John Mayall (Bluesbreakers) OBE

English blues singer, guitarist, organist and songwriter, John Mayall, OBE was born 29 November 1933 in Macclesfield, Cheshire. Mayall’s father Murray Mayall, was a guitarist and jazz music enthusiast. From an early age, John was drawn to the sounds of American blues players such as Lead Belly, Albert Ammons, Pinetop Smith, and Eddie Lang, and taught himself to play the piano, guitars, and harmonica. Mayall spent three years in Korea for national service and, during a period of leave, he bought his first electric guitar. Back in England, he enrolled at Manchester College of Art (now part of Manchester Metropolitan University) and started playing with semi-professional bands. After graduation, he obtained a job as an art designer but continued to play with local musicians.

In 1956, with college fellow Peter Ward, Mayall had founded the Powerhouse Four which consisted of both men and other local musicians with whom they played at local dances. In 1962 Mayall became a member of the Blues Syndicate. The band was formed by trumpeter John Rowlands and alto saxophonist Jack Massarik, who had seen the Alexis Korner band at a Manchester club and wanted to try a similar blend of jazz and blues. It also included rhythm guitarist Ray Cummings and drummer Hughie Flint, whom Mayall already knew. In 1962 John and his band were frequent and popular artists at all night R&B sessions at the ‘Twisted Wheel’ cellar club in central Manchester. Alexis Korner persuaded Mayall to opt for a full-time musical career and move to London, where Korner introduced him to many other musicians and helped them to find gigs. In late 1963, with his band which was now called the Bluesbreakers, Mayall started playing at the Marquee Club. The line-up was Mayall, Ward, John McVie on bass and guitarist Bernie Watson, formerly of Cyril Davies and the R&B All-Stars. The next spring Mayall obtained his first recording date with producer Ian Samwell. The band, with Martin Hart at the drums, recorded two tracks : “Crawling Up a Hill” as well as “Mr. James.”[6] Shortly after, Hughie Flint replaced Hart and Roger Dean took the guitar from Bernie Watson. This line-up backed John Lee Hooker on his British tour in 1964.

Mayall was offered a recording contract by Decca and, on 7 December 1964, a live performance of the band was recorded at the Klooks Kleek. A later studio-recorded single, “Crocodile Walk”, was released along with the album, but both failed to achieve any success and the contract was terminated. In April 1965 former Yardbirds guitarist Eric Clapton replaced Roger Dean. Releasing the single, “I’m Your Witchdoctor” b/w “Telephone Blues”. However, Clapton went to Greece with a band called the ‘Glands’ and Peter Green eventually became the new guitarist. John McVie was dismissed, and Jack Bruce, from the Graham Bond Organisation, played bass. In November 1965 Clapton returned, and Green departed as Mayall guaranteed Clapton his spot back in the Bluesbreakers whenever he tired of the Glands. McVie was allowed back, and Bruce left to join Manfred Mann. They recorded the single, “On Top of the World”, “Lonely Years” b/w “Bernard Jenkins” was also released. In April 1966 the Bluesbreakers recorded a second LP “Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton”. Several of the 12 tracks were covers of pure Chicago blues including Otis Rush’s “All Your Love” Freddy King’s hit instrumental “Hide Away”,”Double Crossing Time” and “Ramblin’ on My Mind”.

However Eric Clapton left the Bluesbreakers and formed the band Cream with, bassist Jack Bruce, and drummer Ginger Baker. Mayall replaced Clapton, with Peter Green and The album A Hard Road was released in February 1967. Then Peter Green also left and started his own project, Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac, which eventually included all three of Mayall’s Bluesbreakers at this time: Green, McVie, and drummer Mick Fleetwood. Mayall’s first choice to replace Green was 18-year-old David O’List, guitarist from the Attack. However O’List formed the Nice with organist Keith Emerson. Mayall replaced Green with Mick Taylor. May all released an album called The Blues Alone.

