Oldies Artists and Bands
Lots of folks love them, some folks still hate them, but the fact is, this Swedish foursome -- made up of two married couples -- not only ruled international pop music in the Seventies, but created several hit singles that have stood the test of time and fashion. My profile shows how networking created a Swede supergroup that brought Europop into the rock and roll mainstream once and for all.
This soft-rock band dominated the early Seventies with folky, thoughtful radio mainstays like "A Horse With No Name," "Sister Golden Hair," and "Ventura Highway."
The hardest of all the UK R&B groups of the Sixties, this group on the front lines of the British Invasion scored big with "House Of The Rising Sun," "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood," and "We Gotta Get Out Of This Place" but soon graduated from their big early hits to psychedelia.
A profile of Paul Anka, one of the first of rock's teen idols, whose hits "Diana," "Lonely Boy," and "Put Your Head On My Shoulder" established him as a teenage songwriting phenomenon.
A profile of the Association, the sextet who bridged the gap between adult contemporary and Sixties hip with well-known songs like "Windy," "Cherish," and "Along Comes Mary."
One of the original teen idols, he was snickered at by the rock elite, especially after going to the beach with everyone's favorite Mouseketeer. But Frankie Avalon became synonymous with summer, and his impact on a more innocent era was profound enough to give him a second lease on commercial life in the smash movie Grease. Read more about Frankie, one of Philly's favorite sons, here.
Beach Boys, The
All about the surf-pop group who evolved into America's answer to the Beatles before dissolving into mental illness, disillusionment, and death.
A biography of this hard-R&B pioneer, one of the crucial developments in early 50s music that led directly to the birth of rock and roll with singles like "Tweedle Dee" and "Jim Dandy."
Ballard, Hank and The Midnighters
They never got truly famous on the pop charts, but this five-piece was absolutely crucial as an inspiration -- their early hits wound up establishing the careers of Gladys Knight and Chubby Checker, drug dirty, salacious R&B into white teen bedrooms, and invented the Twist!
Bee Gees, The
A profile of The Bee Gees, the trio of brothers who began as Australia's answer to the Beatles and eventually kicked a flagging disco scene straight into the heart of American culture with the soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever.
A superb talent whose genius for interpretation speaks to any generation, Tony Bennett personified the "bel canto" style of Italian-American pop music in the Fifties and Sixties with classics like "Rags To Riches" and "I Left My Heart In San Francisco."
Brook Benton was the early soul era's smoothest crooner, combining his pop instincts with a storyteller's knack on hits like "Rainy Night In Georgia," "The Boll Weevil Song," and "It's Just A Matter Of Time."
This former hairdresser mixed hillbilly rhythms, blues structure, and teen-friendly lyrics to become the true architect of rock and roll with smashes like "Johnny B. Goode," "Sweet Little Sixteen," and "Roll Over Beethoven."
Big Bopper, The
Before he was unfortunately immortalized in the plane crash that also took the lives of Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens, J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson had already been an influential songwriter, DJ, and performer, with hits like "Chantilly Lace" and "Big Bopper's Wedding."
Bonds, Gary "U.S."
A profile of Gary "U.S." Bonds, the early-Sixties king of "party rock" who carved his own unique niche in rock history with classic sides like "New Orleans," "Quarter To Three," and "School Is Out."
Booker T. and the MGs
A profile of Booker T. and the MGs, the instrumental soul outfit best known for classic hits like "Green Onions" and also for backing the greats on Memphis' Stax label.
Bread, the band featuring singer-songwriter David Gates, dominated the soft-rock scene of the early Seventies with gentle, sentimental favorites like "If," "Baby, I'm-A Want You," and "The Guitar Man."
The "Godfather of Soul" helped birth the genre by combining gospel and R&B, then almost singlehandedly invented funk with his backing band in the late Sixties.
A profile of Ruth Brown, the vastly influential R&B diva who helped put the Atlantic label on the map with hits like "(Mama) He Treats Your Daughter Mean" and later went on to star in John Waters' movie Hairspray.
A major fixture on the Sixties soul scene whose own hits like "Cry To Me" and "Everybody Needs Somebody To Love" proved to be a major influence on R&B, even as the pop charts rejected them.
The brother/sister combo that was soft-rock's greatest duo, led by the magnificent voice of Karen Carpenter on sunshiny yet moving classics like "Top Of The World," "Close To You," "We've Only Just Begun."
