Saturday, March 29, 2014

This Date in Rock Music History: March 30

1957:  Buddy Knox became the first rock artist to write his own #1 song as "Party Doll" topped the charts.
1959:  "Venus" was her name, but it was also the name of the #1 song that Frankie Avalon had for the fourth week.  

1963:  Skeeter Davis prevailed on the Easy Listening chart for a third week with "The End Of The World".
1963:  The Chiffons climbed to #1 with "He's So Fine", which would go on to lead all songs for four weeks.  Ruby & the Romantics slipped with "Our Day Will Come" and Skeeter Davis owned #3--"The End Of The World".
1966:  The Barbra Streisand special Color Me Barbra aired on CBS-TV.
1966:  85 people were arrested in Paris, France following a Rolling Stones concert.  The Stones even spread their violence to a nice country like France.

1967:  Photo work for the cover of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album began at Chelsea Manor Photo Studios in London.  The group continued work on "With A Little Help From My Friends" by adding guitars, tambourine and backing vocals.
1968:  David Bowie made his debut with the Lindsay Kemp mime troupe in Pierrot in Turquoise.
1968:  The Yardbirds performed and recorded Yardbirds Live at the Anderson Theatre in New York City. 
1968:  "Lady Madonna" hit #1 in the U.K.

(Sittin' on) The Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding on Grooveshark
1968:  "(Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay" by Otis Redding was #1 on the R&B chart for a third week.  
1968:  Paul Mauriat had the #1 Adult song for the seventh week, the great instrumental "Love Is Blue".
1968:  The late Otis Redding remained at #1 for the third week with "(Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay.  For a song that had spent five weeks at #1 itself, "Love Is Blue" didn't show signs that people were tired of it--the Paul Mauriat song was still #2.  

1970:  Chicago released the single "Make Me Smile".
1974:  The Ramones made their first concert appearance at Performance Studio in New York City.

1974:  John Denver's Greatest Hits reached #1 on the Album chart.  Court and Spark from Joni Mitchell was one step away with Tubular Bells from Mike Oldfield third.  Barbra Streisand had yet another top album with the former #1 The Way We Were and Paul McCartney & Wings were up with Band on the Run.  The rest of the Top 10:  Planet Waves from Bob Dylan & the Band, Hotcakes from Carly Simon, Love Unlimited Orchestra moved up with Rhapsody in White, Elton John was still hanging in after 24 weeks with Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and the late Jim Croce moved back in the Top 10 after 58 weeks with You Don't Mess Around with Jim.

Sunshine On My Shoulders by John Denver on Grooveshark
1974:  One of John Denver's greatest songs, "Sunshine On My Shoulders", took over at #1 but Blue Swede was right on his tail with "Hooked On A Feeling".  Terry Jacks' former #1 "Seasons In The Sun" was third and "Bennie And The Jets" gave Elton John another hit.  The rest of the Top 10:  "Dark Lady" from Cher, Carly Simon & James Taylor's remake of "Mockingbird", Paul McCartney & Wings edged up with "Jet", Redbone found the Top 10 with "Come And Get Your Love", Mocedades great song "Eres Tu (Touch The Wind)" was #9 and Sister Janet Mead moved to #10 with "The Lord's Prayer".
1982:  U2 played at the San Francisco Civic Center.
1984:  David Gilmour, guitarist for Pink Floyd, appeared on the television show The Tube.
1984:  Greg Lake left the group Asia, and was replaced by original guitarist John Wetton, the bassist Lake originally replaced.

1985:  "Nightshift" by the Commodores was once again #1 on the R&B chart.
1985:  Phil Collins set up camp at #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart with "One More Night".

                                                    Survivor was "High On You"...

1985:  Phil Collins had the new #1 song with "One More Night", leaving Madonna to wonder why a song like "Material Girl" could never reach #1.  REO Speedwagon was third with "Can't Fight This Feeling" and Teena Marie had herself a hit with "Lovergirl".  U.S.A. for Africa was up from 21 to 5 with "We Are The World".  The rest of the Top 10:  Julian Lennon with "Too Late For Goodbyes", Tina Turner's "Private Dancer", Survivor remained the same with "High On You", Madonna's new song "Crazy For You" was up from 20 to 9 and the Commodores hit the Top 10 for the ninth time with "Nightshift".

                                     "Freedom" helped give Wham staying power...

