Cissy Houston, mother of Whitney, was the lady who founded the girl-group, the Sweet Inspirations. During the 60s they were in tremendous demand as back-up singers on several records by Wilson Pickett, Dionne Warwick, and Aretha Franklin. They even did backing vocals on “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison. But they are best known as Elvis Presley’s background singers in the 1970’s on his records and at his concerts. A copy of their album “Sweet Inspirations” from 1979 on Koala records can get you $750.00 today.
Besides singing, writing, and producing for the Beach Boys, Brian Wilson did the same for a group called the Survivors, consisting of Brian Wilson, Bob Norberg, Dave Nowlen, and Rich Alarian. The single, “Pamela Jean,” was released as a favor or payoff to Alarian who had assisted in the writing of many Beach Boys songs without receiving credit. The 45, released on Capitol records in 1964, is worth up to $500.00 today.
One of the giants of American Country music was a man from Nova Scotia. Hank Snow had more than 75 hits on the Country charts including “I’m Moving On” and “I’ve Been Everywhere.” He is in the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame. His fabulous career all began as a young boy when he purchased his first guitar for $12.95. Among his most popular albums was “Old Doc Brown.” Released on RCA in 1955, a copy can sell for $175.00 today. His 1952 album “Hank Snow Sings” is worth up to $150.00.
In 1968 Motown put their two super groups, the Supremes and the Temptations, together and released “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me.” It might have made it to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 had it not been for another Motown superstar, Marvin Gaye, who owned # 1 with “I Heard it Through the Grapevine.” The “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me” single with picture sleeve can get you $100.00 today.
On this day June 2,1988 Adrien Brown, wife of James Brown, answering to DUI charges says she has diplomatic immunity as she is the wife of the ”ambassador of soul.” The judge is not amused. Among James Brown’s most collectible albums are 1968’s “I Can’t Stand Myself” and 1970’s “Soul on Top.” Each can sell for $200.00 today.
Among the Jazz greats who were “far out, man” was Sun Ra, born Herman Blount. Insisting that he was from Saturn and not a mere Earthling, Sun Ra was extremely prolific with almost 100 albums since 1956. Herman took the name of Sun Ra because Ra is the Egyptian god of the sun. No matter what planet he was from, he constantly preached peace and love. In 1957 Saturn records (not sure if they were really on Saturn) released the Sun Ra album “Super Sonic Jazz.” An original copy can sell for $2,500.00 today. The 1966 re issue is no more than $75.00.
Herman’s Hermits brought the song “Silhouettes” to # 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1965. But it’s the hit version by the Rays that lives in Rock N Roll history. In 1957 the Rays hit # 3 on the national charts. Their classic 45 on Cameo records can now sell for $25.00. In 1958 Chess records released the EP “The Rays.” An original copy is worth up to $450.00 today.
Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs were hot in the mid-1960s with hits like “Li’l Red Riding Hood” and “Ju Ju Hand.” But it’s the multi-million seller “Wooly Bully” that solidified their place in Rock N Roll history. “Wooly Bully” was Billboard’s Record of the Year in 1965, having stayed on the charts longer than any other single that year. Most copies are on M-G-M records and worth no more than $10.00. But find a copy on the original XL record label and that could get you $1,000.00 today.
The Barbarians was a 1960s band who is best known for their only hit of “Are You a Boy or Are You a Girl,” now worth up to $30.00. They are also known for their drummer, Victor Moulton, whose nickname is Moulty. With a left hook instead of a left hand, he stood out among the other Rock N Roll drummers of the day. The Barbarians self-titled album containing their hit, released on Laurie records in 1965, can get you $100.00 today.
Jack Scott, born in Ontario, was one of the most prolific song-writers and hit-makers of the late 1950s and early 1960s, but he is not yet in the Rock N Roll Hall of fame where he definitely belongs. His first national hit was “My True Love,” which reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1958 and worth up to $30.00 today. More hits followed like “Burning Bridges” and “What in the World’s Come Over You.” The “Burning Bridges” album, released on Capitol records in 1964, can get you $150.00 today.