RnB 50s

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RnB 50s


RnB SOUL  ∙  1920-40s  ∙  50s  ∙  60s  ∙  70s  ∙  80s  ∙  90s  ∙  Neo Soul 2000s-2010s  ∙

RnB 50s

RnB 50s The Platters, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke

RnB 50s :  The Platters (1952-1968)  ∙  Ray Charles (1930-2004)  ∙  Sam Cooke (1931-1964)

In the late 1940s, the term Rythm 'n' Blues (RnB) became the trade designation for the music of Afro-American communities. As such, RnB was the music scene where the most modern, popular and high-profile musical styles developed as a result of the aforementioned evolution. Throughout the 50s, its most successful subgenres were RnB vocals, RnB rock, blues, jazz and gospel.

The advent of rock’n’roll in 1948-49 did not only revolutionize American folk and country music but also blues and popular vocals and gospel, while marking the end of the era for swing-jazz, big band jazz and boogie-woogie. In the following years, each of these musical genres integrated in its own way the moods, rhythms and instruments of rock music.



In the 1950s, RnB vocals followed the musical style pioneered in the 1930s by The Mills Brothers and supported by the advances made in the 40s on the crooner scene by jazz singer Nat King Cole. It spawned the doo-wop frenzy in the mid-50s with serial hits by new bands like The Platters, Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers, The Moonglows, The Five Satins, The Coasters.

RnB 50s Vocals The Platters

The Platters

RnB 50s The Coasters

The Coasters

RnB 50s Sam Cooke

Sam Cooke

∙  1950/51  ∙  Mona LisaToo young (ver 1961)  (Nat King Cole)  ∙  1951/52  ∙  I wonder who's kissing her now / Baby won't you please come home (Ray Charles)  ∙  1951  ∙  Fool fool fool (The Clovers)  ∙  1952  ∙  The glow-worm (The Mills Brothers)  ∙  1953  ∙  Crying in the Chapel (The Orioles)  ∙  1953/54  ∙  Shake a hand / Somebody somewhere (Faye Adams)  ∙  1954  ∙  Earth angel (The Penguins)  ∙  1955  ∙  Only you (The Platters)  ∙  That's all I want from you (Dinah Washington)  ∙  Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets (Sarah Vaughan)  ∙  1956  ∙  In the still of the night (The Five Satins ft Fred Parris)  ∙  Why do fools fall in love (Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers)  ∙   Over and over again (The Moonglows)  ∙  Love is strange (Mickey & Sylvia)  ∙

∙  1957/59/60  ∙  You send meOnly sixteen / Chain gang (Sam Cooke)  ∙  Over the mountain, accross the sea (Johnnie and Joe)  ∙  1958  ∙  Little bitty pretty one (Frankie Lymon)  ∙  Book of love (The Monotones)  ∙  Get a job (The Silhouettes)  ∙  1959  ∙  What a difference a day made (Dinah Washington)  ∙  A hole in the bucket (Harry Belafonte & Odetta)  ∙  Shout  (The Isley Brothers)  ∙  There goes my baby (The Drifters ft Ben E. King)  ∙  Tears on my pilow (Little Anthony)  ∙  1959/60  ∙  Three cool cats / Charlie Brown (The Coasters)  ∙  Handyman / Wondrous place (Jimmy Jones)  ∙

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Ruth Brown and Ray Charles were the main movers of RnB rock in the early 1950s. Alongside the rockabilly frenzy developing in white communities, young African-American artists were breathing new style and new life, the most notable being successively Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, Little Richard and James Brown (see also Rock USA 50s).

