His long reaching influence began in 1949, when he and J.B. Blayton established the first black-owned radio station in the United States. As an emcee and promoter, he built enduring friendships with the early black royalty of the entertainment world, among them, Sammy Davis, Jr., Billie Holiday, Erroll Garner, Sarah Vaughan, Nat King Cole, Pearl Bailey, Dinah Washington, Nancy Wilson, and Ray Charles.
When he was hired by Berry Gordy to head up promotion at a fledgling record company called Motown, Gibson befriended a new crop of stars, including Stevie Wonder, The Supremes, and Smokey Robinson. Moving on to the Revelot label, and then to Stax, Gibson’s uncanny timing once again positioned him to further the careers of Otis Redding, Jackie Wilson, Isaac Hayes, The Staple Singers, Rufus Thomas, Carla Thomas and many others.
In addition to his involvement in the music scene, Gibson gave voice to the history as he lived it—covering the Civil Rights Movement, interviewing Malcolm X, and conducting a man-on-the-street report from Detroit as it burned following Dr. King’s assassination.
With the publication of his influential Black trade magazine called The Mello Yello, The Rapper established a forum for discussions and contributed to sweeping changes for African Americans in radio and the recording industry. But his most long-reaching achievement was his glittering “Family Affair”—an annual black music convention that provided a springboard for new talent. Each year, without fail, the heavy hitters of the music industry cleared their schedules to lend their talents to the Family Affair: Prince, Tina Turner, Nancy Wilson, Janet Jackson, James Brown, Whitney Houston, Eddie Murphy, Hammer, Toni Braxton, Sinbad, L.L. Cool J. And the list goes on like a “Who’s Who” of entertainment superstars.
After being honored by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, other accolades began to roll in from the United States Congress, the Smithsonian Institution, and countless other organizations. But The Rapper wasn’t finished yet. With decades of stories and music still alive in his soul, he returned to his roots—radio. Nearly fifty years after his beginnings at WERD, Jack The Rapper’s voice once again crackled across the airwaves in Las Vegas, Nevada, proclaiming three simple words: “I’m still here.”
Walker Smith writes in a unique blend of history, drama, and suspense, delivering the most unknown details of our history through the eyes of unforgettable characters. Her novels include: The Color Line, a Harlem Renaissance/World War I epic; Letters from Rome, a Sankofa journey from ancient Africa to Vietnam; and Bluestone Rondo, a racial Cain and Abel story set to modern jazz. Smith also collaborated with music industry giant Jack the Rapper Gibson on his biography Mello Yello.
On August 20th, 2016 11.7 million Canadians stood transfixed, watching the final concert of The Tragically Hip, and the rest of the world asked, “Who is this band?” New York Times Bestselling pop journalist Marc Shapiro answers that question in the first American book about this Canadian rock band that largely shunned the spotlight but has become the standard bearer of a resurgent sense of Canadian pride and patriotism.
What is Hip? The Life And Times Of The Tragically Hip delves deep beneath the surface of this rock and roll story to discover how a band that spent more than three decades in the rock and roll trenches selling millions of albums and opening for the likes of The Rolling Stones, The Who and Led Zeppelin’s Page & Plant, remained almost unknown outside their home country, even as they rose to the level of rock royalty in Canada.
What Is Hip: The Life And Times Of The Tragically Hip reveals:
• The behind the scenes story of how the band took over The Horseshoe Tavern and made it their own
• How a high up political personality was instrumental in landing the band their manager
• The day-to-day, often unforgiving, spirit-grinding days of life on the road in Canada
• The ins and outs of opening for three of the biggest groups in the history of rock and roll
The Tragically Hip are not cartoon rockers. They are real men who live by their creativity and their principles. Through extensive research and a couple of well-placed sources, author Marc Shapiro has put together a complete look at The Tragically Hip’s rise: from their humble Kingston, Ontario roots, to endless tours, to their internal struggles to keep their music fresh, to the fanatic loyalty they fostered in millions of Canadian fans. These fans shed more than a few tears when it was announced that singer Gord Downie had been diagnosed with brain cancer, and that The Hip were about to embark on what might be their final tour.
Marc Shapiro is the author of more than 75 books. His most recent releases include Trump This! The Life And Times Of Donald Trump and Hey Joe: The Unauthorized Biography Of A Rock Classic. When he is not working, which is rare, he can usually be found mowing the lawn, taking out the trash and walking the dog.
In Janceks Eternal Love, author George M. Cummins III presents a biography focusing on the life of Jancek (1854-1928) based on original Czech sources, with special attention to detailed analysis of the last four operas and biographical focus on the composers relationship with his muse, Kamila Stsslov. In 1916, Jancek was known only as a local ethnographer specializing in folk music, but he acquired international fame with the operas and chamber pieces he composed after the age of sixty-two until his death at seventy-four.
Cumminswith both a personal and scholarly knowledge of Czech language, history, and culturenarrates a personal biography that includes detailed, insightful descriptions of Janceks compositions.
Spain’s defeat leads directly to World War II. For the honor of Spain and self, Doc heads off to fight another war. Meanwhile, Pearl discovers the power of her voice and begins her own odyssey.
By 1946, the war is over and New York is sizzling with the sounds of bebop. Doc returns to find peace in the music, but everything changes when the band’s new singer walks into the club. Her voice is as deep and arresting as her dark eyes, and her name takes up residence in his mind. Pearl.
After a turbulent start, they ease into a healing love and claim Harlem as their small piece of America. But soon a new war is rumbling. As a deadly strain of heroin floods their streets, Doc is targeted by the House Un-American Activities Committee, and Pearl falls under the scrutiny of a stalker with a badge. Doc learns that everything is linked, and must revisit a chilling question he still carries from Spain: What constitutes an act of war? And what is he prepared to do about it?
It is 1918, and Serval Rivard is marching off to war. He isn’t after glory, just respect—despite the humiliating prospect of menial labor in a segregated army. But mounting casualties on the Western Front and a twist of fate result in his reassignment to French command. It is in France that Rivard and his fellow soldiers forever distinguish themselves as “The Harlem Hellfighters.”
After surviving the horrors of No Man’s Land, Rivard returns to his bride and a community on the rise—the literary brilliance of W.E.B. DuBois and Langston Hughes, the pride of Marcus Garvey’s Back to Africa Movement, and the glamour of the Cotton Club. But as heartbreaking reports pour into Harlem of black soldiers lynched in the uniforms of their country, it becomes clear that despite the community’s progress and the military accomplishments of the Hellfighters, America’s racial divide remains immutably in place. For Rivard and his family, the Great War has ended, but a new war has begun—the war of the American Color Line.