, but were unsuccessful.
Miller re-emerged as a gospel singer in the late '90s, with such independently
released albums as I'll Praise the Lamb (1997) and Higher (1999).
In 1999, the
Country Gospel Music Association inducted Miller into its Hall of Fame, along
with Loretta Lynn, Barbara Mandrell, Andy Griffith, David L. Cook and Lulu
For a short while Jody and her daughter Robin recorded and toured
She continues to perform live and sings her secular hits as well as
her gospel material. (Info mainly Wikipedia with a tad of AMG)
Wayne Fontana (born Glyn Geoffrey Ellis, 28 October 1945)
is an English rock/pop singer, best known for the 1965 hit "Game of
Love" with the Mindbenders.
Fontana was born in Manchester, Lancashire, and took his
stage name from Elvis Presley's drummer, D.J. Fontana. In 1961 he formed his
backing group; the Jets. After reforming and naming the group the Mindbenders in
1963, they secured a recording contract coincidentally, with Fontana Records. He
and his group were one of the many talented acts to come out of Manchester
during the 1960s 'beat boom'. Wayne was an accomplished R&B singer and soon
gained a useful following of female admirers in the north of England.
The band had immediate chart success with their first
single, but its lowly #46 position and the failure of its follows up were
disappointing. However, "Um Um Um Um Um Um Um" peaked at #5 in October during 1964 in the UK charts.
'Game Of Love' was held back from the top spot by 'I'll Never Find Another You'
by the Seekers.
Sadly, by the end of 1965, although the hits had
continued, Fontana decided to go solo. This appears not to have done him too
much harm because he managed to achieve four more hits without the aid of his
former backing musicians.
He soldiered on alone, using musicians working under the
name of the Boys and then the Opposition, notably Frank Renshaw (lead guitar)
(born 22 June 1943, Wythenshawe, Manchester); Bernie Burns (drums); Roy
"Rossi" Henshall (bass); Rod Gerrard (guitar, ex-Herman's Hermits),
and Phil Keane (drums), among others.
Sometimes the band was billed as the
Mindbenders, sometimes just as the Wayne Fontana Band. Fontana's most
successful solo single release was also his last, "Pamela, Pamela",
which reached No 11 in the UK Singles Chart early in 1967.
However, he faded from the scene rapidly after 1968 and
although he continued on the club rounds he fell into obscurity for many years.
Fortunately, after putting personal problems behind him, he was persuaded out
of his retirement during the late 1980s.
In 2005, he fought off bankruptcy but was arrested after
police were called by bailiffs who went to his home in Glossop, Derbyshire. He
poured petrol on the bonnet of a baliff's car and set it alight with the
bailiff still inside. Fontana was remanded in custody on 25 May 2007. He later
appeared at Derby Crown Court dressed as Lady Justice, complete with a sword,
scales, crown, cape and dark glasses, and claiming "justice is
blind". He dismissed his lawyers. On 10 November 2007 he was sentenced to
11 months for setting fire to the car but was released because he had already
served the equivalent of the term, having been held under the Mental Health Act
1983. After his release he settled in Spain.
In March 2011 Fontana was arrested at the Palace Theatre,
Manchester, after failing to appear in court in Wakefield, over an unpaid
When the matter was brought to court, it was found that
the ticket had never been issued to him and he had returned home to Spain
unaware that he had an outstanding ticket. It was also determined, at Wakefield
Magistrates' Court that points had been erroneously added to his licence and
these were removed by the court. All outstanding fines were paid as well as
pending parking fines and this cleared his record.
Fontana continues to perform, notably in the Solid Silver
60s Shows. (Info mainly Wikipedia)
Donald Eric Partridge (27 October 1941 – 21 September 2010)
was an English singer and songwriter, known as the "king of the
buskers". He performed from the early 1960s as a busker and one-man band,
and achieved unexpected commercial success in the UK in the late 1960s with the
songs "Rosie" and "Blue Eyes".