RnB 50s rock Ruth Brown

Ruth Brown

RnB 50s rock Bo Diddley

Bo Diddley

RnB 50s Ray_Charles

Ray Charles

RnB 50s rock - Chuck Berry

Chuck Berry

RnB 50s rock The Drifters

The Drifters

RnB 50s rock LIttle Richard

Little Richard

∙  1950  ∙  Teardrops from my eyes (Ruth Brown)  ∙  Cupid's boogie (Esther Phillips & Mel Walker)  ∙  1951  ∙  Rocket 88  (Ike Turner & Jackie Brenston)  ∙  Sixty minute man (Billy Ward & The Dominoes)  ∙  How many more years  (Howlin' Wolf)  ∙  1952  ∙  Ring-a-ding-doo (Johnny Otis & Esther Phillips)  ∙  1952/54 /59 ∙  Kissa me baby / I got a woman / What'd I say (Ray Charles)  ∙

∙  1953  ∙  Money honey  (Clyde McPhatter & the Drifters)  ∙  Mistery train  (Junior Parker)  ∙  Tiger man, king of the jungle (Rufus Thomas Jr.)  ∙  1954  ∙  Boogie disease  (Doctor Ross)  ∙  Shake rattle' roll  (Big Joe Turner)  ∙  Work with me Annie  (Hank Ballard & The Midnighters)  ∙

∙  1955  ∙  Pretty thing  (Bo Diddley)  ∙  Ain't that a shame (Fats Domino)    Maybellene (Chuck Berry)  ∙  Wallflower (roll with me Henry!)  (Etta James & The Peaches)  ∙  1956  ∙  Tutti frutti / Long tall Sally / Ready Teddy (Little Richard)  ∙  Please please please (James Brown & the Famous Flames, ver. 1964)  ∙  Everyday I have the blues  (B.B. King)  ∙  That's right (Deep River Boys)  ∙

∙  1957  ∙  Little bitty pretty one (Thurston Harris)  ∙  Bony Moronie (Larry Williams)  ∙  1958  ∙  Sweet little sixteen / Johnny B goode (Chuck Berry)  ∙  Rock 'n' roll call  (The Treniers)  ∙  Litle bitty pretty one (Frankie Lymon)  ∙  Rockin' Robin (Bobby Day)  ∙  1959  ∙  That's why (I love you so) (Jackie Wilson)  ∙  Money that's what I want (Barrett Strong)  ∙  Jump children  (The Flamingos)  ∙


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In the 50s, traditional blues continued while RnB blues modernized the genre and spread, with Ray Charles reshuffling its codes, Screaming Jay Hawkins turning it into spectacular popular acts and B. B. King shaping elaborate jazzy blues-rock. A number of songs promoted the genre's mass popularity and have since become classics such as :

Blues 50s Muddy Waters

Muddy Waters

Blues 50s John Lee Hooker

John Lee Hooker

RnB 50s blues B.B. King (1948)

B.B. King


∙  1950  ∙  Rollin' stone (Muddy Waters)  ∙  1951  ∙  3 O'clock blues (B.B. King)  ∙  She left me a mule to ride (Big Joe Williams, ver. 1966)  ∙  How many more years (Howlin' Wolf)  ∙  1952  ∙  When I'm gone (Joe Hill Louis)  ∙  1954  ∙  Boogie disease (Doctor Ross)  ∙  Cotton's crop blues (James Cotton)  ∙  1955  ∙  That's what they want (Jerry McCain)  ∙  My babe (Little Walter)  ∙  1958  ∙  Nobody knows you when you're down and out (Scrapper Blackwell)  ∙  1959  ∙  Shake'em on down (Mississippi Fred McDowell)  ∙  


∙  1950/51/52  ∙  See see rider / Baby let me hold your hand / I'm wondering and wondering (Ray Charles)  ∙  1953  ∙  Why did you waste my time (Screamin' Jay Hawkins)  ∙  The things that I used to do  (Guitar Slim)  ∙  Hound dog / Hound dog live (Big Mama Thornton)  ∙  Mistery Train (Junior Parker)  ∙  On the road again (Floyd Jones)  ∙  1954  ∙  Thank you for your kindness (J.B. Hutto)  ∙  High and lonesome (Jimmy Reed)  ∙  1954/56  ∙  Bad Boy / Dimples (ver. 1997) / Maudie (ver. 1968) (John Lee Hooker) 

