was thrust into the national spotlight when the
Daughters of the American Revolution banned her
from doing a concert at Constitution Hall in
Washington, D.C. She subsequently became the
first African-American to sing a major role on
the New York Metropolitan Opera stage, on January
began singing at the age of three, but didn't
embark on an entertainment career until age 15,
when she won an amateur talent contest. In
addition to touring and recording albums, her
subsequent career included stage performances,
movie and television appearances, several books,
and even a stint as a United Nations ambassador.
was the lead singer of Hank Ballard and the
Midnighters, which was the first group to record
"The Twist," which Ballard wrote.
is a soprano who has performed in opera houses
from San Francisco to Vienna, and a five-time
was already a very popular singer and bandleader
when he recorded "Minnie the Moocher,"
the first jazz record ever to sell a million
copies and the song which earned him the nickname
got noticed by Dick Clark because he could
impersonate many of the top recording artists of
his day. Clark was responsible for him recording
"The Twist," the song which made him
began her stage career at age seven, her
professional singing career at ten, television
career at eleven, and movie career at thirteen.
She was one of Europe's most popular entertainers
when, in 1965, she became the first British woman
to reach Number One on the American pop charts,
pent many years playing bars, clubs, and parties
before releasing his first major album in 1972.
His career was still on the rise when he and five
others were killed in a charter plane crash in
recorded over 50 albums in his lifetime,
including the first gospel album to achieve gold
record status. His biggest hit
ever was "Sixteen Tons" (1955), which
reached #1 on both the country and pop music
Dow Fuller, Jr.
could both sing in several languages and play
multiple instruments, skills which placed him in
demand by every medium of show business. He was a
long-time member of the touring cast of Porgy
and Bess, had his own radio shows, and was
the first black to host a national television
spent most of his adult life on the road writing
and performing folk songs. He also wrote books,
poetry, and newspaper columns, painted and drew,
and even found time to serve in the Merchant
Marine and the Army during World War II.
organized the Eva Jessye Choir, which performed
regularly on radio in the mid-1920's, compiled
and published a collection of Negro spirituals,
and served as the choral director for Porgy
and Bess for thirty years.
became interested in blues and jazz music as a
teenager. Her distinctive raspy yet powerful
voice earned her notice, but her career was cut
very short by a drug overdose. Her only #1 hit, Me and Bobby McGee," was not
released until after her death.
made his operatic debut at the age of 21, and at
22 became the youngest principal tenor to sing at
London's Covent Garden. He went on to become one
of the most popular tenors of his day, on both
opera and concert stages.
gained fame as a teenager in the
1960's writing songs that became big hits for
other artists. She gained acceptance as a singer
in her own right after the release of her album Eli
and the Thirteenth Confession in 1968.
made his operatic debut with the New York City
Opera as Zuiga in Carmen in March 11,
1973. He has subsequently performed with most of
the major operas around the world and is arguably
the most recorded bass in music history, with
over 80 recordings to his name.
was sitting in with local bands by junior high
school and had formed his own band by high
school, but did not achieve national success
until age 21, after taking the stage at a
Hollywood nightclub as a last-minute replacement
for a jazz combo. A string of hit songs followed,
including "Secret Agent Man,"
"Poor Side of Town," and "Swayin'
to the Music."
was part of a UK folk music trio when she became
entranced with the Motown sound and decided to
pursue a solo career. One of the most popular
singers of the 1960's, she put together a string
of hits that included "Wishin' and
Hopin'," "You Don't Have to Say You
Love Me," and "Son of a Preacher
debuted at the New York Metropolitan Opera on
February 17, 1926, as Gilda in Rigoletto;
she was the youngest prima donna in Met history
at that time (she was 19). She retired after only
four seasons, but whether it was because Met did
not renew her contract or because she desired
retirement was never determined.