Before David Guetta and Tiesto became some of the world’s most famous electronic music producers, Frankie Knuckles and Derrick May perfected the art of club beats in Chicago and Detroit. Led Zeppelin took some of their best-known lyrics directly from a nearly forgotten Mississippi bluesman named Robert Johnson. And even though Elvis Presley got all the credit for being the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, it was Big Mama Thornton who first performed “Hound Dog,” and Otis Blackwell wrote several of his other big hits.
If you haven’t picked up on the pattern here, it’s that, throughout popular music history, white artists have become the faces—and highest earners—of genres with overlooked, underpaid black originators. San Francisco native Mark Montgomery French wants to correct the record with his lecture, “All Your Favorite Music is (Probably) Black,” which he brings to the Alameda Free Library on Feb. 1 and the San Lorenzo Library on Feb. 23.
For the full story, visit KQED.org/Arts.
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