James Brown

ca. 1933-2006

Ida Cox

1894-1967

Pete Drake

1932-1988

Lena Horne

1917-2010

Jerry Reed

1937-2008

Joe South

1940-2012

Usher

b. 1978

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Explore Georgia’s rich music history

From blues and soul to classical and country—our Spotify playlists feature 130+ songs written and performed by Georgians.

Dwight Andrews and Steven Darsey

Dwight Andrews and Steven Darsey

The Reverend Dwight Andrews (left), of First Congregational Church, and Steven Darsey, of Meridian Herald, are pictured at the Atlanta Music Festival in 2009. The two cofounded the festival in 2001.

Courtesy of Meridian Herald

Atlanta Auditorium and Armory

Atlanta Auditorium and Armory

The Atlanta Auditorium and Armory (later Atlanta Municipal Auditorium), pictured circa 1916, was the venue in 1910 for the first concert presented by the Atlanta Colored Music Festival Association. The concerts continued annually until about 1918.

Courtesy of Georgia Archives, Vanishing Georgia, # ful0183.

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First Congregational Church

First Congregational Church

Members of the First Congregational Church, including the Reverend Henry Hugh Proctor (standing seventh from left), in Atlanta are pictured circa 1899. Today the church is an affiliate of the United Church of Christ, which formed in 1957.

Courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

Henry Hugh Proctor

Henry Hugh Proctor

Henry Hugh Proctor, the minister at First Congregational Church in Atlanta from 1894 until 1920, is pictured circa 1900. In 1910 Proctor founded the Atlanta Colored Music Festival Association, which produced annual concerts by classically trained African American performers for nearly a decade.

Courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

Marching through Georgia

Marching through Georgia

Marching through Georgia, one of the best-known songs of the Civil War, was composed in 1865 by Henry Clay Work. The song celebrates the success of Union general William T. Sherman's march to the sea in 1864.

Blind Tom Wiggins

Blind Tom Wiggins

Thomas "Blind Tom" Wiggins, pictured circa 1880, was a musical prodigy. He was born into slave status in Columbus and spent most of his life performing on the piano for audiences around the country. He also wrote original compositions, including the famous "Battle of Manassas."

Courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

Blind Tom Wiggins

Blind Tom Wiggins

Thomas "Blind Tom" Wiggins, pictured circa 1860 at about the age of ten, was born into slave status in Columbus. He was recognized as a musical prodigy by his owner, James Bethune, and was hired out as a child to traveling showman Perry Oliver. During the presidency of James Buchanan (1857-61), Blind Tom became the first African American musician to perform at the White House.

Courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

Joe South

Joe South

Musician Joe South created the country soul genre in the 1960s. His songs were performed by major country and rock-and-roll singers and groups in the 1960s and 1970s.

Courtesy of Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Georgia Libraries, Georgia Music Hall of Fame Collection.

Joe South

Joe South

Songwriter and musician Joe South won two Grammy Awards for his hit song "Games People Play" in 1969. While working as a studio musician in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, and Nashville, Tennessee, South also played on recordings by such legendary performers as Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Marty Robbins, and Simon and Garfunkel.

Image from Capitol Records

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South, Lowery, and Roe

South, Lowery, and Roe

Bill Lowery (center), a legend of the Atlanta popular music scene, stands with Joe South (left) and Tommy Roe. Lowery managed the career of South, an Atlanta songwriter and singer, during the 1960s and 1970s. Roe, also an Atlanta native, recorded the hit song "Dizzy" (1969), which was published by the Lowery Music Company.

Courtesy of Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Georgia Libraries, Georgia Music Hall of Fame Collection.

Hovie Lister and the Statesmen

Hovie Lister and the Statesmen

The Statesmen were a renowned gospel group formed in 1948 by Hovie Lister. Over the years the lineup of the group changed many times. Pictured is the last configuration of the performers. Seated left to right, Jack Toney (lead), Hovie Lister (pianist), and Wallace Nelms (tenor); standing left to right, Doug Young (bass) and Rick Fair (baritone).

James Moody

James Moody

Savannah-born James Moody was one of the early innovators of bebop. The jazz saxophonist, composer, and band leader recorded more than fifty albums.

The Blues and Other Colors

The Blues and Other Colors

The jazz saxophonist and composer James Moody performed "Savannah Calling" on his 1969 album The Blues and Other Colors. Moody was born in Savannah in 1925.

James Moody

James Moody

Jazz musician James Moody, a native of Savannah, performs in 2007 at his eighty-second birthday celebration, held in New York City.

