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PC Marks

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Rhythm & Blues, Past Present & Future
By PC Marks
Monday, February 18, 2008

Rated "G" by the Author.

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This is an article I wrote in a contest and came in number one!

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by PC Marks
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Rhythm and Blues is a term used in the black community to describe," race music," as it was called before it got its name from John Wexler the 1947 editor for Billboard magazine. R&B originated from blues and folk music. Later, combining jazz, gospel, and blues influences, first performed by African American artists.

Back in the 1940's the popular artists were Dizzy Gillespie and Count Basie. The sound of the era was a big band jazz feel.

In the 1950's Nat King Cole was burning up the charts with clean music with a jazzy feel and a little folksy sounding. Enter Elvis Presley. He was "All Shook Up," gyrating across the stage adding a little rock and roll to the soul.

The 1960's, the year of the crooners. The likes of Sam Cook wanted you to know it's a, "Wonderful World." Aretha Franklin demanded, "R-E-S-P-E-C-T." Gladys Knight was following her man on the, "Midnight Train to Georgia." Ray Charles had his home town, "Georgia On My Mind." The Temptations sang about "My Girl." The sound was Baptist church infused.

New flavor was born in the 1970's, Michael Jackson was a cute little black kid singing about his "ABC's." Dianna Ross told us, "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," to stop her from stardom. Smokey Robinson was wearing, "Tears of a Clown." R&B took on a "let me tell you how I feel," sound reminiscent of the Blues Era.

Rock put in an appearance fused with pop in the 1980's. "Another One Bites the Dust," by Queen was blaring through every high school student's boom box later termed the "ghetto blaster." Lipps Incorporated was taking us to, "Funky Town." Have you noticed the trend? This time Sugarhill Gang changed the game. For the first time underground music known as Rap hit the charts with their single, "Rappers Delight."

The 1990's was a year for all music lovers. Michael Bolton a white man crooned the soulful tune, "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You." Paula Abdul of Indian descent was sure, "Opposites Attract," in an upbeat dance tune kind of reminiscent of the disco music of the 1970's. Madonna hit the scene with a brand new sound blazing up all the charts introducing pop. We all were striking a pose as if we were in, "Vogue." Mariah Carey released a powerful voice singing, "Vision of Love." Whitney Houston (before the Bobby Brown years) belted, "I'm Your Baby Tonight." I'd like to pay thanks for the Beastie Boys, "Paul Revere." That's what rap is supposed to sound like, doesn't matter if you're black or white you got to have flavor!

The majority of the artists all had something different to bring to the table. There were jazz, gospel, rhythm/ blues, crooner, rapper, disco, dance, rock and roll feel being played on all radio stations. Neo-soul gained notoriety and was vastly becoming the "it" music. Artists classified under neo-soul surfaced in the 90's. The soulful sounds of Erica Badu, Music Soul Child, D'Angelo and Tony Toni Tone. The latter being the pioneer. Neo-soul takes us back to the roots of R&B, preferring that the music favor underground credibility and soulfulness over mainstream popularity.

Today Rap music developed a whole new culture and is here to stay. It fused R&B into its sometimes offensive language. By the 2000's we were enjoying a return home to race music with a twist. Black and white alike wrote it, sang it, tapped their foot or broke out in the latest dance craze with it blaring out of the car, at the club or in the home. The singers of this era were all different. Pink the rocker, Christina Aguilera, pop and R&B, Destiny's Child-R&B with a rock undertone, Eminem, our first real white gansta rapper mixed rap, R&B and rock. Kid Rock should have been named before Eminem. Kid rocked out with an R& B flare as did Run DMC and Aero Smith.

Overall with all of the great voices and personalities of our times, I predict a return to the R&B roots of the 60's & 70's with a neo-soul, jazzy, Baptist church, techno flava

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