Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Dr. John is universally celebrated as the living embodiment of the rich musical heritage exclusive to New Orleans. His colorful musical career began in the 1950s, when he wrote and played guitar on some of the greatest records to come out of the Crescent City. A notorious gun incident then forced the artist to give up the guitar and concentrate on organ and piano. In the 1960s, he traveled west where he continued to be in demand as a session musician, playing on records by Van Morrison, Aretha Franklin and The Rolling Stones’ infamous Exile on Main St.
During that time he also launched his solo career, developing the charismatic persona of Dr. John the Nite Tripper. Adorned with voodoo charms and regalia, a legend was born with his breakthrough 1968 album Gris-gris, which established his unique blend of voodoo mysticism, funk, rhythm & blues, psychedelic rock and Creole roots.
Dr. John has garnered numerous Grammy® awards and in 2004, his musical love letter to the city of New Orleans, N’awlinz Dis Dat or D’udda, was awarded the prestigious Académie Charles Cros 57ème Palmarès award in France. It was the first time since the 1970s that an artist from North America received the award.
The Blind Boys of Alabama
The Blind Boys of Alabama are recognized worldwide as living legends of gospel music. Celebrated by The Grammys® and The National Endowment for the Arts with Lifetime Achievement Awards, inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, winners of five Grammy® awards, and performers for three U.S. Presidential Administrations, they have attained the highest levels of achievement in a career that spans over 70 years. The Blind Boys have earned praise for their remarkable interpretations of everything from traditional gospel favorites to contemporary spiritual material by acclaimed songwriters such as Curtis Mayfield, Ben Harper, Eric Clapton and Tom Waits. Their recorded output is widely recognized as being influential for many gospel, R&B and rock ‘n’ roll artists. In 1983, their career reached a turning point with their crucial role in the smash hit and Obie Award-winning play “The Gospel at Colonus,” which brought the group’s timeless sound to an enthusiastic new audience. The Blind Boys of Alabama have profoundly influenced an entire generation (or two) of gospel, soul, R&B and rock musicians and are still blazing trails after all these years.