394. Jesse Belvin

Before Sam Cooke had his breakout success with his smooth R&B Pop style, there was Jesse Belvin who was easily among the most underappreciated artist of his day. Belvin was nicknamed “Mr. Easy”, which was appropriate for the way he could write and sing seemingly without effort. Belvin’s early career saw him perform under pseudonyms and various companies and finding a concrete collection of his early work proves ominous for even the most diligent music historian. By 1958, Belvin’s star seemed to be on the rise as he finally took control of his style and recordings. His career was cut short at age 26 from a car crash and whether he would have had the career that Sam Cooke eventually had will always be open for debate. The debate here is whether the Hall will look at what he could have been as opposed to what he actually got to do. With no current nominations, the Hall’s opinion seems apparent.

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