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Hooker, John Lee

(Encyclopedia) Hooker, John Lee, 1917–2001, American blues singer and guitarist, b. near Clarksdale, Miss. From a cotton-sharecropping family, he learned the blues from his stepfather and various…

Charles, Ray

(Encyclopedia) Charles, Ray (Ray Charles Robinson), 1930–2004, African-American musician and composer, b. Albany, Ga. Blinded at age seven, he was raised in Florida and at 16 began singing in a local…

Monroe, Bill

(Encyclopedia) Monroe, Bill (William Smith Monroe), 1911–96, country singer, musician, and songwriter, often called the father of bluegrass, b. Rosine, Ky. A mandolin and guitar player, Monroe…

Led Zeppelin

(Encyclopedia) Led Zeppelin, English pop music group formed in 1968 by guitarist Jimmy Page (1944–), singer Robert Plant (1948–), bassist John Paul Jones (1946–), and drummer John Bonzo Bonham (1948–…

Paul, Les

(Encyclopedia) Paul, Les, 1915–2009, American guitarist and inventor, b. Waukesha, Wis., as Lester William Polsfuss (later Polfuss). He began playing country music at 14, later switched to jazz, and…

Rodgers, Jimmie

(Encyclopedia) Rodgers, Jimmie (James Charles Rodgers), 1897–1933, American singer, guitarist, and songwriter often called the father of country music, b. Meridian, Miss. The son of a railroad…

Holly, Buddy

(Encyclopedia) Holly, Buddy, 1936–59, American rock singer, songwriter, and guitarist, b. Lubbock, Tex., as Charles Hardin Holley. He performed country and western music while a teenager, but…

Prince

(Encyclopedia) Prince, 1958–2016, American singer and songwriter, b. Minneapolis, Minn., as Prince Rogers Nelson. Biracial, slim, and sexily androgynous, he was an electrifying performer who composed…

Joplin, Janis

(Encyclopedia) Joplin, Janis jp´ln, 1943–70, American blues-rock singer, b. Port Arthur, Tex. After dropping out of college (1963) and singing folk rock in Texas clubs, she moved (1966) to San…

Gordy, Berry, Jr.

(Encyclopedia) Gordy, Berry, Jr., 1929–, African-American music-industry executive, b. Detroit. After stints in the army and as a professional boxer, Gordy opened a Detroit record store and began to…