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The Kings and Queens of Music (Who Deserves the Title?)
The Kings of Rock and Roll
· Fats Domino
· Alan Freed
· Bill Haley
· Elvis Presley
The Kings of Rock and Roll is a group of great similarities. You have Fats Domino who started the early rock and roll craze. He was a rhythm and blues artist. Alan Freed who loved the new rock and roll music and helped to promote the sound on his radio stations. He used the African American artists with their songs rather than having a Caucasian artist do a cover version of the song. There was Bill Haley who had the first band of rock and rollers with the Comets, and then there was Elvis Presley who made rhythm and blues acceptable for the Caucasian audiences. All of these men were pioneers of a new kind of music that had a beat and emotion not heard before.
Fats Domino had more hits than any other artist except for Elvis Presley. He had songs like “Blueberry Hill”, “I’m Walkin”, “I Want to Walk You Home”, etc. He released five gold records before 1955. He was an influence on John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Paul wrote the song “Lady Madonna” in the style of a Fats Domino song and John Lennon recorded “Ain’t That a Shame” in 1975 as a tribute to Fats.
Alan Freed was the first disc jockey and promoter to start the rock and roll craze. He polarized white and black audiences and it was he that came up with the phrase Rock and Roll. If Alan Freed hadn’t promoted the rock and roll sound, it might have taken many years for it to surface.
Bill Haley and his Comets were the first Rock and Roll band. In the early 1950’s he and the band produced nine singles in the Top 20. The song they are most known for is “Rock Around The Clock”. They also had hits with “Shake Rattle and Roll”, and “See You Later Alligator”. He was an influence on the groups The Stray Cats, The Beatles, and The Dave Clark Five.
Last, but not least, there is Elvis Presley. He came on the music scene in 1954. He took America by storm after he appeared on the Ed Sullivan show. He brought Rock and Roll into the mainstream and had scores of hits such as “Hound Dog”, “Don’t Be Cruel”, “Heartbreak Hotel” and so many other wonderful songs. He influenced a great many artists such as Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Rick Nelson, Tom Jones, Queen, and Neil Diamond. In fact the list goes on and on for those influenced by Elvis. He had a style and he made the audience he influenced believed that they too could become famous just as he did.
All of the above mentioned Kings are deserving, but it should come down to only one King the title should go to Elvis Presley. Elvis produced not only a substantial number of hits; he influenced the most people to carry the torch of Rock and Roll into the future.
The Queen of Rock and Roll
This list isn’t as large as it was for the King of Rock and Roll. There are only two names that make this list and they are:
· Janis Joplin
· Tina Turner
Janis Joplin entered the music scene in the late 1960’s. She was known for her distinctive singing style and her stage performances were electrifying according to the fans that had seen her. She was known for songs such as “Me and Bobbie McGee”, “Piece of My Heart”, and “Mercedes Benz”. Janis life ended way too soon due to a drug overdose, but she still influences artists today such as Pink, Stevie Nicks, Joss Stone, Cheryl Crow, and the group Heart.
Tina Turner had her first hit with “A Fool In Love” with her husband Ike Turner. Later she found success on her own with songs such as “What’s Love Got to Do with It?” and “Private Dancer”. Tina could work the stage in her high heels and very energized with her dance moves to keep the audience entertained. She has influenced Annie Lennox, Beyonce, Janet Jackson, and Mariah Carey to name just a few.
The title of Queen in this case should go to Tina Turner. She has had over a century in the entertainment business, she has won numerous awards, and she has three songs in the Grammy Hall of Fame, and has won eight Grammy awards. She has also managed to stay in the music business for a long period of time and has remained successful. It is for these reason Tina deserves the title of Queen.
The King of Soul
There are only two contenders for this title and they are:
· James Brown
· Sam Cooke
James Brown was not only bestowed the title King of Soul he was also given the titles of Godfather of Soul, The Hardest Working Man in America, and Soul Brother No. 1. These titles were well deserved because James had been thrilling audiences since the 1950’s and had such hits as “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag”, “I Got You”, and “It’s A Man’s,Man’s, Man's World” and so many more too numerous to list. James influenced Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Michael Jackson, and Prince.
Sam Cooke entered the music business in 1957 he was a songwriter, performer, and entrepreneur. He had hits with songs such as “Chain Gang”, “Cupid”, and “Twistin the Night Away”. His life ended way too soon when he was shot and killed at a motel. Sam Cooke influenced Rod Stewart, Michael Jackson, Al Green and Otis Redding.
Who should get the honor of King of Soul? The honor should go to James Brown. Sam may have gotten the title had his life been a little longer, but it is hard to touch James with his many hits, and his constant performances up to his death in 2006. Due to the great many artists he influenced and the number of hits he had during his lifetime he is deserving of the title King of Soul.
The Queen of Soul
Three ladies were labeled under this category.
· Nina Simone
· Aretha Franklin
Nina Simone was a singer, and pianist she worked in many styles of music from classical, jazz, blues, folk, R&B, gospel and pop. She is known for her songs such as “I Loves You Porgy”, “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood”, and “Feeling Good”. Nina influenced such artists as Chaka Khan, Jill Scott, and Mary J. Blige.
Aretha Franklin is next on the list. She began to find success in her career in the year of 1967. She is known for a long list of hits that includes “You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman”, “Chain of Fools”, and “Think”. Aretha has influenced such people as Natalie Cole, Patti LaBelle, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey and on and on and on.
Adele is a British singer who had her first big hit with the song “Rolling in the Deep” in 2006. It came from her album 21 which earned her six Grammy awards, she is mentioned in the Guinness World Book of Records for being the first artist to in the UK to sell more than 3 million copies of an album in a year. The Album 21 is the longest running album by a solo artist in the UK and US albums chart. Adele is too young at this time to have an artist that is influenced by her, but in years to come I am sure there will be many names on that list.
Who should be titled Queen of Soul? Whenever the title comes up the first name to come to mind is Aretha Franklin. Nina and Adele are super talented too, but Aretha has that career that has never declined and hits that have justified her royal title. Nina had problems in her later years that detracted from her career, and Adele is just getting started, so for now Aretha has the throne.
The titles come from promoters, the press, or the fans themselves. It is a compliment to show just how much they stand out from the pack of their fellow performers, and it is a nickname that will ensure they will not be forgotten. God Save the Kings and God Save the Queens they are performers whose likes will never be seen again.