In 1967 John Mayall, Mick Taylor, John McVie , Hughie Flint or Hartley on drums, and Rip Kant and Chris Mercer on saxophones—recorded the album Crusade. The Bluesbreakers also toured abroad, and Mayall taped the shows on a portable recorder. Which At the end of the tour he edited to form a two volume album: Diary of a Band, Vols. 1 & 2. Meanwhile McVie departed and was replaced by Paul Williams, who himself quit to join Alan Price and was replaced by Keith Tillman. Mayall then replaced bassist Tillman with 15-year-old Andy Fraser. Within six weeks, though, Fraser left to join Free and was replaced by Tony Reeves, previously a member of the New Jazz Orchestra. Hartley was required to leave, and he was replaced by New Jazz Orchestra drummer Jon Hiseman (who had also played with the Graham Bond Organisation). Henry Lowther, who played violin and cornet, joined in 1968 and the Bluesbreakers recorded Bare Wires. Hiseman, Reeves, and Heckstall-Smith then moved on to form Colosseum. The Mayall line-up retained Mick Taylor and added drummer Colin Allen (formerly of Zoot Money’s Big Roll Band / Dantalian’s Chariot, and Georgie Fame) and a young bassist named Stephen Thompson. In August 1968 the new quartet recorded Blues from Laurel Canyon. However in 1969 Taylor left and joined the Rolling Stones and Drummer Allen also departed to join Stone the Crows.

Mayall experimented with lower volume, acoustic instruments, and no drummer, recruiting acoustic fingerstyle guitarist Jon Mark and flautist-saxophonist John Almond who had previously played with Zoot Money and Alan Price and also played baritone sax on Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton and some of A Hard Road. Mayall also moved to Los Angeles. The Bluesbreakers performed at the Fillmore East provided the tracks for the live album The Turning Point. A studio album, Empty Rooms, was recorded with Mayall’s next bassist, former Canned Heat member Larry Taylor, playing bass in a duet with Thompson on “To a Princess.” Mayall produced two more albums, experimenting with electric blues-rock-R&B band recruiting guitarist Harvey Mandel and bassist Larry Taylor, from Canned Heat, and wailing violinist Don “Sugarcane” Harris, from the Johnny Otis Show. In November 1970 Mayall released the double album Back to the Roots featuring Eric Clapton, Mick Taylor, Gerry McGee and Harvey Mandel on guitar; Sugarcane Harris on violin; Almond on woodwinds; Thompson and Larry Taylor on bass; and Hartley on drums. As usual Mayall wrote all the songs and sang all the vocals, played harmonica, guitar, keyboards, drums, and percussion. The follow up to USA Union and Memories was the album Back to the Roots.

Mayall spent most of the next 15 years, recording with local musicians. In August 1971, Mayall produced a jazz-oriented session for bluesman Albert King. In 1972 he released A live album Jazz Blues Fusion with Mayall on harmonica, guitar and piano, Blue Mitchell on trumpet, Clifford Solomon and Ernie Watts on saxophones, Larry Taylor on bass, Ron Selico on drums and Freddy Robinson on guitar. in 1973, he released the live album Moving On. During the next decade Mayall’s music evolved from electric blues played by rock musicians, incorporating jazz, funk or pop elements to even adding female vocals. In 1982 Mayall was reunited with Mick Taylor, John McVie and Colin Allen, three musicians of his 1960s line-ups, for a two-year world tour.

In 1984 Mayall restored the name Bluesbreakers for a line-up comprising the two lead guitars of Walter Trout and Coco Montoya, bassist Bobby Haynes and drummer Joe Yuele. On the occasion of the 40th year of his career Mayall received carte blanche to invite fellow musicians for the recording of a celebratory album. Along for the Ride appeared in 2001, credited to John Mayall and Friends with twenty names listed on the cover, including some Bluesbreakers, old and new, and also Gary Moore, Jonny Lang, Steve Cropper, Steve Miller, Otis Rush, Billy Gibbons, Chris Rea, Jeff Healey and Shannon Curfman. To celebrate his 70th birthday Mayall reunited with special guests Eric Clapton, Mick Taylor and Chris Barber during a fundraiser show. This “Unite for Unicef” concert at the Kings Dock Arena in Liverpool and In 2005, Mayall was appointed an OBE in the Honours List. November 2008, Mayall announced he was disbanding the Bluesbreakers. In 2009 he embarked on a solo world tour with: Rocky Athas on guitar, Greg Rzab on bass, and Jay Davenport on drums. Tom Canning, on organ and An album was released in September 2009.