Chairmen of the Board
The Chairmen of the Board, featuring the timeless talents of leader General Johnson, became heroes to the Carolina shag/beach music scene and dominated early-Seventies R&B with smashes like "Give Me Just A Little More Time," "Pay To The Piper," and "Patches."
The Chantels established the "girl group" genre with their 1958 smash hit "Maybe," then went on to establish a presence as one of R&B's first female groups with hits like "Look In My Eyes" and "I Told You So."
The man they called "The Genius" mixed R&B, classic pop, country, and gospel in a way no one has managed before or since, creating classic hits like "What'd I Say" and "Georgia On My Mind."
A profile of Chubby Checker, the king of the dance crazes that set the world on fire in the early Sixties with "The Twist," "Let's Twist Again," and "Dear Lady Twist," before going on to school us about the Limbo, the Pony, the Fly, and more.
This disco powerhouse redefined '70s disco with huge smashes like "Le Freak" and "I Want Your Love" and jumpstarted hip-hop with "Good Times."
The Seventies folk-pop troubadour who revitalized the story song with "Bad Bad Leroy Brown" touched hearts with ballads like "Operator" and "Time In A Bottle," only to be tragically taken away in a plane crash at the height of his popularity.
The Clovers were the group that put the blues into postwar vocal group music, helping to introduce rock and roll and cranking out many oft-covered R&B hits like "Devil Or Angel," "Love Potion #9," and "Lovey Dovey."
Creedence Clearwater Revival
A profile of Creedence Clearwater Revival, the most popular (and some would say best) American rock group of the Sixties, responsible for classic hits like "Fortunate Son," "Proud Mary," and "Down On The Corner."
The Crystals were Phil Spector's other big girl-group mainstay of the early Sixties, cranking out classics such as "Then He Kissed Me," "Da Doo Ron Ron," and "He's A Rebel."
This consummate entertainer began as a teen rock and roll idol, then detoured into swing, pop vocal, folk protest, and more, racking up hits as diverse as "Mack The Knife," "Splish Splash," and "If I Were A Carpenter."
Dave Clark Five, The
The British Invasion's second attack on American shores in the mid-Sixties, this raucous and fun group scored with hits like "Glad All Over," "Catch Us If You Can," and "Over and Over."
The "Jewish Elvis" began as one of the famed Brill Building songwriters but almost immediately made a name for himself as a solo performer, blossoming from the simple folk-pop of his early days into a stadium-filling soft-rock powerhouse.
All about The Originator himself... the story of Bo and his unique, groundbreaking contributions to rock. Read how this classical violin virtuoso became the most rhythmic force in early rock and roll.
Lee Dorsey bridged the gap between New Orleans' soul and funk eras in the Sixties, moving from early hits like "Ya Ya" and "Do Re Mi" to funk workouts like "Working In The Coal Mine" and "Ride Your Pony."
All about Dr. John, the Night Tripper and New Orleans ambassador of music responsible for '70s funk and classic R&B hits like "Right Place Wrong Time," "Such A Night," and "Iko Iko."
The "Jewish Sinatra" who ruled the pop charts in the early '50s with songs like "Oh My Papa" before a scandal with Debbie Reynolds and Elizabeth Taylor wrecked his career.
The Flamingos were one of the Fifties' finest and most influential doo-wop groups, scoring big with "I Only Have Eyes For You" and going on to define the era with their gorgeous harmonies and lush arrangements.
The most popular female singer of the early rock and roll era, Connie Francis, with hits like "Who's Sorry Now," "Stupid Cupid," and "Everybody's Somebody's Fool," earned the title of America's Sweetheart.
The "King of Twang," the world's most popular rock instrumentalist, and the music's first great guitar god, notable for the "Peter Gunn" theme and his big hit "Rebel Rouser."
A paragon of Seventies R&B, Reverend Al was the master of seductive yet romantic soul who ruled the charts with songs such as "Let's Stay Together," "Here I Am (Come And Take Me)," and "Love and Happiness."
Dale Hawkins became an instant rockabilly legend and almost single-handedly created "swamp rock" with his classic 1957 song "Suzie Q," but also cut a number of other hot sides and became a producer of note when the hits dried up.
All about the Black Moses of Soul, from his stint as Stax songwriter to his Grammy-winning "Shaft" days right up through his stint as "Chef" on South Park.
