New York's Apollo Theater unveils Walk of Fame

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The Independent Culture

New York's Apollo Theater Monday unveiled its own Hollywood-style Walk of Fame where it can honor the African-American music legends who rose to fame from Harlem's iconic music hall on 125th Street.

The first in a series of plaques displayed on the sidewalk under the famous Apollo marquee were shown to the public - they include Quincy Jones, Patty LaBelle, Smokey Robinson, James Brown, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Little Richard and Ella Fitzgerald.

More plaques honoring Michael Jackson and Aretha Franklin will be unveiled in June, said theater spokeswoman Leah Sandals.

Next month's ceremony will include a gala concert that will become a traditional, yearly event for the induction of new stars on the Walk of Fame, she added.

"For me to have a plaque honoring me in front of the Apollo Theater is one of the proudest achievements in my life," said soul singer-songwriter Smokey Robinson.

"I started out at the Apollo, and it will always be a home to me. Even if they tear all of 125th street down, leave the Apollo standing. It is that important to me," added the 69-year old Motown record producer.

"I'm humbled to be able to be a part of its rich and continued legacy," said singer-songwriter and actress Patty LaBelle, whose career also began at the Apollo.

The Apollo was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1983 and this year celebrates it's 76th anniversary. It is one of the most famous music halls in the United States and Harlem's top tourist attraction.

After it opened in January 1934, it quickly became the quintessential showcase for African-American talent and birthplace of new musical genres including jazz, swing, bebop, rhythm and blues, gospel, blues, soul and hip-hop.

On the long list of musical stars who started out on its stage were Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, Sammy Davis, Jr., James Brown, Bill Cosby, Luther Vandross, D'Angelo and Lauryn Hill.

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