C. S. Lewis

Irish novelist, poet, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian, and Christian apologist C. S. Lewis was born on 29th November 1898 in Belfast, Ireland. He is known for both his fictional work, especially The Screwtape Letters, The Chronicles of Narnia, and The Space Trilogy and his non-fiction, such as Mere Christianity, Miracles, and The Problem of Pain. Lewis and fellow novelist J. R. R. Tolkien were close friends. Both authors served on the English faculty at Oxford University, and were active in the informal Oxford literary group known as the “Inklings”. At the age of 32 Lewis returned to the Anglican Communion, becoming “a very ordinary layman of the Church of England”. His faith had a profound effect on his work, and his wartime radio broadcasts on the subject of Christianity brought him wide acclaim.

Lewis’s works have been translated into more than 30 languages and have sold millions of copiesAmong his best known novels is The Pilgrim’s Regress, which was written in 1933 shortly after he converted to Christianity, this depicted his experience with Christianity in the style of John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress. Lewis also wroteThe “Space Trilogy” (also called the “Cosmic Trilogy” or “Ransom Trilogy”) which dealt with what Lewis saw as the de-humanising trends in contemporary science fiction. The first book, Out of the Silent Planet, was apparently written following a conversation with his friend JRR Tolkien about these trends. Lewis agreed to write a “space travel” story and Tolkien a “time travel” one, but Tolkien never completed “The Lost Road”, linking his Middle-earth to the modern world. Lewis’s main character Elwin Ransom is based in part on Tolkien, a fact Tolkien alludes to in his letters. The second novel, Perelandra, depicts a new Garden of Eden on the planet Venus, a new Adam and Eve, and a new “serpent figure” to tempt them. The story can be seen as an account of what could have happened if the terrestrial Eve had resisted the serpent’s temptation and avoided the Fall of Man. The third novel, That Hideous Strength, develops the theme of nihilistic science threatening traditional human values, embodied in Arthurian legend.Many ideas in the trilogy, particularly opposition to de-humanization as portrayed in the third book, are presented more formally in The Abolition of Man, based on a series of lectures by Lewis at Durham University in 1943.

C.S.Lewis’s best known novels are The Chronicles of Narnia which are a series of seven fantasy novels and are considered classics of children’s literature. Set in the fictional realm of Narnia, a fantasy world of magic, mythical beasts, and talking animals, the series narrates the adventures of various children who play central roles in the unfolding history of that world. Except in The Horse and His Boy, the protagonists are all children from the real world, magically transported to Narnia, where they are called upon by the lion Aslan to protect Narnia from evil and restore the throne to its rightful line. The books span the entire history of Narnia, from its creation in The Magician’s Nephew to its eventual destruction in The Last Battle. The Chronicles of Narnia have also been adapted for stage, TV, radio, and cinema. Inspiration for the series is taken from multiple sources; in addition to adapting numerous traditional Christian themes, the books freely borrow characters and ideas from Greek, Turkish and Roman mythology as well as from traditional British and Irish fairy tales & have profoundly influenced adult and children’s fantasy literature since World War II.

Lewis sadly passed away on 22 November 1963, as the result of renal failure, one week before his 65th birthday. Media coverage of his death was minimal because it was the same day that U.S. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, and Aldous Huxley, died. Lewis continues to attract a wide readership. In 2008, The Times ranked him eleventh on their list of “the 50 greatest British writers since 1945″. Readers are often unaware of what Lewis considered the Christian themes of his works. His Christian apologetics are read and quoted by members of many Christian denominations. Lewis has been the subject of several biographies. In 1985 the screenplay Shadowlands by William Nicholson, dramatising Lewis’s life and relationship with Joy Davidman Gresham, was aired on British television, starring Joss Ackland and Claire Bloom. This was also staged as a theatre play starring Nigel Hawthorne and made into the 1993 feature film Shadowlands starring Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger. In 2005, a one-hour television movie entitled C. S. Lewis: Beyond Narnia, starring Anton Rodgers, provided a general synopsis of Lewis’s life. There is A bronze statue of Lewis’s character Digory, from The Magician’s Nephew, in front of Belfast’s Holywood Road Library.

