Gladys Knight

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Gladys Knight ~ Brief Bio

Gladys Knight, full name Gladys Maria Knight was born on May 28, 1944 in Oglethorpe, Georgia. Her mother was Sarah Elizabeth and father Merald Woodlow Knight, Sr. worked as a postal worker.

Gladys Knight started her musical career at the age of 7 in 1952 after winning a TV show contest called Original Amateur Hour. With that head-start Gladys Knight and her brother Merald, sister Brenda, and cousins William and Elenor Guest formed a musical group called The Pips the following year.

The Pips were a major group during the Seventies after joining Motown in 1966. In 1972, they won a Grammy Award with their song “Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye)” followed by
“Daddy Could Swear (I Declare)” in the following year.

After the successful stint with Motown, Gladys Knight and The Pips joined Buddah Records in 1973 where they continued with their streak with another Grammy winning hit titled “Midnight Train to Georgia”.

Throughout the Seventies Gladys Knight and the Pips continue to score hits after hits.

In 1987, Knight decided to pursue a solo career, and she and the Pips recorded their final LP together, All Our Love (1987), for MCA Records. Its infectious lead single, “Love Overboard”, was a #1 R&B hit and won another Grammy for the act as well. After a successful 1988 tour, the Pips retired and Knight began her solo career. Gladys Knight & the Pips were inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 1989 and into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996

Gladys Knight’s involvement in music and her popularity never weaned till the present day.

References:

Wikipedia

Gladys Knight Official Website

Aretha Franklin

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Aretha Franklin – Brief Biography

Aretha Franklin, full name Aretha Louise Franklin was born March 25, 1942, in Memphis, Tennessee. Her father was a Baptist preacher Reverend Clarence La Vaughan “C.L.” Franklin and mother Barbara Siggers Franklin, was a gospel singer. They had 5 children and Aretha Franklin was their fourth child. Unfortunately, her parents separated when she was six and four years later, her mother passed away due to a heart attack.

Many regarded Aretha Franklin as a natural born gifted musician. She possessed powerful vocals and was a gifted pianist. By the age of 14, she was already on the road, performing with her father’s traveling revival show. The tour however did her no good and she became a young mother at the tender age of 15.

Franklin’s career in music took off in 1961 when one of her singles “Rock-A-Bye Your Baby With A Dixie Melody” hit the pop charts. By 1967 and 1968 she had a string of hit singles.

In 1972, Aretha Franklin released the album, Amazing Grace. It became a huge hit, selling over two million units, a rather unbelievable figure for a gospel album.

Franklin’s success continued throughout the 70s, and as the artist took home eight consecutive Grammy awards for Best R&B Female Vocal Performance, she earned the title “The Queen of Soul.”

Aretha Franklin remains active in ber music till today.

Franklin has won a total of 18 Grammy Awards and is one of the best-selling female artists of all time, having sold over 75 million records worldwide.Franklin has been honored throughout her career including a 1987 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in which she became the first female performer to be inducted. She was inducted to the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005. In August 2012, Franklin was inducted into the GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame.

Wikipedia
biography.com

Suzi Quatro

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Suzi Quatro – Biography

Born on the 3rd of June 1950 in Detroit, Michigan, Suzi Quatro’s birth name is Susan Kay Quatro. She came from a family of musicians. Her Italian father Art was a part-time jazz musician while her mother, Helen Sanislay, was Hungarian. She is the first female bass player to become a major rock star. This broke a barrier to women’s participation in rock music.

Suzi Quatro’s career took off in a big way during the Seventies with a string of hit singles. These hits however found greater success in Europe and Australia than in her homeland. Things took a change when Quatro took a recurring role as a female bass player on the popular American sitcom Happy Days. Her duet “Stumblin’ In” with Chris Norman reached number 4 in the USA.

Besides rock music, Quatro was also involved in acting and radio hosting. She has a role as female bass player Leather Tuscadero on the television show Happy Days and the charator she played returned in many other camaeo appearance.

