music

August 18, 1965

Beatles Play Atlanta

On August 18, 1965, the Beatles made their only Georgia appearance at a concert in Atlanta Stadium. Beatlemania was in full swing that summer and Atlanta’s anticipation was high. The Atlanta Journal had a story about how to give a Beatle haircut. At a pre–concert press conference Mayor Ivan Allen gave the Beatles the keys […]

July 5, 1969

Atlanta International Pop Festival

Woodstock may have gotten the headlines but Atlanta was rockin’ a whole month earlier. The Atlanta International Pop Festival of 1969 was a two-day music festival at the Atlanta International Raceway over the Fourth of July weekend. The brainchild of promoter Alex Cooley, tickets cost only $12.50 & $16, and a crowd of 120,000 drank, […]

June 14, 1923

Fiddlin’ John Carson

Farmer, railroad worker, horse jockey, moonshiner and country music’s first big star — that was John William Carson. Fannin County native fiddlin’ John Carson was a colorful character who played every year at the Georgia old-time fiddlers’ conventions in Atlanta beginning in 1913. He first gained fame performing “The Ballad Of Mary Phagan” during the […]

June 10, 2004

Georgia on My Mind

Hoagy Carmichael. Ray Charles. Two musicians, one from Indiana, one from Georgia, with at least one wonderful thing in common: “Georgia on My Mind.” In 1930, Carmichael wrote the music and Stuart Gorrell the lyrics to a song some think is about Carmichael’s sister Georgia—the lyrics are ambiguous enough to be about a woman or […]

May 28, 1944

Gladys Knight

She will forever be taking that midnight train to Georgia. Gladys Knight, the “Empress of Soul,” was born in Atlanta in 1944. At age 7, she gained national fame by taking top honors on Ted Mack’s “Original Amateur Hour,” forerunner to “American Idol.” At a 1952 party, Gladys began an impromptu performance with family members. […]

May 4, 1965

Rolling Stones Play at Statesboro

“Pop music is sex and you have to hit them in the face with it.” So said the Rolling Stones’ manager as they rolled onto the music scene in 1962. They were the vanguard of the British Invasion, a new breed of pop stars influenced by Elvis and Chuck Berry. The Stones made the Beatles […]

May 9, 1937

Dave Prater

They were soul men long before the Blues Brothers. Florida native Samuel Moore and Georgian David Prater were gospel music veterans when they joined together in 1961 to form the rhythm and blues duo Sam and Dave. From 1965 to ’68 the duo worked at Stax Records in Memphis with Songwriters Isaac Hayes and David […]

April 27, 1927

Coretta Scott King

She was the first woman and first African-American to lie in state at the Georgia State Capitol rotunda. Coretta Scott was born in 1927 in Alabama and studied music education at Antioch College in Ohio. After graduation she enrolled in The New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, where she met a young Boston University […]

March 26, 1925

James Moody

The man had sax appeal: tenor, alto, and soprano. James Moody, born in Savannah in 1925, began playing the saxophone at 16, despite being hard of hearing. After an Army Air Force hitch in World War II, he joined Dizzy Gillespie’s big band, mastering and helping create the complex, challenging new jazz called be-bop. His […]

January 25, 1999

Robert Shaw

The arts, he said, are not the privilege of the few, but the necessity of us all. Robert Shaw put the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra – and Chorus – on the international map. As a choral director, he was an innovator who had no equal. He singlehandedly elevated the symphonic chorus to parity with the symphonic […]