Rhythm and Blues University *

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Riley “BB” King passed away May 14, 2015 in Las Vegas, NV. He made phenomenal contributions to humanity and was 89 years of age. In 1965 Mr. King helped seed Rhythm and Blues University’s future foundation.  I was a young neophyte researcher when he graciously granted me an interview prior to his performance in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It was back then that he influenced my focus to combined the study of “rhythm and blues music and radio.” In 1971, Mr. King recorded an interview with me that I transcribed for the publication, Rock Is Rhythm and Blues. He also permitted me to place his picture on the book’s jacket cover. What an honor that was, and I kept in touch with him over the years. BB King’s authoritative testimony in my book helped advance my academic career and secure support of my family. When many performers and broadcasters had turned their backs on “blues” in the early 1960s, BB King almost single handedly put the art form on his back and carried it to new heights of respect. More than a great artist, Mr. Riley King was one of the world’s finest human beings. May God rest the beautiful soul of Riley B. King, “King of the Blues.”

Lawrence N. Redd, Ph.D. 

We certify,

"Rock Music Is Rhythm and Blues"
(RBU Orientation)
In the mid 1950s, the United States of America still functioned legally as a racially segregated society, especially against negroes. Racial supremacy, legal or by custom, was meant to separate valued cultural products and achievements from the subjugated people who invented them. It was during America's segregation era of the mid 1950s when millions of young music fans began referring to rhythm and blues music as rock and roll. The latter name, rock and roll, was expropriated from rhythm and blues songwriters by media power brokers; and then given an untrue white history. That is to say, rock and roll music is not a mixture of popular music, country and western, and rhythm and blues. Rock music is rhythm and blues music! Rock and roll is merely another name for rhythm and blues, the negro music that was increasingly popularized by hundreds of radio disc jockeys during the immediate post WWII period. In 1951, the popularity of "blues and rhythm" radio programming attracted Alan Freed who became the second R&B disc jockey in Cleveland, Ohio. Within the record industry, Decca Records terminated its contract with R&B giant, Louis Jordan; replacing him with a former country and western music artist, Bill Haley who had covered a number of R&B recordings. In the meantime, Freed was developing into a legendary national broadcaster by promoting rhythm and blues music solely under the name, rock and roll. Decca Records adopted Freed's campaign; and began promoting Haley under the name, rock  and roll music.

The Same Music


"Shake Rattle and Roll " by Joe Turner

Turner's 1954 original was a #1 Rhythm and Blues record

 "Shake Rattle and Roll" by Bill Haley

  Haley's 1954 R&B cover hit #1 on Pop Charts

Rhythm and Blues University

 Research - Mission - Honorary Degree

Rhythm and Blues University is an on-line private educational corporation, not yet accredited. Nonetheless, RBU is based soundly upon academic research. Our mission is to highlight that research and transfer, to succeeding generations, the full unified legacy of rhythm and blues music; often referred to as R&B. Beginning in the mid 1950s, "rhythm and blues" music was also given another name, "rock and roll." The two R&B names, Rhythm and Blues and Rock and Roll, were used interchangeably for the same music until "strong American social forces" caused a false split between them. Rhythm and Blues University is dedicated to restoring the unification of R&B music. 

Rhythm and Blues University proudly recognizes the grand  status of R&B music in the humanities; awarding its Honorary Degree to people around the world who understand that the true cultural identity of “rock and roll music is rhythm and blues.” The degree is anchored by important graduate school work conducted at Michigan State University: The Impact of radio, motion pictures, and television on the development of rhythm and blues and rock and roll music. In other words, Rhythm and Blues University's Honorary Degree is a manifestation of bona fide and respected academic fact-finding. Conclusively, rock and roll music is an African American cultural art form; adopted and mastered by many in other cultures and around the world.

Honorary Degree - Diploma Awarded


Master of Rhythm and Blues Knowledge


R&B Award


 R&B Knowledge Certified

The RBU diploma publicly declares certification of the unified culture of R&B for all to see: friends, loved ones, and others. The diploma long endures; naming its recipient as having possessed powerful cultural knowledge. Wherever the RBU diploma is displayed it reinforces and contributes additional powerful testimony to the abounding heritage of R&B music, or rock and roll.

