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Reverend Dr. Mable John

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Information about Reverend Dr. Mable John

Profile image of Reverend Dr. Mable John

Profession

Category:
ReligionMakers
MusicMakers
Occupation(s):
R & B Singer
Pastor
Songwriter

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Earth Tones
Favorite Food:
Salad, Seafood
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall, Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Hawaii, Venice, Italy
Favorite Quote:
By George, Let God Do It.

Birthplace

Born:
11/3/1930
Birth Location:
Bastrop, Louisiana

Profession

Category:
ReligionMakers
MusicMakers
Occupation(s):
R & B Singer
Pastor
Songwriter

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Earth Tones
Favorite Food:
Salad, Seafood
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall, Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Hawaii, Venice, Italy
Favorite Quote:
By George, Let God Do It.

Birthplace

Born:
11/3/1930
Birth Location:
Bastrop
See how Reverend Dr. Mable John is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

R&B singer Mable John was born on November 3, 1930 in Bastrop, Louisiana to Mertis and Lillian John. As the eldest of ten children, John began singing with her siblings as a child, putting on programs and singing traditional gospel tunes while her mother played the guitar. John and her family moved to Arkansas, where her brother, the legendary singer and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, William “Little Willie” John was born. The family later moved to Detroit, Michigan. Inspired by her brother’s success in the music industry, John started substituting for R&B singer Etta James as the opening act for “Little Willie” John’s show when he came to town. In 1956, she worked as a secretary at the Friendship Mutual Insurance Company where her supervisor was Bertha Gordy, mother of the Motown music founder Berry Gordy.

In 1958, John became the first female artist on Gordy’s new label Tamla. Although her first song, “Who Wouldn’t Love a Man Like That”, did not make the pop charts, it established John as a popular live performer. She sold out shows at the Apollo Theater in New York City and The Howard Theater in Washington, D.C. In 1965, John decided to change labels and signed with Stax Records where she believed her sound was more appropriate.

John’s first song under the Stax label, “Your Good This (Is About to End)” soared to number six on the R&B charts in the summer of 1966, and the following year, she released the single, “Same Time, Same Place”. In 1968, John’s brother William “Little Willie” John died in prison from unknown causes. Subsequently, John went into a deep depression. It was not until 1970, when Ray Charles offered her a job as the musical director of the Raelettes, that John continued her musical career. John was the co-writer of fifty songs for Ray Charles before leaving his organization in 1977. She then became the pastor and founder of Joy in Jesus Ministries in Los Angeles, California in 1986. John earned her doctorate in divinity from the Crenshaw Christian Center in 1993 and, in 1994, she was awarded the Pioneer Award by the Rhythm and Blues Foundation.

John lives in Los Angeles, California and has five adult children.

John was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 7, 2007.

See how Reverend Dr. Mable John is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Reverend Dr. Mable John's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Mable John lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Mable John describes her mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Mable John describes her father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Mable John remembers her maternal and paternal grandparents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Mable John describes her earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Mable John remembers her mother's cooking
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. Mable John describes the community of Cullendale, Arkansas
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Reverend Dr. Mable John remembers the itinerant workers in Cullendale, Arkansas
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Mable John remembers lessons from her parents
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Mable John describes segregation in Arkansas
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Mable John remembers the Lafayette School in Cullendale, Arkansas
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Mable John remembers her father's discipline
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Mable John describes her early aspirations
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Mable John describes her early musical influences
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Mable John recalls the importance of music during her childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. Mable John remembers her family's decision to move to Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Mable John describes her community in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Mable John describes her experiences in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Mable John remembers Pershing High School in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Mable John recalls her family dynamics
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Mable John talks about her aspiration to become a nurse
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Mable John describes her first marriage, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Mable John describes her first marriage, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. Mable John talks about her first husband's gambling addiction
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Mable John recalls working as a nurse in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Mable John describes her and her brother's early singing careers
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Mable John talks about Little Willie John's start in the music industry, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Mable John talks about Little Willie John's start in the music industry, pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Mable John remembers meeting Berry Gordy
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Mable John remembers opening for Billie Holiday
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Mable John recalls the mentorship of Billie Holiday and Ruth Brown
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Mable John remembers signing a contract with Tamla Records
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Mable John remembers touring with Etta James
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Mable John remembers touring with Little Willie John
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Mable John remembers transitioning to Stax Records
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Mable John remembers Otis Redding's death
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Mable John talks about her brother's incarceration and death
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Mable John describes her decision to leave the music industry
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Mable John remembers Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Mable John talks about her second marriage
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Mable John remembers joining The Raelettes, pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Mable John remembers joining The Raelettes, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Mable John remembers joining The Raelettes, pt. 3
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Mable John recalls negotiating her contract with Ray Charles, pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Mable John recalls negotiating her contract with Ray Charles, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. Mable John describes Ray Charles' work ethic
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Reverend Dr. Mable John talks about her work in music publishing
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Mable John remembers Ray Charles
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Mable John talks about the Fourth House Music Company and Joy in Jesus, Inc.
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Mable John remembers her calling to the ministry
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Mable John recalls leaving The Raelettes
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Mable John describes her career as a minister and author
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Mable John talks about the movie 'Ray'
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Mable John describes her advice to young people
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. Mable John reflects upon her career
  • Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Reverend Dr. Mable John describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Mable John reflects upon her values
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Mable John reflects upon her legacy
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Mable John reflects upon her life
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Mable John shares a message to future generations