The Robinson Library >> Music



Marian AndersonMarian Anderson
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 7, 1955.
Woody GuthrieWoody Guthrie
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.
Pearl BaileyPearl Bailey
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.
Eva Alberta JessyeEva Alberta Jessye
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.
Hank BallardHank Ballard
was the lead singer of Hank Ballard and the Midnighters, which was the first group to record "The Twist," which Ballard wrote.
Janis JoplinJanis Lyn Joplin
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.
Kathleen BattleKathleen Battle
is a soprano who has performed in opera houses from San Francisco to Vienna, and a five-time Grammy winner.
John Francis McCormackJohn Francis McCormack
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.
Cab CallowayCab Calloway
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 "Hi-De-Ho Man."
Laura NyroLaura Nyro
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.
Chubby CheckerChubby Checker
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 famous.
Samuel RameySamuel Ramey
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.
Petula ClarkPetula Clark
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, with "Downtown."
Johnny RiversJohnny Rivers
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."
Jim CroceJim Croce
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 1973.
Dusty SpringfieldDusty Springfield
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 Man."
Tennessee Ernie FordTennessee Ernie Ford
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 charts.
Marion TalleyMarion Nevada Talley
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.
Lorenzo Dow Fuller, Jr.Lorenzo 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 show.

The Robinson Library >> Music