Photograph by Ned Radinsky. Courtesy of rockymountainjazz.com

Dottie Peoples

Dottie Peoples

Traditional gospel singer and songwriter Dottie Peoples is also a record producer and the host of the radio show The Dottie Peoples Showcase.

Photograph from Dottie Peoples

Albany Movement

Albany Movement

Protesters march down Broad Street in Albany during the Albany Movement, one of the largest civil rights campaigns in Georgia. From 1961 to 1962 Black residents protested the city's segregationist practices. Around 1,200 protesters were imprisoned as a result of their activities during the movement.

Courtesy of Georgia Archives, Vanishing Georgia, #dgh231-86.

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Babbie Mason

Babbie Mason

Babbie Mason is an award-winning contemporary Christian singer and songwriter. She also hosts her own television talk show, Babbie's House, and teaches songwriting at Atlanta Christian College.

Courtesy of Babbie Mason

Precious Bryant

Precious Bryant

Blues musician Precious Bryant performs at the Atlanta History Center Blues Festival. Born in Talbot County in 1942, Bryant learned to play guitar as a child and began performing publicly in the 1960s.

Precious Bryant

Precious Bryant

Precious Bryant was a country blues singer and guitarist from Talbot County. Although folklorist George Mitchell recorded Bryant in the late 1960s, her first album, Fool Me Good, was not released until 2002.

Georgia Yellow Hammers

Georgia Yellow Hammers

An old-time string band from Gordon County, the Georgia Yellow Hammers made many recordings in the 1920s.

Moss Music Company

Moss Music Company

Located on South Wall Street in Calhoun, the Moss Music Company was owned by Lawrence Moss, the stepfather of Phil Reeve of the Georgia Yellow Hammers. In the photograph pianos can be seen in the right background and sewing machines in the right foreground. Pictured, left to right: the Harper brothers, Phil Reeve, and Moss.

Courtesy of Georgia Archives, Vanishing Georgia, #
gor298.

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Lee Roy Abernathy

Lee Roy Abernathy

Southern gospel music songwriter and performer Lee Roy Abernathy was an innovator. He invented a music typesetting system, pioneered the use of public address systems in gospel concerts, and wrote the first singing commercials.

Courtesy of Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Georgia Libraries, Georgia Music Hall of Fame Collection.

Larry Jon Wilson

Larry Jon Wilson

Larry Jon Wilson, an Augusta-based singer, songwriter, and composer, began his musical career in 1975 with the release of his first album, New Beginnings. His work is described by critics as a blend of country, soul, and folk.

Courtesy of Larry Jon Wilson

Larry Jon Wilson

Larry Jon Wilson

Georgia singer, songwriter Larry Jon Wilson with his guitar. WIlson's released his first album in 1975 and released six more before his death in 2010.

Courtesy of Larry Jon Wilson

Larry Jon Wilson

Larry Jon Wilson

Singer, Songwriter Larry Jon Wilson performing on stage. Wilson taught himself to play the guitar at age thirty and soon transferred from a career in chemistry to one in music.

Courtesy of Larry Jon Wilson 

Bill Lowery

Bill Lowery

Bill Lowery began his career in Atlanta as a disc jockey and broadcaster for Georgia Tech football games at radio station WGST in 1948. His weekly programs at the station included Musical Tune and Uncle Ebenezer Brown.

Bill Lowery

Bill Lowery

Bill Lowery, pictured in 1969, poses at Bill Lowery Enterprises, which included the Lowery Music Company and the National Recording Corporation. Lowery, known as "Mr. Atlanta Music," was a prominent disc jockey, producer, manager, and music publisher in the city from 1948 until his death in 2004. He was one of the first two inductees into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame, which he also helped to establish.

Ludacris

Ludacris

The rap musician Ludacris poses in 2003 outside the Def Jam South offices in Midtown Atlanta. Ludacris signed with Def Jam in 2000 and later that year released the album Back for the First Time, which contained his first national hit, "What's Your Fantasy?"

Ludacris

Ludacris

Ludacris, a rapper in the "Dirty South" style, performs during the 2005 Vibe Music Festival at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Ludacris began his career as a disc jockey in Atlanta and relased his first album, Incognegro, in 2000. The following year he established the Ludacris Foundation for underprivileged children in Atlanta.

Usher

Usher

Usher, a native of Chattanooga, Tennessee, began his recording career in 1994 with Atlanta-based LaFace Records. In 2001 the artist received two Grammy awards. Usher has also starred in several feature films.

Travis Tritt

Travis Tritt

Country musician Travis Tritt performs at the Country Fair 2000 in his hometown of Marietta. That year, Tritt released Down the Road I Go, his eighth new album and the first with Columbia Records.

