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R&B and Soul Legends - Blue Magic Tags: rb soul legends blue magic word life production new quality entertainment featured blog

Blue Magic is an American R&B/soul music group and one of the most popular Philadelphia soul groups of the 1970s. Founded in 1972, the group's original members included lead singer Ted Mills with Vernon Sawyer, Wendell Sawyer, Keith Beaton, and Richard Pratt. Their most notable songs included smooth soul ballads such as "Sideshow", "Spell", "What’s Come Over Me", "Three Ring Circus" and "Stop to Start."

Blue Magic was formed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1972 when former member of The Delfonics Randy Cain brought in singer-songwriter Ted Mills to do some writing with the Philly-based WMOT production company to create a new band. A short time later the group Shades of Love, featuring Keith Beaton, Richard Pratt, Vernon Sawyer and his brother Wendell, came in to audition. (According to Marc Taylor in his book 'A Touch of Classic Soul of the Early 1970s',"although the group performed admirably, they lacked a standout lead singer".) The execs decided to replace the Toppicks, the act Mills recorded with. They inserted Shades of Love (which they owned contractually) with Ted Mills and retitled the group Blue Magic. They were signed with Atco Records through WMOT in the same year.

The group was one of the earliest acts produced by Norman Harris, a Philadelphia recording veteran. The group's harmonies were supported by the MFSB studio house band. Their first early song release in 1974 was "Spell" which went onto the Billboard R&B charts at number 30 (it was written and co-produced by Mills).

Their second release became their first Billboard US Top 10 hit single, "Sideshow". It was awarded a gold disc by the R.I.A.A. in August 1974. It climbed to #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 and topped the R&B chart. A follow-up, "Three Ring Circus" also sold well, reaching #36 in the pop chart and #5 R&B. MFSB guitarist Bobby Eli wrote both "Sideshow" and "Three Ring Circus". Their debut self-titled album was released later in the year.

Because their first three singles releases were slower songs, the group became known mostly for their ballads.

The album Thirteen Blue Magic Lane in 1975 maintained the group's popularity and spawned their version of the popular dance number "We're On The Right Track", as well as the ballad "Chasing Rainbows". The song "What's Come Over Me" from their debut album was re-worked as a duet with Margie Joseph dubbed in alongside Mills' original lead vocals. The new approach saw the song climb to #11 on the R&B chart again in 1975.In total the group had two R&B chart singles in 1975 and four in 1976.

The group had their first world tour that year which lasted for 42 weeks. The tour included 48 states in the United States, five countries in Europe and a 10-day stay in the Philippines. They concluded their tour with a two-week engagement in the Virgin Islands.

Blue Magic were known also for their choreography. As a visually oriented group, they had several major television appearances, including Soul Train, The Mike Douglas Show, The Jerry Blavat Show, Dancin' On Air, and A.M. Philadelphia.

In April 1975, they were chosen as the best new group of the year which earned two Ebony Awards. The first was presented in New York by Aretha Franklin, the second in Florida by the female recording artist Vanity.

They have shared the stage with other performers such as The Jacksons, Lionel Richie, The Commodores, Marvin Gaye, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Natalie Cole, The Temptations, The Four Tops, The Spinners, Earth, Wind & Fire, New Edition, The Stylistics, Mick Jagger and others.

The group also contributed background vocals for Alyson Williams and the Rolling Stones (on the song "If You Really Want To Be My Friend" from the album It's Only Rock 'n' Roll).

By 1977, the group's popularity was faded with the rise of disco music and changing music styles, and despite the group continuing to record consistently they failed to chart. Subsequent label moves to Capitol Records for a reunion with Norman Harris (who had left two years earlier) and then the smaller label Mirage resulted in some smaller R&B charting, but no major success.

Background singer Richard Pratt left in the early 1980s. After singers Vernon and Wendell Sawyer left, the remaining two members Mills and Beaton hired two other singers and traveled to Los Angeles, California to record with Skip Scarborough and some members of the popular group Earth Wind & Fire on the album "Message from the Magic."

