July 29: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Dr. Bernard A. Harris
1885:The 1st National Convention of Black Women was held in Boston, MA.
1900:Jazz musician, arranger, bandleader and composer Don Redman was born. He passed in 1964.
1909:Chester Himes was born. He was a prolific writer whose career spanned 50 years. He passed away in 1984, aged 75.
1916:Jazz guitarist Charlie Christian was born. He was an important early performer on the electric guitar, and a key figure in the development of bebop and cool jazz. In the late 1930s he contracted tuberculosis and died in 1942 at age 25.
1919:The 1st Convention of the National Association of Black Musicians was held in Chicago with the 1st scholarship awarded to Marion Anderson.
1957:“Short Fat Fannie” by Larry Williams was the Number 1 R&B song this day.
1959:The Drifters recorded the samba-style “Dance with Me” heralding the Latin influence on Jay & the Americans, Tony Orlando & Dawn, and future Drifter hits.
1959: The Isley Brothers recorded the immortal “Shout.” The song was an adaptation of Jackie Wilson’s perpetual classic, “Lonely Teardrops.”
1965:The Supremes performed at the world-famous Copacabana in New York at the start of a three-week stay, portions of which would be recorded for a future album.
1971:Happy Birthday to actress Monica Calhoun who turns 43 today.
1973:Happy Birthday to singer Wanya Morris who turns 41 today.
1977:Happy Birthday to musician, songwriter and producer Danger Mouse who turns 37 today.
1978:Prince’s debut chart single, “Soft and Wet,” reached #12 R&B and #92 pop. He was named after the Prince Rogers Trio, a jazz ensemble, and was inspired to become a performer after seeing a James Brown concert in 1968, when he was ten. He went on to learn more than twenty instruments.
1978: Earth, Wind & Fire charted with the Beatles’ “Got to Get You Into My Life” from the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, reaching #1 R&B and #9 pop. The (often) ten-member group was considered one of the most exciting live performance acts of the ’70s and ’80s. The band also managed to have forty-eight R&B chart singles through 2004.
1987:Four Tops Day was declared by Michigan Governor James Blanchard to honor the quartet’s contributions to music. The group performed at the governor’s meeting with guest sax player, Arkansas governor and future president Bill Clinton, backing the act on-stage.
1988:The anti-apartheid film ‘Cry Freedom’ was banned by the South African government.
1991:Selected by NASA in January 1990, Dr. Bernard A. Harris became an astronaut on this day.