Wammies Hall of Fame

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  • 2015

    2015

    JOHN JENNINGS (1953 – 2015) Photo by Clark Thomas John Jennings was that rare breed of musician – a jack of all trades and a master of all. Over his decades-long career, he was known in the Washington music community and nationally as an effortlessly gifted guitarist, a record producer, and a superb sideman on the road, most notably with his dear friend, Mary Chapin Carpenter. As a producer, he was known for bringing an..Read More

  • 2012

    2012

    SCOTT MCKENZIE (1939-2012) Singer-songwriter Scott McKenzie is best known for his 1967 recording of John Phillips’ “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair),” which became an anthem of hope and freedom for the counterculture movement. He was born Philip Blondheim on January 10, 1939, in Jacksonville Florida. His family moved to Asheville, North Carolina, where his father died a few months after Scott’s second birthday. Early in 1942, Scott’s mother moved to..Read More

  • 2011

    2011

    HAZEL DICKENS Hazel Dickens has been performing the music of her birthplace, the hills of West Virginia, for nearly six decades. Born June 1, 1935, near Montcalm, in Mercer County, Hazel Jane Dickens was the eighth of 11 children. Her childhood was dominated by the coalmines. Her father delivered timber to the mines for a living, while several brothers worked down in them (one would later die of “black lung disease,” providing sad, first-hand knowledge..Read More

  • 2010

    2010

    TOM PAXTON Folk music icon Tom Paxton was born on October, 31, 1937 in Chicago, IL. When he was 11, he moved with his family to Bristow Oklahoma and he got his first guitar when he was 17. He majored in drama at the University of Oklahoma and played folk music in an off-campus coffee house. In 1960, Paxton was in the Army Reserves outside of New York City when he joined the burgeoning Greenwich..Read More

  • 2009

    2009

    ROSSLYN MOUNTAIN BOYS The Rosslyn Mt. Boys (RMB) began in 1973 when Joe Triplet and Happy Acosta, both of the D.C. hippie/counterculture band Claude Jones, started performing as an acoustic duo at the 21st Amendment, a bar on Pennsylvania Avenue. At the time, Joe and Happy, along with Jay Sprague (also in Claude Jones,) lived on the Amoeba Farm in Warrenton with Nils Lofgren & Grin. The RMB made a decision to go electric and..Read More

  • 2008

    2008

    BUCK HILL Roger “Buck” Hill — The “Jazz Postman” or “Wailin’ Mailman.” Jazz saxophonist Buck Hill was born on February 13, 1927, in Washington, D.C. When he was 13, his oldest brother bought him his first horn, a soprano saxophone. In those early years he switched from soprano to alto and then to tenor, but these days he says, “I like the soprano now.” No matter which horn he picks up, however, he is considered..Read More

  • 2007

    2007

    FRANCIS SCOTT KEY Francis Scott Key was born in what is now Carroll County, Maryland, on August 9, 1779. His father was a lawyer, judge, and officer in the Continental Army. Key went to school at St. John’s College, studied law in his uncle’s office, and practiced law in Frederick City, MD, before moving to Washington, where he was district attorney for the District of Columbia. He lived in Georgetown, where he was a vestryman..Read More

  • 2006

    2006

    COUNTRY GENTLEMEN The bluegrass band The Country Gentlemen formed on July 4, 1957, as a replacement group for Buzz Busby’s Bayou Boys after several members of the band were hurt in a car accident. The original lineup included Charlie Waller on guitar and lead vocals, John Duffey on mandolin and tenor vocals, Bill Emerson on banjo and baritone vocals, and Larry Lahey on bass. The band would later have a fairly permanent lineup of Waller,..Read More

  • 2005

    2005

    TOMMY LEPSON Mike Joyce of the Washington Post has described Tommy Lepson as “one of the best soul singers around, blue-eyed or otherwise.” Lepson started performing professionally at age 14 and has appeared with many national acts including the Kinks, Captain Beefheart, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, NRBQ, and the Righteous Brothers. He toured and recorded with the infamous Root Boy Slim as well as the Assassins (with Jimmy Thackery), Nils Lofgren, Danny Gatton, and many others...Read More