The British Invasion band that captivated audiences on both sides of the ocean with great harmonies and hits like "Bus Stop," "Carrie-Anne," and "The Air That I Breathe."
Guess Who, The
The Guess Who started out as a classy pop-soul band with hits like "These Eyes" and "Laughing," but also proved themselves adept at hard-rock anthems like "American Woman," "No Time," and "No Sugar Tonight."
The first person to advance the idea of rock bands as totally self-contained units, the world's first geek rocker, the first to popularize the Strat... Holly's legacy is much more about how he lived than how he died.
The sweet Chicago soul innovators whose leader, Curtis Mayfield, helped pen what some call the soundtrack to the Sixties' civil-rights movement with cuts like "Amen," "People Get Ready," and "Keep On Pushing."
Isley Brothers, The
One of the longest-lasting and most influential acts in the history of R&B, scoring hits across several decades with "Twist and Shout," "It's Your Thing," and "That Lady."
Jackson 5, The
The legendary Motown quintet who scored the Number One classics "I Want You Back," "ABC," and "I'll Be There," among others, and who introduced the phenomenon of Michael Jackson to the world.
Etta James is best known for the wedding-day standard "At Last" but the hard-won (and sexy) joy in that song shines through the rest of her Fifties and Sixties R&B catalog in hits such as "Tell Mama," "A Sunday Kind Of Love," and "The Wallflower (Roll With Me, Henry)."
James, Tommy And The Shondells
A profile of Tommy James and the Shondells, the almost-forgotten garage rockers who finally hit with "Hanky Panky" and "Mony Mony," went bubblegum with "I Think We're Alone Now," and then got psychedelic with "Crimson and Clover."
The biggest pop superstar of the Seventies, a legendarily flamboyant performer, and a mainstay on radio for four decades thanks to classic hits like "Crocodile Rock," "Your Song," and "Candle In The Wind."
The Welsh sex symbol who's been setting hearts on fire since the late Sixties with sleek, dramatic hits like "What's New, Pussycat?" "It's Not Unusual," and "She's A Lady."
KC and the Sunshine Band
KC and the Sunshine band were the group that introduced the Latin-funk "junkanoo" sound into disco, helping to get the music onto the pop charts with anthems like "Get Down Tonight," "I'm Your Boogie Man," and "Shake Your Booty."
Carole King began her illustrious career writing hits, mainly for girl-groups, at New York's famous Brill Building before launching the singer-songwriter movement in the 70s with her megahit Tapestry album and songs like "It's Too Late" and "I Feel The Earth Move."
Knight, Gladys and the Pips
A group that began as Motown's "second stringers" but escaped to define a stylish yet emotional brand of soul for decades, resulting in hits like "Midnight Train To Georgia" and "If I Were Your Woman."
Hawkins, Screamin' Jay
Everything you could want to know about this notorious voodoo-R&B legend, best known for his wild-man grunts and howls on songs like "I Put A Spell On You" and "Little Demon."
Lewis. Jerry Lee
The one and only Killer -- not just a scandalous rockabilly legend but one of rock and roll's most iconoclastic, purely interpretive artists.
The flamboyant shouter who made your liver quiver and your big toe shoot straight up in your boot!
Perhaps the greatest singer in Phil Spector's stable, Darlene Love sang lead on girl-group classics like "He's A Rebel" and "He's Sure The Boy I Love," not to mention her own seasonal classic "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)."
Lovin' Spoonful, The
The sunny, funny folk-pop powerhouse who hit big in the Sixties with "Summer In The City," "Daydream," and "Do You Believe In Magic?"
Mamas And The Papas, The
The folk-rock quartet who epitomized the West Coast sound of the Sixties with hits like "Monday Monday," "California Dreamin'," and "Creeque Alley."
Dean Martin's boozy playboy persona and velvet croon made him the smoothest cat in the Rat Pack, and also ensured him lots of enduring hits like "Sway," "That's Amore," and "Everybody Loves Somebody."
Motown's first important girl group, with hits like "Please Mr. Postman" and later staples of AM radio such as "Don't Mess With Bill."
The king of romantic "make out" music, Johnny Mathis was the preeminent crooner of the Fifties and early Sixties, scoring hits on the pop, R&B, and adult contemporary charts with modern standards like "Misty," "Chances Are," and "The Twelfth Of Never."