1985:  No Jacket Required by Phil Collins reached #1 on the Album chart just four weeks after its release.  Centerfield from John Fogerty was now second, followed by Born in the U.S.A. from Bruce Springsteen and the Soundtrack to "Beverly Hills Cop".  The rest of an excellent Top 10:  Private Dancer from Tina Turner, the Like a Virgin album by Madonna, Wham!  fell from 4 to 7 with Make It Big, Wheels Are Turnin' by REO Speedwagon, Foreigner remained in the #9 spot with Agent Provocateur and the incredible Reckless album was #10 for Bryan Adams.
1989:  Gladys Knight performed without the Pips at Bally's Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada.
1991:  Chesney Hawkes began a five-week on at #1 on the U.K. charts with "The One And Only".
1991:  The Eurythmics hit #1 on the U.K. Album chart with their Greatest Hits album.  It would remain on top for nine weeks. 
1991:  Gloria Estefan's comeback song after a serious car crash, "Coming Out Of The Dark", reached #1.
1991:  Wilson Phillips reached #1 on the AC chart with "You're In Love".

                                                "Vanishing" from Mariah Carey...

1991:  The incredible debut album from Mariah Carey was #1 for a fifth week.  

1992:  R.E.M. began work on the Automatic For the People album at Bearsville Studios in Woodstock, New York.
1994:  Pink Floyd released the album The Division Bell.
1996:  The Beatles had the #1 album in the U.K. with Anthology 2.
1996:  Alanis Morissette latched onto #1 on the Album chart for a fifth week with Jagged Little Pill.
2000:  The rights to Castle Records including the Kinks catalog were sold to Sanctuary Music.

2000:  Mick Jagger helped dedicate a new arts centre that had been named after him at his old school, Dartford Grammar.
2003:  Limp Bizkit welcomed new guitarist Mike Smith, formerly of Snot, in an appearance on Wrestlemania.
2004:  Recording industry groups in Canada, Denmark, Germany and Italy announced that they would take legal action against 247 people for trading music online.
2004:  The Sterephonics played a concert benefiting the Teenage Cancer Trust at London's Royal Albert Hall.  Ron Wood and Roger Daltrey joined on stage in the cause.
2004:  Guns N' Roses dropped out of the Rock in Rio-Lisbon Festival due to the sudden departure of guitarist Buckethead.
2004:  Paul McCartney made an impromptu appearance with a local jazz trio at a restaurant in Truckee, California.
2004:  Timi Yuro ("Hurt") died from throat cancer in Las Vegas, Nevada at age 63.
2010:  Usher released the album Raymond v. Raymond.

2013:  Phil Ramone, violinist, recording engineer, and legendary producer of the best albums that Billy Joel did as well as albums by Elton John, Madonna, Paul McCartney, Chicago, Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder, Barry Manilow, Rod Stewart, Olivia Newton-John, Dionne Warwick, Aretha Franklin, Gloria Estefan, Guess Who, Bob Dylan, James Taylor, Richard Marx, Sheena Easton, Peter, Paul and Mary and Ray Charles, among others, died March 20, 2013 at age 79 in Manhattan, New York of a brain aneurysm.

Born This Day:
1913:  Frankie Laine (real name Francesco Paolo LoVecchio) was born in Chicago, Illinois; died of heart failure in San Diego, California on February 6, 2007.
1930:  Rolf Harris ("Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport") was born in Bassendean, Australia.
1933:  Willie Nelson was born in Abbott, Texas.  (Note:  some websites report Willie was born on March 29.  The correct date is March 30, according to 'Country Music Television' and 'The History Channel'.)
1942:  Graeme Edge, drummer for the Moody Blues, was born in Rochester, Staffordshire, England.  (Note:  '' claims Edge was born in Rochester, Staffs, England.  The name of the county is Staffordshire.  You can probably tell that we don't care much for inexactitude.)
1943:  Jay Traynor, lead singer of Jay and the Americans and a member of the Vocal Group Hall of Fame, was born in Brooklyn, New York; died of liver cancer January 2, 2014 in Tampa, Florida.  (Note:  one website claims Jay was born in Albany, New York.  According to Traynor's official website, he was born in Brooklyn.)

