Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Happy Birthday: Richard Pryor, Lou Rawls & Bette Midler

Richard Pryor
(December 1, 1940 – December 10, 2005)

In my opinion, Richard Pryor is the greatest comedian to practice the art of comedy. Highly respected by many for his genius in his stand-up routines that incorporated storytelling, that also addressed racial and social issues.

Before he broke into comedy, Pryor was a session drummer and MC at local Peoria, Illinois nightclubs. Inspired by Bill Cosby to do comedy, years later he moved to New York City to pursue a career as a comedian. First doing middlebrow, then later incorporated profanity into his act after performing for a sold out crowd at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas in 1967.

The start of Pryor's mainstream success started with several comedy recordings on Reprise, Laff, Stax and Warner Brothers record labels. Eventually he started appearing on television with The Richard Pryor Show, Pryor's Place and Staurday Night Live, as well as writing for Sanford & Son, The Flip Wilson Show and for Lily Tomlin. Pryor also appeared in several motion pictures as an actor and worked behind the camera as director, producer and writer.

For a complete bio, merchandise and more info, visit


Lou Rawls
(December 1, 1933 – January 6, 2006)

Lou Rawls was a Soul, Jazz, gospel and Rhythm & Blues singer who got his start with a local gospel choir in his native Chicago, where he also met Same Cooke and Curtis Mayfield. He sang briefly with Cooke in the Teenage Kings of Harmony, a local gospel group, and then with the Holy Wonders. In 1951, Rawls replaced Cooke in the Highway QC's after Cooke departed to join The Soul Stirrers in Los Angeles. Rawls was soon recruited by the Chosen Gospel Singers and himself moved to Los Angeles, where he subsequently joined the Pilgrim Travelers.

Rawls was signed to Capitol Records in 1962 and released his first solo album Stormy Monday (a.k.a. I'd Rather Drink Muddy Water), a jazz album. Though his 1966 album Live! went gold, Rawls would not have a star-making hit until he made a proper soul album, appropriately named Soulin', later that same year. The album contained his first R&B #1 single, "Love Is a Hurtin' Thing". In 1967 Rawls won his first Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance, for the single "Dead End Street."

After leaving Capitol in 1971, Rawls joined MGM, at which he released his Grammy-winning single "Natural Man." He had a brief stint with Bell Records in 1974, where he recorded a cover of Hall & Oates' "She's Gone." In 1976, Rawls signed with Philadelphia International Records, where he had his greatest album success with the million-selling All Things in Time. The album produced his most successful single, "You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine", which topped the R&B and Adult Contemporary charts and went to number two on the pop side, becoming Rawls' only certified million-selling single in the process.

Rawls released more than 70 albums, sold more than 40 million records, appeared as an actor in motion pictures and on television, and voiced-over many cartoons.


Bette Midler

Bette Midler is a singer, actress and comedian, also known (by her informal stage name) as The Divine Miss M. She has starred in live-action films such as Ruthless People, Beaches and Hocus Pocus, as well as featuring in animated films such as Oliver & Company and Fantasia 2000.

During her more than forty-year career, Midler has been nominated for two Academy Awards; and won four Grammy Awards, four Golden Globes, three Emmy Awards, and a special Tony Award. She has also sold over 30 Million records as an artist.

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