Zach Prather bio Pleasebe advised
Born in Chicago in 1952, Zach Prather grew up listening to and eventually playing with, some of the greatest Blues Artists known to man. Chicago’s mean streets were already World Famous for its red hot Blues Clubs, Venues, and players, and in the midst of it, was young Zach. EARLY DAYS: In 1965, at age 11, Zach started playing guitar. He naturally took to the instrument and by 12 he was in his first band, The Kings of Soul. By 15, the gifted Zach landed a deal with Curtis Mayfield’s Label Curtom Records. Zach was signed after catching Curtis' attention while playing Blues Clubs and Venues in the Chicago area. He recorded 4 songs for Curtom, which were intended for singles. But Zach’s Mother was not keen on her young son entering the music industry, thus the singles were never released. However, everything was looking good for Zach and his musical career, even though he was only a 'child'; Zach’s talent was noticed and welcomed amongst the 'Superstars of Blues'. But in 1969 at age 17, everything stopped as Zach had to put his dreams on hold to fulfil his legally required 2year 'Call of Duty' in the Army. However, music was not to evade Zach, as while stationed in Germany, he learned the drums. This newly found talent was to play a vital part in the future of the incredibly gifted Blues Legend in the making, Zach Prather. From Prodigy to Player: When Zach left the military in 1971, times had changed and so had Zach as he was now a man and it was no longer the local Chicago Blues that influenced Zach, it was the British Rock Invasion! The Rolling Stones, the Kinks, Small Faces and The Who, were storming the US Charts and they were doing so by mixing Rock n’ Roll with Zach’s beloved Blues, so naturally he was drawn to this new take on his old history. Zach formed James Monroe 2, a big band with horns, percussion, bass, and Zach on guitar. The group were successful, playing big gigs at big venues, including The Aragon Ballroom (one of the biggest and most famous venues at the time) as well as many Universities (Southern Illinois, University of Chicago, and Northwestern University) and opening for Strawberry Alarm Clock and Ask Rufus (eventually Rufus), as well as events such as, The Black Pathers’ Food Program Event. But a new horizon was beckoning; the West Coast was calling... Zach made his move to San Francisco in ‘74, playing with Sly Stones’ background singers, in their band Little Sister, however life was about to change again, when Zach got a phone call from his percussionist and bassist from James Monroe 2. Both players were in Los Angeles and now playing for Cash McCall. Cash was band leader for Minnie Ripperton. Zach performed only once with Minnie, however the two had known each other for many years, from her days of ‘Loving You’ up until her death at 33 from breast cancer, mainly due to having the same Manager, Jack Kelman, thus they were in the same circles quite often. But Cash had other things in mind, he needed a second drummer for his solo band, and Zach was a natural selection. It was a turn that would take Zach places never before seen for the next 20 years. Touring with Legends: When Zach joined McCall’s band, Cash was riding off his Billboard Chart success, and was signed under Columbia/CBS. It was during Cash’s solo album ‘No More Doggin’ (1983), that Zach would meet Producer Charles Stepney (Earth, Wind, and Fire, Denise Williams, and The Emotions), and tour with some of the biggest names of the Blues genre, including Etta James, Willie Dixon, and Screamin’ J. Hawkins. Etta James (1983): Zach toured with Etta James for over 3 years, “With Etta, I recall our gig at The Keystone in Berkeley. She was opening for Mike Bloomfield. He was late and no one could find him, so they made a deal with Etta to play earlier... it turned out, he was dead in his home! That was something.”