Color photograph of Travis Tritt

Travis Tritt

Travis Tritt, a native of Marietta, is a Grammy Award-winning country musician and member of the Grand Ole Opry. In 1999 he was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. Tritt's platinum-selling albums include Country Club (1990), It's All about to Change (1991), and T-R-O-U-B-L-E (1994).

It’s All about to Change (1991)

It’s All about to Change (1991)

Travis Tritt's second album, It's All about to Change, was released in 1991 and features the hit songs "The Whiskey Ain't Workin'" and "Here's a Quarter (Call Someone Who Cares)." Upon the album's success, Tritt was presented the Horizon Award by the Country Music Association.

Chuck Leavell

Chuck Leavell

Chuck Leavell stands among the longleaf pines on Charlane Plantation, his timber farm and hunting preserve in Twiggs County. Leavell and his wife, Rose, have received state and national awards recognizing their efforts in conservation.

Chuck Leavell

Chuck Leavell

Pianist Chuck Leavell, a resident of Twiggs County since the early 1980s, has played with such notable acts as the Allman Brothers Band and the Rolling Stones. Inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 2004, Leavell has also released several solo albums.

Savannah Theatre

Savannah Theatre

The Savannah Theatre opened in late 1818, with productions of the comedies Soldier's Daughter and Raising the Wind, and incorporated twenty years later. Theater was the predominant form of entertainment in antebellum Georgia, and performances often incorporated popular songs of the day.

Courtesy of Georgia Historical Society, Foltz Photography Studio (Savannah, Ga.), photographs, 1899-1960, #1360-03-06-06.

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Lowell Mason

Lowell Mason

Lowell Mason, known as the "Father of School Music" influenced the development of urban sacred music, as well as music education, in antebellum Georgia. A native of Massachusetts, Mason led the "better music movement," which favored the works of European classical composers, in his adopted home of Savannah.

From What We Hear in Music, by A. S. Faulkner

Jesse Mercer

Jesse Mercer

Jesse Mercer, a prominent Baptist leader in Georgia, served as president of the Georgia Baptist Convention from 1822 until his death in 1841. Also an active publisher, Mercer compiled a hymnal in 1810 and edited the Christian Index, a Baptist newspaper, from 1833 to 1840. In 1833 he founded Mercer Institute, which later became Mercer University.

Windham

Windham

The shape-note system in The Sacred Harp uses a different shape to represent each of the four syllables in the musical scale: a triangle (fa), a circle (sol), a rectangle (la), and a diamond (mi).

The tune "Windham" as it appears in The Sacred Harp, 1911 edition. Image from Wikimedia.

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Alex Cooley

Alex Cooley

Alex Cooley, pictured in 1978, owned and operated a number of the best-known rock venues in Atlanta, including Alex Cooley's Electric Ballroom and the Tabernacle. In 1987 Cooley was inducted as a nonperformer into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame.

Alex Cooley

Alex Cooley

Alex Cooley gives an interview to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 1998. Cooley became a concert promoter during the late 1960s and founded the city's Midtown Music Festival in 1994.

Francine Reed

Francine Reed

Francine Reed performs at Music Midtown, an annual festival in Atlanta begun in 1990s. A native of Illinois, Reed became known as Atlanta's "queen of the blues" following her move to Georgia in the early 1990s.

I Want You To Love Me (1995)

I Want You To Love Me (1995)

I Want You to Love Me (1995), the first solo album of Atlanta blues singer Francine Reed, features the duet "Why Don't I Know" with country musician Lyle Lovett. The album also contains a recording of Reed's trademark song, "Wild Women (Don't Get the Blues)."

Fletcher Henderson and His Orchestra

Fletcher Henderson and His Orchestra

Fletcher Henderson, a native of Randolph County, formed the first big band orchestra around 1920 in New York City. In 1921 Fletcher's orchestra began making records, and the group played at the Roseland Ballroom in New York for the rest of the decade.

Fletcher Henderson

Fletcher Henderson

Fletcher Henderson, an accomplished pianist and native of Cuthbert, is credited with forming the first big band orchestra in New York City during the 1920s. His musical contributions laid the foundation for swing music.

Image from Wikimedia

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Fletcher Henderson

Fletcher Henderson

Although trained as a chemist at Atlanta University, Fletcher Henderson was unable to find work in his field. He turned to music instead and became one of the most respected swing bandleaders and arrangers of the 1920s.

Courtesy of Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Georgia Libraries, Georgia Music Hall of Fame Collection.

