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- Honorable Mention: On August 15th, in 1896, the man we can all thank for any inventing electronic instruments-Leon Theremin was born in Russia. He invented and used an instrument called the Theremin in 1928 with the New York Philharmonic.
Wexler had a splinter imprint that was known for funk in the south-Stax. He also produced and worked closely with Wilson Pickett, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan…but due to the current situation, on this day, I want to pay Supreme Homage to Aretha Franklin who’s currently fighting for that thing we call life. She put the breath of life into her music, and that energy resonates with the listener on a level so strong that she would earn the title: The QUEEN of SOUL. S.O. Aretha! We got you, we love you!
On August 15th, in 1992-The Queen of Hip Hop Soul, Mary J. Blige’s What’s the 411 album had it’s first single reach number 1 on the US R&B chart-‘You Remind Me’. Mary got her deal via Andrew Harrell from Uptown records hearing her demo of Anita Baker’s “Caught Up in the Rapture”.
She started at Uptown Records singing back up with Jodeci for Father MC. She went on to have her own solo shot, and came correct indeed. Mary got her start in Savannah, Georgia singing gospel in the Pentecostal Church. She later moved to New York and pursued a career in secular music. Thank God for Mary’s voice!
August 15th proved to be a good day for Mary because 6 years later, her 6th album-The Tour, was in the top ten US R&B chart (#7). All of her LPs up to that date were in the top 10 from 1992-1997. S.O. to the Queen!
On August 15th, in 1938, The Jazz Crusaders’ drummer ‘Stix’ Nesbert Hooper was born in Houston, Texas. He’s the backing beat for all their funky numbers on the ABC Blue Thumb imprint. They’ve been sampled by everyone from Easy Mo Bee to Queen Latifah. Street Life was their 1979 hit single, but the Blue Thumb era showcased their talent the best. Not only did he grace the Crusaders with dope beats, he also worked with Grant Green, Marvin Gaye, The Rolling Stones, Quincy Jones, Nancy Wilson, B.B. King & Grover Washington Jr. He’s one of the best to ever do it during the Fusion Jazz era. He’s 80 today.
On August 15th, in 1934: The man that found the Godfather of Funk, Mr. Please, Please, Please (James Brown), and the one that gave us the Fabulous Flames-Bobby Byrd was born in Toccoa, Georgia. He worked closely with James Brown. He was able to release some of his own singles as well.
Byrd did a lot of the production with James (which he didn’t get adequate credit for) up until 1973-when he left and eventually married Vicki Anderson. She was another artists that worked closely with James. Byrd was an accomplished singer, musician, talent scout, bandleader, producer, and the original front-man for the Famous Flames. He died in 2007 at 73. I know you got Soul Mr. Byrd.
On August 15th, in 1981 Stevie Wonder gave his Hotter Than July gold album to the girlfriend of a young man that got shot and killed while going home from Stevie’s concert at the Forum in Inglewood, California.
On August 15th, in 1985, a nice Westcoast new era Emcee-Nipsey Hussle (Ermias Asghedom) was born in Los Angeles, California. He got flows. Happy 33rd Nipsey!