∙  1955  ∙  Everyday I have the blues  (B.B. King)  ∙  1956  ∙  I put a spell on you (Screamin' Jay Hawkins)  ∙  I can't quit you baby (Otis Rush, ver. 70s)  ∙  Keep it to Yourself (ver. 1963)  (Sonny Boy Williamson)  ∙  1957  ∙  I'm a King bee (Slim Harpo)  ∙  1958  ∙  Stone crazy (Buddy Guy)  ∙  1959  ∙  Come go with me/Lightnin's blues (Lightnin' Hopkins)  ∙  She left me a mule to ride (Big Joe Williams, ver. 1966)  ∙

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In the 50s, swing-jazz and big bands lost popularity. Jazz became a more complex and confidential music segment, praised both technically and artistically but with limited audience. Notwithstanding this development, jazz remained a distinctive popular segment in the world of RnB, where 1940s singers Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald left their mark forever on the jazz song style.

∙  1949  ∙  Confession blues (Ray Charles with Maxin Trio)  ∙  1950  ∙  I found my way to wine (Lloyd "Tiny" Grimes)  ∙  1951  ∙  Night train (Jimmy Forrest)  ∙  Blue skies (Joe Caroll)  ∙  1952  ∙  Cool breeze (Dizzy Gillespie)  ∙  1953  ∙  Motel (Chet Baker & Gerry Mulligan)  ∙  Apples peaches and cherries (Peggy Lee)  ∙  1955  ∙  Urbanity (full "1947-1955 LP", 32' ) (Hank Jones)  ∙  1957  ∙  I can't give you anything but love / Air mail special (orig. 1941 Benny Goodman) (Ella Fitzgerald)  ∙  1957/58/59  ∙  Round Midnight / Lift to the Gallows (soundtrack 26') / So what ? (Miles Davis) 

∙  1958  ∙  Poinciana (Ahmad Jamal)  ∙  Cute (Count Basie ft Frank Wess)  ∙  Me and the blues (Ray Bryant)  ∙  Moanin' (Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers)  ∙  Autumn leaves (Cannonball Adderley, orig. 1950 Yves Montand)  ∙  1959  ∙  Moanin' (Charlie Mingus)  ∙  Are you havin' any fun? (Count Basie ft Tony Benett, orig. 1939 Tommy Dorsey)  ∙  Umbrella (Louis Armstrong & Dizzy Gillespie)  ∙  Strange fruit (Billie Holiday)  ∙  My baby just cares for me (Nina Simone)  ∙

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In the 1950s, RnB Gospel drew on the popular forms developed in 1941-46 by the spirituals vocal ensemble The Jubalaires. It flourished in 1952-55 with bands like The Soul Stirrers or The 5 Royales with singer Faye Adams. In the late 1950s, Gospel singer Sam Cooke branched off into popular vocals and began his 1957-1964 stellar 30-hit streak.

∙  1950  ∙  Our father (Five Blind Boys of Mississippi)  ∙  Jesus gave me water (The Famous Bue Jay Singers) ∙  1951  ∙  Jesus gave me water  (The Soul Stirrers ft Sam Cooke)  ∙  1952  ∙  Baby don't do it (The 5 Royales)  ∙  1953  ∙  Help me somebody / Crazy crazy crazy (The 5 Royales)  ∙  A sinner's plea / Somewhere to lay my head (Sensational Nightingales)  ∙  1954  ∙  Dreaming of the Ladies in the moon (The Jubalaires)  ∙  1956  ∙  Uncloudy day (The Staple Singers)  ∙  

∙  1957  ∙  Dedicated to the one I love (The 5 Royales)  ∙  1958  ∙  Joshua fit the battle of Jericho / Lord, don't move the mountains (Mahalia Jackson)  ∙  Wade in the water (The Drinkard Singers)  ∙  Oh Mary don't you weep (Swan Silvertones)  ∙  1959  ∙  It's just a matter of time (Brook Benton)  ∙  Waterboy (Odetta)  ∙


Gospel revival, a 2010 CD+DVD Combo with 26 Gospel clips: "How sweet it was, the sights and sounds of Gospel's golden age

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RnB 50s


RnB SOUL  ∙  1920-40s  ∙  50s  ∙  60s  ∙  70s  ∙  80s  ∙  90s  ∙  Neo Soul 2000s-2010s  ∙