August 24, 2017 – Jamaican Ska Authentic Winston Samuels (McInnis), a living legend in Jamaican Music, was born in Kingston, Jamaica to proud parents Winston D. McInnis and Mavis Davis-McInnis in 1944. From the time he was born he loved to sing. As a matter of fact his mother, Mavis would have Sunday family discussions followed by songs of worship. There was such harmony in the household that it drew other tenants who loved to listen to him. Continue reading Winston Samuels 8/2017
April 15, 2005 – John Fred Gourrier (John Fred & His Playboy Band) was born on May 8th 1941 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. His father, Fred Gourrier, had played professional baseball with the Detroit Tigers organization. In 1956 John formed a band that he called John Fred and the Playboys, a white group that played primarily rhythm and blues music. While still in high school, they cut their first record in late 1958 with Fats Domino’s band. The song was titled Shirley and John Fred and the Playboys saw their song rise as high as number 82 on the national record charts. The group also cut other singles that were not as successful, working at times with Mac Rebennack and with the Jordanaires. John Fred was a 6 foot 5 inch, blue-eyed soul singer who originally formed John Fred And The Playboys in 1956 and attended Southeastern Louisiana University from 1960 to 1963 and spent some time as a college basketball player.
August 2, 2001 – Ron Townson (The Fifth Dimension) was born on January 20, 1933 in St. Louis Missouri.
He started singing at the age of 6 and was a featured soloist on various choirs throughout his years in school, touring with Wings Over Jordan for 8 years while still in school. He was also their choir director for two years. His grandmother had initially inspired him to sing and his parents arranged for him to have private singing and acting lessons. During high school, he appeared for three seasons in productions of Bloomer Girl, Annie Get Your Gun and Show Boat; he also won third place in the Missouri State trials for the Metropolitan Opera.
Later he entered Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri, after which he went to L.A. touring with Dorothy Dandridge for 2 years, then took part in the Samuel Goldwyn motion picture production of Porgy & Bess and then later toured with Nat King Cole, as well as organizing and conducting his own 35 voice a cappella choir in LA.
In 1966, Ron, Billy Davis Jr, Lamonte McLemore, Marilyn McCoo and Florence LaRue formed The Versatiles, but soon changed their name to “The 5th Dimension”. Continue reading Ron Townson 8/2001