  • 2004

    2004

    E.U. EU (Experience Unlimited) is one of DC’s original go-go bands, a seminal group that helped define, refine, and combine the musical components of the genre, which originated here. EU produced the most recognized song in Go-Go history, “Da Butt,” which was featured in Spike Lee’s 1988 film “Skool Daze” after Lee saw the band perform. In fact, EU is the only Go-Go group to score a number one spot on the R&B; singles charts;..Read More

  • 2003

    2003

    HERB FAME Herb Fame was born Herbert Feemster on October 1, 1942, but his name and fame will be forever linked to Peaches as half of Peaches and Herb, known as the Sweethearts of Soul. Herb began singing in church when he was seven years old, and in D.C. neighborhood groups through high school. After high school, he worked in a record store. Herb signed with Van McCoy (who would produce “The Hustle”) and Date..Read More

  • 2002

    2002

    BILLY STEWART Singer and pianist, Billy Stewart, was born on March 24, 1937, in Washington, D.C. Known for his distinctive, soulful style, he started singing at an early age with his family’s Stewart Gospel singers. He sang with the Rainbows, a group that also included Don Covay and Marvin Gaye. Bo Diddley “discovered” Stewart and recruited him to play piano in his band. Chess Records released the “Fat Boy’s” solo debut, “Billy’s Blues,” in 1956...Read More

  • 2001

    2001

    BILL KIRCHEN Bill Kirchen is one of the fortunate few who can step on any stage, play those trademark guitar licks which he created for the seminal Commander Cody classic, “Hot Rod Lincoln,” and elicit smiles of contentment and hollers of joy from the audience. Itās recognition and acknowledgment for a career thatās spanned over 30 years and also includes in addition to his 10-year stint with Cody, performances with names like Nick Lowe, Emmylou..Read More

  • 2000

    2000

    HOT TUNA JACK CASADY AND JORMA KAUKONEN Begun as an acoustic spin-off of the Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna eventually became the full-time focus of founding members Jack Casady and Jorma Kaukonen, emerging as a popular touring act of the 1970s. The two were lifelong friends, growing up together in Washington D.C. and playing in the group the Triumphs. After high school, guitarist Kaukonen and his government-service parents relocated to the Philippines, but he returned to..Read More

  • 1999

    1999

    JOE STANLEY He is currently a member of the Dynaflows and Big Four Combo but when you piece together his history, you ask yourself, “why has he not received more recognition?” Joe is a cousin to Jerry Lee Lewis and Mickey Gilley, and he started playing the clubs in the ’50s. He was one of the handfuls that would cross the color line to play with the black musicians around 14th and U Streets. He..Read More

  • 1998

    1998

    ROY CLARK Roy Clark is known for his virtuosity on the guitar, his self-effacing and homespun humor, and his starring years on “Hee Haw.” He was born in Meherrin, Virginia in 1933 and moved to Washington, D.C. when he was a child. He started on the banjo and mandolin and got his first guitar, a Sears Silvertone, for Christmas when he was 14 years old. He began playing bars and nightclubs and dropped out of..Read More

  • 1997

    1997

    RUTH BROWN In over fifty years of singing and performing, the truly incomparable Ruth Brown, who was discovered in Washington D.C. at the Crystal Caverns on U Street, NW, has virtually defined rhythm and blues, topping the charts throughout the 1950s and establishing the legacy of Atlantic Records such that the label became known as “The House That Ruth Built.” Her vocals inspired the likes of Little Richard and set the stage for the emergence..Read More

  • 1996

    1996

    EVA CASSIDY Eva Marie Cassidy, native Washingtonian who passed away in November 1996, described herself simply as “someone who likes to sing.” To others, she was more than that. Eva was one of the most diverse singers to come along in quite some time. Her ability to sing an old standard would make one think she was from that era, and twice her age. She sang with a powerful, soulful voice on an upbeat song,..Read More

  • 1995

    1995

    THE CLOVERS Inspired by the Orioles and other vocal groups, the Clovers came together as a trio at Washington’s Armstrong High School in 1946. Baritone Harold Lucas, lead John ‘Buddy’ Bailey, and second tenor Matthew McQuater, were joined by bass Harold Winley and guitarist Bill Harris. The son of a Washington diplomat, Ahmet Ertegun, who started Atlantic Records, caught the Clovers performing at the original Waxie Maxies at 7th and T, N.W. He signed the..Read More

