After three years of planning, designing and programming, Soul Music Legends is ready to go live. What is Soul Music Legends? This project is a web database of historical and educational information about performers who produced soul music between 1950 and 2000. The late 1950’s was a transformative period in the development of the music industry. Radio was the primary media of the time, baby boomers were starting to go into their teenage phase in large numbers and television was starting to blossom.
Because of segregation, there was a definitive divide between Black and White entertainment with very little crossover. Early in the decade there were many groups and bands performing in music halls and bars to hone their skills to get to the big time. By the 1955, more and more homes had TV sets and programs were starting to evolve. Though Black families owned television sets, very rarely did Blacks appear on TV programs at that time.
The growth in the popularity of the “Ed Sullivan Show” changed all that. As an entertainment show, Ed Sullivan was the first to open the door to Black entertainers. For those who remember, the first time Diana Ross, Little Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Smokie Robinson, Glaydis Knight, and little Michael Jackson and the Jackson Five appeared, we all dropped what we were doing and gathered in front of the TV, awed not only by the fact that “Colored people” were on TV but that they were good too! That was the unofficial start of the “Soul Music” era as we came to know it.
Record presses went into overtime and Black Americans bought albums and single records by the millions. Many of the old time performers such as James Brown, the Platters, Little Richard, Ray Charles and so many more rose so national prominence. My project, Soul Music Legends, catalogs the stories of the most famous of them at that time in music history.
The project was initially started to recognize famous musicians and entertainers who have died since that time and they are remembered in the Soul Music Legend Memorial site. Many of those performers are detailed in the Soul Music Legends site. As the project grows, it will feature both memorialize entertainers and those who are still living.
This project categorizes Soul Music as Music performed by African American Artist or performers who created music with African Americans as the primary audience. Music types featured in this project are rhythm & blues, blues, rock, jazz, classical jazz, hip hop, pop, funk and gospel. In addition to information, I have set up affiliate sales pages with Amazon.com to offer music digital downloads and CD purchases of the artist featured in the site. If all goes well, I plan to add iTunes products to the site.
I encourage you to follow us as we grow the project. Please share your observations and comments on the project and any of the artists featured because I would like to know what you think. My marketing plan features a Legends Update Newsletter that informs those who are interest about new Legends that have been added and news and information as it comes in. You can join through the Member Sign Up page.