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On August 14th, in 1946: bassist, songwriter, & producer Larry Graham, Jr. was born in Beaumont, Texas. He’s most known for his slap bass style and work with Sly Stone as a member of Sly & the Family Stone up to 1974. He’d later go solo making his own band-Graham Central Station. He also worked closely with Prince & Chaka Khan in the early 2000s. He’s 72 today.
On August 14th, in 1956, Atlantic Starr singer Sharon Bryant was born in Westchester County, New York. She is most remembered for her vocals on the song Always, but Atlantic Starr has some funky, less pop-tinged numbers where she showcases her more soulful side. She’s 62 today!
On August 14th, in 1969, DJ Uncle Al (Albert Moss) was born in Miami, Florida. He was the Sunshine State’s representative for 'Miami Bass' music and ‘Peace in the Hood’, similar to the Stop the Violence Movement in the Northeast, and the ‘We’re All in the Same Gang Movement’ out West. He’s was an original producer and broadcaster. He died at age 32 from gunshot wounds (2001).
On August 14th in 1971, Motown sensation, singer, songwriter, and musician Marvin Gaye had a number one R&B hit with Mercy, Mercy Me (Ecology). Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going album marked a new era for Motown where the music was no longer pop-based and considered the ‘Sound of Young America’. It became message music that spoke to the times at hand. Other artists would follow suit. Most notably Stevie Wonder. Gordy had to give his artists songwriting and production power, as well as allow them the space to define their own sound.
On August 14th, in 1985, Michael Jackson won the rights to the ATV Music Publishing catalog that had over 250 Paul McCartney and John Lennon (Beatles) songs. He paid $47.5 Million for them, beating out McCartney & Yoko Ono who both had bids in. Michael used his $58 million royalty check from Epic for his Thriller album. It became a point of contention for Michael and Paul because Paul wanted to own his own publishing.
Honorable Mention: August 14th, in 1990 Jazz vocalist, composer, organist and piano player Lafayette Leake passed away at the age of 71. He played piano on most of the Chess Records artists songs, most notably Chuck Berry. He later worked with Fleetwood Mac. He left us a timeless legacy of nice riffs over bluesy beats.