May 25, 1965 – Sonny Boy Williamson ll was born Aleck (Alex) Ford aka Alex “Rice” Miller – (his stepfather’s name) on the Sara Jones Plantation near Glendora, in Tallahatchie County, Mississippi. He claimed his birth date was December 5, 1899 although one researcher, David Evans, music professor at Memphis University, claims to have found census record evidence that he was born around 1912 while his gravestone has his birthdate as March 11th 1908. Another confusion is created by the fact that he went under the name Sonny Boy Williamson II, to distinguish from the fact that there is a “real” Sonny Boy Williamson, also a famous blues singer/harpist, whose last name was actually Williamson.
He lived and worked with his sharecropper stepfather, Jim Miller, whose last name he soon adopted, and mother, Millie Ford, until the early 1930s. Beginning in the 1930s, he traveled around Mississippi and Arkansas and encountered Big Joe Williams, Elmore James and Robert Lockwood, Jr., also known as Robert Junior Lockwood, who would play guitar on his later Checker Records sides. Continue reading Sonny Boy Williamson 2 5/1965
February 15, 1965 – Nat King Cole was born Nathaniel Adams Coles on March 17, 1919 in Montgomery, Alabama. Cole had three brothers: Eddie, Ike, and Freddy and a half-sister, Joyce Coles. Each of Cole’s brothers would later pursue careers in music as well. When Cole was four years old, he and his family moved to Chicago, Illinois, where his father, Edward Coles, became a Baptist minister. Cole learned to play the organ from his mother, Perlina Coles, the church organist. His first performance was of “Yes! We Have No Bananas” at age four. He began formal lessons at 12, eventually learning not only jazz and gospel music, but also Western classical music, performing, as he said, “from Johann Sebastian Bach to Sergei Rachmaninoff”. Continue reading Nat King Cole 2/1965
January 20, 1965 – Alan Freedalso known as Moondog, was born on December 15, 1921 in Windber, Pennsylvania, commonly referred to as the “father of rock and roll”, became internationally known for promoting African-American R & B music on the radio in the USA and Europe under the name of Rock and Roll. That is why his inclusion into Rock and Roll Paradise.
In 1933, Freed’s family moved to Salem, Ohio where Freed attended Salem High School, graduating in 1940. While Freed was in high school, he formed a band called the Sultans of Swing in which he played the trombone. Freed’s initial ambition was to be a bandleader; however, an ear infection put an end to this dream.
The Origins of the Cleveland Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.