DrRock.com

This Week’s Birthdays (April 3 – 9)

The Band (Richard Manuel, far right)

Happy Birthday this week to:

April 03
1922 ● Doris Day / (Doris Mary Anne Kappelhoff) → Award-winning, wholesome film heroine in nearly 40 feature films from the Golden Age of 1940s Hollywood through the advance of TV culture in the 60s, scored 42 Top 20 pop hits first as a Big Band singer and later as a solo artist until rock ‘n’ roll ended her relevance, her signature song “Que Sera Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)” (#2, 1956) won an Academy Award, dropped out of film acting and hosted her own TV program from 1968-1973, thereafter became an animal rights activist and reluctant, retired film star honoree, issued a first-in-two-decades album of new material in 2011, died from pneumonia on 5/13/2019, age 97.
1928 ● Don Gibson / (Donald Eugene Gibson) → Traditional and country-pop singer/songwriter, “Oh, Lonesome Me” (#7, Country #1, 1958) plus over 40 other Country Top 25 hits between 1956 and 1978, died 11/17/2003, age 75
1931 ● Gil Robbins / (Gilbert Lee Robbins) → Folk guitarist and singer, Air Force band conductor and member of the Cumberland Three with future Kingston Trio member John Stewart, joined the Harry Belafonte Singers and recorded five albums with The Highwaymen in the early 60s, acted in off-Broadway plays, including Month of Sundays (1968), How to Steal an Election (1968) and Mississippi Moonshine (1975)., father of actor Tim Robbins, died from prostate cancer on 4/5/2011, age 80
1936 ● Jimmy McGriff / (James Harrell McGriff) → Soul-jazz organist and bandleader, “All About My Girl” (#50, R&B #12, 1963), died from complications of multiple sclerosis on 5/24/2008, age 72
1938 ● Jeff Barry / (Joel Adelberg) → Brill Building pop-rock songwriter, singer, record producer, husband of noted songwriter Ellie Greenwich, with whom he co-wrote “Be My Baby” for The Ronettes (#2, 1963), “Leader Of The Pack” for The Shangri-Las (#1, 1964) and “I Can Hear Music” for The Beach Boys (#24, 1969), among dozens of other 60s hits
1938 ● Philippé Wynne / (Philippé Walker) → Co-lead vocals for Grammy-winning Motown and later Atlantic R&B/soul quintet The Spinners, “Then Came You” (#1, 1974) plus eleven other Top 20 hits in the 70s, left in 1977 for a largely unsuccessful solo career, died of a heart attack on a nightclub stage on 7/14/1984, age 46
1941 ● Jan Berry / (William Jan Berry) → Singer in seminal surf music duo Jan & Dean, “Surf City” (#1, 1963), died on 3/26/2004 after years of poor health following a 1966 auto accident, age 63
1942 ● Wayne Newton / (Carson Wayne Newton) → Stage and screen star, pop music solo act, “Danke Schoen” (#13, Adult Contemporary #3, 1963), consummate Las Vegas showman and local real estate tycoon
1942 ● Billy Joe Royal → Light country-rock and pop singer, “Down In The Boondocks” (#9, 1965) and three other Top 40 hits in the 60s and 70s, then ten Country Top 20 hits in the 80s and 90s, toured regularly until he died in his sleep on 10/6/2015, age 73
1943 ● Joe Vann / (Joseph Canzano) → Lead vocals for Italian-American doo wop The Duprees, “You Belong To Me” (#7, 1962), died 2/28/1984, age 40
1943 ● Richard Manuel / (Richard George Manuel) → Canadian-born keyboardist, occasional drummer, songwriter and tenor vocals for seminal roots rock The Band (“Up On Cripple Creek,” #25, 1970), committed suicide in a Florida motel room following a performance on 3/4/1986, age 42
1943 ● Artie Traum / (Arthur Roy Traum) → Award-winning Greenwich Village and Woodstock folk and smooth jazz singer, songwriter, guitarist and producer with ten solo albums, another four with his brother, Happy Traum, and numerous appearances and production credits with The Bandd, Paul Butterfield, Bob Dylan, Richie Havens, James Taylor and many others, later career as a documentary filmmaker, died from liver cancer on 7/20/2008, age 65
