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African American singers

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06:42

Doo-Wop's History of Racial Integration

Rock historian Ed Ward looks at some of the early integrated doo-wop groups. He says unlike today's white acts which appropriate black styles, those early groups truly mixed black and white performers and black and white musical styles.

07:11

The Songwriting of Percy Mayfield

Rock historian Ed Ward profiles the influential musician, who had a string of hits in the early 1950s. An automobile accident scarred his face, and he stayed out of the public eye for several years. But Mayfield still made a living from music, with song for other artists -- like the Ray Charles hit, "Hit the Road, Jack."

06:37

A Curtis Mayfield Retrospective

Rock historian Ed Ward begins a two-part profile of the influential singer, songwriter, and guitar player. Mayfield was recently injured during a performance, and is now paralyzed.

06:56

A Great Blues Talent Among the Imitators

Shortly after Ray Charles endured a family tragedy, he started to go blind. His mother feared for his future, but Charles was able to make a career in music. Rock historian Ed Ward describes how Charles, who was steeped in the tradition of Nat King Cole, developed his own unique voice.

06:31

A Career of Near-Masterpieces

Rock historian Ed Ward profiles the rise and fall of soul singer Etta James, whose heroin habit curtailed her career after a string of fantastic albums.

06:16

Mr. Blues is Coming to Town

Rock historian Ed Ward remembers the brash and powerful blues "shouter" Wynonie Harris, whose raucous songs had a strong influence on early rock and roll.

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