Remembering R & B sensation, Aaliyah

An artist taken before her time 8 years ago today, R&B singer Aaliyah, was to the late 90s what Rhianna and Ciara are to Soul and R&B music today. Her is one of her most popular songs, “Try Again” from the Romeo Must Die Soundtrack. She starred in the movie with Jet Li. Aaliyah sold over 32 million records. There are talks that a movie chronicling her life is in development.

Here is “Try Again”:

Black Music Month Artist Of The Day: Day 30 Lionel Richie

Whether it’s as a member of The Commodores or as a solo artist, Lionel Richie is definitely one of the names that first comes to find when thinking of Black Music. As a principal songwriter for the chart-topping group, Lionel penned some of their most memorable songs, including “Sail On”, “Easy” and “Three Times A Lady”.

As a solo artist, Lionel crossed into superstar status by hosting The American Music Awards and performing at the closing ceremonies of the 1984 Olympics. Lionel’s billing as one the greatest songwriters ever, was sealed when he wrote and sang on two of the most popular selling songs of all-time, “Endless Love” a duet with Diana Ross and “We Are The World”, which he co-wrote with Michael Jackson for the USA For Africa Project.

Lionel Richie is one of the first black artists whose music reached simultaneous world-wide appeal. “All Night Long”, one of the catchiest, uplifting songs ever written is still sung and danced to on every corner of the world.

Lionel’s accomplishments makes him the fitting choice to close out The Black Music Month Artist Of The Day Series. Here is “All Night Long”.

Black Music Month Artist Of The Day: Day 29 Alicia Keys

Clearing on her way to becoming this generation’s master storyteller in soul and R&B, Alicia Keys, is carrying on the tradition started by Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson and Prince among others. She’s a ultimate performer, a singer/songwriter who is great at writing soulful ballads and upbeat dance hits.

Keys was recently honored by The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) with their Golden Note Award for having reached a career milestone. ASCAP recently made this statement about Keys in a press release: “Since joining the ASCAP family at the age of 17, Alicia has grown into one of the most highly recognized and influential songwriter/performers of the past decade, whose artistry puts her in league with many of her musical idols,” said ASCAP President and Chairman Paul Williams. “We are especially proud to spotlight Alicia’s extraordinary achievements by honoring her with ASCAP’s Golden Note Award.”

Statements like these, her beautiful songs and her soulful voice makes her an obvious choice for Black Music Month’s Artist of The Day. Here’s Alicia performing a song that is sure to be a classic, “If I Ain’t Got You”.

Black Music Month Artist Of The Day: Day 28 B. B. King

Blues is such an intergal part of the sound of soul and rhythm & blues today that the one person who helped bring blues to the mainstream music artist must be included. With his guitar Lucille, B. B. influenced the best guitarists and artists in the world. “The Thrill Is Gone” is an awesome song. B.B.’s soulful, voice, guitar playing, and ability to still influence today’s music, makes his the artist of the day. Here he is in a rarely seen performance of the blues classic, “The Thrill Is Gone”.

Black Music Month Artist Of The Day: Day 27 Aretha Franklin

Nothing else really needs to be said about Aretha Franklin. She is the universal, uncontested Queen of Soul. Her blend of gospel and blues made all of her songs more meaningful. She’s inspired many of the talented artists today. Here she is at the 1994 Grammy Awards singing “You Make Me Feel…(Like A Natural Woman) and receiving her well deserved life time achievement award.

Black Music Month Artist Of The Day 25: Jackson 5

With the recent passing of Michael Jackson, it just seemed fitting that he would be recognized a second day during Black Music Month. This entry focuses on him as a member of The Jackson 5 and The Jacksons.

Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and Michael…they really were the first black teen idols the world had. Their harmonies were some of the best, mirroring all of the barber shop quartet acts of the early 50s and 60s. As they grew from boys into young men, their music changed but their style and stage performances only got better. Michael’s journey into super-stardom help change the way we see and here music around the world. That makes The Jackson 5 a perfect candidate for artist of the day. RIP Michael.

Here are The Jackson 5 singing an acapella version of one of the best songs ever written: “I’ll Be There”.

Black Music Month Artist of the Day – Day 26: Smokey Robinson

Smokey Robinson was one of the founding members and artists of Motown along with Barry Gordy. His songs with The Miracles and as a solo artists were really influential in helping to define the modern pop and R & B love song. He had many hits and has composed some of the greatest songs ever written. Bob Dylan once referred to him as “America’s greatest living poet”. He was responsible for the Motown sound having composed and or produced some of the label’s biggest hits from The Temptation’s “My Girl” and “Get Ready” to Mary Well’s “My Guy” just to name a few. Today Robinson will be honored by ASCAP (The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) with the Rhythm and Blues Award for his work as a songwriter. That makes him the best choice for artist of the day. Here he is with The Miracles singing the incredible, “OOO, Baby Baby”!