1944 ● Lois Wilkinson → With partner Andrea Simpson, one half of the British Invasion pop-rock girl duo The Caravelles, “You Don’t Have To Be A Baby To Cry” (#3, 1963)
1944 ● Tony Orlando / (Michael Anthony Orlando Casavitis) → AM Pop star singer, leader of the vocal group Dawn, “Knock Three Times” (#1, 1971), Las Vegas showroom icon
1946 ● Dee Murray / (David Murray Oates) → Bassist for numerous rock and pop acts, most notably the Elton John band, died from a stroke after a long bout with cancer on 1/15/1992, age 45
1951 ● Mel Schacher → Bassist for garage rock legends ? And The Mysterians, “96 Tears” (#1, 1966), then formed hard rock/early heavy metal power trio Grand Funk Railroad, “We’re An American Band” (#1, 1973)
1956 ● Judie Tzuke / (Judith Myers) → UK pop singer/songwriter, “Stay With Me Till Dawn” (1979) ranks #39 of 50 top songs in the BBC Best of British – 50 Golden Years of Popular Music from 2002
1961 ● Eddie Murphy / (Edward Regan Murphy) → Stand-up comedian, comic screen actor (Beverly Hills Cop, 1984), Saturday Night Live cast member, sometime pop singer, “Party All The Time” (#2, 1985)
1962 ● Mike Ness / (Michael James Ness) → Co-founder, lead guitar, vocals and songwriter for Southern California punk revival band Social Distortion, “I Was Wrong” (#54, Alt Rock #4, 1996)
1962 ● Simon Raymonde → Bassist for Scottish alt rock/dream-pop Cocteau Twins, “Heaven Or Las Vegas” (Modern Rock #9, 1990)
1963 ● Christopher Michael “Criss” Oliva → Co-founder with his brother Jon and lead guitarist for heavy metal Savatage (“Edge Of Thorns,” Mainstream Rock #26, 1993), died at the peak of the band’s popularity in a car collision caused by a drunk driver on 10/17/1993, age 30
1968 ● Sebastian Bach / (Sebastian Bierk) → Canadian-born frontman and lead vocals for New Jersey-based hair metal/pop-metal Skid Row (“I Remember You,” #6, 1989), left in 1996 for a moderately successful solo recording and Broadway and TV acting career
1970 ● Matthew Priest → Drummer for goofball Brit power pop trio Dodgy, “Good Enough” (UK #4, 1996)
1974 ● Drew Shirley → Singer, songwriter and guitarist with Grammy-winning alt rock/Christian rock Switchfoot, “Meant To Live” (#18, Modern Rock #5, 2004)
1985 ● Leona Lewis → Contemporary R&B singer/songwriter, “Bleeding Love” (#1, 2007), won the third series of Britain’s The X Factor in 2006, Billboard magazine’s “Top New Artist” for 2008

April 04
1913 ● Frances Langford → Hollywood actress and singer, introduced the since oft-covered “I’m In The Mood For Love” in 1935, veteran of Bob Hope‘s USO tours during World War II, starred in multiple pre- and post-war musicals, appeared on TV as a host or guest on numerous variety programs through the early 60s, died from congestive heart failure on 7/11/2005, age 92
1915 ● Muddy Waters / (McKinley Morganfield) → Grammy-winning Chicago blues giant, “Mannish Boy” (R&B #5, 1955), major inspiration for the British blues-rock explosion of the 60s, Rolling Stone magazine #17 Greatest Artist of All Time, died in his sleep from heart failure on 4/30/1983, age 68
1922 ● Elmer Bernstein → Golden Globe, Emmy and Academy Award-winning film score composer and music conductor with a 50-plus year career and over 200 film scores and TV themes, among them The Magnificent Seven (1960, also used in Marlboro cigarette ads), To Kill A Mockingbird (1962), National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978), Airplane! (1980), Ghostbusters (1984), and various National Geographic specials, died of cancer on 8/18/2004, age 82
