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James Joseph Brown, Jr. (May 3, 1933 – December 25, 2006) was an American recording artist and musician. One of the founding fathers of funk music and a major figure of 20th-century popular music and dance, he is often referred to as "The Godfather of Soul". In a career that spanned six decades, Brown influenced the development of several music genres.
Brown began his career as a gospel singer in Toccoa, Georgia. Joining an R&B vocal group called the Avons that later evolved to become The Famous Flames, Brown served as the group's lead singer. First coming to national public attention in the late 1950s as a member of The Flames with the ballads "Please, Please, Please" and "Try Me", Brown built a reputation as a tireless live performer with the singing group The Famous Flames and his backing band, sometimes known as the James Brown Band or the James Brown Orchestra. Brown's success peaked in the 1960s with the live album, Live at the Apollo, and hit singles such as "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag", "I Got You" and "It's a Man's Man's Man's World". During the late 1960s, Brown moved from a continuum of blues and gospel-based forms and styles to a profoundly "Africanized" approach to music-making that influenced the development of funk music. By the early 1970s, Brown had fully established the funk sound after the formation of The J.B.'s with records such as "Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine" and "The Payback". Brown also became notable for songs of social commentary including the 1968 hit, "Say It Loud - I'm Black and I'm Proud". Brown continued to perform and record for the duration of his life until his death in 2006 from congestive heart failure.
Brown recorded 16 number-one singles on the Billboard R&B charts. Brown also holds the record as the artist to have charted the most singles on the Billboard Hot 100 which did not reach number-one on that chart. Brown was honored by many institutions including inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Songwriters Hall of Fame. In Joel Whitburn's analysis of the Billboard R&B charts from 1942 to 2010, Hot R&B Songs, James Brown is ranked as number one in The Top 500 Artists. Brown is ranked seventh on the music magazine Rolling Stone's list of its 100 greatest artists of all time.
Martha and the Vandellas (known from 1967 to 1972 as Martha Reeves and the Vandellas) were an American vocal group who found fame in the 1960s with a string of hit singles on Motown's Gordy label. Founded in 1960 by friends Annette Beard, Rosalind Ashford and Gloria Williams, the band eventually included Martha Reeves, who moved up in ranks as lead vocalist of the group after Williams' departure in 1962. The group signed with and eventually recorded all of their singles for Motown's Gordy imprint.
The group's string of hits included "(Love Is Like a) Heat Wave", "Nowhere to Run", "Jimmy Mack", "Bless You" and "Dancing in the Street", the latter song becoming their signature single. 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, blues, rock and roll and soul. Ten Vandellas songs reached the top ten of the Billboard R&B singles chart, including two R&B number ones.
Robert Nesta "Bob" Marley, OM (6 February 1945 -- 11 May 1981) was a Jamaican singer-songwriter and musician. He was the rhythm guitarist and lead singer for the ska, rocksteady and reggae band Bob Marley & The Wailers (1963--1981). Marley remains the most widely known and revered performer of reggae music, and is credited with helping spread both Jamaican music and the Rastafari movement to a worldwide audience.
James Vernon Taylor (born March 12, 1948) is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. A five-time Grammy Award winner, Taylor was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000.
Taylor achieved his breakthrough in 1970 with the No. 3 single "Fire and Rain" and had his first No. 1 hit the following year with "You've Got a Friend", a recording of Carole King's classic song. His 1976 Greatest Hits album was certified Diamond and has sold 12 million US copies. Following his 1977 album, JT, he has retained a large audience over the decades. His commercial achievements declined slightly until a resurgence during the late 1990s and 2000s, when he recorded some of his best-selling and most-awarded work (including Hourglass, October Road and Covers).