1945:  Eric Clapton (real name Eric Clapp) was born in Ripley, Surrey, England.  (Note:  some websites state that Clapton was born in Surrey, England.  Surrey is a county, not a city.  The correct birthplace is Ripley, Surrey, England.)
1948:  Jim "Dandy" Mangrum, lead singer of Black Oak Arkansas, was born in Benton Harbor, Michigan.  (Note:  several websites claim Mangrum was born in Black Oak, Arkansas.  However, the book 'Encyclopedia of Arkansas Music' by Ali Welky and Mike Keckhaver states that Jim was born in Benton Harbor.)  1950:  Dave Ball, guitarist of Procol Harum, was born in Handsworth, Birmingham, England.
1950  Re Styles (real name Shirley Marie MacLeod), guitarist and vocalist with the Tubes, was born in Middleburg, the Netherlands.
1955:  Randy VanWarmer ("Just When I Needed You Most") was born in Indian Hills, Colorado; died of leukemia in Seattle, Washington on January 12, 2004.


1962:  Stanley Kirk Burrell (MC Hammer) was born in Oakland, California.

1964:  Tracy Chapman was born in Cleveland, Ohio.

1968:  Celine Dion was born in Charlemagne, Quebec, Canada.
1976:  Mark McClelland, founder and bass guitarist of Snow Patrol, was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

1979:  Norah Jones was born in Brooklyn, New York.  (Note:  'MTV' and 'Biography" claim Norah was born in New York City.  Just as an FYI to those--there are several boroughs that exist within New York City, each with their own identities and official population figures.  If a person is born in that borough, that is their official birthplace listed on their birth certificate, not the more vague "New York City".  'ABC', a much more credible source, correctly shows Norah's birthplace as Brooklyn.) 
1980:  Paul Wall (on song "Grillz" by Nelly) was born in Houston, Texas.

Five Best Songs: Captain & Tennille

"The Captain" got his name from Mike Love when he played for the Beach Boys.  This married duo was red-hot in the mid-70's, hosting their own television show from 1976-77.  With honorable mention to "Come In From The Rain", here are the Five Best* from the Captain & Tennille:


1.  Love Will Keep Us Together

2.  Muskrat Love

3.  Shop Around

4.  The Way I Want To Touch You

5.  Lonely Night (Angel Face)

Best of the British Invasion: 1964

The British rarely reached the Top 10 prior to 1964, but then the Beatles changed all that.  When they landed in New York City, they launched not only Beatlemania but a wave of success by British artists that would come to be known as the British Invasion.  From the time that "I Want To Hold Your Hand" moved into the U.S. Top 10 on January 25, 1964 (with a 45-3 move, no less), British artists increasingly followed suit by enjoying Top 10 hit after Top 10 hit. 

Shown the way by the Beatles, countless groups formed and went on to great success not only in the United States but around the world.  There should be zero doubt in anyone's mind as to the tremendous influence that the Beatles had.  Remember that in the twelve months prior to "I Want To Hold Your Hand", there were zero British acts in the Top 10--none.  The British went from that to 27 Top 10 hits in the magic year of 1964.  American acts who were inspired by the Beatles and used that sound to catapult themselves to stardom would soon follow, so the effect was universal. Here are just a few examples of the British Invasion from 1964 alone.


"I Want To Hold Your Hand"

"She Loves You"

"Please Please Me"

"Twist and Shout"


"Glad All Over"
Dave Clark Five


"Can't Buy Me Love"

"Bits and Pieces"
Dave Clark Five

"Love Me Do"


"Do You Want To Know A Secret"


"A World Without Love"
Peter & Gordon

"Little Children"
Billy J. Kramer with the Dakotas

"P.S. I Love You"


"Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying"
Gerry & the Pacemakers


"Bad To Me"
Billy J. Kramer with the Dakotas


"Can't You See That She's Mine"
Dave Clark Five

"A Hard Day's Night"
"Wishin' and Hopin'
Dusty Springfield


"The House Of The Rising Sun"

Dave Clark Five

"Do Wah Diddy Diddy"
Manfred Mann


"A Summer Song"
Chad & Jeremy


"Have I The Right?"