1928 ● Maya Angelou / (Marguerite Annie Johnson) → One of the most important African-American authors, artists, social activists and educators of all time, wrote the best-selling I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings (1969) and seven autobiographies, three books of essays, numerous books of poetry, screenplays, and recorded a single album of calypso music, Miss Calypso (1957), died from natural causes on 5/28/2014, age 86
1932 ● Clive Davis → Hugely successful, Grammy-winning record company executive responsible for signing and promoting many of rock and pop music’s biggest names over a five-decade career, first with Columbia Records which he transformed into a rock music powerhouse in the 70s, then with upstart Arista Records and his own label, J Records, more recently as Chairman and CEO of RCA Music Group and chief creative officer for Sony Music Entertainment
1936 ● Margo Sylvia → Vocals and songwriter for R&B/doo wop The Tune Weavers, “Happy, Happy Birthday Baby” (#5, 1957), died on 10/29/1991, age 55
1938 ● Declan Mulligan → Irish guitarist for pop-rock The Beau Brummels, “Laugh, Laugh” (#15, 1964)
1938 ● Michael Parks → One hit wonder pop singer and TV actor with various smaller roles in the 60s, best known as the star of the series Then Came Bronson (1969-1970) and for singing the theme song for the show, “Long Lonesome Highway” (#20, 1969), appeared in over two dozen films through 2015
1939 ● Major Lance → Chicago good-time R&B/soul singer, “The Monkey Time” (#8, R&B #2, 1963), died of heart failure on 3/9/1994, age 55
1939 ● Hugh Masekela / (Ramapolo Hugh Masekela) → The “father of South African jazz ,” trumpeter, flugelhornist, composer and singer best known in the U.S. as a one hit wonder pop artist for his instrumental hit “Grazing In The Grass” (#1, R&B #1, CAN #6, 1968), issued over 50 albums during his career, many during a 30-year exile from his homeland for his anti-apartheid views and music, played with other African musicians on Paul Simon‘s Graceland tour in the mid-80s, continued to record and perform until his death from prostate cancer on 1/23/2018, age 78
1940 ● Sharon Sheeley → Successful early rock ‘n’ roll songwriter, wrote “Poor Little Fool” for Ricky Nelson (#1, 1958) and “Somethin’ Else” for Eddie Cochran (#58, 1959), was Cochran’s “unofficial fiancé” and survived the taxi crash that killed Cochran in 1960, died following a cerebral hemorrhage on 5/17/2002, age 62
1941 ● Michael Z. Gordon → Musician, composer, record producer and film screenwriter, frontman and songwriter for two contemporaneous surf-rock bands in the 60s, The Routers (“Let’s Go (Pony),” #19, 1962) and The Marketts (“Out Of Limits,” #3, 1964), later composed music for multiple TV shows and feature films, including the soundtrack to Pulp Fiction (1994)
1942 ● Kris Jensen / (Peter Kristian Jensen) → One hit wonder pop singer with J.D. Loudermilk‘s “Torture” (#1, 1962), a song The Everly Brothers turned down, recorded several dozen other songs without success and drifted into obscurity in the late 60s
1945 ● Knox Carnochan / (Ian Carnochan) → Founding member and vocals for punk-rock The Vibrators, “Automatic Lover” (UK #35, 1978)
1946 ● Dave Hill → Lead guitarist and backing vocals for Brit glam-metal Slade, “Run Runaway” (#20, 1984)
1948 ● Pick Withers / (David Withers) → Original drummer for post-punk New Wave pop-rock Dire Straits, “Sultans Of Swing” (#4, 1983), left the band in 1982
1948 ● Berry Oakley / (Raymond Berry Oakley III) → First bassist for Southern blues-rock The Allman Brothers Band, “Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More” (#77, 1972), died in a motorcycle accident on 11/11/1973, age 24
1949 ● Junior Braithwaite / (Franklin Delano Alexander Braithwaite) → Co-founding member and vocals for roots reggae The Wailers, left Jamaica in 1964 to pursue a medical career in Chicago, returned in 1984 for a Wailers reunion album and tour, murdered on 6/2/1999, age 50