Willie Dixon (1986): During his time playing with Cash, Zach met the Legendary Willie Dixon and Zach’s personal musical direction was appreciated greatly, "Cash [McCall] and I had already become very good friends when he introduced me to Willie and in a short time we also were very close. Willie decided we should record together he really liked the things I was doing. He knew people were calling it Rock 'n Roll but no one knew better than him where Rock 'n Roll came from.” Zach toured for 4 years with Willie and worked on Willie’s last recordings with Producer Stanley "The Baron" Behrens (Canned Heat), “They were recorded as The Stanley Behrens/Willie Dixon Project and were the last 2 or 3 albums Willie produced. During these sessions, I worked with Willie as a handpicked all around person, writing demos for a couple of records, Stan’s being one of them, and I did a lot background singing, drums, guitar you named it I did it! He really liked me and it was a big learning experience working with him.” It was during this recording project Willie suddenly became ill and never recovered. Zach stayed a friend to Willie and was even with him the day before he died. It was a sad occasion but a celebration at the same time, as Blue’s Legends gathered at Willy’s Funeral in California to pay tribute to their legendary friend. In typical Blues style, a jam was set up and Zach jammed with B.B. King that day. Together they knew Willie was jamming with them too, “Not only did I meet Willie Dixon, but to become his friend and perform with him! It’s a cherished part of my life, Willie taught me about life which is the blues.” Screamin’ J Hawkins (1989): Zach toured for 3 and a half years, “[We] played Cannes and toured the World Japan, Australia, the US and Europe. It was amazing!” But Zach never got a chance to perform on any albums with Screamin’ J, as he explains, “The reason being for no recording was he [Screamin’ J] was very hard to deal with. If you were a promoter or record company, he was always refusing to do any recordings. During those 3 years, he had a record out that was doing well at the time called, ‘Black music for White people’ (1991). But because he was unhappy with the record company, he was refusing to even play anything on it, let alone go back into the studio.” Motown stint: During the 80’s Zach worked as an inhouse song writer for Gwen Gordy Fuqua, writing for Gwen’s division of Motown aimed towards female Artists. Luther Allison (1992): “I met Luther Allison while playing with Screamin’ J around 1992. I was introduced to him by my friend who was his manager and record company, Thomas Ruf of Ruf Records in Germany. However this was frustrating to Zach as he was a performer, not one for sitting on the production line, but things were about to take a turn as this is where he met Luther Allison. It was during his time working at Motown, that Zach met Luther Allison. It didn’t take long for Zach to click with Luther, in fact, after only one Jam Session and some quick arrangements, Zach moved to Paris, where he was the drummer in Luther’s band for 3 and a half years. Luther was known for his nonstop touring, Zach recalls, “We did 125 gigs a year, including a special BBC live recording with me on drums it was relentless but good”. First solo Album (1993): It was while living in Paris, Zach made his first CD called Never My Love, with Melodie/Encore Records (France). Second solo Album (2002): Zach had moved to Switzerland by the time his second solo album, ‘Nothing but the Blues’ came out on Taxi Records (France). Third solo album / Dixon Landing Records (2008): Zach recorded his second solo album FREAK while under the Dixon Landing Record (USA) label was started by Willie’s Grandson, Alex Dixon, after Willie’s death in 1989. The album has received rave reviews as it features many potential hits: Cadillac 69, Steamroller, Wound Up Tight, It Ain’t You, and Lovin’ You.
