December 2016

1st

1935: Lou Rawls, formerly of The Chosen Gospel Singers & The Pilgrim Travelers,  is born in Chicago, IL.

1959: Jerry Dwayne J. D. Heidelberg, Bass Guitar Player for The Dynamic Holy Spiritualaires of Laurel, MS, is born.

2011: Darren (Baby Boy) McMillan, second lead singer of Men In Christ, died in Raeford, NC.

2015: Robert Holland, of Doc McKenzie & The Hi-Lites, died in Rocky Mount, NC.

 

2nd

1902: Homer Smith of The Southernaires is born in Florence, AL.

2005: Wallace Strickland of The Canton Spirituals died in Jackson, MS.

2013: Mr. Elmer Phillips of The Flint Cavaliers died in Ft. Wayne, IN.

 

3rd

1926: Delores Barrett Campbell, of the Barrett Sisters,  is born, Chicago, IL.

1922: Bill "Hoss" Allen of WLAC radio in Nashville is born in Gallatin, TN.

1927: Blind Willie Johnson records "Motherless Child."

 

4th

1916: Lawrence "Shorty" Abrams of the Blind Boys of Mississippi is born in SC.

1927: Washington Phillips records "Denomination Blues."

1991: E. A. Roundless of the Soul Stirrers dies in Detroit, MI.

2013: Mr. James Foster, one of the Original Members of The Pilgrim Wonders, died  in Toledo, OH.

 

5th

2005: Rev. C. D. Williams (founder of The Williams Singers of Indianapolis, IN) died in Indianapolis, IN.

1931: Rev. James Cleveland is born, Chicago, IL.

1927: Washington Phillips records "Denomination Blues."

1929: Harvey Watkins Sr. of the Canton Spirituals is born in Canton, MS.

2013:  Minister Doris Lumzy-Bellamy, of The Lumzy Sisters, died in New Brunswick, NJ.

 

7th

2007: David Harrison of The Bells of Joy of Baltimore died in Baltimore, MD.

2014: Elton Mitchell, former Keyboard Player for The Pilgrim Wonders and The New Gospel Keynotes, died in Baton Rouge, LA.

 

8th

2011: Jessie B. Swindell of  The Swindell Brothers died in Winston-Salem, NC.

 

9th

1909: Blind Roosevelt Graves of The Parmount Singers is born in Summerland, MS.

2007:  Sylvia Siler, promoter, died in Rockwood, TN

 

10th

1999: "Big" Henry Johnson of the Blind Boys of Mississippi dies in Los Angeles, CA.

1990: Edward O'Neal of the O'Neal Twins dies in Chesterfield, MO.

 

11th

1964: Sam Cooke dies, Los Angeles, CA.

2016: Joe Ligon, of The Mighty Clouds Of Joy dies.

 

12th

2013:  Mrs. Ruby Griffin, former Lead Singer of Big Mac & The Harmonettes (of Columbia, SC) dies.

 

13th

1934: Rev. Howard "Slim" Hunt of the Supreme Angels is born, Walnut Grove, MS.

1925: Sherman Washington of the Zion Harmonizers is born in Thibodaux, LA.

 

14th

1954: Maurice Surrell of the Jackson Southernaires is born in Jackson, MS.

1967: Silas Steele of The Spirit of Memphis Quartet dies in Los Angeles, CA.

 

15th

1955: Thermon Ruth's Apollo Gospel Caravan debuts at the Apollo Theatre.

1976: Pastor Jonathan T. Tucker, Sr. of The Windy City SpiritualaireS is born in Blue Mountain, MS.

 

17th

1948: Robert Lee "Sugar" Hightower, of Slim & The Supreme Angels a/k/a The Supreme Angels, was born in Deland, FL.

 

18th

2011: Donald Ray �Fats� Johnson, guitar player for the Lighthouse Gospel Singers of Baton Rouge, LA, died.

2012: Samuel Roberts of The Flying Clouds (now known as Little Sammy & The New Flying Clouds) died in Philadelphia, PA.

 

19th

2000: Roebuck "Pop" Staples dies in Dolton, IL.

2009: Melvin Couch, CEO of Meltone Records, Meltone Entertainment Group and NuSound Entertainment, died in Douglasville, GA.

2012: Legendary Gospel Singer Inez Andrews died in Chicago, IL.



20th

1910: Sephers Babb of The Radio Four is born in KY.

 

21st

1967: Donald Dillon of the Blind Boys of Alabama is born in Tylertown, MS.

2012: Jesse Watkins, of Jesse Watkins & The Highlights of Lugoff, SC, dies.

2014: Mr. George McClain, of The Memphis Harmonizers, died in Memphis, TN

 

23rd

1923: Bishop Charles Watkins is born.

1938: The Golden Gate Quartet performs at the Spirituals to Swing Concert, New York, NY.

2010: Hattie Elizabeth Bush, one of the Founders and Lead Singer of The Spiritualette Gospel Singers, died in Orlando, FL.

25th

1948: Sister Rosetta Tharpe's "Up Above My Head" debuts on R&B charts.

2006: James Brown, the Godfather of Soul and former gospel singer, died in Atlanta, GA.

26th

1938: Ben Chandler of the Pilgrim Jubilees is born in West Point, MS.

1989: Rev. Cecil Franklin, son of Rev. CL Franklin, dies in Detroit, MI.

2015: William "Pee-Wee" Crawford, the original guitar player for The Swanee Quintet, died in Augusta, GA.

 

28th

1910: Billy Williams of the Charioteers is born in Waco, TX.

1914: Roebuck "Pop" Staples is born in Winona, MS.

1916: Wilmer "Little Axe" Broadnax of the Spirit of Memphis is born in Houston, TX.

1926: Louis Gordon of the Pattersonaires is born in MS.

1931: David L. Yancey of The Yancey Brothers is born in Newark, DE.

1947: Jimmy "TANK" Bush, of The Sensational Saints Of Cleveland, Ohio, is  born.

1992: Louis Johnson of the Swan Silvertones dies.

2014: Rev. Cleophus Robinson Jr. died in St. Louis, MO.

 

30th

1928: Rev. Reuben Willingham of the Swanee Quintet is born in SC.

1950: The 5 Blind Boys of Mississippi debut on R&B charts with "Our Father".

2010: Sullivan S. Pugh of The Consolers died in Miami, FL.

 

31st

1998: Orlandus Wilson of the Golden Gate Quartet dies in Neuilly, France

 

Did You Know??

During the 1920s and 1930s many blind country blues guitarist/shouters recorded gospel music, including Washington Philips, Blind Willie Johnson, Blind Joe Taggart, and Rev. Gary Davis.

Thurman Ruth leader of the Selah Jubilee Singers, was the first promoter to bring major gospel artists to the famed Apollo Theatre in Harlem.

Special Thanks to: Eric LeBlanc and Ted Holland for the help on these dates.

 

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