Black Music Month: Artists That Touched Our Hearts With Music

File photo of Ray Charles. (Credit:  BERTRAND GUAY/AFP/Getty Images)
Ray Charles Robinson was known as one of the pioneers of soul music. He was a crossover artist that successfully combined country and pop music to different audiences. Charles became blind at the age of 7 and still was able to learn to play the piano. Frank Sinatra labeled Charles as “the only true genius in show business.” File photo of Ray Charles. (Credit: BERTRAND GUAY/AFP/Getty Images)
File photo of Nat King Cole. (Credit:  ERIC SCHWAB/AFP/Getty Images)
His mellow, baritone voice kept the ladies excited at his shows. Nat King Cole was a jazz pianist and the first African-American to beat the odds and host a television variety show. He recorded songs such as “Unforgettable,” “Mona Lisa” and “Route 66.” File photo of Nat King Cole. (Credit: ERIC SCHWAB/AFP/Getty Images)
File photo of Al Green. (Credit: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)
Al Green is known as the man with the soulful hits. Green grew up in a religious family that forbade him to listen to secular music. In high school, though, he had other plans by forming a group called Al Green & The Soul Mates. Later on in life he recorded songs like “Let’s Stay Together,” “Love and Happiness” and “Tired of Being Lonely,” which are the reasons he is ranked No. 66 of the 100 Greatest Artists of All-Time. File photo of Al Green. (Credit: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)
File photo of Marvin Gaye. (Credit: John Minihan/Evening Standard/Getty Images)
His string of hits helped with the success of Motown Records and the labeled him the “Prince of Motown.” Marvin Gaye wasn’t just a singer, but an activist through music. Gaye had no problem speaking his mind, even in his controversial song “What’s Going On.” In 1982 he won two Grammy’s for his award-winning single “Sexual Healing” and for the album “Midnight Love.” Gaye was fatally shot by his father a day before his birthday, which saddened fans of all races. File photo of Marvin Gaye. (Credit: John Minihan/Evening Standard/Getty Images)
File photo of Luther Vandross. (Credit: Scott Harrison/Getty Images)
Luther Vandross might have started off as a well-known background singer for Diana Ross and Chaka Khan, but he later on got a chance at his own fame. Vandross was signed to Epic Records and recorded his first album “Never Too Much” in 1981. During his career he sold over 25 million records and received eight Grammy Awards. In 2004 before his death, Vandross recorded the hit song “Dance With My Father” which earned him four Grammy’s. File photo of Luther Vandross. (Credit: Scott Harrison/Getty Images)
File photo of Michael Jackson. (Credit: CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images)
The King of Pop entertained us for over four decades, starting out with the legendary group The Jackson Five where he and his brothers reached great success. Jackson was a songwriter, actor, dancer and shared his life with his fans that were more like family to him. His father, Joe Jackson, was reportedly very abusive to the Jackson kids, but Michael believed it made them hard working and successful. Michael was creative and showed that in many of his videos such as “Thriller,” “Remember the Times,” “Scream” and many more. He died in 2009. File photo of Michael Jackson. (Credit: CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images)
File photo of Prince. (Credit:Patrick Riviere/Getty Images)
Prince is a singer-songwriter who has never been scared to come on the stage with unbelievable costumes and have a symbol as a name. Prince’s music has an eclectic sound which mixes funk, disco, pop, jazz and R&B. He has sold over 100 million records worldwide and is known as one of the best-selling artist of all time. At one time Rolling Stone listed him as No. 27 of its 100 Greatest Artist of All Time. File photo of Prince. (Credit:Patrick Riviere/Getty Images)
File photo of Louis Armstrong. (Credit: AFP/Getty Images)
Louis Armstrong, also known as Satchmo, was known for his success as a jazz trumpet player. He hailed from New Orleans which influenced his love for jazz. He also was a compelling singer and had an incredible unique voice which added soul to his music. Armstrong was a successful scat singer, which is free-styling with sounds and not words. File photo of Louis Armstrong. (Credit: AFP/Getty Images)
File photo of Charlie Wilson.  (Credit: David A. Smith/Getty Images)
Charlie Wilson -- known to many as Uncle Charlie -- is a singer-songwriter-producer that began his career as the lead vocalist for The Gap Band. Uncle Charlie became a solo artist which earned him several Grammy, NAACP Image and BET Awards. He was honored with the BET Lifetime Achievement Award and his tribute featuring Snoop Dogg, Justin Timberlake, India Arie, and Stevie Wonder helped the network earn its highest ratings. File photo of Charlie Wilson. (Credit: David A. Smith/Getty Images)
