Iconic singer, songwriter, activist, and musician who was an original founding member of one of the most recognizable and successful bands of all time, The Beatles. John Lennon was born in Liverpool, England where his mother introduced him to music at a young age. By 15, he was fully invested in music and created a skiffle band (jazz, blues, and folk blend) called The Quarrymen. After meeting fellow musician Paul McCartney, the pair was on a fast track to starting a rock band. The Beatles officially formed in 1960 and took the world by storm. The Beatles as a band stopped playing together in 1970 but Lennon embarked on a solo career as well as other collaboration. Lennon was also very involved in rallies and protests for peace and other social issues. Sadly, John Lennon was fatally shot in December 1980. His ashes were spread in New York’s Central Park and later the Strawberry Fields memorial was constructed.
Ivory Joe Hunter: 10/10/1914
A highly talented and well-known piano player, songwriter, and singer. His talents spread over a wide array of genres including Boogie-woogie, R&B, blues and even country music. He was so musically diverse that he “was honored at both the Monterey Jazz Festival and the Grand Ole Opry.” Interestingly, Ivory Joe was not a catchy nickname or stage name but his actual given name. He learned to love and play music from his family who were all involved in music in some way. He was always smiling because he loved what he did and was even known as “The Happiest Man Alive” and “The Baron of The Boogie.”
Napoleon “Nappy Brown” Culp: 10/12/1929
Acclaimed vocalist and songwriter who was a major player in the rhythm and blues scene in the 1950’s. With his powerful and highly distinguishable voice that drove such hits as “Don’t Be Angry” and “The Right Time,” he was a major influence on others in the genre, as well as blues and pop musicians. His booming voice and unique style also had a hand in the pioneering of soul music. The 1980’s saw Nappy Brown make a successful comeback after years out of the spotlight, this time as a full-fledged bluesman with his vocals as powerful as ever. His final album, 2007’s Long Time Coming, received universal acclaim and brought Brown a number of nominations from the Blues Music Awards. [Photograph by Charles Paul Harris]