Many books have been inspired by Lewis, including Daniel Handler’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl, Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials, and J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter. Authors of adult fantasy literature such as Tim Powers have also been influenced by Lewis’s work. Lewis was strongly opposed to the creation of live-action versions of his works. His major concern was that the anthropomorphic animal characters “when taken out of narrative into actual visibility, always turn into buffoonery or nightmare”.Several C. S. Lewis Societies exist around the world and His name is also used by a variety of Christian organisations. Film adaptations have been made of three of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (2005), Prince Caspian (2008) and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010).Lewis is also featured as a main character in The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica series by James A. Owen. He is one of two characters in Mark St. Germain’s 2009 play Freud’s Last Session, which imagines a meeting between Lewis, aged 41, and Sigmund Freud, aged 83, at Freud’s house in Hampstead, London, in 1939, as the Second World War is about to break out.

Louisa May Alcott

American novelist Louisa May Alcott was born November 29, 1832. She is best known as the author of the novel Little Women and its sequels Little Men and Jo’s Boys. Raised by her transcendentalist parents, Abigail May Alcott and Amos Bronson Alcott in New England she grew up among many of the well-known intellectuals of the day such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau. Nevertheless, her family suffered severe financial difficulties and Alcott worked to help support the family from an early age. She began to receive critical success for her writing in the 1860′s. Early in her career, she sometimes used the pen name A. M. Barnard. Published in 1868, Little Women is set in the Alcott family home, Orchard House, in Concord, Massachusetts and is loosely based on Alcott’s childhood experiences with her three sisters. The novel was very well received and is still a popular children’s novel today. Alcott was an abolitionist and a feminist. The novel follows the lives of four sisters – Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March – and is loosely based on the author’s childhood experiences with her three sisters.

The first volume, Little Women, was an immediate commercial and critical success, prompting the composition of the book’s second volume, entitled Good Wives, which was also successful. Both books were first published as a single volume entitled Little Women in 1880. Alcott followed Little Women with two sequels, also featuring the March sisters: Little Men and Jo’s Boys. Little Women was a fiction novel for girls that veered from the normal writings for children, especially girls, at the time. Little Women has three major themes:”domesticity, work, and true love. All of them are interdependent and each is necessary to the achievement of a heroine’s individual identity.”Little Women itself “has been read as a romance or as a quest, or both. It has been read as a family drama that validates virtue over wealth.” Little Women has been read “as a means of escaping that life by women who knew its gender constraints only too well.” Alcott “combines many conventions of the sentimental novel with crucial ingredients of Romantic children’s fiction, creating a new form of which Little Women is a unique model.” within Little Women can be found the first vision of the “American Girl” and that her multiple aspects are embodied in the differing March sisters.

Alcott “made women’s rights integral to her stories, and above all to Little Women.”Alcott’s fiction became her “most important feminist contribution”—even considering all the effort Alcott made to help facilitate women’s rights.” Alcott thought that “a democratic household could evolve into a feminist society.” In Little Women, she imagined that just such an evolution might begin with Plumfield, a nineteenth century feminist utopia.”Little Women has a timeless resonance which reflects Alcott’s grasp of her historical framework in the 1860s. The novel’s ideas do not intrude themselves upon the reader because the author is wholly in control of the implications of her imaginative structure. Sexual equality is the salvation of marriage and the family; democratic relationships make happy endings. This is the unifying imaginative frame.

Alcott Never married, and continued to write until her death, but suffered chronic health problems in her later years, including vertigo. She attributed her illness and death to mercury poisoning. During her American Civil War service, Alcott contracted typhoid fever and was treated with a compound containing mercury. Recent analysis of Alcott’s illness, however, suggests that her chronic health problems may have been associated with an autoimmune disease, not acute mercury exposure. Moreover, a late portrait of Alcott shows rashes on her cheeks, which is a characteristic of lupus. Alcott died at age 55 of a stroke in Boston, on March 6, 1888, two days after her father’s death. She is buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Concord, Massachusetts. However her novel Little Women has been adapted for Stage, Cinema and Television numerous times since and remains popular.