Don Partridge was born in Bournemouth, England. By his
own account, he left home at age 15 and became a burglar, before working at
some 45 different jobs. By the early 1960s, inspired by American singer Jesse
Fuller, he travelled around Europe as a solo entertainer on street corners,
initially simply singing songs with a guitar. However, he found that he gained
more attention by performing as a one-man band, playing guitar, kazoo or
harmonica, bass drum and cymbal at the same time.
Playing by that time mainly in London, Partridge
performed traditional English and American folk songs as well as his own
compositions. In 1964, he and his friend, guitarist Alan Young, were described
in the Evening Standard as the first young street musicians to be seen in London
since the second world war. He was frequently arrested and fined, but gained a
local following and made a TV appearance on the Eamonn Andrews Show.
Record company executive Don Paul, previously of rock and
roll group The Viscounts, then won him a recording contract with Columbia
Records. His debut recording of his own song, "Rosie", reached #4 in
the UK Singles Chart in March 1968. Following its success, Partridge quit
busking for a more orthodox professional singing career. On 5 April 1968, Partridge
appeared alongside Amen Corner, Gene Pitney, Status Quo and Simon Dupree and
the Big Sound at The Odeon Theatre, Lewisham, London, on the first night as
part of a twice nightly UK tour.
His second hit quickly followed when "Blue
Eyes" reached #3 in June 1968, and he was featured on the front cover of
the pop weekly Disc. He also released a self-titled LP, which included folk and
blues songs by Leadbelly, Bill Broonzy and Oscar Brand along with versions of
Otis Redding's "(Sittin' On) the Dock of the Bay" and Robin
Williamson's "First Girl I Loved", and several of his own
compositions. However, his third single, "Top Man", failed to make
Intending a farewell to his street musician friends, he
hired the Royal Albert Hall in February 1969 and put on a "Buskers
Happening" show before an audience of 3,700, featuring buskers (including
Dave Brock, later of Hawkwind), who would all share the profits equally. A
concert album, The Buskers, was released in 1969, and Partridge's single
"Breakfast On Pluto" reached #26 on the UK charts. He also travelled
to the US to promote the Tom Courtenay movie Otley, which featured his song
Later in 1969, with fellow guitarist Gordon Giltrap, he
helped form the group Accolade. This was an acoustic band, who developed a
style of folk/jazz fusion. They recorded two albums (the second after Giltrap
had left), and one single, before splitting up in 1971.
Partridge returned to
busking, and moved to Sweden in the early 1970s where he recorded at least one
album, Don Partridge and Friends in 1974. In 1976 he travelled as a busker
through Canada, and played at the Montreal Olympic Games. He then returned to
England, settling in Seaford, Sussex, in 1990. He continued to busk around the
South Coast into his sixties.
In 2001 he recorded the album The Highwayman, with
accompaniment by Herbie Flowers, Nick Pynn and Richard Durrant. The album
contained tracks inspired by Partridge's experiences of life on the road,
including the autobiographical song "The Night I Met Elton John" and
a treatment of Alfred Noyes' verse "The Highwayman".
Partridge returned to public attention when his song "Breakfast on
Pluto" was included in the soundtrack to the film Breakfast on Pluto.
Partridge joined indie pop/trip hop duo Lemon Jelly on tour in the UK the same
year. He also made two appearances on the BBC Television comedy music quiz
show, Never Mind The Buzzcocks.
Partridge died of a heart attack on 21 September 2010 in
the town of Peacehaven in the south-east of England, where he spent most of his
later life. (Info Wikipedia)
The 'King of the Buskers' performs his hit single 'Blue
Eyes' on Top of the Pops (6th June 1968). The record reached No.3 and was his
second and biggest release.
Charlie Landsborough, (born Charles Alexander Landsborough,
26 October 1941) is a British country and folk musician and singer-songwriter.
He started singing professionally in the 1970s, although his major success
didn't come until 1994 with his song "What Colour is the Wind" and
since the hit in 1994 he is now one of the UK's top country acts. He is also
popular in Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.
Born in Wrexham, Wales, Landsborough was the youngest of 11
children. Soon after he was born, his mother (Aggie) moved the family back to
Birkenhead after the World War II bombing raids. He was reared by the docklands
of Birkenhead near the dumps, railway lines, coal wharf and oil factories.