File photo of Stevie Wonder. (Credit: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images)
Singer-songwriter Stevie Wonder has been entertaining the world since childhood. He went blind shortly after birth, but he didn’t let that disability get in the way of success. Wonder signed with the legendary Motown Records and recorded songs that still touch our hearts like “Ribbon In The Sky,” “Isn’t She Lovely” and “Superstition.” He has won Grammy’s, sang at rallies and even performed at President Barack Obama’s White House Concert. File photo of Stevie Wonder. (Credit: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images)
File photo of Chaka Khan. (Credit:  Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Born on the South Side of Chicago, Chaka Khan has been labeled as the “Queen of Funk.” Her career has spanned over 40 years, winning 10 Grammy’s. Although Chaka began singing in a group called Rufus, her solo career brought her much success. With hit songs like “Feel For You” and “I’m Every Woman,” Chaka will remain a household name in music. File photo of Chaka Khan. (Credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
File photo of Patti LaBelle. (Credit: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Singer, author, and actress, Patti LaBelle has spent over 50 years in the music industry entertaining fans. In the beginning of her career she was part of Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles. They were the first African-American group to perform at the Metropolitan Opera House and land the cover of the Rolling Stone magazine. Labelle has earned Grammy Awards, sold over 50 million records and also inducted into many Hall of Fames. File photo of Patti LaBelle. (Credit: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
File photo of Tina Turner. (Credit: MARK RALSTON/AFP/GettyImages)
Tina Turner hailed from a small town of Nutbush, Tenn., where she began singing with Ike Turner’s Kings Of Rhythm. Although dealing with years of domestic abuse, Tina continued to give performances like they were her last. Her countless hits, such as “What’s Love Got To Do With It” and “Proud Mary,” have earned Tina eight Grammy Awards. File photo of Tina Turner. (Credit: MARK RALSTON/AFP/GettyImages)
File photo of Aretha Franklin. (Credit:  Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
Even though she began singing gospel at church at the age of 18, Aretha Franklin decided to enter the world of secular music. Her hit songs “Respect” and “A Natural Woman” gained her the title “The Queen Of Soul.” She was the first female performer to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Franklin continues to perform and rock stages even after dealing with health issues in 2011. File photo of Aretha Franklin. (Credit: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
File photo of Diana Ross. (Credit:  JOE KLAMAR/AFP/Getty Images)
Born and raised in Detroit, Diana Ross was the leader and founding member of The Supremes. The group became Motown’s most successful group. Ross recorded successful songs such as “Reach Out and Touch” and “Ain’t No Moutain High Enough.” Ross, who ventured out into the movie scene and Broadway, has sold over 100 million records worldwide. File photo of Diana Ross. (Credit: JOE KLAMAR/AFP/Getty Images)
File photo of Glady's Knight. (Credit: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)
Singer, songwriter and author, Gladys Knight is known as the “Empress of Soul.” She spent most of her career as part of the group called Gladys Knight & the Pips, recording hits like “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” and “Midnight Train To Georgia.” Knight earned Grammy Awards and through the years acted not only in movies, but shows such as A Different World and even stepping on the Broadway stage this summer in After Midnight. File photo of Glady's Knight. (Credit: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)
File photo of Anita Baker. (Credit:  Dennis Brack-Pool/Getty Images)
Anita Baker began in the 70s with a funk band known as Chapter 8. In 1983, Baker released her first solo album The Songstress. In 1986, she rose to fame with her album Rapture, which included Grammy-winning single “Sweet Love.” Baker earned eight Grammy Awards and put out six albums. Baker is known for her vocal range and still continues to record music for her fans. File photo of Anita Baker. (Credit: Dennis Brack-Pool/Getty Images)
File photo of Janet Jackson. (Credit: ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/GettyImages)