Chet Atkins

Chet Atkins

A publicity photo of Chet Atkins, a famed country music star credited with increasing country music's mainstream popularity.  He won more than a dozen Grammy awards over his lifetime, and was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 1995.

Copyright 1997 SonyMusic Entertainment Inc.

Willie Lee Perryman

Willie Lee Perryman

Willie Lee, or "Piano Red," Perryman was a blues pianist who played in the barrelhouse style. His professional music career began in the early 1930s and continued until the late 1960s.

Photograph from booklet "Piano Red, Dr. Feelgood," by Norbert Hess

Blind Willie McTell

Blind Willie McTell

Blind Willie McTell, a native of Thomson, was a great blues musician of the 1920s and 1930s. Based in Atlanta, he displayed an extraordinary range on the twelve-string guitar.

First Piece of the Rock (1983)

First Piece of the Rock (1983)

First Piece of the Rock was released in 1983 as a tribute to Willie Lee Perryman, a blues musician known as "Piano Red" for much of his career. Two of Perryman's songs, "Rockin' with Red" and "Red's Boogie," were recorded in Atlanta in 1950 and made the national charts.

Print by Mike McCarty. Courtesy of Lowery Group

Dr. Feelgood and the Interns

Dr. Feelgood and the Interns

Willie Lee Perryman, a blues pianist, created the Dr. Feelgood persona for his WAOK radio show, and he performed under the name with his band, the Interns. From left, Perryman, Curtis Smith, Bobby Lee Tuggle, Roy Lee Johnson, Beverly Watkins, and Howard Hobbs.

Photograph from booklet "Piano Red, Dr. Feelgood," by Norbert Hess

Dr. Feelgood and the Interns

Dr. Feelgood and the Interns

Willie Lee Perryman, also known as "Dr. Feelgood," poses in the early 1960s with his band, the Interns.

Photograph from booklet "Piano Red, Dr. Feelgood," by Norbert Hess

Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik (1994)

Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik (1994)

The hip-hop duo Andre Benjamin and Antwan Patton, known as OutKast, released their first album, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, in 1994 on LaFace Records, an Atlanta-based label. Their debut effort sold more than a million copies.

Speakerboxxx/The Love Below (2003)

Speakerboxxx/The Love Below (2003)

Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, the fifth album released by the Atlanta-based hip-hop act OutKast, won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 2003.

Big Boi

Big Boi

Antwan Patton, known as "Big Boi," performs in Atlanta in 2011. Big Boi is one member of the Atlanta hip-hop duo OutKast, which he formed with Andre Benjamin in the early 1990s.

Courtesy of Mike White | DEADLYDESIGNS.COM

Duane Allman

Duane Allman

Duane Allman was the guitarist for the Allman Brothers Band, which he formed with his younger brother, Gregg, in 1969. The band released its first album on Capricorn Records, a label based in Macon. Allman died in 1971 after being injured in a motorcycle accident.

Duane Allman: An Anthology

Duane Allman: An Anthology

The year after guitarist Duane Allman's death in Macon, Capricorn Records released the double-album collection Duane Allman: An Anthology (1972). Allman was an original member of the successful Macon-based Allman Brothers Band.

Atlanta Opera

Atlanta Opera

Enrico Caruso performs the role of Samson in a 1915 Metropolitan Opera production of Samson and Delilah in Atlanta. Each spring from 1910 until 1986, the Metropolitan Opera, based in New York City, collaborated with the Atlanta Music Club to produce Opera Week in Atlanta.

Courtesy of Atlanta History Center.

Jessye Norman

Jessye Norman

Jessye Norman, an Augusta native, began her career as an opera singer in 1969 with the Deutsche Oper Berlin in Germany. She subsequently performed in Milan, Italy, and London, England, before making her debut at the New York Metropolitan Opera in 1983.

Image from the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore

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Phil Walden

Phil Walden

Phil Walden founded the Capricorn Record Series, an imprint of Atlantic Records, in 1969. He launched the "southern rock" genre under Capricorn, with such acts as the Allman Brothers Band, the Dixie Dregs, and Wet Willie.

Courtesy of Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Georgia Libraries, Georgia Music Hall of Fame Collection.

At Fillmore East (1971)

At Fillmore East (1971)

In 1971 the Allman Brothers Band released At Fillmore East, a double live-rock album, with Capricorn Records. The album was the first commercial success for the band and the label, both of which were based in Macon.