In 1988, the original group got back together and had some renewed popularity in late 1989 with the album, "From Out of the Blue."

In 1990, The Amsterdam News carried the story of Mills' near-fatal car accident. The other members of the group brought in new lead Rod Wayne (real name Roderick Bronaugh), who remained with the group until 2004. Bronaugh now teaches at Tennessee State University. After Rod Wayne, Wade Elliot and Leemy Walters, other leads. Ted Mills has reunited with Wendall Sawyer and Keith Beaton. Both Vernon Sawyer and Richard Pratt have their own groups.

After surgery in 1996, Mills returned to the music scene as a solo act, recording an album for Casablanca Records that year entitled "This Magic Is Real", featuring the remake of "Tear It Down."

Mills appeared in the touring play, "Girl, He Ain't Worth It" with The Manhattans, Meli'sa Morgan and Tito Jackson, and appeared in the play "Looking For Love In All The Wrong Places". In 2007, Mills recorded the album "3 Tenors of Soul" with Russell Thompkins, Jr. and William Hart, released on Shanachie Records and produced by Bobbi Eli.

Officially, the group known as "Blue Magic", featuring members Keith Beaton, Wendell Sawyer, Fernando Kee, and lead vocalist Leemy Waiters tour worldwide. Waiters replaced Wade Eliot, who had replaced Rod Wayne in 2004. The name was formally trademarked by Wendell Sawyer and Keith Beaton some years earlier. Ted Mills has reunited with Wendell Sawyer and Keith Beaton May 2013.

Vernon Sawyer tours with his own Blue Magic group, with members Freddie Ingleton, Bennie "BJ" Dixon and Reynardo. Richard Pratt has his own group as well.

Source: Wikipedia

What more can you say about Magic Johnson besides all around best player in life Tags: magic johnson player life word life production sports entertainment feature

Born Earvin Johnson Jr. on August 14, 1959, in Lansing, Michigan, Magic Johnson dominated the court as one of America's best basketball players for 12 years. He retired from the LA Lakers in 1991 after revealing that he had the AIDS virus. He has since then built up a business empire, which includes real estate holdings, several Starbucks franchises, and movie theaters. He is also an author.

Early Life

Basketball icon Magic Johnson was born Earvin Johnson Jr. on August 14, 1959, in Lansing, Michigan. For 12 years, Johnson dominated the court as one of America's best basketball players. He has since then built up a business empire, which includes real estate holdings, several Starbucks franchises, and movie theaters.

From a large family, Johnson grew up with nine brothers and sisters. Both of his parents worked—his father for the General Motors plant in town and his mother for as a school custodian. He had a passion for basketball, and would start practicing as early as 7:30 a.m. At Everett High School, Johnson earned his famous nickname, "Magic," after a sportswriter witnessed him score 36 points, 16 rebounds, and 16 assists in a single game.

Passion for Basketball

Magic Johnson continued to play in college for Michigan State University. Standing at 6 feet 9 inches tall, he made for an impressive point guard. Johnson excelled during his freshman year, helping his team, the Spartans, clinch the Big Ten Conference title. The following year, he played an important role in taking the Spartans all the way to the NCAA Finals. There they faced off against the Indiana State Sycamores. In one of the most famous match-ups in college basketball history, Johnson went head-to-head with Indiana's star forward, Larry Bird. The Spartans proved victorious, and the Johnson-Bird rivalry would follow the players to their days with the NBA.

Leaving college after two years, Johnson was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers in 1979. He did well in his first season (1979-80) with the team, averaging 18 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 7.3 assists per game. Johnson won the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player award for his efforts in leading the Lakers to a victory over the Philadelphia 76ers, winning four of six games in the championship series. The team also included such strong players as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jamaal Wilkes and Norm Nixon.

