Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of HR0778
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Full Text of HR0778  102nd General Assembly




HR0778LRB102 26869 ECR 37932 r


2    WHEREAS, The members of the Illinois House of
3Representatives are saddened to learn of the death of Pervis
4"Blues Man" Spann of Chicago, who passed away on March 14,
52022; and
6    WHEREAS, Pervis Spann was born in Itta Bena, Mississippi
7on August 16, 1932; alongside his mother and sister, he moved
8to Battle Creek, Michigan in 1949; he soon followed his father
9to Indiana; he served stateside in the U.S. Army during the
10Korean War era; he then moved to Chicago; he attended the
11Midway Television Institute and the Midwestern Broadcasting
12School and was also a student of the Moody Bible Institute; and
13    WHEREAS, Pervis Spann's first job in radio was as a disc
14jockey (DJ) at station WOPA in Oak Park in the 1950s; he was
15hired as a DJ at WVON by Leonard Chess, co-founder of Chess
16Records, who bought the station in 1963; he became known as one
17of WVON's "Good Guys", a group of star DJs, and was noted as
18one of the few DJs who played music that related to the Black
19experience; he gained notoriety with an on-air, 87-hour
20sleepless sit-in, which raised money for Dr. Martin Luther
21King Jr.; he established a brilliant and unique relationship
22with Barry Gordy of Motown Records, which permitted new Motown
23recordings to be heard on WVON first; he co-founded the Midway



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1Broadcasting Corporation with fellow DJ Wesley South to run
2the station in 1979; he also bought radio stations in Atlanta,
3Jacksonville, Florida, and Memphis; and
4    WHEREAS, Pervis Spann formed the Delta Production Company,
5which promoted and produced shows featuring Black
6entertainment for Black audiences, with venues including The
7Regal Theater, Aragon Ballroom, Chicago Stadium, Arie Crown
8Theater, Lyric Opera House, Trianon Ballroom, and Soldier
9Field; he promoted between 90 to 95 percent of all the major
10concerts in the Chicago area, booking such stars as James
11Brown, Sammy Davis Jr., The Temptations, Chaka Khan, Dinah
12Washington, Jerry Butler, The Impressions, The Four Tops,
13Marvin Gaye, Al Green, Otis Clay, Earth, Wind & Fire, Sam
14Cooke, The Staple Singers, The Commodores, Marvin Gaye, Cab
15Calloway, Roy Hamilton, Jackie Wilson, Little Richard, and
16Count Basie, among others; and
17    WHEREAS, Pervis Spann was credited with boosting the
18careers of Aretha Franklin, B.B. King, and the Jackson 5; he
19gave Aretha Franklin the moniker "Queen of Soul"; alongside
20fellow DJ E. Rodney Jones, he purchased the Burning Spear
21nightclub on 55th Street in the early 1960s, which was the
22setting for the Jackson 5's first Chicago performance and
23where they won their first major talent show; and



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1    WHEREAS, Pervis Spann hosted the cable TV show Blues and
2More with his comedian friend Carl Wright; he also authored
3the memoir 40 Years Spann; and
4    WHEREAS, Pervis Spann ran in Chicago's Republican mayoral
5primary in 1991 and for the Chicago City Council's 18th Ward in
61999; and
7    WHEREAS, Pervis Spann was known for helping others through
8providing shows and outreach; he enjoyed boxing and
9photography; he will be remembered as an astute businessman
10and a cultural icon; and
11    WHEREAS, Pervis Spann is survived by his wife of 67 years,
12Lovie Spann; his son and caretaker, Darrell; and his
13daughters, Melody Spann Cooper, Latrice Levitt, and Chanté
14Spann; therefore, be it
17we mourn the passing of Pervis "Blues Man" Spann and extend our
18sincere condolences to his family, friends, and all who knew
19and loved him; and be it further
20    RESOLVED, That a suitable copy of this resolution be
21presented to the family of Pervis Spann as an expression of our



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1deepest sympathy.