Antonio “L.A.” Reid

Antonio “L.A.” Reid

Antonio "L.A." Reid cofounded LaFace Records, a rap and rhythm-and-blues label in Atlanta, with Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds in 1989. Reid continued to manage the company after Edmonds's departure in 1993, and since 2000 he has served as the president and chief executive officer of Arista Records, which bought out LaFace that same year.

Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds

Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds

In 1989 Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds cofounded LaFace Records, the Atlanta-based label that launched the careers of TLC, OutKast, Usher, and Toni Braxton. After his successful production of the soundtrack for the film The Bodyguard (1992), Edmonds left Atlanta in 1993 for Los Angeles, where he produced the soundtrack for Waiting to Exhale (1995).

Image from Angela George

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Lena Horne

Lena Horne

Lena Horne, an acclaimed entertainer and civil rights activist, is pictured in a 1946 publicity still for Till the Clouds Roll By. Born in Brooklyn, New York, Horne spent part of her childhood in both Fort Valley and Atlanta before beginning her career in New York at the age of sixteen. In 1984 she received the Kennedy Center Honor for lifetime achievement in the performing arts.

Image from Wikimedia

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Georgia Sea Island Singers

Georgia Sea Island Singers

Tony Merrell drums during a performance of the Georgia Sea Island Singers, as fellow member Frankie Sullivan Quimby looks on. The singers maintain a tradition, begun around 1900, of sharing the Gullah culture through performances and educational programs.

Courtesy of Georgia Sea Island Singers

Sea Island Singers with President

Sea Island Singers with President

The Sea Island Singers pose with U.S. president George W. Bush and the First Lady at Sea Island during the G8 Summit in 2004. From left, Doug Quimby, Frankie Quimby, George Bush, Laura Bush, and Tony Merrell.

Photograph by White House Staff Photographer

Frankie Sullivan Quimby

Frankie Sullivan Quimby

Frankie Sullivan Quimby of the Georgia Sea Island Singers performs at the Dogwood Festival in Atlanta. The Sea Island Singers preserve Gullah culture by sharing the songs, games, and customs of their African American ancestors with people all over the world.

Harry James

Harry James

Harry James, a renowned swing trumpet player during the 1930s and 1940s, rehearses for the Coca-Cola radio show in New York City around 1946. James was born in Albany to traveling circus performers and began playing the trumpet as a child.

Courtesy of Library of Congress, Music Division, William P. Gottlieb/Ira and Leonore S. Gershwin Fund Collection.

I’ve Heard That Song Before

I’ve Heard That Song Before

Harry James is pictured on the cover of sheet music for "I've Heard That Song Before," published by Edwin H. Morris and Company. The song, performed with Frank Sinatra on vocals for the film Youth on Parade (1942), was nominated for an Academy Award.

Courtesy of Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Georgia Libraries, Georgia Music Hall of Fame Collection.

Harry James

Harry James

Pictured in New York circa 1947, Harry James was a renowned trumpet player and band leader. The Albany native played with some of the most prominent performers of the swing era, including Benny Goodman and Connie Haines.

Courtesy of Library of Congress, Music Division, William P. Gottlieb/Ira and Leonore S. Gershwin Fund Collection.

Sweetheart of the Rodeo (1968)

Sweetheart of the Rodeo (1968)

Gram Parsons's work on the album Sweetheart of the Rodeo (1968) earned critical success and increased popularity for the Byrds, but it turned out to be the only album Parsons would record with the band.

Gram Parsons

Gram Parsons

Gram Parsons's influence on other musicians stems from his innovative fusion of the country and rock genres. Though he died young in the early 1970s, Parsons left behind a body of work that continues to earn the admiration of contemporary musicians.

Courtesy of Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Georgia Libraries, Georgia Music Hall of Fame Collection.

Emmylou Harris

Emmylou Harris

Vocalist Emmylou Harris recorded two albums with Gram Parsons: GP (1973) and Grievous Angel (1974). Between the releases of these two records, Harris toured with Parsons's Fallen Angels band.

Photograph copyright Geoff Gibbs

Allman Brothers Band (1969)

Allman Brothers Band (1969)

The Allman Brothers Band recorded its first album in New York in August 1969, just five months after the band debuted in Jacksonville, Florida.

Original Allman Brothers Band

Original Allman Brothers Band

The original Allman Brothers Band formed in Florida in 1969 and moved to Macon later that same year. Although two of the original band members died in separate motorcycle accidents during the early 1970s, and several other musicians have joined and left over the years, the band continues to tour.

Courtesy of Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Georgia Libraries, Georgia Music Hall of Fame Collection.

Allman Brothers Band

Allman Brothers Band

Members of the Macon-based Allman Brothers Band pose for a publicity photo in 1992. From left to right, Jaimoe Johanson, Allen Woody, Dickey Betts, Gregg Allman, Warren Haynes, Marc Quinones, and Butch Trucks.

