1950 and 1960s MUSIC GROUPS (H’s)
This post highlights four musical artists or groups (with last names ending with H) from the 1950s and 1960s that, as a result of their accomplishments, further demonstrates why this era is the best ever in the history of music. Summaries are included here are for: Wilbert Harrison, Issac Hayes, Jimi Hendrix, Herman’s Hermits and The Hollies.
Wilbert Huntington Harrison (January 5, 1929 – October 26, 1994) was an American rhythm and blues singer, pianist, guitarist and harmonica player.
Born in Charlotte, North Carolina, Harrison had a Billboard #1 record in 1959 with the song “Kansas City” (https://youtu.be/HPoMi7Awm_o) (RQ 10). The song was written in 1952 and was one of the first credited collaborations by the team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. Harrison recorded “Kansas City” for the Harlem-based entrepreneur Bobby Robinson, who released it on his Fury record label.
At the height of the song’s success, Robinson was sued by Savoy Records who informed them that the release of the record in March 1959 violated a contract Harrison had with that label that was to expire in August 1959. The litigation, which lasted until September 1959, abruptly prevented Robinson from issuing follow-ups to “Kansas City” while Harrison was a star.
Meanwhile, Harrison continued to perform and record but it would be another ten years before he again cracked the Billboard Top 40 when he released the self-penned “Let’s Work Together (Part 1)” that went to #32 in early 1970 on the Billboard Hot 100. The 1970 hit version was released as a single on Sue Records (Sue 11) and was backed with “Let’s Work Together (Part 2)”. The song also was released in a 5 minute 19 second version on the Sue Records album SSLP-8801 Let’s Work Together. The song was originally released by Harrison in 1962 with different lyrics as “Let’s Stick Together” on Fury 1059 and Fury 1063.
“Let’s Work Together” was later a hit for Canned Heat, and, again as “Let’s Stick Together”, for Bryan Ferry. It was also recorded by country rock band the Kentucky Headhunters for the soundtrack to the movie Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man.
Hayes, Issac. 1942-2008
Was a singer and producer. His first famous song that he wrote with David Porter was: “Soul Man” (https://youtu.be/EVGiykCYHCE) (RQ 5). This song was recorded by Sam and Dave and was recognized as one of the most influential songs over a 50 year period by the Grammy Hall of Fame. He also produced two successful soul albums in the late 60s/early 70s: “Hot Buttered Soul and Black Moses.” Then, in 1971, he wrote “Theme from Shaft” (https://youtu.be/Q429AOpL_ds) (RQ 10) which won an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1972. He also won two Grammy awards. He also acted in two movies (Truck Turner and I’m Going to Get You Sucka). Then, for six years, he played Gandy on the TV series Rockford Files. Also, for nine years, he voiced the character Chef from the Comedy Series South Park. Overall, his songs generated over 12M performances.
Hendrix, Jimi. 1942-1970
His prominence in the music industry as a guitarist lasted only about four years. However, even so, he was regarded as the most influential guitarist in history and one of the most celebrated musicians of the 20th century. The Rock and Roll HOF described him as the greatest guitarist in the history of rock music. In 1966, within months, he earned three top 10 hits in the UK:
“Hey Joe” (https://youtu.be/rXwMrBb2x1Q) (RQ 8)
“Purple Haze” (https://youtu.be/WGoDaYjdfSg) (RQ 7)
“The Wind Cries Mary” (https://youtu.be/K2B2nT6pfSE) (RQ 8)
His album “Electric Ladyland” (https://youtu.be/dpG1EJEUI5I) (RQ 4) reached a No1 rating in the U.S. in 1968. At the time, he was the world’s highest paid performer and was the headliner at the Woodstock festival in 1969. He ended up dying from barbiturate-related asphyxia at the age of only 27. He was inducted into the Rock & Roll HOF in 1992.
Herman’s Hermits. 1964-
Group was formed in 1964 in Manchester, England. They recorded three No1 songs:
“I’m Into Something Good” (https://youtu.be/DSAob1TnAvc) (RQ 9)
“Mrs. Brown You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter” (https://youtu.be/LyIlFsQgRvY) (RQ 10). Two Grammy nominations.
“I’m Henry the Eighth I Am” (https://youtu.be/GisCRxREDkY) (RQ 6)
Group members were: Peter Noone (lead singer used a exaggerated Mancunian accent), Derek Lekenby, Keith Hopwood, Karl Green and Barry Whitwam. They also appeared in four movies: (When the Boys Meet the Girls, Hold On!, Mrs. Brown You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter and Pop Gear).
Hollies, The. 1962-
Originated in Salford, England in 1962. They pioneered the technique of using three-part harmony. Formed by Graham Nash and Allan Clarke. Nash left the group in 1968 to form Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Produced over 60 singles and 26 albums over five decades. Eleven of these singles reached the top of the charts:
“Just One Look” (https://youtu.be/rCJc-J7edks). (RQ 9)
“Look Through Any Window” (https://youtu.be/F1E-9ZwoKnA) (RQ 8)
“I Can’t Let Go” (https://youtu.be/nN8KraEvsnc). (RQ 10)
“Stop Stop Stop” (https://youtu.be/to2cze58R5E). (RQ 9)
“On a Carousel” (https://youtu.be/f-EKGsrq39E). (RQ 9)
“Carrie Anne” (https://youtu.be/sgA4-bLcoN8) (RQ 7)
“Jennifer Eccles” (https://youtu.be/UoOZsOcfqEQ). (RQ 6)
“He Ain’t Heavy He’s My Brother” (https://youtu.be/Jl5vi9ir49g). (RQ 10)
“Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress” (https://youtu.be/g8XiNKsKyVk) (RQ 9)
“The Air That I Breathe” (https://youtu.be/7duPNQCp-w4) (RQ 8)
They were inducted in the HOF in 2010. The group, along with the Rolling Stones, are one of the few groups that have not disbanded and continue to record and perform.