Clyde McPhatter's era-defining stints as lead singer of the Drifters and with Billy Ward and the Dominoes was just the beginning of this proto-soulster's career, which also resulted in solo hits like "A Lover's Question."
Melvin, Harold and the Blue Notes
Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes were arguably Philly Soul's greatest balladeers, thanks in no small part to Teddy Pendergrass' booming baritone on classic singles like "If You Don't Know Me By Now."
A profile of the Monkees, America's calculated answer to the Beatles who scored with their hit TV show and big songs like "I'm A Believer," "Daydream Believer," and "Last Train To Clarksville."
The world's greatest jump blues artist, Jordan practically defined the postwar period with hits like "Caldonia" and "Saturday Night Fish Fry."
Before he was Rick Nelson, the country-rock pioneer, he was just a TV heartthrob named Ricky, a rockabilly original who scored major hits with "Hello Mary Lou," "Travelin' Man," and "Lonesome Town."
The O'Jays were the most popular of the Philly Soul superstars, moving from protest funk ("For The Love Of Money") to pop anthems ("Love Train") and even through the disco era ("Use Ta Be My Girl").
Les Paul remains the most famous name in guitars, but before his many innovations in the development of the electric guitar, he was already regarded as one of the world's leading jazz guitarists, also creating pop hits like "How High The Moon" with wife Mary Ford.
Peter and Gordon
Peter and Gordon were the British Invasion's answer to the Everly Brothers, a duo whose tight harmonies and folky style endeared them to millions with lush romantic classics such as "World Without Love" and "I Go To Pieces."
Peter, Paul And Mary
These folk giants are best known for bringing the music into the mainstream with their versions of "Leaving On A Jet Plane" and "If I Had A Hammer."
Little Anthony and the Imperials
These smooth and elegant crooners defined "Uptown Soul" with anthems like "Hurt So Bad" and "I Think I'm Going Out of My Head."
The "Fifth Beatle" who performed with the group near the end of their career and went on to have hits such as "Nothing From Nothing."
A profile of The (Young) Rascals, blue-eyed soul's greatest band, best known for classic hits like "Groovin'," "Good Lovin'," and "People Got To Be Free."
Righteous Brothers, The
Blue-eyed soul's most famous duo ("You've Lost That Loving Feeling," "Unchained Melody") and Phil Spector's greatest prodigies.
A profile of the Ronettes, the girl group that best defined the Brill Building and the Phil Spector Wall of Sound with their classic hits "Be My Baby," "Baby, I Love You," and "Walking In The Rain."
The Brill Building singer-songwriter responsible for a long string of pop hits like "Breakin' Up Is Hard To Do" and "Laughter In The Rain."
The Shangri-Las were both the toughest and most dramatic of all the early-Sixties girl groups, a fact proven on hits like "Leader Of The Pack," "Remember (Walkin' In The Sand)," and "I Can Never Go Home Anymore."
The girl-group pioneers who scored some of the genre's earliest and biggest hits with "Soldier Boy," "Mama Said," and "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?"
Simon and Garfunkel
A profile of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, folk-rock's most successful duo of all time, responsible for taking the genre to new heights with hits like "The Boxer," "The Sounds of Silence," and "Bridge Over Troubled Water."
Frank Sinatra was the original teen idol, the original pop icon, and one of the finest singers in 20th century music with hits like "Fly Me To The Moon," "The Way You Look Tonight," and "New York, New York."
Revere, Paul And The Raiders
The most successful garage-rock act of the Sixties and America's response to the British Invasion who created smashes like "Kicks," "Hungry," and "Indian Reservation."
Usually remembered for "Secret Agent Man," Rivers enjoyed a number of lite pop-soul hits in the Sixties, as well, such as "The Poor Side of Town."
The Michigan native best known for the deathless early-60s classic "Runaway."
Sly and the Family Stone
A profile of Sly and the Family Stone, the groundbreaking multiracial rock-funk unit who expanded consciousness and crossed racial and cultural lines with classic hits like "Everyday People," "Dance to the Music," and "Family Affair."
Sonny and Cher
Sonny and Cher began as the folkie's teen pinup duo, a cannily crafted symbol of rebellion on songs like "I Got You Babe," and "The Beat Goes On," but went on to grow up with their fanbase, surviving through the Seventies as America's favorite husband and wife musical comedy team.
