Lavern Baker – Rock & Roll
Dolores Lavern Baker, responsible for a couple of dozen hits both on the R&B and Pop Charts of the late 50’s, proved capable of melding blues, jazz and R&B styles in a way that made possible the emergence of a new idiom: rock and roll.
She was also the first black artist to file a legal grievance against a white artist when she sued competing label Mercury recording artist Georgia Gibbs for covering one of her hits.
Although she lost that battle, it set an important precedent! She was also one of the first R&B acts to bring rock and roll to the Ed Sullivan Show, opening the genre to a much wider audience.
Lavern Baker is still considered one of the most remarkable female vocalists of her era, creating a sultry yet hard image that inspires female R&B singers to this day.