Giggin’ with Mick: Fast forward to the Millennium, Zach had yet another onceina lifetime experience that would influence forever – giggin’ with the one and only Mick Jagger, “”Mick has a house on Mystique but he never did a festival before. His daughter gave him such a hard time he decided to have it one year. I got invited when he came down to a show to hear his friend’s band and see who he could use, I happen to be there gigging. He liked my show and came down 3 more times just to hear my show to the point where one night he got mad at some guy for talking to him while I was playing! He told the guy, “Shut up I’m trying to listen to this guy!”, at least that’s what I was told. So after he picked the band, I got a message to him asking if I could join in as well. He said “yes” because he liked what I did and as he said he wanted to use two guitar players, the rest is history”.” MUSTIQUS FESTIVALS: MUSTIQUE FESTIVAL LINEUPS WHICH ZACH HAS PERFORMED (AVAILABLE ON iTUNES): MUSTIQUE BLUES FESTIVAL 2003 (BCF) – My Woman Has A Black Cat Bone ZACH PRATHER, Mercury Blues HANS THEESINK, Sweet Tooth DANA GILLESPIE , Saturday Night Boogie Woogie Man DIZ WATSON, I Wanna Talk About You EB DAVIS, You Can't Judge A Book By The Cover FELIX DENNIS, The Sky Is Crying ZACH PRATHER, Take A Little Walk With Me JULIEN BRUNETAUD, 29 Ways EB DAVIES, Highway 61 HANS THEESINK, Come On (If You're Coming) DANA GILLESPIE, Further On Up The Road ZACH PRATHER, Bumper Boogie JULIEN BRUNETAUD, ABC DIZ WATSON
MUSTIQUE BLUES FESTIVAL 2005 (BCF) Rock Me Baby LUDDY SAMMS, Dust My Broom MICK JAGGER, Smooth Sailing ZACH PRATHER, Having Fun Ain't A Dying Art DANA GILLESPIE, Mean Old Eastern THE MARQUES BROTHERS, Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy DINO BAPTISTE, Wine Head BIG JOE LOUIS, Wang Dang Doodle FELIX DENNIS, My Sweet Jelly Roll THE MARQUES BROTHERS, Juke Joint BEN SHAW, Going Down MICK JAGGER, Put The Shoe On The Other Foot ZACH PRATHER, Timeless DANA GILLESPIE, 6345789 LUDDY SAMMS, Lining Track JEREMIAH MARQUES
MUSTIQUE BLUES FESTIVAL 2008 (BCEF) Nothing Left to Say: ZACH PRATHER, Flooding Down In Texas: PAPA GEORGE, Twenty Four Seven: DANA GILLESPIE, Big Boss Man: RONNIE JONES, I Just Want to Make Love To You: FELIX DENNIS, Hottie Blues: JULIEN BRUNETAUD, Too Hard: CARL GUSTAVE, C'est la Vie: DINO BAPTISTE, Wound Up Tight: ZACH PRATHER, Nite With You: PAPA GEORGE, It's Gonna be a Long Night: DANA GILLESPIE, Barefootin': STEVE SIMPSON, Stormy Monday Blues: RONNIE JONES, I Ain't Gonna Be Your Monkey Man: JULIEN BRUNETAUD
L.A.TIMES called Zach, “The Bad Boy of Blues”
DISCOGRAPHY: 1979: DANCING FEVER, Ariola, Germany (The Street Players) Produced by Cash McCall Credits: Zach on all guitars plus all drums and second voice parts. The single made the Billboard Top 100. 1995: NEVER MY LOVE, Encore Records, France (Zach Prather) 2002: NOTHING BUT THE BLUES, Taxi Records, France (Zach Prather’s Blues Express) 2003: MUSTIQUE BLUES FESTIVAL 2003, Townsend Records, UK (Compilation album featuring Zach Prather on 3 Tracks: My Woman Has A Black Cat Bone, The Sky Is Crying, and On Up The Road) 2004: TOOLS OF THE TRADE, Taxi Records, France (Zach Prather’s Blues Express) 2005: MUSTIQUE BLUES FESTIVAL 2005, Townsend Records, UK (Compilation album featuring Zach Prather on 2 Tracks: Smooth Sailing and Put the Shoe on the Other Foot 2008: MUSTIQUE BLUES FESTIVAL 2008, Townsend Records, UK (Compilation album featuring Zach Prather on 2 Tracks: Nothing Left to Say and Wound Up Tight) 2008: FREAK, ColorBlind Music, Switzerland/Dixon Landing Music, USA (Zach Prather and Slight Return)
WIKIPEDIA REFERENCE – Curtis Lee Mayfield (June 3, 1942 – December 26, 1999) was an American soul, rhythm and blues, and funk singer, songwriter, and record producer best known for his ‘anthemic’ music with The Impressions and composing the soundtrack to the blaxploitation film Super Fly. From these works and others, he is highly regarded as a pioneer of funk and of politically conscious African-American music. He was also a multi-instrumentalist who played the guitar, bass, piano, saxophone, and drums. Curtom Records was a record label started by Curtis Mayfield of The Impressions along with Impressions associate Eddie Thomas (the band's manager and Jerry Butler's former driver) in 1968 although the name was used as early as 1963. The labels name was a combination of Mayfields first name (Curtis) and Thomas' surname (Thomas). Curtis had previously made attempts at a record label with the "Mayfield" and "Windy C" labels. It is noted for being one of the first ever record labels owned by an African-American recording artist. Sam Cooke was the first African-American recording artist to start his own record label, SAR. Curtom was located in Chicago's old RCA studio, acquired by Mayfield for cutting demos. Along with the Impressions' releases and Mayfield's own solo material, artists on or affiliated with Curtom included the Five Stairsteps, Donny Hathaway (principally as a songwriter/orchestration arranger), Linda Clifford, Baby Huey