Roy James Brown (September 10, 1925 — May 25, 1981) was a pioneering Rhythm & Blues singer, songwriter and musician who had a primary influence on the early development of rock & roll music. Brown sang R&B tunes with a gospel feel, the first blues singer to do so. Although many historians and fans consider Clyde McPhatter the main singer to infuse the gospel sound into R&B, Brown started the trend of combining the church sound into R&B. The "call and response" and shouting gospel style was limited to the church prior to Brown's arrival to the music scene. After Brown's debut, it became the standard. His seminal "Good Rocking Tonight" was covered by Wynonie Harris, Elvis Presley, Ricky Nelson, Jerry Lee Lewis, Pat Boone, and the rock group Montrose. In addition, his melismatical pleading, gospel-steeped delivery impacted the vocal styles of B.B. King, Bobby Bland, Jackie Wilson and Little Richard, among others. His role as a crucial link between postwar R&B and rock's initial rise is severely underappreciated by the masses.
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