Category Archives: Old School

Old School: The Mills Brothers

Paper Doll – The Mills Brothers (1942 & 1943)

The Mills Brothers
John, Jr. (1910 – 1936), Herbert (1912 – 1989), Harry (1913 – 1982), Donald (1915 – 1999), John, Sr. (1882 – 1967)

Genre: Jazz / Traditional pop
Origin: Piqua > Ohio > US
Career: 1928-1982
Tidbit: Originally comprised of four brothers, their father stepped in when John, Jr. died from pneumonia. In 1930, they were the first African-American performers to get a network radio show. In 1998, they were recognized with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.

Old School: Nina Simone

I Put a Spell on You – Nina Simone (1965)

Nina Simone

Genre: Jazz / Blues / Gospel / Folk
Origin: Tryon > North Carolina > US
Career: 1954-2003
Tidbit: Born Eunice Waymon, Simone was a classically-trained pianist who begrudgingly performed popular music, so she could afford her music studies. In the 60’s, she became an active participant in the US civil rights movement.

Old School: The Monkees

Valleri – The Monkees (1968)

The Monkees
Micky Dolenz (1945-present), Michael Nesmith (1942-present), Peter Tork (1942-present), & Davy Jones (1945-2012)

Genre: Pop-rock / Bubblegum pop
Origin: Los Angeles > California > US
Career: 1966-1970
Tidbit: Cast and launched for a television series, most of the Monkees were musicians…but none of them was a drummer. Davy Jones, the only non-musician, was too short and got lost behind the drums, so Micky Dolenz won the job. And then learned how to play drums.

Old School: Dean Martin

Everybody Loves Somebody – Dean Martin (1964)

Dean Martin

Genre: Big band / Traditional pop
Origin: Steubenville > Ohio > US
Career: 1939–1995
Tidbit: Born Dino Crocetti, Martin had a career that spanned music, film, and television. This single, recorded during his years in the “Rat Pack,” bucked the onslaught of rock & roll and the British Invasion at the time by knocking the Beatles out of the #1 spot on the US charts.

Old School: Gene Autry

Frosty the Snowman – Gene Autry & the Cass County Boys (1950)

Gene Autry

Genre: Country and Western
Origin: Tioga > Texas > US
Career: 1931–1964
Tidbit: Born Orvon Grover Autry, Autry was a diverse performer and businessman. He’s the only celebrity to have five stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame – one each for live theater, motion pictures, radio, recording, and television. He’s also been inducted into the Country Music, Nashville Songwriters, Radio, Western Performers, and Baseball Halls of Fame.

Old School: Conway Twitty

It’s Only Make Believe – Conway Twitty (1958)

Conway Twitty

Genre: Country / Rockabilly
Origin: Friars Point > Mississippi > US
Career: 1955–1993
Tidbit: Born Harold Jenkins, Twitty started his career as a rock musician in the mold of Elvis Presley. But he switched to country music in 1965, where he saw much greater success. He scored 55 #1 US country hits and was inducted into the Country Music and Rockabilly Halls of Fame.

Old School: Jimi Hendrix

Little Wing – The Jimi Hendrix Experience (1968)

Jimi Hendrix

Genre: Blues / Psychedelic / Hard rock
Origin: Seattle > Washington > US
Career: 1959–1970
Tidbit: Born Johnny Allen Hendrix (and later renamed James Marshall Hendrix), Hendrix has been repeatedly recognized as one of the top guitarists of all time. He was posthumously awarded with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and UK Music Hall of Fame.

Old School: Johnnie Ray

The Little White Cloud That Cried – Johnnie Ray (1951)

Johnnie Ray

Genre: Rhythm & blues / Traditional pop
Origin: Hopewell > Oregon > US
Career: 1951–1989
Tidbit: Ray was one of the most controversial recording artists of the 50’s. His emotional, animated performances caused a stir, but such behavior would soon become the fabric of an emerging genre called Rock & Roll.

Old School: Henry Mancini

Moon River – Henry Mancini & His Orchestra (1961)

Henry Mancini

Genre: Film & television scores (Big band, classical & traditional pop)
Origin: Cleveland > Ohio > US
Career: 1946–1994
Tidbit: Born Enrico Mancini, Henry attended Juilliard School of Music before being drafted to serve in World War II. His work was recognized with 20 Grammy Awards and four Oscars.

Old School: Nat King Cole

The Very Thought of You – Nat King Cole (1958)

Nat King Cole

Genre: Vocal jazz / Traditional pop / Jump blues
Origin: Montgomery > Alabama > US
Career: 1935–1965
Tidbit: Born Nathaniel Coles, Cole was the first African-American to host a television variety show, The Nat King Cole Show, in 1956. He was awarded with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and inducted into the Jazz and Rock & Roll Halls of Fame.