Prime Time for ’69: 50 Girl Power Gems from 50 Years Ago

Pardon me, as I deviate and gather around a theme. I don’t think I would have embraced the power of music without the brilliance of contributions of Black Women in particular to American Popular Music. Black people, and women in particular, brought a certain gospel, nothing necessarily about Christianity, but something always aware of reality, yet still hoping and striving for something better. 36 and a half years into my life, I continue to return to their art as my therapy.

So we arrive to 50 years since 1969! As we look to our past and see mirror reflections to our present, we see that so many artistic strides in popular music were courtesy of Black women. Like our current moment as well, the 1960’s saw the biggest pioneers from the beginning of the decade, and even some from many decades previous, still turning over new leaves as the seasons passed. The reality however, alongside the new “silent majority” election of conservative Richard Nixon, FM radio as a growing frequency again became the domain of white men. What was new on the radio and in the national Top 40 excluded some of the biggest draws of the Camelot era.

137755Motown Movers and Shakers became mothers. Some became school teachers, secretaries and bankers, tired of hoofing and crooning for a paltry paycheck. Most didn’t go quietly into the night. As you look down the list, within the first 10 women here are former teenagers to twentysomethings that had hit records of size in 1960 and 1961. A vast majority as we go through 50 names had been in the game for more than 5 years, and despite even a chart hit slowdown from the newly crowned Queen Of Soul, these mothers of soul weren’t gonna go peacefully away as The Seventies came swinging at them.

This does take the place of my typical “50 years later” review as I’ve done the last few years (1966, 1967 & 1968) but returns us to a form that I started when I started posting mixes on Mixcloud (1965). In a world where we spend a lot of time over-viewing the accomplishments of masculine of center artists, perhaps too heavily, to our detriment, my mission as I approach a decade of blogging and sharing Soul and R&B adjacent music of the mid-century, I want to continue to highlight voices that continue to receive far less recognition due to our societal race and gender politics.

As we strive to save ourselves from the lack of intersectional overlap of our past, we walk into 2019 with a soundtrack that hopefully empowers you for 2 hours and for many hours beyond.

  1. The Brothers & Sisters featuring Merry Clayton – Mighty Quinn
  2. Damita Jo – Lonely Teardrops
  3. Carla Thomas – He’s Beating Your Time
  4. Candi Staton – I’m Just A Prisoner
  5. Gladys Knight & The Pips – Runnin’ Out
  6. Maxine Brown – See & Don’t See
  7. Rhetta Hughes – Gimme Some Of Yours (I’ll Give You Some Of Mine)
  8. The Emotions – I Might Like It
  9. Laura Lee – Mama’s Got A Good Thing
  10. Deniece Chandler – Come On Home To Me
  11. Clydie King – Love Now, Pay Later
  12. Shirley & The Shirelles – A Most Unusual Boy
  13. The Blossoms – (You’re My) Soul & Inspiration
  14. Martha Reeves & The Vandellas – Hooked On A Real Bad Thing
  15. Sonji Clay – I Can’t Wait Until I See My Baby’s Face
  16. The Chiffons – Love Me Like You’re Gonna Lose Me
  17. Alfreda Brockington – I’ll Wait For You
  18. Patti Drew – I’ve Been Here All The Time
  19. The Glories – Don’t Make The Good Girls Go Bad
  20. The Honey Cone – The Feeling’s Gone
  21. Ruby Winters – Just A Dream
  22. Susan Christie – No One Can Hear You Cry
  23. The Marvelettes – I Have Someone (Who Loves Me Too)
  24. Diana Ross & The Supremes – Discover Me (And You’ll Discover Love)
  25. Aretha Franklin – Gentle On My Mind
  26. Ketty Lester – Show Me
  27. Ruby Andrews – Help Yourself (Lover)
  28. Betty Everett – You’re Falling In Love
  29. Freda Payne – The Easiest Way To Fall
  30. Jackie Ross – Who Could Be Loving You?
  31. Mary Wells – Never Give A Man The World
  32. Patti LaBelle & The Bluebelles – 1-2-3-4-5-6-7 (Count The Days)
  33. Aldora Britton – No More Cookies In My Bag
  34. Nancy Wilson – You Better Go
  35. Bettye LaVette – Hey Love
  36. Irma Thomas – Save A Little Bit For Me
  37. The Flirtations – South Carolina
  38. The Mirettes – Heart Full Of Gladness
  39. Irene Reid – Dirty Old Man
  40. Toby Lark – Shake A Hand
  41. Kim Weston – Danger, Heartbreak, Dead Ahead
  42. Azie Mortimer – Haunted
  43. The Lollipops – Cheatin’s Been Telling On You
  44. Syreeta Wright – Since You’ve Came Back
  45. Mamie Galore – Beautiful Inside
  46. Betty Wright – The Joy Of Becoming A Woman
  47. Baby Washington – Breakfast In Bed
  48. Madlyn Quebec – Better Than My Best
  49. Dionne Warwick – Dream, Sweet Dreamer
  50. The Sweet Inspirations – Always David

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