Courtesy of Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Georgia Libraries, Georgia Music Hall of Fame Collection.

Johnny Mercer Collection

Johnny Mercer Collection

The Johnny Mercer Collection in the Special Collections and Archives Department at Georgia State University is home to a large collection of the songwriter's personal papers and effects, including correspondence, sound recordings, sheet music, and lyrics.

Georgia Music Hall of Fame

Georgia Music Hall of Fame

Among the many artifacts on display at the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in Macon were performance outfits worn by the B-52's, a band from Athens. The museum, which opened in 1996 and closed in 2011, contained archives and artifacts from all eras of Georgia's musical history.

The Tams

The Tams

The Tams, a rhythm-and-blues vocal quintet from Atlanta, made their first recording in 1960. With a series of hits on the Billboard charts during the following decade, the group defined what is known as the "beach music" sound.

The Tams

The Tams

Members of the Tams, a musical group which formed in 1952 as the Four Dots, continue to perform today. The group recorded its first album as the Tams, with five members, in 1960 and enjoyed several hits in the 1960s. The Tams continued touring for decades, even after founding member Joe Pope died in 1996.

Curtis Mayfield

Curtis Mayfield

Curtis Mayfield began his career as a professional musician at age sixteen. His longtime affiliation with a vocal group called the Impressions was followed by a series of successful and influential solo projects. Today Mayfield is revered by many for his pioneering work in the soul and funk genres.

Image from Wikimedia

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Toni Braxton

Toni Braxton

Propelled by two chart-climbing singles, Toni Braxton achieved stardom before the release of her first full-length record. When the rhythm-and-blues singer's debut album, Toni Braxton, finally came out in 1993, it sold more than 9 million copies.

Courtesy of Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Georgia Libraries, Georgia Music Hall of Fame Collection.

Jermaine Dupri

Jermaine Dupri

In his unique career, Jermaine Dupri has been a breakdancer, songwriter, music producer, entrepreneur, rapper, and athletics manager. He has held high-level positions at major record companies, in addition to owning Atlanta-based So So Def Records, and he has produced several music acts that have gone on to sell millions of albums each.

Image from Timothy M. Moore

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Isaac Hayes

Isaac Hayes

Isaac Hayes, credited with developing the "Memphis soul" sound in the 1960s and 1970s, was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 1994. A Tennessee native, Hayes lived in Atlanta from the mid-1970s until 1992.

Courtesy of www.isaachayes.com

Isaac Hayes

Isaac Hayes

Isaac Hayes, an innovative soul musician, greets onlookers along the red carpet at the 2004 Turner Broadcasting System's Trumpet Awards, held at the Omni Hotel in Atlanta. Hayes began as a rhythm-and-blues musician in Memphis, Tennessee, before establishing himself as a soul musician with the 1969 album Hot Buttered Soul.

Chef

Chef

From 1997 to 2006 Isaac Hayes, a renowned soul musician, provided the voice for Chef, a character on the animated television program South Park. The role introduced Hayes, who established himself in the 1960s and 1970s, to a new audience.

Courtesy of Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Georgia Libraries, Georgia Music Hall of Fame Collection.

Isaac Hayes

Isaac Hayes

Soul musician Isaac Hayes performs in 2003 at Philips Arena (later State Farm Arena) in Atlanta during an NBA All-Star event.

Norman and Nancy Blake

Norman and Nancy Blake

Norman Blake, a highly regarded perfomer of traditional southern music, married musician Nancy Blake in 1972. Since that time, the two have often performed and recorded together.

Courtesy of Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Georgia Libraries, Georgia Music Hall of Fame Collection.

Norman Blake

Norman Blake

Singer and instrumentalist Norman Blake performs in 2002 at a concert in Huntsville, Alabama. Renowned for his reinterpretations of such southern musical forms as old-time and bluegrass, Blake is prominently featured on the best-selling soundtrack to the film O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000).

Photograph by Vicki Ramsey

Blake Album Cover

Blake Album Cover

After years as a session musician, old-time and bluegrass musician Norman Blake produced his first solo effort in 1972 with the album Back Home in Sulphur Springs. The album was recorded in Blake's home community of Sulphur Springs in Dade County.

The Sacred Harp

The Sacred Harp

First published in 1844, The Sacred Harp songbook has helped to promote the style of singing known as "Sacred Harp," "shape-note," or "fasola" singing.

Courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

Singing from The Sacred Harp

Singing from The Sacred Harp

Gapped scales (having less than the usual seven notes) and unusual harmonies help account for this traditional music's characteristic sound. Also unique is the doubling of two parts, both men and women singing tenor and treble. Untrained voices prevail, so the singing sounds loud and exhilarating.

Courtesy of Georgia Council for the Arts, Georgia Traditional Arts Research Collection, Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College Libraries.

Singing Leader

Singing Leader

In a manner reminiscent of the singing schools, a leader chooses songs, which are called a "lesson," for the singers, who are called the "class." Leaders take turns standing in the center of the class, beating time in a traditional method appropriate to the song's time signature.

Singing from The Sacred Harp

Singing from The Sacred Harp

The sound of Sacred Harp may vary a bit from region to region, and white singers have different styles from African American singers. But regardless of location or race, Sacred Harp sounds unlike academic choral singing or gospel singing, in which melody dominates and harmony embellishes and supports it.

Courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

McIntosh County Shouters

McIntosh County Shouters

The McIntosh County Shouters, seen here performing at National Folk Festival, Wolf Trap Farm, Virginia, have helped preserve the southeastern ring shout, one of the oldest African American performance traditions in the country. 

Courtesy of Margo Rosenbaum

McIntosh County Shouters

McIntosh County Shouters

In a ring shout the songster will call out lines, which are answered by a group of singers in a call-and-response pattern.

McIntosh County Shouters

McIntosh County Shouters

The ring shout, still performed in a Black community in McIntosh County, Georgia, is probably the oldest surviving African American performance tradition in North America.

WSB Barn Dance

WSB Barn Dance

Musicians perform in 1947 before a live audience on the popular radio show "WSB Barn Dance." The program aired on WSB, Atlanta's first radio station, from 1940 to 1950.

Courtesy of Special Collections & Archives, Georgia State University Library, Lane Brothers Commercial Photographers Photographic Collection.

Fiddlin’ John Carson

Fiddlin’ John Carson

Fiddlin' John Carson, pictured circa 1924, began playing fiddle on Atlanta's WSB radio station in 1922. On June 14, 1923, the country-music recording industry was launched when Carson made his first phonograph record. His recording career, which yielded some 165 recorded songs, lasted into the 1930s.

Photograph by Wilbur Smith

Alan Jackson

Alan Jackson

Alan Jackson, a native of Newnan, achieved success as a country musician during the 1990s. A member of the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee, Jackson was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 2001.

Brenda Lee

Brenda Lee

Atlanta native Brenda Lee began her career at the age of five and achieved fame as a rockabilly singer during the 1950s and 1960s. During the early 1970s she transitioned into a country style and is, to date, the only female performer to be inducted into both the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Pete Drake

Pete Drake

Pete Drake, a native of Augusta, produced albums for many music stars, including B. J. Thomas, the Four Freshmen, Leon Russell, and Beatles member Ringo Starr. He also founded Stop Records and First Generation Records.

Courtesy of Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Georgia Libraries, Georgia Music Hall of Fame Collection.

Trisha Yearwood

Trisha Yearwood

Born and raised in Monticello, Trisha Yearwood rose to fame as a successful country musician during the 1990s. She was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 2000.

Image from Walt Disney Television

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Bumble Bee Slim Easton

Bumble Bee Slim Easton

Bumble Bee Slim Easton, a native of Brunswick, became a prominent blues musician in Chicago, Illinois, where he recorded more than 150 songs during the 1930s.

Courtesy of Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Georgia Libraries, Georgia Music Hall of Fame Collection.

Ida Cox

Ida Cox

Ida Cox, a Georgia native, began her career as a vaudeville performer. She recorded her first blues songs in 1923 for the Paramount label, which dubbed her the "Uncrowned Queen of the Blues." By 1929, Cox had recorded seventy-eight songs, most of which she had written herself.

Ida Cox and John Hammond

Ida Cox and John Hammond

Ida Cox, a successful blues singer of the 1920s, meets with John Hammond some years after her 1939 performance in his From Spirituals to Swing concert for an integrated audience at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Hammond, a prominent musician and producer, worked throughout the 1930s to integrate the music business.

Blues for Rampart Street (1961)

Blues for Rampart Street (1961)

Ida Cox, a pioneering blues musician prominent during the 1920s, recorded her final album with saxophonist Coleman Hawkins in 1961. The album, entitled Blues for Rampart Street, was recorded at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

Don’t Tampa with the Blues

Don’t Tampa with the Blues

Tampa Red Whittaker, a native of Smithville, was a prominent Chicago blues musician during the 1930s and 1940s.