NBA Star

During Magic Johnson's third season (1981-82) with the team, the Lakers made the NBA Finals again. For the second time in his pro career, the Lakers defeated the Philadelphia 76ers for the championship title. Additionally, Johnson, who scored 13 points, and made 13 rebounds and 13 assists in Game 6 of the 1982 Finals, earned his second series MVP award. The following season (1982-83) saw the third Finals match-up between the Lakers and the 76ers in four years. This time, however, L.A. was defeated by Philadelphia, losing four consecutive games to the 76ers and winning none during the series.

In the 1984 NBA Finals, Johnson again encountered rival Larry Bird, who had signed with the Boston Celtics.

This was the first of several match-ups between the two teams. The Celtics beat the Lakers in a tight competition—four games to three—for the 1984 championship. The Lakers, however, took down the Celtics the following year in the finals.

Johnson and his team continued to be one of the NBA's top competitors throughout the rest of the 1980s. In the 1987 NBA Finals, they again defeated the Boston Celtics,

Retirement and Legacy

and Johnson received the NBA Finals MVP Award for the third and final time in his career. This remarkable season marked Johnson's personal best in terms of average points per game, with an incredible 23.9. Additionally, in 1987, he received his first NBA MVP award for his performance on the court—an honor he would receive again in 1989 and 1990.

AIDS

In November 1991, Magic Johnson retired from the Lakers after revealing that he had the AIDS virus, which he believed he contracted through unprotected sexual activity. The AIDS diagnosis was especially hard for Johnson. At the time he learned he had the disease, his wife Cookie was pregnant with their first child. Both his wife and son, Earvin III, turned out to not have HIV.

At the time, many people thought the virus mostly affected homosexuals or intravenous drug users. There was also a lot of fear and confusion regarding how the disease could be transmitted. Johnson's decision to go public with his medical condition helped raise awareness about the disease. He established the Magic Johnson Foundation to support HIV/AIDS research efforts and awareness programs that same year. In 1992, he wrote the educational guide What You Can Do to Avoid AIDS.

Undeterred, Johnson played in the 1992 Summer Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain. Along with Michael Jordan and Larry Bird, he was part of the American "Dream Team" that won the gold medal. He hoped to return to professional basketball for the next season, but he dropped that plan after protests from other players who were concerned about competing against an AIDS-infected competitor.

Retirement and Legacy

Magic Johnson explored other options after leaving basketball. In 1992, he had his latest book, My Life, published. Johnson had previously written two books about himself and the game, 1983's Magic and 1989's Magic's Touch. He also appeared on television as a sports commentator. During the 1993-1994 basketball season, Johnson tried his hand at coaching with the Lakers. He then bought a small share of the team.

In 1996, staging a brief comeback, Johnson returned for a few months to the Lakers as a player. He finally retired for good that same year, leaving behind an impressive legacy. Over his long career, Johnson scored 17,707 points and made 10,141 assists, 6,559 rebounds and 1,824 steals. He also became the all-time leader in NBA assists per game, with an average of 11.2—a title that he continues to hold today. Johnson was named one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history in 1996, and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002.

Just as he had dominated the courts, Johnson became a powerful force in business.

He created Magic Johnson Enterprises, which has a variety of holdings. Much of his efforts have focused on developing urban areas, bringing Starbucks coffee franchises and movie theaters into underserved communities. In 2008, he shared his secrets for success with the book 32 Ways to be a Champion in Business.

Recently, Johnson reteamed with Larry Bird to write the 2009 book When the Game Was Ours, which explores their rivalry,

their experiences on the court, and the sport they love. That same year, he was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame.

In addition to son Earvin, Johnson and his wife, Cookie, have a daughter named Elisa, whom they adopted in 1995. He also has a son, Andre, from a previous relationship.

© 2013 A+E Networks. All rights reserved. http://www.biography.com/people/magic-johnson-9356150?page=1

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