A profile of Phil Spector, the First Tycoon of Teen, the producer responsible for creating the famous "Wall of Sound" technique of the early Sixties, and the troubled man convicted of murdering actress Lana Clarkson in 2003.
The Spinners, while from Detroit, were nevertheless one of the most critically and commercially successful of the "Philly Soul" groups, scoring with "The Rubberband Man," "(One Of A Kind) Love Affair," and "It's A Shame."
A profile of Dusty Springfield, the epitome of female blue-eyed soul in the Sixties and a legendary diva responsible for classic songs like "Son Of A Preacher Man," and "Wishin' and Hopin'."
Staple Singers, The
The Staple Singers were merely the nation's greatest gospel family until Stax remodeled them as a soul powerhouse, resulting in era-defining hits like "I'll Take You There," "Respect Yourself," and "Let's Do It Again."
Cat Stevens enjoyed brief success as a folky teen idol in Swinging Britain, reinvented himself as a singer-songwriter with smashes like "Wild World" and "Peace Train," then converted to Islam and left the business for nearly three decades.
The Stylistics were the vocal group most responsible for popularizing "Philly Soul," that early-Seventies brand of heavily orchestrated R&B that paved the way for disco. Their forte lay mostly in ballads, however, classic gold like "Break Up To Make Up," "Betcha By Golly, Wow," and "You Are Everything."
The Queen of Disco started out as a novelty singer of sorts, creating "orgasm records" with a proto-electronic flair before barnstorming the pop charts with genre-defining classics like "Bad Girls," "Hot Stuff," and "Last Dance."
James Taylor practically defined the sensitive singer-songwriter of the Seventies with hits such as "Fire and Rain" and "You've Got a Friend," not to mention his covers of early rock standards like "Handy Man" and "Mockingbird."
Three Dog Night
The unquestioned kings of AM radio pop in the early 70s, responsible for feel-good hits like "Joy To The World" and "Mama Told Me Not To Come."
The clown prince of soul who helped demolish the barriers between funk and Southern soul with hits like "I Gotcha" and "Skinny Legs and All."
The Troggs were best known in the States for their garage-rock classic "Wild Thing," a song which paved the way for heavy metal and punk. But in England, they enjoyed several hits, including "I Can't Control Myself," "With A Girl Like You," and the ballad "Love Is All Around," their only other big US hit.
A profile of Ike Turner, the man who helped invent rock and roll with "Rocket 88," helped create soul with "A Fool In Love," and entered into rock's notorious marriage with wife and musical partner Tina Turner.
A profile of The Turtles, the kings of West Coast sunshine pop who scored big in the Sixties with timeless feel-good classics like "Happy Together," "Elenore," and "She'd Rather Be With Me."
The most popular rock instrumental group of all time, they scored hits with "Walk Don't Run" and the theme to "Hawaii Five-O," in addition to several thousand other covers done in their surf-rock style.
Sam and Dave
Stax's favorite duo is responsible for some of the most enduring gritty soul classics, including "Hold On! I'm Comin'" and "When Something Is Wrong With My Baby."
War, the Latin-funk bar band that originally backed the Animals' Eric Burdon on "Spill The Wine," became lowrider heroes on their own with smashes like "Low Rider," "Cisco Kid," and "Why Can't We Be Friends?"
The classically elegant singer of pop standards like "Walk On By" and "Do You Know The Way To San Jose?"
A crucial Motown cornerstone, deliverer of such golden oldies as "Two Lovers" and "You Beat Me To The Punch."
R&B's greatest seducer was a major presence in the Seventies with hits like "Can't Get Enough Of Your Love, Babe" and "Never, Never Gonna Give Ya Up."
The R&B legend behind hits such as "What Am I Living For?" "It's Too Late," and "C.C. Rider."
The Zombies were the jazziest and most sophisticated of all the British Invasion bands, weaving a dark yet mellow tapestry with hits like "Time Of The Season," "She's Not There," and "Tell Her No."
Oldies Singers and Bands
Biographies and music of pop and rock music singers and bands from the 50s, 60s, 70s, from your Oldies Music Guide at About.com.
Turner, Big Joe
More of an influence than Bill Haley and the Comets, and much more real. A legendary rhythm and blues shouter responsible for the original "Shake, Rattle and Roll" and "Flip, Flop, and Fly."