He left school early and worked intermittently as an
apprentice telephone engineer, on the railways, and in the flour mills before
joining the army. He left after four years, in the early 1960s, and joined a
group, The Chicago Sect, in Dortmund, Germany. Returning to England, he
married, played in local bands, and worked in a variety of jobs before becoming
a teacher at Portland Combined School on Laird Street, Birkenhead.
While working as a teacher, he wrote songs and continued to
perform on a semi-professional basis, with limited success. However, in 1994
his song "What Colour is the Wind", which tells the story of a young
blind child’s attempts to envision the world, began to be played in Ireland,
eventually reaching No. 1 in the Irish charts after a TV appearance on RTE's
Kenny Live Show. The song was used as the title track of Landsborough's first
Following the album's success in Ireland, Landsborough
appeared on several TV shows in the UK. Since then, he has released ten
additional albums, including originals, greatest hits and double CDs of
previous releases. Overall, sales of his albums have exceeded 700,000 units. He
also has had two number ones singles in the Irish pop charts, and several of
his albums have topped the British country charts.
One of his most successful releases, Still Can't Say Goodbye
was recorded in Nashville in 1999 and resulted in Landsborough winning the BMCA
Best Male Vocalist (2000) for the third year in succession, and the Southern
Country Award for best album. He has performed at most major concert halls and
theatres in the UK, including the London Palladium. He also toured Australia
and New Zealand in 2001.
Charlie’s popularity continues to get stronger year after year;
he has a huge fan base in not only the UK, Ireland and Europe but all over the
world. In 2011 Charlie’s achievements were recognised when he was inducted into
British Country Music Hall of Fame.
Charlie has won just about every award possible in the UK
country scene and are too numerous to mention here individually suffice to
point out that Charlie has won Best Songwriter, Best Song, Best Male Vocalist,
Best Album and International Country Album of the year. He has also received a
nomination as Best Global Country Artist in the Country Music Association
Awards in Nashville. Many of his albums have topped the country charts as well
as getting into the British pop charts. He is a true and immensely talented
star having sold well over a million albums.
2014 was the 20th anniversary of the release of Charlie
Landsborough's signature tune “What Colour Is The Wind” and to commemorate the
event, Charlie released a new studio album called “Here, There and Everywhere,”featuring the
great songwriting talents of Sir Paul McCartney, John Lennon and George
Harrison. The album title also aligned itself closely to Charlie's faith and
Ester de Abreu (October 25, 1921, Lisbon, Portugal - February
24, 1997, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) was a Portuguese singer.
The beautiful Abreu Ester was born Ester de Abreu
Pereira.She was one of three siblings: Manuel,
Juliet (later to become superstar of the Portuguese Journal of Theatre) and
Hermenegilda, the future singer Gilda Valencia.
She began her career in 1934 singing in radio programs
dedicated to children, but this only lasted for two years. It wasn’t until 1940,
that she began to sing professionally for the Lisbon National Radio.In 1946 she won a contest on the same radio, and
became part of the "cast" of artists who toured Portugal several
times, later she came to visit other countries in Europe and toured the
Portuguese colonies in Africa.
In 1948 she was invited by her sister Juliet Valencia -
who have long resided in Rio de Janeiro- to come to Brazil to do a season at
the Copacabana Palace Hotel. She signed a contract with the club of the
Copacabana Palace and debuted in the musical revue "Dream in
Berlengas" Caribé of the Rock.She
also struck a deal with the National Radio for 12 months.The Rio press called Ester "the most beautiful Portuguese."
The Portuguese star was surrounded by very good luck, she
remained in the cast of the National until the mid-1960s, with great
success.She became the most famous
Portuguese singer in Brazil.Eventually she
became a naturalized Brazilian.