Tampa Red Whittaker

Tampa Red Whittaker

Slide guitarist "Tampa Red" Whittaker, born in Smithville, Georgia, was raised in Tampa, Florida, and became one of the most prominent blues musicians in Chicago, Illinois, during the 1930s and 1940s. Whittaker made several successful recordings with "Georgia Tom" Dorsey, a blues pianist and fellow Georgia native.

From The Story of the Blues, by P. Oliver

Otis Redding

Otis Redding

Otis Redding, a Georgia native, was an influentual rhythm-and-blues and soul musician during the 1960s. Killed in an airplane crash in 1967, Redding was posthumously honored by a statue in Macon, his hometown, and induction into both the Georgia Music Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Otis Redding

Otis Redding

Otis Redding, an influential soul musician, began his musical career with "Little Richard" Penniman after dropping out of high school. In 1960 he joined Johnny Jenkins and the Pinetoppers as a vocalist and recorded his first hit song, "These Arms of Mine," for Stax Records in 1962.

Otis Redding

Otis Redding

Although Otis Redding achieved success as a rhythm-and-blues and soul musician during the early 1960s, he did not receive much mainstream attention until the release of his song "I've Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now)" in 1965. In 1967 Redding released the crossover hit "Try a Little Tenderness" and was the only soul act to appear at the Monterey Pop Festival in California.

Otis Redding

Otis Redding

Otis Redding, a soul musician whose work influenced such rock acts as the Rolling Stones, achieved his single number-one recording with the release of "(Sittin' on) The Dock of the Bay." The song was released three months after Redding's death in an airplane crash on December 10, 1967.

Otis Redding Stamp

Otis Redding Stamp

The U.S. Postal Service's American Music Series commemorated the life of Georgia soul musician Otis Redding in 1992.

Courtesy of Smithsonian National Postal Museum

Little Richard Penniman

Little Richard Penniman

Little Richard Penniman, known as "the Georgia Peach," claimed to be "the innovator and the architect of rock and roll." From 1956 to 1957 he recorded a string of hits before renouncing show business to enter the seminary. He returned to the stage in 1962 and continued to perform into his seventies. In 1986 Little Richard was one of the first inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Image from Wikimedia

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Little Richard Penniman

Little Richard Penniman

Little Richard Penniman, a Macon native, is credited with being one of the first rock stars. He began his musical career as a young boy in a family gospel act, joined a minstrel show at the age of fifteen, and performed rhythm and blues before his 1956 hit "Tutti Fruitti" crossed over to the pop charts.

Photograph by xrayspx

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Robert Shaw

Robert Shaw

Robert Shaw conducted the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra from 1967 to 1988. Credited with building the symphony into a major American orchestra, Shaw received many national and international honors throughout his long career.

Robert Shaw

Robert Shaw

Robert Shaw leads a rehearsal of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, circa 1970.

Courtesy of Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Archive

Robert Shaw

Robert Shaw

Robert Shaw conducts the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, which gained international renown during his tenure from 1967 to 1988. During this time he also established and directed the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus and Chamber Chorus, as well as the Robert Shaw Institute at Emory University.

Courtesy of Atlanta Symphony Orchestra

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, led by conductor Robert Shaw, is pictured during a performance in 1973. .

Courtesy of Special Collections & Archives, Georgia State University Library, Atlanta Journal-Constitution Photographic Archive.

Beryl Rubinstein

Beryl Rubinstein

Classical pianist and composer Beryl Rubinstein spent much of his career at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he served in a number of capacities, including head of the piano department, dean of faculty, and director of the school. Rubinstein, born in Athens in 1898, returned to Georgia in May 1952 to perform concerts in Athens and Atlanta.

Courtesy of Cleveland Institute of Music

Jessye Norman

Jessye Norman

Jessye Norman, a native of Augusta, was a world-renowned and highly-decorated operatic soprano. In her lifetime, she received more than thirty honorary degrees, won five Grammys, was awarded the French Legion of Honor, and became the youngest recipient of the Kennedy Center Honor at the age of just fifty-one.

Photograph by John Mathew Smith

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Jessye Norman Amphitheater

Jessye Norman Amphitheater

In 1996 the city of Augusta honored its native daughter Jessye Norman by renaming the Riverwalk Amphitheater as the Jessye Norman Amphitheater.

banjo

banjo

Brenda Lee

Brenda Lee

Brenda Lee began her career as a singer at the age of five and continues to perform into the twenty-first century. A rockabilly performer in her early days, Lee later adopted adult contemporary and country styles. She is the only woman to be inducted into both the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Image from Bradford Timeline

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