21st Post: V & W – Last Names

1950 and 1960 ARTIST LIST (V & W)

I will complete the 1950 & 1960s artists listing with the last names ending with “V” & and “W.”

Included here are: Martha and the Vandellas, The Ventures, Jerry Wallace, Gene Watson, The Who, Billy Williams, Jackie Wilson, Nancy Wilson, Bill Withers, Stevie Wonder and Betty Wright and Charles Wright:

Martha and the Vandellas
Photo credit: Doo Wop Heaven –
December 31, 1972

Vandellas, Martha & The. 1957-1972

Formed in 1957 by friends Annette Beard, Rosalind Ashford, and Gloria Williams. The group eventually included Martha Reeves, who moved up in ranks as lead vocalist of the group after Williams’ departure in 1962. The group signed with and eventually recorded all of their singles for Motown’s Gordy imprint.

The group’s string of hits included “Come and Get These Memories” (https://youtu.be/BJS_Oey8PqU) (RQ3), “Heat Wave” (https://youtu.be/5k0GDQrK2jo) (RQ 10), “Quicksand” (https://youtu.be/v7ba69F13E0) (RQ 6), “Nowhere to Run” (https://youtu.be/RQRIOKvR2WM) (RQ 9), “Jimmy Mack” (https://youtu.be/Gi8EdYM0t3k) (RQ 8), “Bless You” (https://youtu.be/RjiEW_RQKc4) (RQ 10) and “Dancing in the Street” (https://youtu.be/CdvITn5cAVc) (RQ 9). The latter song is becoming their signature single.

During their nine-year run on the charts from 1963 to 1972, Martha and the Vandellas charted over twenty-six hits and recorded in the styles of doo-wop, R&B, pop, blues, rock and roll and soul. Ten Vandellas songs reached the top ten of the Billboard R&B singles chart including two R&B number ones, and six Top Ten Pop Hits on the Billboard Hot 100. Selected members of the group were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995.

The Ventures
Photo credit: The Best Classic Bands

The Ventures. 1958-Present

The Ventures were formed in Tacoma, Washington in 1958. The group members were: Don Wilson (rhythm guitar), Bob Bogle (bass), Nokie Edwards (lead guitar) and Mel Taylor (drums). The group helped popularize the electric guitar in the U. S, in the 1960s. They produced thirty-eight albums beginning in 1960. Overall they charted 14 songs on the Billboard Hot 100. Their record “Walk Don’t Run” (https://youtu.be/owq7hgzna3E) (RQ 6) is considered the best all time instrumental (recognized by the Grammy Hall of Fame). Their use of “fuzz and flanging” guitar techniques was a first. With over 100M records sold, they are considered the best all time instrumental band. The were strong in the U.S. marketplace through 1970, then fell off with only continuing to be popular in Japan. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll HOF in 2008.

Jerry Wallace
Photo credit: peoplepill.com

Jerry Wallace (December 15, 1928 – May 5, 2008) was an American country and popsinger. Between 1958 and 1964, Wallace charted nine hits on the Billboard Hot 100, including the No. 8 “Primrose Lane” that was later used as the theme song for the television series The Smith Family. He made his debut on the country music charts in 1965, entering it thirty-five times between then and 1980. In that timespan, Wallace charted within the country Top Ten four times. His only number one song was “If You Leave Me Tonight I’ll Cry” (https://youtu.be/Znwb8Gu-MlA) (RQ 10), a song which gained popularity after it was used in an episode of the 1970s TV series Night Gallery. Jerry Wallace’s long time Manager was Ron Blackwood.

Gene Watson
Photo credit: biography

Gary Gene Watson (born October 11, 1943) is an American country music singer. He is most famous for his 1975 hit “Love in the Hot Afternoon,” his 1981 #1 hit “Fourteen Carat Mind,” and his signature 1979 song “Farewell Party.” Watson’s long career has included five number one hits, 21 top tens, and 48 charted singles including “The Old Man and His Horn” (https://youtu.be/5LDyz_9ERJY) (RQ 10). His self-titled Gene Watson album was released in 1969 through Wide World Records.

The Who
Photo credit; Getty Images – July 1969

Who, The. 1964-Present

The Who was formed in London in 1964. The group members were: Roger Daltrey (lead singer), Pete Townshend (singer, guitarist), John Entwistle (bass) and Keith Moon (drums). They were considered one of the most influential bands in the 20th century selling more than 100M records. They were unique displaying pop art (including auto-destructive) and mod movements such as destroying guitars and drums while performing on stage. Their first successful single was “I Can’t Explain” (https://youtu.be/UHedUYM8yus) (RQ 9) in January 1965. It reached the Top10 in the UK. This tune was followed up by another three singles: “My Generation” (https://youtu.be/qN5zw04WxCc) (RQ 8), “Substitute” (https://youtu.be/eswQl-hcvU0) (RQ 7) and “Happy Jack” (https://youtu.be/52cQeFBU2Kw) (RQ 10+). In 1967, while performing at the Monterey Pop Festival, the released a Top10 hit: “I Can See for Miles” (https://youtu.be/kb5mRBMZbYo) (RQ 10+). As a part of 1969’s rock opera Tommy, they recorded another top hit: “Pinball Wizard” (https://youtu.be/4AKbUm8GrbM) (RQ 10+). In 1971, Townshend, feeling pressure to create another hit, came up with: “Won’t Get Fooled Again” (https://youtu.be/SHhrZgojY1Q) (RQ 10). Afterward, Townshend became weary of touring so the group split up in 1983. In the late eighties and nineties the group occasionally got together but in 2002, Entwistle passed on which further put on damper on late stage career performing. They are members of the Rock and Roll and Grammy HOFs. Plus, overall their albums are considered to be the Top500 of all time by Rolling Stone magazine.

Billy Williams
Photo credit: vintagemusic.fm

Wilfred “Billy” Williams (December 28, 1910 – October 12, 1972) was an American singer. He had a successful cover recording of Fats Waller’s “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter” (https://youtu.be/uPE3uaPMkUE) (RQ 10)in 1957. The record sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. His trademark hook for his songs was to shout “Oh, Yeah” at the end of lyrics.

Jackie Wilson
Photo credit: Broadway World
July 18, 2018

Wilson, Jackie. 1955-75

Jackie Wilson is grom Detroit. R&B genre. Known as the “black Elvis.” He produced 50 charted singles, 16 Top10s and 2 Grammys. He is a Rock & Roll HOF member. First hit was “Danny Boy” (https://youtu.be/sS9xhiudphU) (RQ 9) while with Dominos (for three years). In 1957, he had two hits: “Stardust” (https://youtu.be/YSR31a4SZEs) (RQ 10+) and “Deep Purple.” Had six solo hits with top being: “Lonely Teardrops” (https://youtu.be/2nEfuE8Pw4U) (RQ 8). This was a No1 R&B gold and sold >1M copies. He was in one movie called Go Johnny Go where he sang “You Better Know It” (https://youtu.be/9EAmj5Y3Y3o) (RQ 9).