Martha Reeves & Vandellas 1971 (Photo: Chris Walter)
An exclusive excerpt from a new biography details how Cosby went from near-bankruptcy to beloved sitcom dad, efforts to end his womanizing, original ideas for Cliff Huxtable (a limo driver married to a Latina handywoman) and how he learned of son Ennis’ heartbreaking death.
Producer Paula Wagner has acquired film rights to the life story of Sylvia Robinson, the influential rap pioneer and producer known as the “Mother of Hip Hop”.
Chess Records singer Angela Davis better known by her real name Minnie Riperton poses for a portrait circa 1967 in Chicago, Illinois.
Actress Hilda Simms (right) meeting soprano Leontyne Price, possibly at the time of Price’s appearance as Bess in the opera “Porgy and Bess,” circa 1953
BEST BUDS | 1950s
Louis Armstrong & Josephine Baker
The generations combine to celebrate the music of Memphis in the award-winning documentary film “Take Me to the River,” which hits theaters on Sept. 12. The first official trailer spotlights the collaboration of its eclectic cast of musicians, multi-generational and multi-racial, as they come together to celebrate their common love of music.
Named after the Al Green classic soul song, the documentary explores the rich musical history of the city by exploring the soul originators from the middle of the 20th Century, as well as the young musicians coming out with their new sounds today.
In the studio chatter, we get a rare glimpse of Sam Cooke, record producer. His tip for L.C. is profound—“Remember our heritage”—when discussing how to pronounce “before” as “’fore.” As L.C. recalls, it’s the only time he ever had to be told how to perform a song by Sam. He fully admits that Sam “had that ear and good insight. He knew what the public liked.”
The female trio responsible for the proto-disco funk classic “Lady Marmalade,” LaBelle's outlandish space-age costumes and brash incorporation of rock & roll were a far cry from their early days as a typical ’60s girl group, not to mention the later solo career of frontwoman Patti LaBelle. While Patti naturally seems like the focal point in hindsight, the group was also blessed with a talented and prolific songwriter in Nona Hendryx, who followed an idiosyncratic muse into her own mercurial solo career, which often bordered on the avant-garde.
Hair or to give its full name – Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical encapsulated the whole counter-culture, anti-Vietnam, free sex and drugs movement of the late-1960s in such a way that it is inevitably inextricably linked with that particular period. When compared with current stage shows and the whole corporate sponsorship deal that seems to be ubiquitous at the moment it not only sums up a brief though uncompromisingly creative period in time, it also makes us realise that the progress made during those heady days has in many ways been stunted and corporate monoliths now dictate what can, or more to the point can’t, be said for fear of upsetting the shareholders. As Time magazine said following the 2008 Broadway revival of Hair: “Today Hair seems, if anything, more daring than ever”.