Rhythm and blues

Louis Jordan in New York City, c. undefined July 1946
The habanera rhythm shown as tresillo (lower notes) with the backbeat (upper note)
Fats Domino in 1956
Piano excerpt from the rumba boogie "Mardi Gras in New Orleans" (1949) by Professor Longhair. 2–3 claves are written above for rhythmic reference.
3–2 clave written in two measures in cut-time
Tresillo answered by the backbeat, the essence of clave in African American music
Bo Diddley's "Bo Diddley beat" is a clave-based motif.
Ray Charles in 1971
Ruth Brown was known as the "Queen of R&B"
Della Reese
Sam Cooke
Eric Burdon & the Animals (1964)

Genre of popular music that originated in African-American communities in the 1940s.

- Rhythm and blues
Louis Jordan in New York City, c. undefined July 1946

115 related topics

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Berry in 1957

Chuck Berry

American singer, songwriter and guitarist who pioneered rock and roll.

American singer, songwriter and guitarist who pioneered rock and roll.

Berry in 1957
Chuck Berry's guitar, Maybellene, a Gibson ES-350T
Berry in a 1958 publicity photo
Berry and his sister Lucy Ann (1965)
Berry as guest host of The Midnight Special in 1973
Berry performing at the 1997 Long Beach Blues Festival
Berry in 2008
"The founding father of rock n roll" street art on Denmark Street, London
Chuck Berry wearing the Kennedy Center Honors, 2000

Nicknamed the "Father of Rock and Roll", he refined and developed rhythm and blues into the major elements that made rock and roll distinctive with songs such as "Maybellene" (1955), "Roll Over Beethoven" (1956), "Rock and Roll Music" (1957) and "Johnny B. Goode" (1958).

Turner performing, 1973

Big Joe Turner

American blues shouter from Kansas City, Missouri.

American blues shouter from Kansas City, Missouri.

Turner performing, 1973
Turner performing in the 1955 film Rock 'n' Roll Revue

During his career, Turner was part of the transition from big bands to jump blues to rhythm and blues to rock and roll.

Charles in the 1960s

Ray Charles

American singer, songwriter, pianist, and composer.

American singer, songwriter, pianist, and composer.

Charles in the 1960s
Charles in 1968
Charles in 1971
Charles meeting with President Richard Nixon, 1972 (photo by Oliver F. Atkins)
Charles at the 2003 Montreal International Jazz Festival, one of his last public performances
Quincy Jones worked with Ray Charles.
Star honoring Charles on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, at 6777 Hollywood Boulevard
Statue by Andy Davis in Ray Charles Plaza in Albany, Georgia

Charles pioneered the soul music genre during the 1950s by combining blues, jazz, rhythm and blues, and gospel styles into the music he recorded for Atlantic Records.

Jordan in New York, July 1946

Jump blues

Up-tempo style of blues, usually played by small groups and featuring horn instruments.

Up-tempo style of blues, usually played by small groups and featuring horn instruments.

Jordan in New York, July 1946
Louis Jordan's Tympany Five
Lionel Hampton

It was popular in the 1940s and was a precursor of rhythm and blues and rock and roll.

Vernon Dalhart was the first country star to have a major hit record

Country music

Genre of popular music that originated with blues, church music such as Southern gospel and spirituals, old-time, and American folk music forms including Appalachian, Cajun, Creole, and the cowboy Western music styles of New Mexico, Red Dirt, Tejano, and Texas country.

Genre of popular music that originated with blues, church music such as Southern gospel and spirituals, old-time, and American folk music forms including Appalachian, Cajun, Creole, and the cowboy Western music styles of New Mexico, Red Dirt, Tejano, and Texas country.

Vernon Dalhart was the first country star to have a major hit record
The Carter Family, are a dynasty of country music and began with (left to right) A.P. Carter, wife Sara Carter and Maybelle Carter
Roy Acuff
Publicity photo of Roy Rogers and Gail Davis, 1948
Bill and Charlie Monroe (1936). Bill Monroe (1911–1996) and the Blue Grass Boys created the bluegrass by the end of World War II.
Hank Williams
Johnny Cash
Willie Nelson (2009)
John Denver (1975)
Dolly Parton
A reunited Eagles in 2008
George Strait, a pioneer of the neotraditionalist movement and dubbed the "King of Country," Strait is one of the best selling musicians of all-time.
Garth Brooks
Shania Twain performing during her Up! Tour in 2004
Steve Earle performing in Ireland in 2007
Carrie Underwood at the 2019 American Music Awards
Miranda Lambert in 2019
Taylor Swift at the 2019 American Music Awards
Florida Georgia Line whose hit song "Cruise" drew attention to the bro-country genre
Emmylou Harris in 2008
Kacey Musgraves became one of the most controversial figures in contemporary country music.
Olivia Newton-John singing in Sydney in 2008
Keith Urban in 2007
Shania Twain in 2011
Lorenzo Antonio
Engelbert Humperdinck had hits with country songs
Vanha Isäntä, a Finnish country rock band, performing at the Helsinki Festival's open-air concert in Kaivopuisto in 1974. Seppo Sillanpää (violin) on the left and Olli Haavisto (guitar) on the right.
Example of cowboy hat and cowboy boots, two prominent components of country music fashion
Western wear shirt design, with snap fasteners
Painting of a cowboy singing by Thomas Eakins (1890)
Freddy Fender performing Tejano music after The Johnny Cash Show in Nashville, Tennessee (1977)
Bob Childers performing Red dirt in Okemah, Oklahoma (2001)
Al Hurricane and Al Hurricane Jr. performing New Mexico music at a fiesta in Old Town Albuquerque (2014)

