Glenn Miller
trombonist and bandleader; had a peppy clean sounding style. appealed to small town midwestern people and those of the big-city, east and west coast.
John Hammond
jazz enthusiast; helped promote many including bessie smith and bob dylan. helped secure recording contracts with columbia records; worked as an artists and repertoire man.
benny goodman
clarinetist and band leader known as the “king of swing”. he and his band helped establish the swing era in the early 1930’s. first white band leader to hire black musicians in his band.
fletcher henderson
musician bandleader and arranger; inspired the rise of swing music in the 1930’s.
william “count” basie
african american pianist and band leader; gained experience in kansas city missouri. known for improvisatory style and strong sense of swing
edward kennedy “duke” ellington
pianist composer arranger and band leader; recognized as one of most important american musicians of the 20th century. unusual combinations of instruments and musical forms, created complex distinctive tone colors.
roy claxton acuff
most popular hillbilly singer of the swing era; joined caste of grand ole opry in 1938 and became biggest star; performed in a style that was rooted in southern folk music.
bob wills
fiddler from east texas from 1920’s through 1960’s. his group texas playboys pioneered western swing music. one of pioneers of modern country and western music.
gene autry
first successful singing cowboy; born in TX. a successful film star and popular country and western musician. helped established the western component of country and western music. created a style that reached out to an audience with a less pronounced regional accent, deep baritone voice, and crooners smoothness.
xavier cugat
spanish born violinist, band leader, film star, and showman. aka “rhumba king”. popularized latin music during the swing era.
frank sinatra
born in hoboken newjersy in working class italian family. singing style combined crooning style of bing crosby with the bel canto technique of italian opera.
nat “king” cole
most successful black recording artist of postwar period. brilliant piano improviser; influenced later jazz pianist such as oscar peterson and bill evans. biggest successes were sentimental ballads accompanied by elaborate orchestral arrangements.
damaso perez prado
cuban born pianist, organist, and bandleader popularized the mambo throughout latin america and the us; crossed over to a non-latin audience with hits such as

mambo no. 5
cherry pink and apple blossom white

louis jordan
arkansas-born saxaphone player and singer began making recording for decca records in 1939; led the most successful and influential jump band; the tympany five. popular with black listeners and was able to build an extensive white audience during and after WWII.
muddy waters
“father of chicago blues”; discovered by allan lomax in 1941. waters sang in a country style and was a charismatic performer. played both acoustic and electric guitar. single greatest influence on the british blues boom.
ruth brown
“miss rhythm”; born in VA, began her pro career at age 16. in 1949 signed with atlantic records; was the most popular black female vocalist in america between 1951-1954.
big mama thornton
born in montgomery AL, doughter of baptist minister. began pro career as singer, drummer, harmonica player, and comic on the black vaudeville circuit. later settled in TX, working as singer in black nightclubs. her imposing physique and sometimes malevolent personality helped her ensure her survival in the rough and tuble world of con artists and gangsters.
johnnie ray
partially deaf since childhood; became one of biggest international pop stars of early 1950’s. crowned the “prince of wells”; parodied as the “guy with the rubber face and the squirt gun eyes”; created idiosyncratic style based partly in african american modes of performance. paved the way for the rock n roll stars of the later 1950’s.
patti page
sold more records than any other female singer of the early 1950’s. had success with love sogns and novelties but biggest hit was a recording of the “tennessee waltz”
eddy arnold
the most popular country crooner. not only dominated country charts but also scored 11 top 40 hits on the pop charts.
ernest tubb
began his career in the 1930s as a disciple of jimmie rodgers; by 1940s tubb develobed into one of the first honky tonk performers; harder edged country sound and amplified instruments.
bill monroe
born in kentucky; played music at young age was influenced by his uncle “a country fiddler” and by a black musician and railroad worker named arnold schulz; in 1938 started the bluegrass boys; in following year joined cast of the grand ole opry.
hank thompson
native of Waco TX, created popular variation of honky tonk music by mixing it with elements of western swing.
kitty wells
born in nashville TN, as muriel dearson; married popular country entertainer johnny wright and began appearing with him on radio, stage name adopted from old southern parlor song “sweet kitty wells”
hank williams
most significant single figure to emerge in country music during the immediate post WWII period. wrote and sang many songs in the course of his career that were popular with country audiences at the time. 36 top 10 records on the country charts.
