John Murray charts the story of the blues

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Back in the day R&B or Rhythym & Blues music meant something totally different.

You see, The Yardbirds and Rolling Stones were R&B bands based on the Stateside covers they chose from the suppressed black artists who were making great original beat music to a very limited audience.

In recent years R&B has been hijacked as to embrace the black urban dance culture which blended quite a few styles. R&B, jazz, soul and the growing influence of hip-hop meant the category had been redefined.

With a huge spend on promotional video coupled with an aspirational lifestyle of diamonds and gold the music became part of a global empire and first seen on UK TV on Fresh Prince of Bel Air produced by Quincy Jones and starring Will Smith yet was only on screen for just over five years and ended in 1996.

Meanwhile Montell Jordan’s debut single topped the US Billboard chart for seven weeks in 1995 and set the standard for others to follow. Having begun in New York clubs the Old School R&B became huge and that music continues today.

This week a box set of three CDs of over 50 R&B anthems is released opening with Montell Jordan’s hit. Enter Bobby Brown, LL Cool J, Mac Band, Teddy Riley and En Vogue and the dance groove becomes infectious. Return Of The Mac (Mark Morrison), I Love Your Smile (Shanice), Keep On Movin’ (Soul II Soul) and Now That We Found Love from Heavy D and the Boyz are musical milestones and great summer sounds and unlike current dance hits in the style and the pure rap variations I have still to hear a swear word within, so universal play.