BOBBY ROBINSON

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Bobby Robinson (April 16, 1917 – January 7, 2011)[1] was an African-American independent record producer and songwriter in New York, most active from the 1950s through the mid 1980s. He produced hits by Wilbert Harrison, The Shirelles, Dave “Baby” Cortez, Elmore James, Lee Dorsey, Gladys Knight & The Pips, King Curtis, Spoonie Gee, Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, Doug E. Fresh, and Kool Moe Dee. He founded or co-founded Red Robin Records, Whirlin’ Disc Records, Fury Records, Fire Records and Enjoy Records.

Born in Union, South Carolina,[1] Robinson served in the US Army in World War II.[3] After the war, Robinson moved to New York City and opened “Bobby’s Record Shop” (later “Bobby’s Happy House”) in 1946.[4] His was the first black-owned business on Harlem‘s famed 125th Street. Located on the corner of 125th St. and Frederick Douglass Boulevard (formerly, “8th Avenue”), his shop remained open until January 21, 2008, forced to close only because its landlord planned to raze the building for new construction. Robinson’s store outlasted large chain store competitors, including HMV and the Wiz.

The store became a focal point for the independent record producers establishing themselves in New York, and Robinson spent some time assisting Ahmet Ertegun at Atlantic Records.[4] He produced his first recording, “Bobby’s Boogie” by saxophonist Morris Lane and his band, in 1951, but originally specialised in recording vocal groups including the Mello-Moods, the Rainbows, the Vocaleers and the Du-Droppers. However, he also recorded blues performers such as Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, and had his first major success with “Shake Baby Shake” by Champion Jack Dupree in 1953. The record was released on Red Robin Records, which Robinson had established the previous year, originally under the name Robin Records until forced to change the name after legal threats by another company.[2][5]

Having enjoyed healthy local sales with doo-wop and blues discs in the early to mid-1950s, he established several more record labels in the 1950s and ’60s, some in partnership with his brother, Danny Robinson. Among them were Whirlin’ Disc Records in 1956, Fury Records and Everlast Records in 1957, Fire Records in 1959, and Enjoy Records in 1962. He launched Fire and Fury as vehicles for rhythm and blues and rock and roll artists, most of which were produced by him in New York, but some were produced by others and acquired by him in various Southern cities.

Robinson produced numerous million-selling records by such notable performers as Wilbert Harrison, The Shirelles, Lee Dorsey, and Dave “Baby” Cortez. One of his earliest hits was Harrison’s “Kansas City“, over which he faced legal action brought by Herman Lubinsky of Savoy Records, who claimed he had Harrison under contract.[3] Robinson produced Gladys Knight & the Pips‘ first hit, “Every Beat of My Heart” (after he signed them to Fury; the original version was recorded in Atlanta, issued locally on Hintom and leased to Vee Jay, who had the bigger hit). Robinson produced several of Elmore James‘ greatest records as well as recordings by other leading blues musicians including Lightnin’ Hopkins, Arthur Crudup, and Buster Brown.[2] King Curtis‘s “Soul Twist” was the first release of his Enjoy label in 1962, and over twenty years later, he released the highly successful hit, “I’m The Packman (Eat Everything I Can)” by The Packman, on the same label. The rights to Robinson’s recordings on Fire and Fury were sold to Bell Records in 1965.[3]

Compilation album producer Diana Reid Haig wrote:[6]

“The common thread that connected all of Robinson’s various record labels was his uncanny ability to bring out the best in his artists. While most producers at that time attempted to soften the edges of rhythm & blues singers in hopes of appealing to the pop market, Robinson delighted in capturing raw-edged artists like Elmore James and Buster Brown just as they were.”

In the 1970s, Robinson produced some of the first hip-hop music records for his “Enjoy” label and had considerable influence and success in that genre through the mid-1980s. He achieved another success in 1979, when he recorded Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five’s first record, “Superrappin'”, an innovative record which was very influential in hip-hop’s early years. A local hit among New York area hip-hop fans, the music industry, however, was not ready for the new sound, and the record failed to hit nationwide.

