broke into the R&B world in the 1970s as a drummer for The Cadillacs, then as a singer for Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes. When he went solo, Pendergrass became known for the love ballads "I Don't Love You Anymore," "Close The Door" and "Turn Off The Lights," and for playing "for-women-only" shows. Pendergrass died Wednesday following a battle with colon cancer. He was 59. After a 1982 car accident left him paralyzed, Pendergrass continued to perform and make music. He released his last album of new material, You and I, in 1997.
While most record companies of the 1940s and 1950s made money in one genre, Cincinnati-based King Records spread the love to R & B, rockabilly, bluegrass, western swing and country. Jon Hartley Fox tells the story in his new book King of the Queen City.
Saxophonist Hank Crawford died Jan. 29 at the age of 74. The Memphis-born musician backed B.B. King and Ray Charles before going solo. He later became the musical director for Charles' band. Fresh Air remembers Crawford with a 1998 interview.
Producers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff helped pioneer the sound of Philadelphia soul. Their renowned record label, Philadelphia International, produced the hits "Love Train," "Backstabbers" and "The Love I Lost."
Rock historian Ed Ward looks at Rock and Roll Hall-of-Famer Chuck Berry and the career that made him a star. Berry's entire record output from the 1950s was recently released on a four-disc set from Hip-O-Select titled, Johnny B. Goode: His Complete '50s Chess Recordings.
Bettye LaVette recorded her first hit, "My Man — He's a Lovin' Man," at the age of 16. She toured with Ben E. King, Barbara Lynn and Otis Redding. And now she's being crowned the Comeback Queen for her recent albums, I've Got My Own Hell to Raise, which came out in 2005, and her recent The Scene of the Crime. LaVette recorded The Scene of the Crime at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Ala., with the Southern rock band Drive-By Truckers and the legendary session musician and songwriter Spooner Oldham.
Ike Turner, the soul-music star and rock 'n' roll pioneer, died this week. He was 76, and had reportedly suffered from emphysema. Turner shaped the sound of early rock 'n' roll, co-writing and playing piano on the 1951 song "Rocket 88." (He was the "Jackie Brenston" of Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats.) Then, in 1958, he discovered a singer named Anna Mae Bullock; before long, she and his band both had new names, and the Ike and Tina Turner Revue became one of the hottest acts of the '60s and early '70s.
Sharon Jones, head of the old-school funk and soul band Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, is working it. She and her band have a new album, their third, called 100 Days, 100 Nights. They've been touring to support the album, and Jones was recently part of the cast of Berlin, along with Lou Reed. She also shot a part for the upcoming Denzel Washington film The Great Debaters.