and the Babysitters, Leroy Hutson, The Natural Four, Bobby Whiteside, the Staple Singers, and Mavis Staples' solo efforts. Most of the acts on Curtom's roster were either produced by Mayfield himself, or heavily influenced by his style. Eddie Thomas later developed the Curtom subsidiary Thomas records. The Aragon Ballroom is the name of a historic ballroom in Chicago, Illinois. Located on West Lawrence Avenue approximately five miles (8 km) north of downtown in the Uptown neighborhood, it was built in 1926 and designed to resemble a Spanish village and named for a province of Spain, the Aragon was extravagantly appointed. The hall was an immediate success, and remained a popular Chicago attraction through the 1940s. The Aragon's proximity to the Chicago 'L' (elevated railway) helped people flock to the hall, and crowds often exceeded 18,000 guests over the six open nights each week. Powerhouse radio station WGN broadcast an hour-long program from the hall each night to radio audiences throughout the Midwestern United States and Canada. The Aragon hosted nearly all of the top names of the big band era. Among the best known names were Frank Sinatra, Tommy Dorsey, Xavier Cugat, Glenn Miller, Lawrence Welk, Tiny Hill, Guy Lombardo, Dick Jurgens, Harry James, Kay Kyser, Benny Goodman, Sammy Kaye, Artie Shaw, Eddy Howard, Duke Ellington, Jimmy Dorsey, and Wayne King, among others. Legend has it that the secret tunnels under the nearby Green Mill bar, a Prohibition-era hangout of Al Capone, and lead to the Aragon's basement. During the 1970's, the Aragon was home to socalled "monster rock" shows, which were marathons of rock and roll acts often lasting six hours or more. Top acts included The Byrds, B. B. King, Jethro Tull, Clouds, AC/DC, KISS& others of that era. The shows gained a reputation for attracting a tough crowd, leading to the nickname "the Aragon Brawlroom". Strawberry Alarm Clock is a psychedelic rock band from Los Angeles best known for their 1967 hit "Incense and Peppermints".  The group took its name as an homage to the Beatles' psychedelic hit "Strawberry Fields Forever" , reportedly, at the suggestion of their record company Uni Records. They are often thought of as a " one-hit wonder"  and were instrumental in the development of bubblegum pop music in the United States. Rufus (formally known as Ask Rufus) was an American funk band, from Chicago, Illinois; best known for launching the career of lead singer Chaka Khan. They had several hits throughout their career, including "Tell Me Something Good," "Sweet Thing," and "Ain't Nobody." The Black Panther Party (originally the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense) was an African-American revolutionary organization. It was active in the United States from the mid-1960s into the 1970s. The Black Panther Party achieved national and international impact through their deep involvement in the Black Power movement and in US politics of the 1960s and 70s, as the intense anti-racism of the time is today considered one of the most significant social, political and cultural currents in US history. The group's "provocative rhetoric, militant posture, and cultural and political flourishes permanently altered the contours of American Identity."  Minnie Julia Riperton (November 8, 1947 – July 12, 1979) was an American singer-songwriter best known for her vocal range of five-and-a-half octaves and her 1975 single "Lovin' You". She was married to songwriter and music producer Richard Rudolph from 1972 until her death in the summer of 1979. They had two children - music engineer Marc Rudolph and actress/comedienne Maya Rudolph. Riperton grew up on Chicago's southside. As a child, she studied music, drama, and dance at Chicago's Lincoln Center. In her teen years, she sang lead vocals for the Chicago-based girl group, The Gems. Her early affiliation with the legendary ChessRecords afforded her the opportunity to sing backup for various established artist such as Etta James, Fontella Bass, Ramsey Lewis, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, and Muddy Waters. While at Chess, Riperton also sang lead for the experimental rock/soul group Rotary Connection, from 1967 to 1971. In 1969 Riperton, along with Rotary Connection, played in the first Catholic Rock Mass at the Liturgical Conference National Convention, Milwaukee Arena, Milwaukee, WI. produced by James F. Colaianni. Riperton reached the apex of her short, but