Other acting roles include a 1982 episode of the British comedy-drama series Minder (called “Dead Men Do Tell Tales”) as Nancy, the singer girlfriend of Terry (Dennis Waterman).

In 1985, she starred as a mentally disturbed ex-MI5 operative in Dempsey and Makepeace – “Love you to Death”.

In 1994, she made a cameo appearance as a nurse in the “Hospital” episode of the comedy Absolutely Fabulous. She also was filmed in the 1990 Clive Barker horror film Nightbreed, but the studio cut out her character.

In 2006, Quatro performed the voice of Rio in the Bob the Builder film Built to Be Wild, and appeared in an episode of the second season of Rock School, in Lowestoft. She also appeared in the episode “The Axeman Cometh” of Midsomer Murders alongside Phil Davis in the role of Mimi Clifton.

Between 1973 and 1980 Quatro was awarded six Bravo Ottos. In 2010 she was voted into the Michigan Rock and Roll Legends online Hall of Fame. Quatro has sold over 50 million records and continues to perform live, worldwide.

Her most recent album was released in 2011 and she also continues to research/present new radio programmes.

Sources:
Wikipedia

Dionne Warwick

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Dionne Warwick – Biography

Dionne Warwick was born on December 12, 1940 in East Orange, New Jersey. Her full name is Marie Dionne Warrick. The name Warwick came about later in her life due to a misspelling in one of her early album. Coming from a family of singers, Dionne’s mother, aunts and uncles were members of the Drinkard Singers, the renowned family gospel group and RCA recording artists that frequently performed throughout the New York metropolitan area.

In 1958, Warwick graduated from East Orange High School, earning herself a Scholarship in Music Education to the Hartt College of Music in Hartford, Connecticut. This was also place where she would eventually earn her Doctorate of Music Education in 1973.

Dionne Warwick released her first solo single for Scepter Records in November 1962. The song’s title was “Don’t Make Me Over” and it went on to become a hit which put Warwick into the limelight. Immediately after this first success, 2 follow up singles were released but only managed to receive lukewarm response.

In December 1963, Warwick released er fourth single, “Anyone Who Had a Heart”. The single became Warwick’s first top 10 pop hit, reaching number 8 in the U.S. and also became an international hit. It was a million seller that solidified her career. For the rest of the 1960s, Warwick was a fixture on the U.S. and Canadian charts, and much of Warwick’s output from 1962 to 1971 was written and produced by the Bacharach/David team.

The mid-1960s to early 1970s became an even more successful time period for Warwick, who saw a string of Gold selling albums and Top 20 and Top 10 hit singles.

Warwick ranks among the 40 biggest hit makers of the entire rock era (1955–2012), based on the Billboard Hot 100 Pop Singles Charts. Warwick ranks second only to Aretha Franklin as the most-charted female vocalist with 56 singles making the Billboard Hot 100 between 1962 and 1998.

References:
Wikipedia
The Official Dionne Warwick Site

Helen Reddy

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Helen Reddy – Biography

Helen Reddy was born on 25th of October 1941 into a well-known Australian show business family in Melbourne. Her mother, Stella Campbell was an actress, while her father, Maxwell David “Max” Reddy was a writer, producer and actor. Helen Reddy started performing with her parents on the Australian vaudeville circuit at the tender age of four.

Reddy grew up to be a rebellious youth, not wanting to be a star that her parents wanted her to be. In a rebellious streak, she married Kenneth Claude Weate, a considerably older musician and family friend. The marriage of course did not last and divorce ensued within a few months which by when Helen Reddy was already carrying a baby. She gave birth to a daughter several months after the divorce and to support her baby daughter, Helen Reddy resumed her performing career.

In 1966, Helen Reddy won a talent contest on the Australian pop music TV show which promised an opportunity to cut a single for Mercury Records in New York City. However, on arrival, things did not turn out as expected, With only a couple of hundred dollars left, she decided to stay in New York with her daughter to seek her fortune.