Robinson then went to commercial success with other old school hip hop artists, including Pumpkin and Friends, the Funky Four Plus One More, Spoonie Gee (Robinson’s nephew), and Kool Moe Dee with the Treacherous Three.

Robinson chalked up yet another success when he produced Doug E. Fresh‘s “Just Having Fun (Do The Beatbox)”, which introduced beatboxing to the record-buying public.

Robinson died on January 7, 2011 at the age of 93, after a period of declining health

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Simon & Garfunkel

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Simon & Garfunkel

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Simon & Garfunkel
Background information
Origin Forest Hills, Queens, New York City, NY, USA
Genres Folk rock, pop
Years active *1957–1970
*1975
*1981–1983
*1993
*2003–2004
*2009–present
Labels Columbia
Website www.simonandgarfunkel.com

Simon & Garfunkel is an American singer-songwriter duo consisting of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel. They formed the group Tom & Jerry in 1957, and had their first taste of success with the minor hit "Hey, Schoolgirl". As Simon & Garfunkel, the duo rose to fame in 1965, backed by the hit single "The Sounds of Silence". Their music was featured in the landmark film The Graduate, propelling them further into the public consciousness.

They are well known for their close vocal harmonies and sometimes unstable relationship. Their last album, Bridge over Troubled Water, was delayed several times due to artistic disagreements. They were among the most popular recording artists of the 1960s; among their biggest hits, in addition to "The Sounds of Silence", were "I Am a Rock", "Homeward Bound", "A Hazy Shade of Winter", "Mrs. Robinson", "Bridge over Troubled Water", "The Boxer", "Cecilia", and "Scarborough Fair/Canticle". They have received several Grammys and are inductees of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Long Island Music Hall of Fame (2007). They have reunited on several occasions since their 1970 breakup, most famously for 1981’s The Concert in Central Park, which attracted about 500,000 people.

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[edit] History

[edit] Early history

Close friends through childhood, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel grew up in Forest Hills, Queens, New York, just blocks away from each other. They met in elementary school in 1953, when they both appeared in the school play Alice in Wonderland (Simon as the White Rabbit, Garfunkel as the Cheshire Cat). They were classmates at Parsons Junior High School and Forest Hills High School, and began performing together in their junior year as Tom and Jerry, with Simon as Jerry Landis (whose last name he borrowed from a girl he had been dating) and Garfunkel as Tom Graph (so called because he was fond of tracking ("graphing") hits on the pop charts). They began writing their own songs in 1955, and made their first professional recording, "Hey, Schoolgirl", for Sid Prosen of Big Records in 1957. Released on 45 rpm and 78 rpm vinyl records, with the flip-side song "Dancin’ Wild", the recording sold 100,000 copies, hitting #49 on the Billboard Magazine charts. Both Simon and Garfunkel have acknowledged the tremendous impact of The Everly Brothers on their style, and many of their early songs (including "Hey, Schoolgirl") bear the mark of this influence.

They later performed their hit on American Bandstand, right after Jerry Lee Lewis‘s "Great Balls of Fire".

Subsequent efforts in 1958 did not reach near their initial success, and after high school the duo went to separate colleges, with Simon enrolling at Queens College and Garfunkel at Columbia University. While enrolled in college, they both joined the same fraternity, Alpha Epsilon Pi.

In 1963, they found prominence as part of the Greenwich Village folk music scene. Simon, who had finished college but dropped out of Brooklyn Law School, had—like Garfunkel—developed an interest in the folk scene. Simon showed Garfunkel a few songs that he had written in the folk style: "Sparrow", "Bleecker Street", and "He Was My Brother"—which was later dedicated to Andrew Goodman, a friend of both Simon and Garfunkel and a classmate of Simon’s at Queens College, who was one of three civil rights workers murdered in Neshoba County, Mississippi, on June 21, 1964.

These three efforts were among five original songs by Simon included on their first album for Columbia Records, Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M., which initially flopped upon its release on October 19, 1964.

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THE BEATS

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