Apollo Walk of Fame
Apollo Walk of Fame
The Apollo Theater has been a beacon of African-American music and culture for nearly 76 years. Recently the historic theater announced that it would create an Apollo Walk of Fame, similar to the Hollywood Walk of Fame in California. Today, the Apollo lays plaques for Black music household names like Patti LaBelle and Quincy Jones and also makes plans to induct a king and queen on its upcoming anniversary.
One of the most influential jazz singers, The First Lady of Song, Ella Fitzgerald, made her singing debut on November 21, 1934 at the Apollo Theater during “Amateur Night.” She was only 15 and sang “The Object of My Affection” by Connee Boswell.
With twenty seven Grammy Awards, producer and composer Quincy Jones has touched African-American music in a major way, including recording Apollo Hall of Fame inductee Michael Jackson’s 29x multi-platinum album “Thriller.”
Gladys Knight and the Pips
Gladys Knight and the Pips became stars gained major stardom when they signed a record deal with Motown in 1966, their 1967 album “Everybody Needs Love” reaped the mega single “I Heard It Through the Grapevine.” Knight was responsible for putting Berry Gordy on to The Jackson Five. The group was inducted into the Apollo Theater Legends Hall of Fame in 2006.
An original member of Motown’s first group The Miracles, Smokey Robinson earned his title as the “King of Motown” for delivering 37 Top 40 hits for the Detroit record label from 1960 to 1987.
When Little Richard took a hiatus from pop music to record gospel records in 1957, he performed his farewell concert at the Apollo Theater. The dazzling musician then formed the Little Richard Evangelistic Team. He would return to Rock and Roll in 1963 and was inducted into the Apollo Theater Legends Hall of Fame in 2006.
While touring in the early 1960’s, singing their hit record “I Sold My Heart to he Junkman,” Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles gained national acclaim at The Apollo Theater, where they were regarded as “The Apollo Sweethearts.”
James Brown and the Famous Flames’ 1963 record “Live at the Apollo” launchedthe then local Southern stars into overnight celebrity. Brown paid for the live-show and the live -album recording himself. “Live at the Apollo” remained on the pop charts for fourteen months. When the “hardest working man in show business” passed away in 2006, his funeral and wake were held at the Apollo.
On its 76th Anniversary, June 14 2010, the Apollo Theater will induct the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin into its Legends Hall of Fame. Franklin received major acclaim for her recording of the Otis Redding-penned “Respect” which claimed the No. 1 spot on both the R&B and pop charts and stayed on the former chart for eight weeks.
The Apollo Theater will also honor induct the late Michael Jackson into its Hall of Fame on its anniversary. As the Jackson five, MJ and his brothers won the Apollo’s famous “Amateur Night” on August 13, 1967. When the King of Pop passed on a massive vigil was held at the historic theater.