Rhythm and Blues University was founded by Lawrence N. Redd in 2010. During the late 1960s Redd helped produce and promote Al Green's first national hit, "Back Up Train." Initially, some "Top 40" rock stations refused to play the rhythm and blues production, saying it was not "rock." Later, Redd  researched and wrote the Michigan State University Press publication (1974), Rock is Rhythm and Blues: The Impact of Mass Media which was adopted as a text book by several major universities. He served for more than three decades on the faculty-staff of Michigan State University. His research has been published in books, encyclopedias and academic journals. He has produced numerous radio and television shows, and recordings, including the internationally acclaimed R&B recording, “I’m Loving You” by Cloudburst. He also established the music industry program at Texas Southern University.


The Spread of R&B Music

Today, rhythm and blues is the richest musical art form on planet earth and in the history of mankind. The African American expression encompasses much of the world's popular music and is replete with millionaires. In 1967, when Dr. Martin Luther King addressed the National Association of Negro Radio Broadcasters, he referred to rhythm and blues and rock music as being culturally synonymous. Secondly, speaking in the superlative, Dr. King said [blues and rhythm music] surpasses the cultural conquest of classical Greece. Both of Dr. Martin Luther King's positions about the vast legacy of rhythm and blues music have been corroborated at Rhythm and Blues University. 

Documents from the 1950s clearly show that young white American artists such as Johnnie Ray, Bill Haley, Pat Boone, Elvis Presley and others, including artists of the 1960s British Invasion, all rose to fame by performing R&B music. The enormous popularity of R&B had spread internationally by the 1960s; but often under the name rock and roll that was promoted by Alan Freed. Subsequently, performance artists, writers and producers from many cultures and races around the world successfully mastered R&B music or rock and roll.

R&B Worldwide

R&B in China

R&B in Germany

R&B in Spain


Keith Richards, Rock Music Legend  (The Rolling Stones)

The blues is the basic backbone of just about every form of popular music there is in this [20th] century. Chicago has produced, I mean, everybody that turned me on; I must say those guys, Howlin Wolf, Muddy and John Lee, the greats of gents. I always got the feeling that they looked upon [The Rolling Stones] us as the little seeds they planted...that come home.

Record Row (documentary of major Chicago independent record labels) @10:14 - 11:08

Blues and Rhythm is Rhythm and Blues

The Blues



 Rhythm and Blues is Rock Music


Stephen StillsRock Music Legend

"Well, what I’m appreciative of is that somehow...that tape [of my young guitar style] managed to survive...The second thing I’m grateful for is the records that I got to listen to. I mean, I hadn’t developed a blues style yet. It was just finger-picking at first, but I played some R&B guitar ... and I’m grateful to Sun House and Blind Willie McTell, and...you know, Elmore James. I couldn't wait  to get an electrified guitar so I could get that thing where you incorporate the amplifier into the music that you are making. Couldn't wait. And so I mean, you know, we all come from the same tree, all of us, and the three English boys, you know, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Paige and Eric Clapton, the Surrey boys, I call them. We were all listening to the same records at the same point in life. So that’s where all this stuff comes from.

The Tavis Smiley Show, April 5, 2013

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/tavissmiley/interviews/musician-stephen-stills/  “@10:00 - 11:58”


Obtain Your Honorary Degree 

Our Honorary Degree is meant to honor all people who have helped preserve or recently obtained enlightenment about "why and how" the true cultural identity of rock music is rhythm and blues. Millions of people have studied rhythm and blues music, collected records and built libraries, listened to R&B radio, supported dances, concerts, nightclub shows, and held discussions with friends and strangers, etc.; and know the unified R&B legacy. The University searches the world to locate, help uplift and honor such people, fans and professionals.

For newcomers, willing to learn more about the sweeping R&B legacy, Rhythm and Blues University has developed a set of short informational modules that untangle the false division between R&B and Rock music. The modules reveal the true knowledge of R&B music or rock and roll as being one and the same. MP3 files, CDs and DVDs are embedded in each module or section that help illustrate the full embodiment of R&B. Media productions can also enrich home libraries. Thus, Rhythm and Blues University bestows its Honorary Degree based upon a person's prior experience and/or new R&B enlightenment.


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