She travelled throughout the country in artistic
excursions.In 1950 she debuted in
recording albums in Continental fado song "I do not know" (António
Mestre) and fado "Orchard of life" (Rene Bittencourt / Antonio
However, his biggest success
was the fado-song "Coimbra" (Raul Ferrao / José Gallardo), this
recording hit sales records in 1952. In 1954 she released her first LP by RCA
It was during 1952 there was a private party hosted by
President Getulio Vargas in Catete Palace in Rio. Ester and other colleagues of
the National Radio were invited to make a short presentation.That night, Vargas presented it to the mayor
of the Federal District, the Dulcídio colonel of the Holy Spirit Cardoso,
widowed and decided to marry again.And
thus was born a romance between both, which received strong media reports, but
the new marriage did not take place.In
1956 they had already separated.
In addition to fado, Ester recorded baiões, samba-song
and Brazilian music. She also participated in the films: "Take it
easy" (1956), "Pirates of This World" (1957), "How to avoid
separation" (1973) and "The Adventures of a Portuguese
By the end of the 60’s she moved away from artistic
activities, it was the end of the "Golden Age of Radio".Ester continued singing to audiences of clubs
and Luso-Brazilian companies.And she
devoted much of his time to social work, participating in charity shows. She always
lived in the company of her daughter Maria Manuela, lawyer, sculptor and painter,
in a large apartment at Praia de Botafogo in Rio.
In 1995, the Portuguese star became very ill. She died in
Rio de Janeiro February 24, 1997
(Info edited from Thais
Matarazzo @ www.mundolusiada.com.br)
The Brook Brothers were an English pop duo composed of Ricky
Brook (born Richard Alan Brooks, 24 October 1940, Southampton, Hampshire) and Geoff
Brook (born Geoffrey Owen Brooks, 12 April 1943, Southampton, Hampshire).
Born in Southampton, and later living in Winchester, the
two brothers, who deliberately cultivated nearly identical appearances on stage
despite the nearly three years' difference in their ages, began performing
skiffle together in 1956, amid the boom for that uniquely British amalgam of
folk, blues, jazz, and rock & roll. After winning a talent competition,
they chose to turn professional and developed a sound very similar to that of
the Everly Brothers, who were just emerging as stars at the time -- they were
also probably influenced to some extent by the Kalin Twins (themselves similar
to the Everly Brothers) and their single "When."
In 1960, they were signed to the Top Rank label and
attracted attention with their cover of the Brothers Four hit
"Greenfields," which became an Italian hit. Their subsequent singles
included the Everly Brothers-related pairing "Please Help Me I'm
Falling" b/w "When Will I Be Loved?" which failed to chart.
In 1961, the Brook Brothers jumped to Pye Records and
were assigned to producer Tony Hatch, and their second single for the label,
"Warpaint," (written by Howard Greenfield and Barry Mann) became a
British Top 20 hit. Despite their reputation for producing cover versions, some
of their 'B' sides were written by themselves. They subsequently recorded a
self-titled LP (containing their covers of "Hello Mary Lou" and
"The Trolley Song," among other rock & roll and non-rock &
roll standards), and toured with Cliff Richard and Bobby Rydell, thus enhancing
their status and exposure in England, though, like virtually every other
British act of the era, they never made an impact in America.
The Brook Brothers enjoyed lesser hits with "Ain't
Gonna Wash for a Week," "He's Old Enough to Know Better,"
"Welcome Home Baby," and "Trouble Is My Middle Name." The
duo managed a lively appearance in Richard Lester's debut feature film, the
scintillating jukebox movie It's Trad, Dad (also known as Ring-A-Ding Rhythm),
miming in an elaborately shot and edited performance of the song "Double
Trouble." They also entered A Song For Europe for the Eurovision Song
Contest 1962, but did not advance in the contest.
By that time, in mid-1963, the beat boom out of
Liverpool, spearheaded by the Beatles, was dominating the charts and the Brook
Brothers seemed more suited to the cabaret circuit. They'd disappeared from
view by 1965, leaving behind some fond memories for home-grown British
audiences. At the end of the '90s, Castle Music put together a double-CD
compilation of the Brook Brothers' complete Pye label recordings, including
outtakes and rarities.
Update- No more
information regarding Richard Brooks who moved to the USA or Canada, but Terry did
move to Canada and as of 2010 was still singing.(Info mainly edited from AMG)