Enid Blyton

British children’s writer Enid Mary Blyton sadly died 28 November 1968. Born 11 August 1897, she was educated at St. Christopher’s School in Beckenham, From 1907 to 1915, before leaving as head girl. She enjoyed physical activities along with some academic work, but not maths. Enid Blyton’s former house “Old Thatch” near Bourne End, Buckinghamshire, England. Blyton was a talented pianist, but gave up her musical studies when she trained as a teacher at Ipswich High School. She taught for five years at Bickley, Surbiton and Chessington, writing in her spare time. Her first book, Child Whispers, a collection of poems, was published in 1922. On 28 August 1924 Blyton married Major Hugh Alexander Pollock, DSO (1888–1971), editor of the book department in the publishing firm of George Newnes, which published two of her books that year. The couple moved to Bourne End, Buckinghamshire (Peters wood in her books). Eventually they moved to a house in Beaconsfield, named Green Hedges by Blyton’s readers following a competition in Sunny Stories. They had two children: Gillian Mary Baverstock (15 July 1931 – 24 June 2007) and Imogen Mary Smallwood (born 27 October 1935).In the mid-1930s Blyton experienced a spiritual crisis, but she decided against converting to Roman Catholicism from the Church of England because she had felt it was “too restricting”. Although she rarely attended church services, she saw that her two daughters were baptised into the Anglican faith and went to the local Sunday School.

sadly By 1939 her marriage to Pollock had disintegrated and she began a series of affairs. In 1941 she met Kenneth Fraser Darrell Waters, a London surgeon with whom she began a relationship. During her divorce, Blyton blackmailed Pollock into taking full blame for the failure of the marriage, knowing that exposure of her adultery would ruin her public image. She promised that if he admitted to charges of infidelity, she would allow him unlimited access to their daughters. However, after the divorce, Pollock was forbidden to contact his daughters, and Blyton ensured he was unable to find work in publishing afterwards. He turned to drinking heavily and was forced to petition for bankruptcy. Blyton and Darrell Waters married at the City of Westminster Register Office on 20 October 1943, and she subsequently changed the surname of her two daughters to Darrell Waters. Pollock remarried thereafter. Blyton’s second marriage was very happy and, as far as her public image was concerned, she moved smoothly into her role as a devoted doctor’s wife, living with him and her two daughters at Green Hedges.

Blyton’s husband tragically died in 1967 and during the following months, she became increasingly ill. Afflicted by Alzheimer’s disease, Blyton was moved into a nursing home three months before her death; she died at the Greenways Nursing Home, London, on 28 November 1968, aged 71 years and was cremated at the Golders Green Crematorium where her ashes remain. Blyton’s home, Green Hedges, was sold in 1971 and demolished in 1973. The area where Green Hedges once stood is now occupied by houses and a street called Blyton Close. An English Heritage blue plaque commemorates Blyton at Hook Road in Chessington, where she lived from 1920-4. Her daughter Imogen has been quoted as saying “The truth is Enid Blyton was arrogant, insecure, pretentious, very skilled at putting difficult or unpleasant things out of her mind, and without a trace of maternal instinct. As a child, I viewed her as a rather strict authority. As an adult I pitied her.” Her elder daughter, Gillian, did not hold the same view toward their mother, and Imogen’s biography of Blyton contains a foreword by Gillian to the effect that her memories of childhood with Enid Blyton were mainly happy ones.

One of Blyton’s most widely known characters is Noddy in Toyland, where all the central characters are toys who come alive when humans are not around. Blyton’s also wrote many children s Adventure Stories which involve ordinary children in extraordinary situations, having adventures, solving crimes, or otherwise finding themselves in unusual circumstances. Examples include the Famous Five and Secret Seven, the Five Find Outers and the Adventure series. Some of Blyton’s books involve Boarding Schools and have more emphasis on the day-to-day life at school, like midnight feasts, practical jokes and the social interaction of the various types of character, examples include the Malory Towers stories, the St Clare’s series, and the Naughtiest Girl books. Some Blyton books involve Children being transported into a magical world in which they meet fairies, goblins, elves, pixies, or other fantasy creatures. Such as The Wishing-Chair books and The Faraway Tree. Blyton also wrote many short stories,

Enid Blyton’s Most successful works include: The Noddy books, the Secret Seven series, The Malory Towers series, The St. Clare’s series, The Wishing-Chair series, The Magic Faraway Tree series, Book of Brownies, Amelia Jane series, The Five Find-Outers (Also known as Enid Blyton’s Mystery series), The Famous Five series, The Adventure Series, The Barney Mystery series, The Circus series, The Mistletoe Farm series, The Naughtiest Girl series, The Young Adventurers Series and the Adventurous Four Series. Blyton’s books have sold more than 600 million copies.From 2000 to 2010, she was still listed as a Top Ten author, selling 7,910,758 copies (worth £31.2m) in the UK alone. In 2003, The Magic Faraway Tree was voted no. 66 in the BBC’s Big Read. In the 2008 Costa Book Awards, Blyton was voted Britain’s best-loved author.