esteemed, career with her number-one hit single, "Lovin' You," on April 4, 1975. The single was the last release from her 1974 gold album entitled Perfect Angel. Cash McCall (born Maurice Dollison Jr. , January 28, 1941, New Madrid, Missouri) is an American electric blues guitarist, singer and songwriter. He is best known for his 1966 R&B hit, "When You Wake Up". McCall's long career has seen him evolve in musical styles from gospel to soul to the blues. He is not to be confused with the 1960 film of the same name. Cash joined the United States Army, and then settled in Chicago where he had lived for a period as a child. In 1964, he played guitar and sang, alongside Otis Clay, with the Gospel Songbirds, who recorded for Excello Records. Cash later joined another gospel singing ensemble, the Pilgrim Jubilee Singers. Billed under his birth name, his debut solo single release was "Earth Worm" (1963). Three years later he co-wrote "When You Wake Up" with the record producer, Monk Higgins. His initial soul styled demo was issued by Thomas Records, who chose to call him Cash McCall. The song reached #19 on the US Billboard R&B chart. This led to McCall touring with Lou Christie and Mitch Ryder in Dick Clark's Caravan of Stars. However, subsequent releases for both the Thomas and Checker labels failed to chart. These included the song, "It's Wonderful To Be In Love". In 1967, McCall co-wrote "That's How It Is (When You're in Love)", a Top 30 R&B hit for Otis Clay. Under the tutelage of Willie Dixon, McCall went on to become a session musician and songwriter for Chess Records. In the late 1960s, McCall, along with Jimmy Dawkins and Johnny Twist, played guitar on some of George "Wild Child" Butler's early recordings. McCall gravitated towards the blues in the 1970s. He issued Omega Man (1973) before relocating to Los Angeles in 1976 and, by 1983 McCall had released No More Doggin'. In 1987, Stony Plain Records released the album, Cash Up Front. McCall co-produced Willie Dixon's Grammy Award clinching Hidden Charms (1988), and played in Dixon's All-Stars band. Since then he has toured as a solo artist, and appeared with the Chicago Rhythm and Blues Kings for whom he has written several tracks. McCall's songs have been recorded by The Blind Boys of Alabama, The Mighty Reapers, Margie Evans, Tyrone Davis and Mitty Collier. Charles Stepney (26 March 1931–17 May 1976) was a producer, arranger, songwriter and musician famous for his Orchestral Psychedelic soul sound with Chicago's Cadet/ Chess records in the 1960s/1970s and afterwards with Earth, Wind and Fire. Between the creation of the Rotary Connection albums, Charles also produced, arranged & co-wrote with Rotary Connection singer Minnie Riperton’s 1970 debut album Come to My Garden. During this time Charles wrote, produced and conducted a Classical Jazz Symphony in 5 parts entitled Cohesion. Cohesion was performed in Minneapolis, MN by the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra, the Ramsey Lewis Trio and Minnie Riperton. Stepney is also credited as a musician/producer on the following albums: The Soulful Strings - Paint It, Black (1966) & Groovin' with the Soulful Strings (1967), Muddy Waters - Electric Mud (1968) & After the Rain (1969, Howlin' Wolf - The Howlin' Wolf Album (1969), Marlena Shaw - The Spice of Life (1969), Terry Callier - Occasional Rain (1972), What Color Is Love (1973) & I Just Can't Help Myself (1974), Ramsey Lewis - Maiden Voyage 1968, Mother Nature's Son (1968), The Piano Player (1969), Sun Goddess (album) (1974), Don't It Feel Good (1975) & Salongo (1976), Phil Upchurch - Upchurch (album) (1968), The Dells - There Is (album) (1968), Love Is Blue (album) (1969) Like It Is, Like It Was (1971), & Freedom Means (1971), The Emotions Flowers(1976), Deniece Williams - This Is Niecy (1976) In the mid 1970s Charles teamed up again with Maurice White and produced a number of Ramsey Lewis Trio albums in which Maurice drummed. Before he died he co-produced with Maurice the platinum selling Earth Wind and Fire albums Open Our Eyes (1974), That's the Way of the World, Gratitude both released in 1975 and Spirit released in 1976. Artists such as Ramsey Lewis, Stevie Wonder, Chaka Kahn, Jean-Paul 'Bluey' Maunick, Zero 7, Elton John, Giles Peterson & Terry Callier have been influenced by Stepney. Etta James (born Jamesetta Hawkins ; January 25, 1938) is an American blues, soul, R&B, rock & roll, gospel and jazz singer and songwriter. James is the winner of four Grammys and seventeen Blues Music