In the spring of 1968, down to her last dollars, fellow Australian Reddy had met in New York City decided to help out by throwing Reddy a party with an admission price of five dollars to enable Reddy to make some money for her rent. It was a blessing as this was the occasion where Helen Reddy was to meet Jeff Wald, a 22-year-old secretary at the William Morris Agency. It was love at first sight and after a whirlwind romance of 3 days, they got married.

Unfortunately,luck was not on their side as Wald was fired from William Morris soon after their marriage and things went from bad to worse.

Helen supported them for six months doing $35-a-night hospital and charity benefits. They were so broke that they sneaked out of a hotel room carrying their clothes in paper bags.” Reddy recalled: “When we did eat, it was spaghetti, and we spent what little money we had on cockroach spray

Eventually the family re-located to Chicago where Wald landed a job as talent coordinator at Mister Kelly’s. Helen Reddy’s fortune too was taking a turn for the better, gaining a reputation singing in local lounges. She landed a deal with Fontana Records and cut her first single, “One Way Ticket”, on Fontana. It did not do well in America, but it did give Reddy her first ever appearance on any chart as it peaked at #83 in her native Australia.

After spending a year in Chicago, Wald relocated Reddy and Traci to Los Angeles, where Wald got a job at Capitol Records. Wald found success managing such acts as Deep Purple and Tiny Tim and he pestered Capitol Records for five months to let Helen Reddy cut a single. It became a hit topping at #13 in June 1971 and Helen Reddy was on her way.

In December 1972, her single “I Am Woman” reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 consolidating Helen Reddy as an international super star.

Helen Reddy was often referred to as the “Queen of 70s Pop”.

In the 1970s, she enjoyed international success, especially in the United States, where she placed fifteen singles in the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100. Six of those 15 songs made the Top 10 and three of those songs reached No. 1, including her signature hit “I Am Woman.” She also placed 25 singles on the Billboard Adult Contemporary charts. Fifteen of those singles made the Top 10 and 8 of those reached No. 1. She was the first artist to ever win the coveted American Music Award for “Favorite Pop/Rock Female” artist. She was also the first Australian to win a Grammy Award and to have three #1 hits in the same year. In television, Helen was the first Australian to host her own one-hour weekly primetime variety show on an American network, along with several specials that were seen in over forty countries

Sources:
Wikipedia
The Official Helen Reddy WebSite

Donna Summer

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Donna Summer – Biography

Donna Summer is a household name which everyone knows her to be, however not many knows that the name is only a stage name for this prominent American singer and songwriter during the disco era of the late 1970s. Her real name was LaDonna Adrian Gaines and she was born on December 31, 1948 in Boston, Massachusetts. She was one of the seven children to Andrew and Mary Gaines. Her dad, Andrew Gaines, was a butcher, and her mum Mary, was a schoolteacher.

A devoted Christian, Donna Summer spent her early days singing and at the age of 10, she started performing at a church. Later, when she was in high school, she was actively involved in school musicals. Just before Donna Summer graduated from high school, she left for New York to join a Blues/Rock band called Crow. The band eventually broke up after failing to secure any recording contracts.

After the breakup, Summer got a role in a German musical production which prompted her move to Munich, Germany. She scored some success in Germany and even released a few singles for a few record labels.

Donna Summer got married in 1973 to actor Helmuth Sommer and in the same year bored a daughter, Mimi. However, not long after the couple divorced caused by her affair with another German artist.

In 1974, Summer released her first album under Groovy Records. The album became a hit success in countries such as the Netherlands and Belgium. The two songs, “The Hostage” and “Lady of the Night”, reached the top of the charts.

This initial success secured Donna Summer’s future as a singer and she went on to release a string of hit albums to her name. During the disco era of 1975, Donna Summer became known as the “Queen of Disco” following her runaway disco hits such as “I Feel Love”, “MacArthur Park”, “Hot Stuff” and “No More Tears (Enough is Enough)”.

Donna Summer passed away in May 2012 after a long battle with lung cancer.

Resources:
Wikipedia
CNN
BBC