Category: 1960s music

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Jimi Hendrix photographed by Ed Thrasher, 1969.

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The Ronettes photographed by Tony Gale, 1965.

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David Ruffin and

Tammi Terrell

After escaping an abusive relationship with James Brown, Tammi began a volatile relationship with David Ruffin, the lead singer of the Temptations, in 1965. In 1966, David surprised her with a marriage proposal.

However, when she announced their engagement on stage Davis became upset. Tammi was devastated once she discovered that he had a wife, three children and another girlfriend in Detroit. His drug use and infidelity led to them having public fights. Tammi was portrayed in the Temptations movie during the Motown picnic scene. It was claimed that

David

hit

Tammi

with a hammer or a machete, though this was denied by

Tammi’s family. Earl Van Dyke, leader of Motown’s Funk Brothers band, recalled seeing David beat up Tammi at the Motown

“Hitsville U.S.A.” headquarters. Her sister Ludie Montgomery also confirmed a story that David hit Tammi in the face with his motorcycle helmet, leading to the end of their relationship in 1967. Tammi went on to record classic duets with Marvin Gaye, but she unfortunately died from a brain tumor at the age of 24 in 1970. David died of a drug overdose in 1991.

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Vintage R&B Concert Posters

  1. Memorial Auditorium (Chattanooga, Tennessee) – November 6, 1956
  2. W.C. Taylor High School (Warrenton, Virginia) – March 8, 1962

  3. Toldeo Sports Arena (Toledo, Ohio) – November 5, 1963
  4. Memorial Auditorium (Chattanooga, Tennessee) – June 21, 1965
  5. Cinnamon Cider (Long Beach, California) – August 18, 1965
  6. Memorial Auditorium (Chattanooga, Tennessee) – September 20, 1965

  7. Apollo Theatre (Harlem, New York) – February 11, 1967

  8. Civic Auditorium (Knoxville, Tennessee) – November 25, 1967
  9. Greensboro Coliseum (Greensboro, North Carolina) – June 9, 1968

Ike & Tina Turner portrait session, circa 1963.

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The Beatles cover session for the album Yesterday and Today at Vale Studios in Chelsea on March 25, 1966. 

Photos by Robert Whitaker

Founding member of The Supremes, Florence Ballard, promo photos for ABC Records in 1968

Florence Ballard was born in Detroit on June 30, 1943,

the ninth of fifteen children. She was friends with doo-wop trio The Primes (two of whom would later form The Temptations). When the group’s manager decided to create a sister act called The Primettes, he made Florence its founding member. She recruited Mary Wilson, Diane Ross, and Betty McGlown to form the quartet in 1958. Soon after, Florence was raped at knife point by a high school basketball player. She went into seclusion for a while and dropped out of high school, but eventually rejoined The Primettes. 

By 1960, they signed to Berry Gordy’s Tamla Records (later Motown) and were relaunched as The Supremes. Their first few singles didn’t chart and they were jokingly referred to as “the no-hit Supremes.” Finally, they topped the charts with “Where Did Our Love Go” in 1964. Their next four singles all reached No. 1 and within a year The Supremes were international stars. But there was tension in the group because Berry Gordy considered Diane (now going by Diana) the star. He was having an affair with Diana and gave her all the songs to sing lead. Florence became depressed and struggled with her weight and alcohol. She began missing shows and recording dates.

Berry Gordy groomed another singer, Cindy Birdsong, to replace her. After Florence got drunk before a show at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas in 1967, she was kicked out of the group and sent back to Detroit. For her tenure with The Supremes which included ten No. 1 singles, she was given a one-time payment of $139,804. As part of the agreement, she wasn’t allowed to promote herself as a former Supreme or even mention any association with Motown Records. 

Florence tried to launch a solo career, but after her two singles failed to chart in 1968, ABC Records shelved her album.

She married Thomas Chapman, they had three children between 1968 and 1971. Her husband was reportedly abusive and he left her in 1971.

Florence ended up on welfare and her house was foreclosed. She sued Motown for royalties but lost. Now at rock bottom, Florence entered rehab. Her situation improved when she won an insurance settlement and was able to buy house for her family in 1975. Florence reconciled with her husband and returned to singing. She was attempting to revive her career when she died from cardiac arrest (caused by a blood clot) at 32 years old on February 21, 1976.

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Ike & Tina Turner during their UK tour with the Rolling Stones in 1966. 

American soul singer P.P. Arnold and musician John Walker on Dutch TV, November 1967.

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The Beatles on the set of Help! (1965)