Awards. She was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1993, the Blues Hall of Fame in 2001, and the Grammy Hall of Fame in both 1999 and 2008. In the 1950sand 1960s,she had her biggest success as a blues and R&B singer. She is best known for performing " At Last", which has been featured in movies, television shows, commercials, and web-streaming services. Jameshas a contralto vocal range. Michael Bernard "Mike" Bloomfield (July 28, 1943 – February 15, 1981) was an American musician, guitarist, and composer, born in Chicago, Illinois, who became one of the first popular music superstars of the 1960s to earn his reputation entirely on his instrumental prowess. Respected for his fluid guitar playing, Bloomfield, who knew and played with many of Chicago's blues legends even before he achieved his own fame, was one of the primary influences on the mid-to-late 1960s revival of classic Chicago and other styles of blues music. In 2003 he was ranked at number 22 on Rolling Stone's "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time". Jalacy Hawkins (July 18, 1929, Cleveland, Ohio — February 12, 2000, Neuilly-sur-Seine, France), best known as Screamin' Jay Hawkins was an African-American musician, singer, and actor. Famed chiefly for his powerful, operatic vocal delivery and wildly theatrical performances of songs such as "I Put a Spell on You", Hawkins sometimes used macabre props onstage, making him the one of few original shock rockers. Although Hawkins was not a major success as a recording artist, his highly theatrical performances from "I Put a Spell On You" onward earned him a steady career as a live performer for decades afterward, and influenced subsequent acts. He opened for Fats Domino, Tiny Grimes and the Rolling Stones. This exposure in turn influenced rock groups such as Screaming Lord Sutch, Black Sabbath, Arthur Brown, Dread Zeppelin, The Horrors, Marilyn Manson and Alice Cooper. William James "Willie" Dixon (July 1, 1915 – January 29, 1992) was an American blues musician, vocalist, songwriter, arranger and record producer. A Grammy Award winner who was proficient on both the Upright bass and the guitar, as well as his own singing voice, Dixon is arguably best known as an acclaimed, prolific songwriter, and one of the founders of the Chicago blues sound. His songs have been recorded not only by himself, or that of the trio and other ensembles in which he participated, but an uncounted number of musicians representing many genres between them. A short list of his most famous compositions include " Little Red Rooster", "Hoochie Coochie Man", "Evil", "Spoonful", "Back Door Man", "I Just Want to Make Love to You", "I Ain't Superstitious", "My Babe", "Wang Dang Doodle", and "Bring It On Home". They were written during the peak of ChessRecords, 1950–1965, and performed
by Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, and Little Walter, influencing a worldwide generation of musicians. Next to Muddy Waters, he was the most influential person in shaping the post World War II sound of the Chicago blues. He also was an important link between the blues and rock and roll, working with Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley in the late 1950s. His songs were covered by some of the biggest artists of more recent times, including Bob Dylan, Cream, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Foghat, The Yardbirds, The Rolling Stones, Queen, Megadeth, The Doors, The Allman Brothers Band, Grateful Dead, and a posthumous duet with Colin James. Stanley "The Baron" Behrens – (excerpt from MySpace), born and raised in the Bronx, New York, Stan grew up listening to street corner doo wop singers, jazz and blues, and rock and roll. Stan always wanted to be a musician ever since a little kid. He is a former member of the classic rock band from the 60's called "Canned Heat" and plays harmonica (on many Willie Dixon albums), saxophone, flute, and sings lead vocals. Riley B. King (born September 16, 1925), known by the stage name B.B. King , is an American blues guitarist and singersongwriter acclaimed for his expressive singing and guitar playing. Rolling Stone magazine ranked him at #3 on its list of the " 100 greatest guitarists of all time". According to Edward M. Komara, King "introduced a sophisticated style of soloing based on fluid string bending and shimmering vibrato that would influence virtually every electric blues guitarist that followed."  