Portal:Rhythm and blues

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Wikipedia's Rhythm and Blues Portal

Introduction

Rhythm and blues, often abbreviated as R&B, is a genre of popular music that originated in African-American communities in the 1940s. The term was originally used by record companies to describe recordings marketed predominantly to urban African Americans, at a time when "urbane, rocking, jazz based music with a heavy, insistent beat" was becoming more popular. In the commercial rhythm and blues music typical of the 1950s through the 1970s, the bands usually consisted of piano, one or two guitars, bass, drums, one or more saxophones, and sometimes background vocalists. R&B lyrical themes often encapsulate the African-American experience of pain and the quest for freedom and joy, as well as triumphs and failures in terms of relationships, economics, and aspirations.

The term "rhythm and blues" has undergone a number of shifts in meaning. In the early 1950s, it was frequently applied to blues records. Starting in the mid-1950s, after this style of music contributed to the development of rock and roll, the term "R&B" became used to refer to music styles that developed from and incorporated electric blues, as well as gospel and soul music. In the 1960s, several British rock bands such as the Rolling Stones, the Who and the Animals were referred to and promoted as being R&B bands; posters for the Who's residency at the Marquee Club in 1964 contained the slogan, "Maximum R&B". Their mix of rock and roll and R&B is now known as "British rhythm and blues". By the end of the 1970s, the term "rhythm and blues" had changed again and was used as a blanket term for soul and funk. In the late 1980s, a newer style of R&B developed, becoming known as "contemporary R&B". It combines rhythm and blues with elements of pop, soul, funk, disco, hip hop, and electronic music. (Full article...)

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Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite is the debut album of American R&B and neo soul musician Maxwell released April 2, 1996, on Columbia Records in the United States. Recording sessions for the album took place between 1994 and 1995 at CRC Studios in Chicago and at Electric Lady Studios, RPM, Sorcerer and Chung King Studios in New York City. The album contains elements of R&B, funk, jazz and smooth soul, as well as featuring prominent classic influences in sound and musical style. A concept album, Urban Hang Suite is composed of a song cycle that focuses on an adult romance from first encounter to its conclusion, examining the concept with balladry and slow jams. The album's themes include love, sex, marriage, monogamy and spirituality. The concept was based on Maxwell's own personal experience.

After it was presented to Columbia label executives in 1995, Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite was shelved for nearly a year, partly due to doubts of its sales potential, before being released to generally positive reviews and considerable commercial success. In spite of an initial lack of mainstream interest, the album experienced a boost in sales with the help of the single "Ascension (Don't Ever Wonder)", which sold 500,000 copies within a year. Despite some negative criticism towards its lyrical substance, music writers lauded the album's vintage overtones and Maxwell's songwriting, and it was viewed as a departure from the hip hop-oriented contemporary R&B of the time. Urban Hang Suite earned Maxwell several accolades and comparisons to soul singer Marvin Gaye, and within a year it sold one million copies in the U.S..

The album had a considerable impact on Maxwell's career. Its success helped elevate his reputation to that of a sex symbol as well as a serious performer on the music scene. Maxwell has been credited with shaping the "neo soul" movement that rose to prominence during the late 1990s. Along with D'Angelo's debut album Brown Sugar (1995), Urban Hang Suite has been recognized by writers for helping provide commercial visibility to the neo soul genre, a musical style that focuses on classic influences rather than the mainstream sound of its contemporary R&B counterpart. It has been cited as Maxwell's greatest work and remains as his best-selling release. In 2002, the album was certified double platinum in sales by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), following sales in excess of two million copies.

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Dorretta Carter
Author: Tsui
Picture Notes: Soul singer Dorretta Carter at the Museumsquartier in Vienna (Jazz-Fest Wien)

Selected biography

Michael Jackson in 1984
Michael Joseph Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009) was an American singer, songwriter, and dancer. Dubbed the "King of Pop", he is regarded as one of the most significant cultural figures of the 20th century. Through stage and video performances, he popularized complicated dance moves such as the moonwalk, to which he gave the name, and the robot. His sound and style have influenced artists of various genres, and his contributions to music, dance, and fashion, along with his publicized personal life, made him a global figure in popular culture for over four decades. Jackson is the most awarded artist in the history of popular music.

The eighth child of the Jackson family, Jackson made his professional debut in 1964 with his elder brothers Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, and Marlon as a member of the Jackson 5. Jackson began his solo career in 1971 while at Motown Records, and rose to solo stardom with his fifth studio album Off the Wall (1979) during the peak of the disco era. By the early 1980s, Jackson became a dominant figure in popular music. His music videos, including those for "Beat It", "Billie Jean", and "Thriller" from his sixth studio album Thriller (1982), are credited with breaking racial barriers and transforming the medium into an art form and promotional tool. Jackson's prominence propelled him and the television channel MTV into cultural phenomenons of 1980s pop culture. At the 1984 Grammy Awards, Thriller won a record-breaking eight Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year. Jackson continued to innovate with videos on the global best-seller albums Bad (1987), Dangerous (1991), and HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I (1995).

Starting in the late 1980s, Jackson became a figure of controversy and speculation due to his changing appearance, relationships, behavior and lifestyle. In 1993, he was accused of sexually abusing the child of a family friend. The lawsuit was settled out of court, and Jackson was not indicted. In 2005, he was tried and acquitted of further child sexual abuse allegations and several other charges. Four years later, while preparing for a series of comeback concerts, This Is It, Jackson died from an overdose of propofol administered by his personal physician, Conrad Murray. Fans around the world expressed their grief, and Jackson's public memorial service was broadcast live. In August 2009, the Los Angeles County Coroner ruled that Jackson's death was a homicide, and Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in November 2011. Seven years later, the documentary Leaving Neverland, which detailed allegations of child sexual abuse, led to another media backlash against Jackson.

Jackson is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, with estimated sales of over 350 million records worldwide. Thriller is the best-selling album of all time, with estimated sales of 66 million copies worldwide. In addition, the remix album Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix (1997) is the best-selling remix album of all time. Bad was the first album to produce five Billboard Hot 100 number-one singles. Jackson had 13 Billboard Hot 100 number-one singles, more than any other male artist in the Hot 100 era, and was also the first artist to have a top ten single in the Billboard Hot 100 in five different decades. He received 13 Grammy Awards, the Grammy Legend and Grammy Lifetime Achievement awards, six Brit Awards, a Golden Globe Award, and 39 Guinness World Records, including the "Most Successful Entertainer of All Time". Jackson's inductions include the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice, the Vocal Group Hall of Fame, the Songwriters Hall of Fame, the Dance Hall of Fame (the only recording artist to be inducted), and the Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame. In 2016, his estate earned $825 million, the highest yearly amount for a celebrity ever recorded by Forbes. (Full article...)

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