1969 Moms Mabley – Abraham, Martin, and John
A series of deaths in the late 1960s ending with the death of Robert Kennedy led Dick Holler to write a song: Abraham, Martin, And John. His song has been recorded by a large number of musicians, beginning with former teen idol Dion in 1968. His single peaked at #4 on the Hot 100 and #32 on the R&B chart.
Smokey Robinson and the Miracles recorded a version of the song in 1969 that peaked at #33 on the Hot 100 and #16 on the R&B chart.
Marvin Gaye also recorded the song with an arrangement by Norman Whitfield. His version only got released as an album cut in the US, but a single version released in the UK reached #9 in 1969.
One other version of the song still holds a record: in 1969, Moms Mabley became the oldest living performer to reach the Top Forty on the Hot 100.
Moms performed in vaudeville shows beginning in 1908, recorded comedy albums, and appeared on radio and television shows later in the century. She was primarily known as a comic, but late in her career, she began adding music. She was 75 years old when her version of Abraham, Martin, And John reached #35 on the Hot 100 and #18 on the R&B chart. I still remember playing her poignant record on the air in Nashville.
Moms died from heart failure in 1975.
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