King has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Gwen Gordy Fuqua (November 26, 1927 – November 8, 1999) was the elder sister of Motown founder Berry Gordy, sister of Motown songwriters Anna Gordy Gaye, Robert Gordy and George Gordy, sister of Motown Museum founder Esther Gordy Edwards and the former wife of Harvey Fuqua. She was also an important contributor to the early years of the label as a songwriter herself. Fuqua began her music career in the mid-1950s co-writing hit singles for Jackie Wilson with boyfriend Roquel Billy Davis (who then went by the pseudonym Tyran Carlo) and her brother Berry. Fuqua and Davis soon departed to form Anna Records (with sister Anna as a limited partner) in 1959, around the same time Fuqua's brother Berry formed Motown's first label, Tamla Records. That year, when Gordy co-wrote and produce the Barrett Strong single, "Money (That's What I Want)", he asked Fuqua and Davis to distribute the song for national release. Released on Anna Records, the song rose to the top thirty on the pop charts in 1960 and became Anna's biggest hit and Motown's first hit single. In 1960, after breaking up with Davis romantically, Fuqua befriended Harvey Fuqua, former co-lead singer of The Moonglows and soon the two became a couple. They married in 1961. That same year, Anna Records folded. The couple started Harvey Records and Tri-Phi Records, signing The Spinners, Shorty Long and Junior Walker & the All Stars, all three bands later leaving to join Motown. In 1963, the labels folded and the couple found work as Motown staffers. In the late 1960s, Gwen and Harvey Fuqua divorced though she still kept Harvey's last name. In the late 1970s, Fuqua discovered the disco group High Inergy, who had a Motown hit in 1977 with "You Can't Turn Me Off (In the Middle of Turning Me On)". She was also credited for co-writing her old friend Marvin Gaye's 1973 song, "Distant Lover", from his Let's Get It On album. Luther Allison (August 17, 1939 – August 12, 1997) was an American blues guitarist. He was born in Widener, Arkansasand moved with his family, at age twelve, to Chicago in 1951. He taught himself guitar and began listening to blues extensively. Three years later he began hanging outside blues nightclubs with the hopes of being invited to perform. He played with Howlin' Wolf's band and backed JamesCotton. His big break came in 1957 when Muddy Waters invited Allison to the stage. He worked the club circuit throughout the late 1950s and early 1960s and recorded his first single in 1965. Allison was signed to the Delmark Records label in 1967 and released his debut album Love Me Mama the following year. A well-received set at the 1969 Ann Arbor Blues Festival resulted in his being asked to perform there each of the next three years. He also toured nationwide and, in 1972, was signed to Motown Records, the first and one of the few blues artists to do so. By the mid 1970s he began touring Europe and moved to France in 1977. He would not return to the United States for another fifteen years. Allison was known for his concert performances, lengthy guitar solos and crowd walking with his Gibson Les Paul. Sir Michael Philip "Mick" Jagger (born 26 July 1943) is an English musician, singer-songwriter, actor, and producer, best known as the lead vocalist of rock band, The Rolling Stones. Jagger has also acted in and produced several films. The Rolling Stones started in the early 1960s as a rhythm and blues cover band with Jagger as frontman. Beginning in 1964, Jagger and guitarist Keith Richards developed a songwriting partnership, and by the mid-1960sthe group had evolved into a major rock band. Frequent conflict with the authorities (including alleged drug use and his romantic involvements) ensured that during this time Jagger was never far from the headlines, and he was often portrayed as a counterculture figure. In the late 1960sJagger began acting in films (starting with Performance and Ned Kelly), to mixed reception. In the 1970s, Jagger, with the rest of the Stones, became tax exiles, consolidated their global position and gained more control over their business affairs with the formation of the Rolling Stones Records label. During this time, Jagger was also known for his high-profile marriages to Bianca Jagger and later to Jerry Hall. In the 1980sJagger released his first solo album. He was knighted in 2003. In 2006, Jagger was ranked by Hit Parader as the fifteenth greatest heavy metal singer of all time, despite not being associated with the genre.