Inspired by the April 29 birthdays of Willie Nelson, The Coasters/Robins’ Carl Gardner, Tommy James, Tammi Terrell, The KLF’s Bill Drummond, The Brady Bunch’s Eve Plumb, Duke Ellington, Romeo Void’s Debora Iyall, Lonnie Donegan, Rod McKuen, Otis Rush and April Stevens; and the April 28 birthdays of Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon, Goodie Mob’s Big Gipp, Too $hort and Blossom Dearie.
TRIVIA QUESTION: Who was the first woman to hit the top ten on the Billboard Hot 100 with a song she wrote herself?
ANSWER: Carla Thomas. She was 16 years old when she wrote “Gee Whiz (Look at His Eyes),” which hit #10 in 1961. Today she turns 72.
In 1963, Thomas incorporated the title of her first hit into a seasonal offering, “Gee Whiz, It’s Christmas.”
“Gee Whiz, It’s Christmas” inspires today’s playlist – fifty great soul and r&b Christmas jams, with some fun extra treats thrown in.
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Today is the 83rd birthday of Berry Gordy, Jr., the aspiring pugilist turned songwriter turned record executive/entrepreneur. After penning hits for Jackie Wilson and Etta James in the late 1950s, Gordy went on to launch the Motown Record Corporation. The company’s first pop hit was Barrett Strong’s “Money (That’s What I Want),” a song written by Gordy with Janie Bradford, in 1960. From then on the hits kept coming.
Today’s playlist is a small sampling of great Motown releases. If you have a favorite Motown record, let me know what it is in the Comments. Enjoy!