"She's Not There"

"You Really Got Me"

"Time Is On My Side"
Rolling Stones

"I Feel Fine"

"She's A Woman"

In Concert: "Words" by the Bee Gees

This is from the Spirits Having Flown tour in 1979, when the Bee Gees were at their peak.  I saw them at the Memorial Coliseum in Portland, Oregon, and Barry Gibb gave a most phenomenal performance of this song without any musical accompaniment.  This video is from a different concert that year:

Friday, March 28, 2014

This Date in Rock Music History: March 29

1961:  Governor Ernest Vandiver of Georgia declared it "Brenda Lee Day".
1963:  The Shadows had their fifth #1 in the U.K. with "Foot Tapper".
1964:  The Hollies, the Dave Clark Five, the Kinks and the Mojos began a U.K. tour at the Coventry Theatre.
1966:  Mick Jagger, lead singer of the Rolling Stones, was injured during a concert in Marseilles, France after a fan threw a chair at the stage, with the left leg of the chair hitting the surprised Mick just below the left eye.  Jagger had to have eight stitches.
1966:  Fans mobbed the Walker Brothers after they entered their hotel in Cheshire, England.  Two group members suffered concussions.

1967:  The Rolling Stones appeared at the Stadthalle in Bremen, Germany along with opening acts the Easybeats and the Creation.  
1967:  The Beatles began work on a new song "With A Little Help From My Friends".  The track required 10 takes of the rhythm arrangement.

1968:  Glen Campbell was named as the guest host of the Smothers Brothers' Summer Replacement Variety Hour on CBS-TV.
1969:  John Lennon, Black Sabbath, the Crazy World of Arthur Brown and Curved Air were among those who appeared at the London Free Easter Festival at Victoria Park in Bethnal Green.
1969:  "Galveston" by Glen Campbell set the pace on the Adult chart.
1969:  "Hair" by the Cowsills rose from 70 to 35.
1969:  Tommy Roe remained balanced at the top with "Dizzy" for a third week at #1.  

                                      "Smiling Phases" from Blood, Sweat & Tears...

1969:  Blood, Sweat & Tears soared to the top of the U.S. Album chart with their phenomenal debut album.  Wichita Lineman by Glen Campbell was second with the Cream finale, Goodbye, #3. Ball from Iron Butterfly dropped in next with The White Album from the Beatles in the fifth position.  The rest of the Top 10:  In-A-Gadda-a-Vida from Iron Butterfly, Donovan's Greatest Hits moved from 11 to 7, the Greatest Hits from the Association was #8, Tom Jones remained the same with Help Yourself and TCB from Diana Ross & the Supremes with the Temptations finished the list.
1970:  Ed Sullivan debuted a series of live broadcasts in which music stars sang for servicemen in VA hospitals during the Vietnam War.  Bobby Gentry and Gladys Knight & the Pips appeared on the first show, televised on CBS.
1970:  John Lennon and Yoko Ono announced that Yoko was pregnant with the couple's first child.  Ono was pregnant in 1968, but had a miscarriage.
1973:  After Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show wrote a song about not appearing on "The Cover of the Rolling Stone", they appeared on the cover of The Rolling Stone.

1975:  Jeff Beck released his first solo album Blow By Blow(Note:  some websites say the album was released on March 30, but according to Gibson Guitars, the correct date is March 29.)
1975:  Earth, Wind & Fire prevailed for a second week at #1 on the R&B chart with "Shining Star".

Lady Marmalade by Patti LaBelle on Grooveshark
1975:  Labelle topped the U.S. Singles chart with "Lady Marmalade".  Minnie Riperton's "Lovin' You" moved up to challenge while "Philadelphia Freedom" by Elton John rose from 11 to 3.  B.T. Express owned the #4 song with "Express".  The rest of the Top 10:  Joe Cocker's "You Are So Beautiful", Ringo Starr had the "No No Song" at #6, Phoebe Snow edged up with "Poetry Man", Frankie Valli dropped precipitously from 1 to 8 with "My Eyes Adored You", Sugarloaf moved up with "Don't Call Us, We'll Call You" and Olivia Newton scored her fourth straight Top 10 with "Have You Never Been Mellow".

1975:  Led Zeppelin placed all six albums on the U.S. Album chart simultaneously.  No other act has ever matched that feat.  Physical Graffiti was #1.
1976:  Neil Young started a European tour with three concerts at the Hammersmith Odeon in London.  
1978:  David Bowie premiered his Low/Heroes 77-date World Tour at San Diego Sports Arena.
1980: The Whispers quietly grabbed the #1 spot on the R&B chart for a fifth week with "And The Beat Goes On".

