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Born on this day: January 12, 1946 - Keyboardist and producer extraordinaire George Duke (born in San Rafael, CA). Happy Birthday to this brilliant artist on what would have been his 69th Birthday.
On this day in music history: January 12, 1939 - Pioneering vocal group The Ink Spots record "If I Didn't Care" at the Decca Recording Studio in New York City, NY. Written by Jack Lawrence, it is the first major hit record for the legendary vocal group. Formed in Indianapolis, IN in 1934 as The Four Riff Brothers, the group's original line up consists of Orville "Hoppy" Jones, Ivory "Deek" Watson, Jerry Daniels, and Charlie Fuqua. After the group perform at the Apollo Theater in Harlem the same year, their name will be changed to The 4 Ink Spots by legendary bandleader Paul Whiteman. The group will shorten their name to The Ink Spots and will record several singles for Victor Records, none of which will be commercially successful. A major turning point for the group will occur in 1936 with the departure of founding member Jerry Daniels, who is replaced by Bill Kenny as lead singer. Kenny's unique high tenor voice and vocal style will lift The Ink Spots to international stardom. The group will sign with Decca Records in late 1938, and will quickly see their fortunes turn around. "If I Didn't Care" will be among the first sides they cut for the label. After its release in February of 1939, it will become one of the biggest selling singles in the history of Decca Records, peaking at #2 on the Pop singles chart and selling over nineteen million copies worldwide, only being surpassed by Bing Crosby's "White Christmas." The Ink Spots distinctive vocal style will be hugely influential on rhythm & blues and Doo Wop vocal groups who will emerge in the coming decades. "If I Didn't Care" will have lasting popularity over several generations having been used in commercials, television, and period films including over the opening credits to The Shawshank Redemption in 1994. Comedian Redd Foxx will often quote the song on the sitcom Sanford & Son. The Ink Spots original recording of "If I Didn't Care" is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1987.