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Charles L. Hughes

musician and member of the Isley Brothers, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, one of six brothers in a musical family: father Kelly sang professionally and mother Sallye was a church pianist. Both parents often accompanied four of their sons (Vernon, Rudolph, O'Kelly, and Ronald, then barely a teenager), as they formed a musical group in the early 1950s. Called the Isley Brothers, the group would lead Ronald and his siblings on an enormously successful, five-decade-long journey through African American music.

Initially, the Isley Brothers sang gospel, with Vernon Isley handling the duties of lead vocalist. In 1955 Vernon died in a bicycling accident, and Ronald—who possessed a bright, clear tenor—became the group's lead singer from that day forward. In 1957 the Isleys recorded a string of doo-wop singles, none of which achieved much success. Signed to RCA Records in 1960 they recorded Shout a ...

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Jack Simpson

pop musician, singer, and songwriter, was born Lionel Brockman Richie Jr. in Tuskegee, Alabama, to Alberta Riche (née Foster), a school teacher, and Lionel Brockman Richie, a career military officer. Richie's grandmother taught him piano at a young age. As a child, he also played the clarinet and he learned to play the saxophone as a teenager. He later recalled hearing a variety of music as a child: his grandmother played classical music, his parents enjoyed big-band, blues, and country music.

In 1965 Richie's father took a civilian job in Joliet, Illinois, and the family relocated. After attending high school in Joliet, Richie returned to Tuskegee to-attend college at the Tuskegee Institute. At Tuskegee, he helped form a student dance band, the Commodores. The original line-up included the guitarist Thomas McClary, the trumpeter William King, the keyboardist Milan Williams and Richie on saxophone ...

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David Brackett

(b Tuskegee, AL, June 20, 1949). American soul singer and songwriter. He achieved success as the lead singer of the funk sextet the Commodores before becoming the most popular African American balladeer of the late 1970s and 80s. While the Commodores had a few minor hits with songs in their heavy funk style (e.g. Slippery When Wet, 1975), the band's popularity soared with Richie's ballads, Easy (1977), Three Times a Lady (1978), Sail On and Still (both 1979). These fused aspects of country music instrumentation and melody with rhythm and blues phrasing and grooves. Richie's collaborations with Kenny Rogers (Lady, 1980) and Diana Ross (Endless Love, 1981) signalled the end of his association with the Commodores. His solo career continued with unabated success; the albums Lionel Richie (1982) and Can t ...