1980:  It had been nearly ten years since he had a hit, but Tommy James had the new #1 song on the Adult Contemporary chart with "Three Times In Love".

                                             "Ride Like the Wind" from newcomer Cross...

1980:  There were two new songs in the Top 10 and were they great...Blondie advanced from 11 to 5 with "Call Me" and Christopher Cross moved from 14-9 with his debut single "Ride Like The Wind".

                              "Sometimes a Fantasy" from Billy Joel's new album...

1980: The Wall by Pink Floyd spent an 11th week at #1 on the Album chart, holding off the fast-charging (9-2) Against the Wind by Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band.  Mad Love by Linda Ronstadt captured the #3 spot while Damn the Torpedoes from Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers earned position #4.  The rest of the Top 10:  Bebe Le Strange from Heart, Billy Joel climbed from 11 to 6 in just the second week of release for Glass Houses, Chuck Mangione's Fun and Games was again #8, Phoenix from Dan Fogelberg was next and Michael Jackson remained #10 with Off the Wall.


"The Great Gig in the Sky", one of the tracks that have made 'Dark Side of Moon" an enduring classic...

1980:  Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd spent its 303rd week on the Album chart to finally topple Tapestry, the masterpiece by Stanley, Idaho's Carole King, which had held the record for nearly a decade.  The Floyd went on to obliterate the record, staying on the charts from 1973-1988, an unbelievable 741 weeks.  With several re-entries onto the chart, the count as of late last year was 889 weeks for Dark Side.
1982:  Vangelis took home an Oscar for Best Original Score from the classic movie Chariots of Fire.
1985:  Tom Bailey of the Thompson Twins was found collapsed on his hotel room floor,  Bailey suffered from exhaustion.
1985:  Jeanine Deckers, known as the Singing Nun, who reached #1 with "Dominique" in 1963, died at the age of 52 after committing suicide.  Deckers told of her financial difficulties in a suicide note, yet on that very day and unbeknownst to her, the association that collects royalties for songwriters awarded her $300,000.  Two things:  1)  It is extremely sad that a woman who devoted her life to Christ did not have more faith and 2) it is also extremely sad that a person who should recognize that money is not important placed so much importance on it that she would kill herself.

1986:  Falco moved to #1 with "Rock Me Amadeus".  Heart's "These Dreams" edged down while "Secret Lovers" by Atlantic Starr was third.
1986:  Heart held on to #1 on the AC chart for a third week with "These Dreams".
1986:  Whitney Houston had the top album for the fourth straight week, as the album passed the 52-week mark of release.
1988:  Madonna appeared in the Lincoln Center in the Broadway play Speed the Plow.

1989:  Carly Simon won the Oscar at the Academy Awards at the Shrine Civic Auditorium in Los Angeles for Best Original Song for "Let The River Run" from Working Girl.

1993:  Peabo Bryson and Regina Bell won the Oscar for Best Original Song for "A Whole New World" from Aladdin.
2001:  Elton John, Paul Simon, David Crosby and others performed at a tribute to Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
2003:  James Brown donated 400 tickets for his Houston show to members of the military.
2004:  Jon Bon Jovi and his wife celebrated the birth of son Romeo Jon.
2004:  Prince began his Musicology tour at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.  He announced that it would be the last time he would play his hits live.

2005:  Neil Young required brain surgery at a New York City hospital after suffering an aneurysm.

2007:  Bono, lead singer of U2, accepted an honorary knighthood at a ceremony in Dublin, Ireland.  

2008:  Mariah Carey's "Touch My Body" was #1 for a second week, giving her 80 total weeks at #1 in her career.  Wikipedia tells you that she passed Elvis Presley but that is erroneous--with her 80th week at #1, Carey and Elvis are now tied for the Rock Era record.
2009:  Guitar Hero:  Metallica was released.
2011:  Ray Herr, guitarist, bassist and singer with the Ides of March ("Vehicle" from 1970) passed away at age 64 from esophageal cancer in Hainesville, Illinois.

Born This Day:
1940:  Ray Davis, original bass singer and a founding member of Parliament and Funkadelic, was born in Sumter, South Carolina; died of respiratory problems in New Brunswick, New Jersey on July 5, 2005.
1943:  Chad Allen, founding member, original lead singer and rhythm guitarist of the Guess Who, was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. 
1943:  Evangelos Papathanassiou (Vangelis--"Chariots Of Fire") was born in Agria, Greece.  (Note:  some websites claim Vangelis was born in Volus, Greece, but according to his official website, he was born in Agria, about 8 kilometers from Volus.)