Even though her brother was the “King Of Pop,” Janet Jackson followed in Michael’s footsteps of entertaining fans not just with her music but on television shows and movies. Jackson’s albums and hit singles have earner her many Grammy Awards as well as nominations. Her dance moves, sex appeal and continuous hits make her one of the best-selling artists of all time. File photo of Janet Jackson. (Credit: ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/GettyImages)
File photo of Mariah Carey. (Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Her passion for music at a young age has helped Mariah Carey to continue to be a success in the industry. Carey’s voice, charm and diva qualities have made her one of the most successful female artists of all time. Her hit featuring Boy II Men, “One Sweet Day,” spent 16 weeks on Billboard’s top charts. Carey recently released her album “Me. I Am Mariah” and continues to dazzle us with her couture gowns not at concerts, but the streets of NYC, in the park with her kids and subway stations. File photo of Mariah Carey. (Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
File photo of George Clinton with Parliament Funkadelic. (Credit: MICHAL CIZEK/AFP/Getty Images)
- When you mix funk, soul and rock together it will always make you think of George Clinton and P-Funk. The group was known for their funky colored hair, bright clothing, lyrics and beats that just made you jam. Their famous hits “Atomic Dog” and “Flashlight” still make fans feel like it’s the first time they heard it. File photo of George Clinton with Parliament Funkadelic. (Credit: MICHAL CIZEK/AFP/Getty Images)
File photo of The Temptations. (Credit: Central Press/Getty Images)
They created hits such as “Papa Was A Rolling Stone” and “My Girl.” The Temptations were known for aligned harmony, stylish wardrobe and choreography. The Temptations success with Motown Records lead them to be one of the most highly influential groups to earn Grammy’s and Lifetime Achievement Awards. File photo of The Temptations. (Credit: Central Press/Getty Images)
File photo of Boyz II Men. (Credit:  DAN GROSHONG/AFP/Getty Images)
These four young men from Philly are known for their harmony and emotional ballads. Boyz II Men gained a lot of success after releasing “End Of the Road” which stayed number one on the Billboard charts for thirteen weeks. They managed to deliver continuous hits and entertain audiences for years. As of last year “One Sweet Day” a song with Mariah Carey still holds a record of the top Hot 100. File photo of Boyz II Men. (Credit: DAN GROSHONG/AFP/Getty Images)
File photo of Jackson Five. (Credit: Frank Barratt/Getty Images)
They were a family that grew to be one of the most successful groups in entertainment. The Jackson brothers were known for their heart- warming songs, dance skills and unforgettable lead singer Michael. With hits such as “I’ll Be There” and “Never Can Say Goodbye” their music earned them an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997. File photo of Jackson Five. (Credit: Frank Barratt/Getty Images)
File photo of GAP Band. (Credit: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
- “Outstanding, girl you knock me out. “ The GAP Band composed of three brothers combined funk and R&B music to form their own style. They rose to fame in mid 70’s with songs such as “Outstanding” and “Burn Rubber On Me.” GAP Band is known to have one of the most sampled songs, which was used by over 150 artist. Their unique musical style labeled them to be a successful group. File photo of GAP Band. (Credit: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
File photo of TLC. (Credit: DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
These three woman are labeled as one of Billboards greatest musical trios. T-Boz, Left Eye and Chilli combined R&B, hip-hop and soul. Their success in the early 90’s and 2000’s earned them several Grammy’s and they have sold over 65 million records. “No Scrubs” off the album FanMail debuted as number one for weeks on Billboard and sold over 11 million copies. Even with the death of member Left Eye, TLC is still going on tour and making a comeback. File photo of TLC. (Credit: DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
File photo of New Edition. (Credit: Earl Gibson III/Getty Images for BET)
- These boys set the tone for many guy groups in the 90’s. New Edition reached their success in the 1980’s with “Mr. Telephone Man” and “Candy Girl.” These five young men gained fame and fortune with their dynamic voices and dance moves. Through the years New Edition has successfully booked tours around the world and reuniting the whole group for the anniversary of “Candy Girl.” File photo of New Edition. (Credit: Earl Gibson III/Getty Images for BET)
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