Presley acknowledged the influence of rhythm and blues artists and his style, saying "The colored folk been singin' and playin' it just the way I'm doin' it now, man for more years than I know."

Brown performing in Hamburg, Germany, in February 1973

James Brown

American singer, dancer, musician, record producer, and bandleader.

American singer, dancer, musician, record producer, and bandleader.

Brown performing in Hamburg, Germany, in February 1973
Brown (middle) and The Famous Flames (far left to right, Bobby Bennett, Lloyd Stallworth, and Bobby Byrd), performing live at the Apollo Theater in New York City, 1964
Brown performing in 1969
Brown with a disc jockey after a concert in Tampa in 1972
Brown performing in 1973
James Brown (1977)
Brown performing in 1998
Brown during the NBA All-Star Game jam session, 2001
Brown performing in June 2005
Brown's most famous MC was Danny Ray (center), who was with him for over 30 years.
Brown and MC Danny Ray during cape routine, BBC Electric Proms '06 concert
James Brown memorial in Augusta, Georgia
Public memorial at the Apollo Theater in Harlem
Public funeral in Augusta, Georgia, with Michael Jackson attending
Statue of James Brown in Augusta
Traffic box public art commissioned to be painted by Ms. Robbie Pitts Bellamy in tribute to Brown in 2015

He first came to national public attention in the mid-1950s as the lead singer of the Famous Flames, a then-only Rhythm and blues vocal group founded by Bobby Byrd.

Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers

Doo-wop

Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers
The Moonglows, 1956
Herman Santiago, original lead singer of the Teenagers
The Ramones in Toronto (1976)
The Cleftones during their participation in the doo-wop festival celebrated in May 2010 at the Benedum Center.
Kathy Young with the Earth Angels performing Kathy's hit "A Thousand Stars" during the festival of this genre celebrated at the Benedum Center for the Performing Arts in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in May 2010

Doo-wop (also spelled doowop and doo wop) is a genre of rhythm and blues music that originated in African-American communities during the 1940s, mainly in the large cities of the United States, including New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Baltimore, Newark, Detroit, Washington, DC, and Los Angeles.

Jordan in New York City, 1946

Louis Jordan

American saxophonist, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and bandleader who was popular from the late 1930s to the early 1950s.

American saxophonist, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and bandleader who was popular from the late 1930s to the early 1950s.

Jordan in New York City, 1946
Louis Jordan's Tympany Five
Jordan in New York, July 1946, shortly after getting second billing to Glen Gray at the Paramount

With his dynamic Tympany Five bands, Jordan mapped out the main parameters of the classic R&B, urban blues and early rock-and-roll genres with a series of highly influential 78-rpm discs released by Decca Records.

Chess Records

The Chess Records logo, as featured on a Memphis Slim single
Chess Studios, 2120 South Michigan Ave., Chicago, later Willie Dixon's Blues Heaven Foundation (photo 2009)

Chess Records was an American record company established in 1950 in Chicago, specializing in blues and rhythm and blues.

The Banjo Lesson by Henry Ossawa Tanner, 1893

African-American music

Umbrella term covering a diverse range of music and musical genres largely developed by African Americans.

Umbrella term covering a diverse range of music and musical genres largely developed by African Americans.

The Banjo Lesson by Henry Ossawa Tanner, 1893
Congo Square African Drum 1819 Latrobe
Slave dance to banjo, 1780s
William Sidney Mount painted scenes of black and white American musicians. This 1856 painting depicts an African-American banjo player.
The Slayton Jubilee Singers entertain employees of the Old Trusty Incubator Factory, Clay Center, about 1910
Marilyn Horne and Henry Lewis in 1961, photo by Carl Van Vechten
Sister Rosetta Tharpe performing at Cafe Zanzibar
Lil Wayne is one of the top selling black American musicians in modern history. In 2008, his album sold one million in its first week.
Edward Ray at Capitol Records
50 Cent in 2006. 50 Cent was one of the most popular African-American rappers of the 2000s.
Beyoncé

African-American musicians developed related styles such as rhythm and blues in the 1940s.