Karen Gillan (Dr Who, Guardians of the Galaxy, Jumanji)

Best known for her portrayal of Amy Pond in Doctor Who, the Scottish actress and, former model, Karen Sheila Gillan was born 28 November 1987. She learned to play the piano when she was seven & developed a love for acting, joining several local youth theatre groups and taking part in a wide range of productions at her school,Charleston Academy. When she turned 16, Gillan moved to Edinburgh and completed an HNC Acting and Performance course at Telford College She then moved to London at 18 to study at the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts drama school in the BA (Hons) Acting degree course. While studying at Italia Conti Gillan was scouted by a modelling agency. Gillan worked as a model in 2007’s London Fashion Week for designer Allegra Hicks’ autumn/winter catwalk show and the launch party of Nicola Roberts’ Dainty Doll Make-Up Range. Gillan has said she would not give up her acting career to return to modelling. She stated that she enjoyed modelling but acting was always her main interest and goal.

Gillan’s early television acting career included guest appearances on several drama series, she also appeared on The Kevin Bishop Show portraying multiple characters, as well as celebrities such as Katy Perry and Angelina Jolie. She appeared in Channel 4’s Stacked and the BBC2 Horror series The Well, which was later broadcast as a web series on BBC.co.uk. She was then cast for the role of the Eleventh Doctor’s first companion, Amy Pond, on the British sci-fi series Doctor Who in May 2009. She made her first on-screen appearance as Amy Pond in “The Eleventh Hour” with her cousin Caitlin Blackwood portraying a young Amelia (Amy) Pond. Gillan also appeared in the “The Fires of Pompeii” in the role of a Soothsayer.

Gillan also made her first theatre appearance playing the role of Shirley in John Osborne’s play Inadmissible Evidence along with Douglas Hodge The play debuted at the Donmar Warehouse on 16 October 2011. She appeared in the seventh series of Doctor Who until leaving in 2012 .On 26 January 2012, Karen Gillan played the part of supermodel Jean Shrimpton in the BBC Four film We’ll Take Manhattan, which told the story of Shrimpton’s relationship with the photographer David Bailey. Gillan also starred in a Scottish rom-com called Not Another Happy Ending alongside Emun Elliott. Which was directed by John McKay and a supernatural horror pic called Oculus cast in the lead role and filmed in Alabama. She revealed that she has been cast in comedian Charlie Brooker’s TV series A Touch of Cloth. Gillan has also been cast in a film titled ‘ The List ‘ which began filming in Los Angeles in May 2013. Gillan also appears as Ruby Roundhouse in the latest Jumanji film.

FHM magazine ranked Gillan #42 in FHM’s 100 Sexiest Women 2011 In 2012 they also ranked her #36. Gillan has also voiced advertisements for eHarmony and The Royal Bank of Scotland. Gillan portrayed Nebula in the superhero science fiction film Guardians of the Galaxy. She also joined the regular cast of Adult Swim’s NTSF:SD:SUV:: for the show’s third season in 2013 and in 2011, She helped promote Fashion Targets Breast Cancer (FTBC) and the opening of Squirrel Ward in Great Ormond Street Hospital

Berry Gordy (Jnr)(Tamla Motown)

American record producer, and founder of the Tamla Motown record label Berry Gordy, Jr. was born November 28 in 1929 in Detroit. Berry dropped out of high school in the eleventh grade to become a professional boxer in hopes of becoming rich quick, a career he followed until 1950 when he was drafted by the United States Army for the Korean War.After his return from Korea in 1953, he married Thelma Coleman. He developed his interest in music by writing songs and opening the 3-D Record Mart, a record store featuring jazz music. The store was unsuccessful and Gordy sought work at the Lincoln-Mercury plant, but his family connections put him in touch with Al Green (not the singer), owner of the Flame Show Bar talent club, where he met singer Jackie Wilson. In 1957, Wilson recorded Reet Petite, a song Gordy had co-written with his sister Gwen and writer-producer Billy Davis. It became a modest hit but had more success internationally, especially in the UK where it reached the Top 10 and even later topped the chart on re-issue in 1986.

