Did You Know Two Musical Talents Were Born on This Day?

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This Day In History: October 26th

Aside from being pioneers in their genres, musicians Mahalia Jackson and Bootsy Collins wouldn’t seem to have many similarities between them. However, the gospel legend and funk artist happen to share the same date of birth. Both singers were born on October 26!

First to enter the world was Mahalia Jackson who was born on October 26, 1911, in New Orleans, Louisiana. She started singing at just four years old in Mount Moriah Baptist Church but also took a liking to secular artists such as Ma Rainey. Jackson relocated to Chicago as a teenager and joined the Johnson Gospel Singers at Greater Salem Baptist Church. This gave her the opportunity to work with gospel composer Thomas Dorsey.

She recorded songs during the 1930s but her career did not take off until the release of “Move On Up a Little Higher” in 1947. The song propelled Jackson to superstar status and made her an international figure. It sold millions of copies and became the highest-selling gospel single in history.

By the end of the 1950s, Jackson was making television and film appearances in programs such as The Ed Sullivan Show and Imitation of Life (1959). In addition to being a powerful vocalist, Jackson was also a supporter of the Civil Rights Movement. She performed at the March on Washington in 1963 and was considered a friend of Martin Luther King Jr. 

Mahalia Jackson had her final concert in Germany during the 1970s. She died of a heart attack on January 27, 1972. 

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