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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 ...


Ulrich Adelt

singer, guitarist, and pianist, was born John Watson in Houston, Texas. His father taught him to play piano. At age eleven he inherited his first guitar from his grandfather, a preacher, who told him not to use it for playing blues. However, as Watson later admitted, that was the first thing he played. His early influences were T-Bone Walker and Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown. As a teenager he made a name for himself in the Houston blues scene, playing with blues guitarists Albert Collins and Johnny Copeland and winning talent contests hosted by singer Johnny Otis. Watson left for Los Angeles when he was fifteen years old.

In the 1950s Watson became one of the most exciting blues guitarists on the West Coast. He played piano and sang on the saxophonist Chuck Higgins's “Motorhead Baby” in 1952 and signed his first record contract as Young John ...