Wilson recorded four more songs co-written by Gordy over the next two years, including “Lonely Teardrops”, which topped the R & B charts and got to number 7 in the pop chart. Berry and Gwen Gordy also wrote “All I Could Do Was Cry” for Etta James at Chess Records.Gordy reinvested his songwriting success into producing. In 1957, he discovered The Miracles (originally known as The Matadors) and began building a portfolio of successful artists. In 1959, at Miracles leader Smokey Robinson’s encouragement, Gordy borrowed $800 from his family to create an R&B label, Tamla Records. On January 21, 1959, “Come To Me” by Marv Johnson was issued as Tamla 101. United Artists Records picked up “Come To Me” for national distribution, as well as Johnson’s more successful follow-up records (such as “You Got What It Takes,” co-produced and co-written by Gordy). Berry’s next release was the only 45 ever issued on his Rayber label, and it featured Wade Jones with an unnamed female back-up group. The record did not sell well and is now one of the rarest issues from the Motown stable.Berry’s third release was “Bad Girl” by The Miracles, and was the first-ever release for the Motown record label, it became a solid hit. Barrett Strong’s “Money (That’s What I Want)” initially appearing on Tamla and then charted on Gordy’s sister’s label, Anna Records, in February 1960. The Miracles’ hit “Shop Around” peaked at Number 1 on the national R&B charts in late 1960 which established Motown as an independent company worthy of notice.

Later in 1961, The Marvelettes’ “Please Mr. Postman” made it to the top of both charts. In 1960, Gordy signed an unknown named Mary Wells who became the fledgling label’s first star, with Smokey Robinson penning her hits”You Beat Me to the Punch,” “Two Lovers” and “My Guy”. The Tamla and Motown labels were then merged into a new company Motown Record Corporation, which was incorporated on April 14, 1960. In 1959 Berry produced a record on the Penny Label showcasing a white doo-wop group known as ‘Bryan Brent and The Cutouts’. ‘For Eternity’, written by the Cutouts, became the summer hit and is recognized as a Doo Wop Classic. Berry produced a record for Tom Clay some time in 1959. & the 45 is recognized by many collectors to be one of the rarest of all Gordy singles. Tom Clay became a DJ in LA, and recorded again for Gordy on his MoWest label in the 1970s. Kiki Dee became the first white female British singer to be signed to the Motown label. Gordy also employed many white workers and managers at the company’s headquarters, named Hitsville U.S.A., on Detroit’s West Grand Boulevard. He largely promoted African-American artists but carefully controlled their public image, dress, manners and choreography for across-the-board appeal. Gordy’s gift for identifying and bringing together musical talent, along with the careful management of his artists’ public image, made Motown initially a major national and then international success.

Over the next decade, he signed such artists as The Supremes, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, Jimmy Ruffin, The Contours, The Four Tops, Gladys Knight & the Pips, The Commodores, The Velvelettes, Martha and the Vandellas, Stevie Wonder and The Jackson 5.In 1972, Gordy attended FIDM in Los Angeles, where he produced the commercially successful Billie Holiday biography Lady Sings the Blues, starring Diana Ross (who was nominated for an Academy Award) and Richard Pryor, and introducing Billy Dee Williams which established Williams as a star. (Williams also portrayed Gordy in the 1992 miniseries The Jacksons: An American Dream and also starred in The Empire strikes Back. soon after Gorrdy produced and directed Mahogany, also starring Diana Ross. In 1985, Berry Gordy produced the cult martial arts film The Last Dragon, which starred martial artist Taimak and one of Prince’s proteges, Vanity. Although Motown continued to produce major hits throughout the 1970s and 1980s by artists like the Jacksons, Rick James, Lionel Richie and long-term signings, Stevie Wonder and Smokey Robinson, the record company was no longer the major force it had been previously. Gordy sold his interests in Motown Records to MCA and Boston Ventures on June 28, 1988 for $61 million. He also later sold most of his interests in the Jobete publishing concern to EMI Publishing. Gordy published an autobiography, To Be Loved, in 1994, and On March 20, 2009, Gordy was in Hollywood to pay tribute to his first group and first million-selling act, The Miracles, when the members received a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame. Speaking in tribute to the group, Gordy said “Without The Miracles, Motown would not be the Motown it is today.”

