Donny Hathaway

How much do I love Donny Hathaway? I even love his Christmas song—which, if you know how I feel about holiday music, is a very big deal. And yes, I’m including it. It’s December, so sue me.

Donny Hathaway AllMusic page

 

Don Cherry

It takes a special kind of awesome to build a 50-year career out of playing a mini-trumpet.  Throw in the fact that his step-daughter is Neneh Cherry—on whom I had a crush in the 80s, even though she is a girl—and that’s awesome squared.

Don Cherry AllMusic page

Dolly Parton

Sure, she’s been a cartoon character for a long time, but apparently Dolly Parton is the most-awarded country music artist of all time—so that must count for something. Plus, I secretly think she (and especially “9 to 5”) is awesome.

Dolly Parton AllMusic page

Devo

If your brain didn’t immediately bust out with, “Whip it! Whip it good!,” you are either under 30 or over 100. And even the 100+ crowd was probably bopping along with Devo when they were 70-something whippersnappers.

Devo AllMusic page

Dee Dee Bridgewater

How cool is my kid, part 1,000. When we were driving from Austin to San Antonio a few years back, Daveon was fiddling around with Sirius radio, and stopped when he heard “If You Believe” from The Wiz (a family favorite). Turns out it was an hour-long interview/listening session with Dee Dee Bridgewater, who played Glinda on Broadway. He kept the station on for the entire show, with both of us learning a lot about Bridgewater and her music. That’s how cool he is.

Dee Dee Bridgewater AllMusic page

Crew-Cut Rock

AKA, “Songs my mother is referring to when she calls herself a rocker.” I hesitated on this one for a long time, but since I finally gave in on Elvis, I figured it was hard to argue that “Rock Around the Clock” wasn’t influential. Even if “influential” means, “Convincing record companies that they could make money by having white people sing songs originally done by black people.”

Rock & Roll AllMusic page