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Music Thru the Ages: Black History Month Edition

If you didn’t know, WUSC’s music library is incredibly packed with so many different artists and genres that it is easy to get lost. I am guilty of taking the easy way out and sticking to genres that I am familiar with. Black creators have had a lasting and irreplaceable mark on music today, from hip-hop to jazz, blues, and so much more. So, as Black History Month ends, I would like to highlight some Black artists who either you may know, or who are instantly recognizable. Welcome to DJ CeeJ’s Black History Month Guide to Awesome Music.

When I was fifteen, I decided to make a playlist based on music that started in the 50s and worked up to the 80s and 90s, so the first two artists I want to highlight are Bobby Day and Billie Holiday. “Rockin’ Robin” was written by Leon René under the pseudonym Jimmie Thomas and recorded by Bobby Day in 1958.

Billie Holiday’s “Blue Moon” was released in 1952, which is arguably the most popular version of the song. But in fact, the song was originally written by Connee Boswell and Al Bowlly in 1935. Later, the song was recorded again in 1949 by Billy Eckstine and Mel Tourmé.
The next musical duo I want to mention is Shirley and Lee. These two presumed love birds wrote and recorded the song “Let the Good Times Roll” in 1956. Shiley Goodman and Leonard Lee were never a couple, but in the limelight, they were “the Sweethearts of the Blues” thanks to the romantic songs they sang. 

How could I call myself a music lover if I didn’t mention Aretha Franklin? The Queen of Soul herself had many hit songs, but the one I want to highlight specifically is “I Say A Little Prayer” from her Aretha Now album that dropped in 1968. Franklin passed in 2009, but it is this author’s opinion that her soul will live on forever in her music. 

I’m not sure how your elementary education played out, but my music teacher was low-key obsessed with Stevie Wonder, and with good reason. He’s straight-up awesome. Wonder is indecisive when it comes to musical genres: his name can be found in jazz, funk, gospel, classical, Latin, and soul influences. 

Some more modern and unforgettable artists in the playlist below include: 

  • Joy Oladokun 
  • The War and Treaty 
  • Bob Marley
  • Ziggy Marley 
  • Beyoncé
  • Whitney Houston
  • Marvin Gaye

Image of Aretha Franklin courtesy of Ross Marino/Getty Images
Image of Stevie Wonder courtesy of Michael Ochs Archives/Stringer/Getty Images

CJ Rosenberger

Hi everyone! I'm CJ and I am a visual communications major with a creative writing minor. I am currently a part of the blog team so I am happy to answer any questions you may have about the blog or just WUSC in general!

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