Rhythm and Blues

What is R&B?

New forms of black dance music emerged after World War II ended, sending forth a blend of boogie-woogie and sounds from blues, jazz, Latin, and gospel music. This music began and continues to be sentimental, with both slow and fast numbers. By the early 1950s, America began to draw from the work of popular singers Big Joe Turner, Louis Jordan, T-Bone Walker, and Dinah Washington to form a music heard in dance halls and on variety shows. They called this sound rhythm and blues (R&B). Detroit’s Motown popularized R&B artists and their sounds, and promoted the work of Smokey Robinson, the Miracles, the Temptations, Diana Ross (then The Supremes, with Diana Ross), Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, the Jackson Five (with Michael Jackson), Gladys Knight, and a host of other artists.


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