alan freed
dj and concert promoter dubbed the pied piper of rock n roll. played important role in broadening audience for r among white teenagers during early 1950’s.
big joe turner
blues shouter; born in Kansas City. made recordings with many labels befor signing with atlantic in 1951; his biggest rock n roll record for atlantic; shake rattle and roll.
the chords
r&b black male vocal group performed original version of sh-boom.
the crew cuts
white male vocal group whose cover version of sh-boom was one of the two biggest pop hits of 1954.
bill haley
former dj and western swing band leader from PA. moved toward r&b jump band in 1950’s. recorded commercially successful cover of r hits with his band the comets.
herman “little junior” parker
singer, songwriter, and harmonica player. achieved success with his r band little juniors blue flames; recorded mystery train for sam phillips’s sun label
charles edward anderson “chuck” berry
clever and articulate lyricist and songwriter, rock n roll vocal stylist and pioneering electric guitarist. one of the firts black musicians to forge his own r&b styles for appeal to the mass market. also known for his “duck walk”.
buddy holly
early rock n roll quitarist, singer, and songwriter from the country/rockabilly side of rock n roll. killed at age 22 in a plane crash.
richard wayne penniman “little richard”
early rock n roll singer and pianist, known for his shouting style. hit records include “tutti frutti” and “long tall sally”
antoine “fats” domino
born in NO, an r&b singer and pianist before becoming a rock n roll star. known for his hits “aint it a shame” and “blueberry hill”
elvis presley
“king of rock n roll”; biggest star to come from country side of music world. born in Mississippi. made first recordings in memphis at sun records, and later recorded at RCA before becoming a hollywood film star.
kingston trio
on of the most popular folk groups of the rock n roll era. kep public intrist in folk music alove through the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. recordings of “tom dooley” (an old ballad song) was a huge hit.
wanda jackson
multi talented singer, instumentalist, and song write. known as the “queen of rockabilly”
jerry leiber and mike stoller
innovative songwriting and producing team of the early rock n roll years. wrote “hound dog” and other r&b songs. produced hits for elvis presley and the coasters.
chubby checker
singer who became famous for his cover version of “the twist” by hank ballard.
dick clark
host of american bandstand
phill spector
“first tycoon of teen”; his studio production techniques are known as the “wall of sound” b/c of his dense orchestrations, multiple instruments, and heavy reverb.
wrecking crew
studio musicians who worked regularly w/phil spector at gold star studios.
berry gordy jr.
founded motown records
the supremes
black female vocal group; were featured with motown records in 1960’s. “you cant hurry love” was a #1 hit in 1966.
the temptations
black male vocal group; featured with motown records in 1960’s. “my girl” was a #1 hit in 1965.
funk brothers
the studio musicians of motowns house band; included james jamerson, benny benjamin, and earl van dyke.
beach boys
founded in CA in 1961; popularized the california sound in the 1960’s.
brian wilson
leader and guiding spirit of the beach boys; wrote and produced many of their biggest hits including good vibrations.
the beatles
rock group from liverpool england; dominated am pop music during mid 1960’s and started the british invasion.
the rolling stones
british rock group who cultivated an image as bad boys in contrast to the beatles.
bob dylan
urban folk singer and songwriter; stage name from his favorite poet dylan thomas. his hits included blowin in the the wind, mr tambourine man,and like a rolling stone.
jimmi hendrix
the most original, inventive, and influential guitarist of the rock era. most prominent african american rock musician of the late 1960’s.
patsy cline
country vocalist who scored crossover hits with songs such as “i fall to pieces” and “crazy”; both recorded in 1961.
ray charles
“genius of soul” songwriter, arranger, keyboard player, and vocalist fluent in r, jazz, and mainstream pop.
grateful dead
band that originated in 1960’s san francisco rock scene. their career spanned more than three decades.
james brown
“godfather of soul” known for his acrobatic physicality and remarkable charisma on stage.
aretha franklin
“queen of soul”; began singing gospel music at young age, had several hit records with atlantic such as “respect” and “think”.
janis joplin
most successful white blues singer of the 1960’s. born in TX. cam to San Fran in mid 1960’s and joined a band called big brother and the holding company.
grace slick
vocalist for jefferson airplane. one of the most important female musicians on the san fran scene during the 1960’s.
jerry garcia
guitarist, banjoist, and singer who had played in various urban folk groups during early 1960s; before forming the grateful dead in 1967.