  • 1994

    1994

    KETER BETTS A resident of the Washington area since 1953, Keter Betts is a world-renowned bassist, having toured for over 25 years with Ella Fitzgerald. In addition to Fitzgerald, he has toured with such artists as Dinah Washington, Benny Goodman, Charlie Byrd, Joe Williams, and Louie Bellson. Throughout this span, Betts has always found time to serve the Washington community with his talent and can frequently be found playing the host bassist to popular jazz..Read More

  • 1993

    1993

    MSTISLAV ROSTROPOVICH Music Director Mstislav Rostropovich, lead the National Symphony Orchestra for 17 seasons, making his leadership among the longest and most impressive of current music directors of major American orchestras. During his tenure, the Orchestra was distinguished by constant growth in both artistry and reputation. Maestro Rostropovich’s personal career is extraordinary and has been distinguished by an enviable diversity, bringing him recognition as conductor, cellist, and pianist; as one of today’s most important catalysts..Read More

  • 1992

    1992

    NILS LOFGREN World-renowned guitarist (and pianist) Nils Lofgren moved to the Washington area as a teenager. Nils came to the attention of Neil Young and Danny Whitten in 1971 resulting in an invitation to appear on their Crazy Horse recording. Young then featured his talents heavily on “After The Gold Rush,” released when Nils was only seventeen years old. Lofgren’s much-heralded performance enabled his original band, Grin to secure a recording contract resulting in three..Read More

  • 1991

    1991

    CHUCK BROWN The legend goes that the term “Go-Go” was coined at a Chuck Brown show. “I came up on stage and I said, ‘What time is it? and they called ‘Time to Go-Go,'” says Chuck Brown. Most folks around here agree that Brown is the godfather of go go. His career began when he played the organ at the Mount Zion Holiness of God. Brown’s go go music is derived from the “thumpin’ funk”..Read More

  • 1989

    1989

    THE NIGHTHAWKS Hard driving, ever touring D.C. based band with strong Chicago blues roots. Formed in 1972 by harpist Mark Wenner and guitarist Jimmy Thackery, the band earned a reputation as a solid outfit through more than two decades of touring and recording projects with the likes of John Hammond, Greg Allman, and members of the Muddy Waters’ Band. Thackery left in 1986 but the band regrouped around long-time members Jan Zukowski on bass and..Read More

  • 1988

    1988

    ROY BUCHANAN A virtuoso guitarist, the son of a preacher, raised in a Californian farm community where traveling revivalists and their gospel music led him into abiding interest in blues. He was highly regarded for his exquisitely taut sound on the Fender Telecaster. Buchanan played with Dale Hawkins (Suzi Q) and later Ronnie Hawkins. His reputation as a hot-shot guitarist extends back to the beginnings of rock ‘n’ roll itself. He struck up a friendship..Read More

  • 1987

    1987

    SHIRLEY HORN Vocalist, pianist, and bandleader. Shirley Horn has been a star in Washington for many years and has become known around the nation. She studied at Howard University and got help early in her career from Miles Davis and Quincy Jones. She is one of the few whose vocal and piano skills are equal. One of her best albums and the one that got her the attention she deserved, “You Won’t Forget Me,” features..Read More

  • 1986

    1986

    JIMMY DEAN While in the Air Force during the 1940s, he joined the Tennessee Haymakers, a country band comprised of service personnel, who played off-duty gigs around Washington. Dean continued to play in the area after his discharge in 1948. Impresario Connie B Gay hired Dean and his band the Texas Wildcats to play on radio station WARL, Arlington, which led to a very popular country music TV show on WMAL, concert appearances, and ultimately..Read More

  • 1985

    1985

    DUKE ELLINGTON The transiency of populations that marks D.C.’s metropolitan area also means that many of us have little appreciation of what has unfolded here in the last seventy years of popular music. If you want to talk about D.C.’s contributions to the music world-at-large, you might begin with Duke Ellington. Born and raised in D.C., Ellington is considered one of the greatest composers of the 20th century and leader for 50 years of a..Read More