Saturday, March 26, 2011

Happy Birthday: Diana Ross, Steven Tyler & Teddy Pendergrass

Diana Ross (born March 26, 1944) is a singer and actress who served as lead singer of the Motown group The Supremes during the 1960s. After leaving the group in 1970, Ross began a solo career that included successful ventures into film and Broadway. She received a Best Actress Academy Award nomination for her 1972 role as Billie Holiday in Lady Sings the Blues, for which she won a Golden Globe award. She won 8 awards American Music Awards, garnered twelve Grammy Award nominations, and won a Tony Award for her one-woman show, An Evening with Diana Ross, in 1977. With a career total 18 #1 records, Diana Ross is considered the most successful female recording artist of the 20th century.

Other films Ross would later star in include Mahogany, The Wiz (a remake of The Wizard of Oz), Out of Darkness, and Double Platinum.


Steven Tyler (born March 26, 1948) is a singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, and the frontman and lead singer of the Boston-based rock band Aerosmith, in which he also plays the harmonica, and occasional piano and percussion. He is also known as the "Demon of Screamin'" and is equally known for his on-stage acrobatics. During his high-energy performances, he usually dresses in bright, colorful outfits with his trademark scarves hanging from his microphone stand. In the 1970s, Tyler rose to prominence as the frontman of Aerosmith, which released such milestone hard rock albums as Toys In The Attic and Rocks.

Aerosmith rose to prominence again when Tyler and Perry appeared on Run–D.M.C.'s cover of Aerosmith's "Walk This Way" in 1986, a track that combined elements of hip-hop and rock, that broke down the barriers between the two genres, broke rap into the mainstream, and introduced Aerosmith to a new generation. The track hit #4 on the charts and launched a famous music video that saw heavy rotation.


Theodore DeReese "Teddy" Pendergrass (March 26, 1950 – January 13, 2010) was an R&B/Soul singer and songwriter. Pendergrass first rose to fame as lead singer of Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes in the 1970s before a successful solo career at the end of the decade. In 1982, he was severely injured in an auto accident in Philadelphia, resulting in his being paralyzed from the waist down. After his injury, the affable entertainer founded the Teddy Pendergrass Alliance, a foundation that helps those with spinal cord injuries. Pendergrass commemorated 25 years of living after his spinal cord injury with star filled event, Teddy 25 - A Celebration of Life at Philadelphia's Kimmel Center. His last performance was on a PBS special at Atlantic City's Borgata Casino in November 2008.

In 1977, Pendergrass released his self-titled album, which went platinum on the strength of the disco hit, "I Don't Love You Anymore". Its follow-up single, "The Whole Town's Laughing At Me", became a top 20 R&B hit. It was quickly followed by Life Is a Song Worth Singing, in 1978. That album was even more successful with its singles including "Only You" and "Close the Door". The disco single, "Get Up, Get Down, Get Funky, Get Loose" was popular in dance clubs. 1979 brought two successes, Teddy and the live release, Live Coast to Coast. Hits off Teddy included "Come and Go With Me" and "Turn Off the Lights". His 1980 album, TP, included his signature song, "Love TKO" and the Ashford & Simpson composition, "Is It Still Good to You". Between 1977 and 1981, Pendergrass landed five consecutive platinum albums, which was a then-record setting number for a rhythm and blues artist.

Pendergrass' popularity became massive at the end of 1977. With sold-out audiences packing his shows, Pendergrass' manager soon noticed that a huge number of his audience consisted of women of all races. They made up a plan for Pendergrass' next tour to have it with just female audiences only, starting a trend that continues today called "women's only concerts". With five platinum albums and two gold albums, Pendergrass was the leading R&B male artist of his day usurping competition including closest rivals Marvin Gaye and Barry White. In 1980, the Isley Brothers released "Don't Say Goodnight (It's Time for Love)" to compete with Pendergrass' "Turn Off the Lights", which sensed Pendergrass' influence on the quiet storm format of black music.

No comments:

Post a Comment