Tales from the Atomic Age

Sopranos in the Sky

The human voice is the most difficult musical instrument to master. I'm not the first person who's said this, nor will I be the last. Coloratura singing is particularly tricky and not easily taught, a skill many young women have sought to excel in only to discover how challenging it really is. The art of wordless soprano singing (or high alto or even contralto) is not unheard-of among men, but it's primarily the domain of the female vocalist. Dating back 250 or more... MORE ››

Top 100 Lists

The Emotions

Chicago group The Emotions made their first record in 1969...and landed on the list of the Top 100 Girl Groups of the '50s and '60s! Check out the other 99... MORE ››

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Mary Wells

One evening in 1960, Berry Gordy was at a Detroit nightclub where a couple of the acts on his recently-formed record label were performing. A 17-year-old girl boldly came up and told him she had written a song. He told her to sing it for him, and she did, quite well in fact, so he then told her to stop by his offices on West Grand Boulevard the next day. When she arrived with her mother at the house that had been converted into a recording studio and would later be christened "Hitsville U.S.A.," she explained that the song was written with singer Jackie Wilson in mind. Why Wilson? Well, she was certain that Gordy worked with the famous singer (but didn't realize their affiliation had ended more than a year earlier). No problem, though; Gordy had already ... MORE ››

Vinyl Attack Love

7 and 7 Is

Arthur Lee walked a fine line between creativity and delusion; you could say he took each to excess, though he may not have consciously chosen the latter. As a teenager in the 1960s, he felt he was going to die very young; this feeling (with no medical issues to back up the hunch) affected his career, as he urgently pushed forward to create something musically... MORE ››