William Blake

English painter, poet and printmaker William Blake was born 28 November 1757 at 28 Broad Street (now Broadwick St.) in Soho, London. He attended school only long enough to learn reading and writing, leaving at the age of ten, and was otherwise educated at home by his mother Catherine Wright Armitage Blake. He was baptised on 11 December at St James’s Church, Piccadilly, London. Blake started engraving copies of drawings of Greek antiquities purchased for him by his father, a practice that was preferred to actual drawing. Within these drawings Blake found his first exposure to classical forms through the work of Raphael, Michelangelo, Maarten van Heemskerck and Albrecht Dürer. When William was ten years old, he was enrolled in drawing classes at Pars’s drawing school in the Strand. He read avidly on subjects of his own choosing. During this period, Blake made explorations into poetry; his early work displays knowledge of Ben Jonson, Edmund Spenser, and the Psalms. In 1772, Blake was apprenticed to engraver James Basire of Great Queen Street, at the sum of £52.10, for a term of seven years. At the end of the term, aged 21, he became a professional engraver.

On 8 October 1779, Blake became a student at the Royal Academy in Old Somerset House, near the Strand Where he became a friend of John Flaxman, Thomas Stothard and George Cumberland and shared radical views, with Stothard and Cumberland joining the Society for Constitutional Information. In 1782 Blake met his future wife Catherine Boucher and married her on 18 August 1782 in St Mary’s Church, Battersea. Blake’s first collection of poems, Poetical Sketches, was printed around 1783.After his father’s death, Blake and former fellow apprentice James Parker opened a print shop in 1784, and began working with radical publisher Joseph Johnson, whose house was a meeting-place for some leading English intellectual dissidents of the time: theologian and scientist Joseph Priestley, philosopher Richard Price, artist John Henry Fuseli, early feminist Mary Wollstonecraft and Anglo-American revolutionary Thomas Paine. Along with William Wordsworth and William Godwin. In 1784 Blake composed his unfinished manuscript An Island in the Moon.Blake illustrated Original Stories from Real Life (1788; 1791) by Mary Wollstonecraft and in 1793’s Visions of the Daughters of Albion, Blake condemned the cruel absurdity of enforced chastity and marriage without love and defended the right of women to complete self-fulfilmenti

In 1788, aged 31, Blake experimented with relief etching, a method he used to produce most of his books, paintings, pamphlets and Blake used this process for most of his well-known works, including Songs of Innocence and of Experience, The Book of Thel, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell and Jerusalem. Although Blake has become most famous for his relief etching, his commercial work largely consisted of intaglio engraving, the standard process of engraving in the 18th century in which the artist incised an image into the copper plate, a complex and laborious process.examples of Blake’s intaglio engraving include illustrations of the Book of Job.In 1800, Blake moved to a cottage at Felpham, in Sussex (now West Sussex), to take up a job illustrating the works of William Hayley, a minor poet. It was in this cottage that Blake began work on Milton. Blake had trouble with authority which came to a head in August 1803, when he was involved in a physical altercation with a soldier, John Schofield and was charged not only with assault, but with uttering seditious and treasonable expressions against the king. Blake returned to London in 1804 and began to write and illustrate Jerusalem (1804–20), his most ambitious work. Having conceived the idea of portraying the characters in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. In 1818 he was introduced to a group of artists who called themselves the Shoreham Ancients. The group shared Blake’s rejection of modern trends and his belief in a spiritual and artistic New Age.

Aged 65, Blake’s last years were spent at Fountain Court off the Strand where he began work on illustrations for the Book of Job and was then commissioned to do a series of engravings to illustrate Dante’s Divine Comedy in 1826. Sadly though Blake died 12 August 1827 and only a handful of watercolours were completed. Despite being Largely unrecognised during his lifetime and considered mad by his contempories for his idiosyncratic views, Blake is now considered a seminal figure in the history of the poetry and visual arts of the Romantic Age. His paintings and poetry have been characterised as part of the Romantic movement and “Pre-Romantic” and he was placed at number 38 in the BBC’s poll of the 100 Greatest Britons.