A true superstar, Dolly has made her mark on records, “Here You Come Again,” Billy Vera’s “I Really Got The Feeling,” as a songwriter, “I Will Always Love You,” “Jolene,” movies, Steel Magnolias, 9 to 5 and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. She’s won nine Grammys (47 nominations), two Academy Award nominations and is one of only seven female artists to win the Country Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year Award.
Best known as the muse for songwriters Burt Bacharach and Hal David, the five time Grammy winner has charted 56 times, beginning with the pair’s “Don’t Make Me Over” and including such classics as “Walk On By,” “Alfie” and “I Say A Little Prayer.”
The elder sister of R&B star Little Willie John was the first female artist signed to Berry Gordy Jr.’s Motown Records. She spent several years as the “den mother” of Ray Charles’s back-up group, the Raelettes. On Stax Records, she hit the charts with “Your Good Think Is About To End” and “You’re Taking Up Another Man’s Place” and appeared at the Apollo Theatre with Billy Vera & Judy Clay. She was also featured in the 2013 documentary, Twenty Feet From Stardom.
Joey Dee & the Starlighters turned the Peppermint Lounge into New York’s major night club in 1960, kicking off the Twist phenomenon, with hit records like “Peppermint Twist,” “Shout,” “What Kind Of Love Is This” and “Hot Pastrami With Mashed Potatoes.” He starred in the movies, Hey, Let’s Twist and Two Tickets to Paris.
One half of the team Leiber & Stoller, Mike is co-writer of dozens of classic songs (26 for Elvis alone!), including “Hound Dog,” “Kansas City,” “Stand By Me,” “Charlie Brown,” “Yakity Yak,” “On Broadway,” “Jailhouse Rock,” “Ruby Baby” and “Is That All There Is.” The duo’s productions include the Drifters’ “Save The Last Dance For Me,” “There Goes My Baby” and “Up On The Roof” and “Spanish Harlem” for Ben E. King.
Co-leader with trumpeter Art Farmer, the legendary tenor saxophonist/arranger/songwriter has penned such jazz standards as “Killer Joe,” “Whisper Not,” “Blues March,” “Stablemates” and “I Remember Clifford,” plus numerous film and television soundtracks.
Founding member of Patti LaBelle & the Bluebelles, the group best known for “Down The Aisle,” “Danny Boy,” “Groovy Kind of Love” and “Over The Rainbow” was one 60s girl group that no one wanted to follow, so overwhelming was their performance. The group evolved into LaBelle, charting with “Lady Marmalade,” and set the disco world on fire with their outrageous visual style.
One of the finest songwriters to come out of the Brill Building era, the brother of actor Jon Voight and uncle to Angelina Jolie is the writer of “Angel of the Morning” “I Can’t Let Go” and “Wild Thing,” among others, including, with Billy Vera, “Make Me Belong To You” and “Storybook Children.
He’s been called “the first black action hero” for his role as John Shaft in 1971’s Shaft and its sequels, Shaft’s Big Score and Shaft in Africa. On television, he’s appeared in the original Roots miniseries in 1977, Beverly Hills, 90210 and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and many more.
Rupe founded Specialty Records in 1945, going on to discover and record Little Richard, Sam Cooke, Lloyd Price, Larry Williams, Percy Mayfield and Don & Dewey. His Venice Music published songs covered by rockers Elvis Presley, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Buddy Holly, the Everly Brothers as well as pop stars Pat Boone and Donnie & Marie Osmond. He celebrates his 100th birthday in 2017.
L. RUSSELL BROWN
Brown’s songs, including “Sock It To Me Baby,” “C’mon Marianne,” “Knock Three Times” and “Tie A Yellow Ribbon ‘Round The Ole Oak Tree” have sold many millions of copies for artists like the Four Seasons, Mitch Ryder and Tony Orlando & Dawn.
As a director, Binder made music history when he had white singer Petula Clark touch Harry Belefonte’s hand while singing a duet. He made further history when he brought back the career of Elvis Presley with the singer’s 1968 comeback special. The TAMI SHOW, featuring James Brown, the Rolling Stones, the Beach Boys and the Supremes has been called the greatest rock’n’roll film of all time.
The late Tim Hauser was the founder of the jazz vocal group the Manhattan Transfer, winning Grammy Awards for their recordings of “Birdland” and “The Boy From New York City.” The group picked up twelve Grammy nominations for their album Vocalese, second only to Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Our film was Tim’s final performance.
Holding the distinction as the only person to ever head three major record labels Warner Bros, Elektra and Capitol, Smith started in Boston as a pioneering 1950s rock’n’roll disc jockey, appearing the movie Jamboree. His book interviews with rock stars, Off the Record, is a classic in its genre.