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BLACK MUSIC MONTH: WE'LL TAKE A DOZEN (UPDATE)

Black Music Month should be every month. In that spirit, and to celebrate our R&B-themed special issue—which will be rocketing to doorsteps in mere days—we've put together no fewer than 12 playlists delving into the multifaceted history of this most pervasive of popular-music forms. You could enjoy one per month until the next official BMM, or binge 'em. We don't care. But let's begin at the beginning. Here are the first four.

Our story takes off with the jump blues and gospel of the postwar era. As the narrative these playlists are meant to accompany will shortly attest, Louis Jordan provided much of the template for the R&B/rock 'n' roll that followed, profoundly influencing such major figures as Chuck Berry, Little Richard and James Brown. The sanctified, axe-wielding badass Sister Rosetta Tharpe, meanwhile, blazed a trail that leads all the way to H.E.R. 

Part 2 begins with some doo-wop classics and then dives deep into classic Motown. 

Part 3 is a Memphis-palooza, with Stax/Volt jams, Wilson Pickett grooves and the sweet, sweet sounds of Al Green.

Part 4 is a royal melange of James Brown, Aretha, Nina Simone, Solomon Burke and other regal heavyweights.

 

TOP 20: HOUSE
ON A HILL
Harry is popular. (5/26a)
SONG REVENUE: HIGHFLIERS
A combined 30 of 50 (5/26a)
NEAR TRUTHS:
SAFE KEEPING
What's the big deal? I.B. Bad has the answers. (5/26a)
STRINGER TOUTS SONY MUSIC TO SHAREHOLDERS
Rob lays out the company strategy (5/26a)
EVP STRIPES FOR UMe'S MURTHY
A total pro gets her due. We bow down. (5/26a)
SUPERSTAR RELEASES
Who's next?
MUSIC BIZ SPECIAL
It's Comic-Con for numbers geeks.
THE BIG CHEESE
Theories of evolution from 30,000 feet.
THE NEXT GIANT DEAL
A&R in overdrive.
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