1944:  Terry Jacks ("Seasons In The Sun" from 1974) was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
1945:  John "Speedy" Keen, songwriter, vocalist, drummer and keyboardist for Thunderclap Newman, was born in Ealing, London; died March 21, 2002 of heart failure.

1947:  Bobby Kimball, lead singer of Toto, was born in Orange, Texas.
1959:  Perry Farrell, frontman for Jane's Addiction, was born in Queens, New York. (Note:  some websites say he was born in New York City, but according to 'CMJ New Music Monthly', Farrell was born in Queens.
1967:  John Popper, lead singer and a virtuoso harmonica player for  Blues Traveler, was born in Cleveland, Ohio.

From Backing Singer to Recording Star

Irresponsible disc jockeys and television programs mistakenly refer to artists as "overnight stars", when this is nearly never the case.  We hear songs on the radio and it sounds so easy to score a big hit that most people have no idea how difficult it is, as is any career in the arts. 

For every person that makes it as a successful recording artist, there are a million or more that don't.  So there's your odds of becoming successful in the music business, defined as being able to take care of future generations financially:  about a million to one.

If you're considering such a career, you should also know that hard work alone doesn't do it.  You have to surround yourself with music professionals you can trust, from backing musicians or songwriters to managers, publicists, talent agents and promoters.  Most of the time, artists hire inexperienced, dishonest, or greedy people who end up ruining their career instead of helping to advance it.

Yep, the road to fame is fraught with obstacles and booby traps.  But below, we feature some of the more prominent stars who began their career as backing vocalists for other famous singers.  Often, these are the breaks needed to make it on their own.  Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin, for example, can choose anyone they want to sing vocals for their songs--when they choose you, that says a lot!


Mary J. Blige
Blige is of course The #37 Female Artist of the Rock Era*, but before that, she sang backing vocals for Father MC on "I'll Do 4 (sic) U (sic)" (#20 in 1991).
Mariah Carey
In the recently revealed The Top 100 Female Artists of the Rock Era*, Carey was #1*, but before her "overnight sensation" (and she's probably one of the closest stars ever to that distinction), she sang backing vocals for Brenda K. Starr.



Cher is yet another of Rock's Famous Females to begin her career as a backing vocalist.  The voice of The #22 Female Artist of the Rock Era* is included on some famous songs, too; among them, "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling" by the Righteous Brothers and "Be My Baby" by the Ronettes.


Sheryl Crow
The #35 Female Artist of the Rock Era* also began her career as a backing vocalist, singing for Michael Jackson on his "Bad" tour of 1989.


Whitney Houston
The amazing #3 Female Artist of the Rock Era* began her professional career at the tender age of 14 singing backing vocals for the Michael Zager Band.  She also sang background vocals for Chaka Khan on "I'm Every Woman" and on Aretha Franklin's Gospel tour.


John Legend
Before becoming a successful recording artist, Legend sang backing vocals for Kanye West, Jay-Z, and most famously on "You Don't Know My Name" by Alicia Keys.
Melissa Manchester
Manchester, The #92 Female Artist of the Rock Era*, began her career as a member of Bette Midler's "Harlettes" from 1971-72.

Richard Marx
Prior to becoming one of The Top Artists Out of the Gate*, and setting a record for being the first solo artist to reach the Top Five with each of his first seven releases, Richard was a backing vocalist for Lionel Richie.  Marx sang on the hits "You Are", "All Night Long (All Night)" and "Running with the Night".  He also sang backing vocals for Madonna, Whitney Houston and Luther Vandross.



Bruno Mars

Bruno is one of the world's hottest recording artists today, but he too got his start as a backing vocalist for B.o.B.


Luther Vandross
The great Luther Vandross was a hard worker to earn his fame, singing backing vocals for Stevie Wonder (notably on "Part-Time Lover"), Barbra Streisand & Donna Summer ("No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)", Diana Ross ( So Close"), Roberta Flack, Carly Simon ("De Bat (Fly in Me Face)"), Bette Midler (Thighs and Whispers album), David Bowie (Young Americans album), Ben E. King, Chaka Khan, Sister Sledge ("We Are Family"), and the Average White Band.