1950 ● Pip Pyle / (Phillip Pyle) → Journeyman drummer for several Canterbury-scene psych-art-jazz-prog rock fusion bands over a 40 year career, including Gong, Hatfield And The North, In Cahoots and National Health in the 60s and 70s, collaborated with multiple artists in various progressive and experimental music projects, died on 8/28/2006, age 56
1951 ● Steve Gatlin → Elementary school teacher turned country music singer, first with Tammy Wynette‘s band and later with brothers Larry and Rudy in Grammy-winning sibling trio The Gatlin Brothers, “Houston (Means I’m One Day Closer To You)” (Country #1, 1983) and 16 other Country Top 10 hits in the 80s and 90s, issued two albums as a solo artist and currently tours as a motivational speaker
1951 ● Graeme Kelling → Guitarist in Scottish indie pop-rock Deacon Blue, “Real Gone Kid” (UK #8, 1988), died from pancreatic cancer on 6/10/2004, age 53
1952 ● Gary Moore → Guitarist for Irish blues-rock band Skid Row, plus three short stints with hard rock Thin Lizzy, “Waiting For An Alibi” (UK #9, 1979), solo, “Still Got The Blues” (Mainstream Rock #9, 1990), found dead in his vacation hotel room in Spain on 2/6/2011. age 58
1952 ● María Mendiola / (María Eugenia Martínez Mendiola) → Former Spanish television dancer and, with partner Mayte Mateos, one-half of the Latin/disco girl duo Baccara and “Yes Sir, I Can Boogie” (UK #1, 1977), their debut single, a Europe-wide chart topper and the highest selling single by a female group in history, the duo spilt in the early 80s as disco waned and their audience moved on, leaving the pair to feud over song content and lead vocals, each tried unsuccessful solo careers before retarting separate Baccara-styled and -named duos, competing for over 25 years and remaining friendly but never performing together again, died from complications of a two-decades long blood defficinecy on 9/11/2021, age 69.
1958 ● David Roback / (David Edward Roback) → Guitarist, singer, songwriter and founding member of indie pop-rock duo Mazzy Star with vocalist Hope Sandoval, their lean, reverb-heavy sound and dreamy vocals became critic and cult favorites but produced only one broad hit, “Fade Into You” (#44, Modern Rock #3, 1994), prior to forming Mazzy Star played in 1980s L.A.-based “paisley underground” bands Rain Parade, Rainy Day and Opal, during a Mazzy Star hiatus in the 90s produced songs for Beth Orton and Maggie Cheung and performed with Bert Jansch, released a final EP with Sandoval as Mazzy Star in 2018, died from metastatic cancer on 2/24/2020, age 61.
1962 ● Craig Adams → Bassist and songwriter for goth-rock The Sisters of Mercy, then hard rock/metal revival The Cult, “Fire Woman” (Mainstream Rock #4, 1989) and The Mission, “Deliverance” (Mainstream Rock #27, 1990),
1963 ● David Gavurin → Guitarist for Brit alt-indie-rock The Sundays, “Here’s Where The Story Ends” (Modern Rock #1, 1990)
1963 ● Nigel Preston → Founding member and drummer for post-punk/goth rock The Cult, “She Sells Sanctuary” (UK #15, 1985), fired from the band for erratic behavior, worked with Nile Rodgers and DeLuca before a prison stint for armed robbery, died from a drug overdose on 4/1/1992, age 29
1966 ● Mike Starr → Original bassist for alterna-metal/hard rock Alice In Chains, “No Excuses” (Mainstream Rock #1, 1994), died from an apparent methadone overdose on 3/8/2011, age 44
1968 ● Mark Yates → Guitarist for hard rock/heavy metal Terrorvision, “Tequila” (UK #2, 1999)
1970 ● Mix Master Mike Schwartz / (Michael Schwartz) → DJ for hardcore punk then blue-eyed hip hop masters the Beastie Boys, “Fight For Your Right” (#7, 1987)
1972 ● Jill Scott → Actress (as Big Mama Thornton in Hounddog, 2007), poet, songwriter and R&B/soul singer, “A Long Walk” (#43, R&B #9, 2001)
1972 ● Magnus Sveningsson → Bassist for Swedish pop-rock The Cardigans, “Lovefool” (#1, 1996)
1973 ● Kelly Price → R&B/pop singer, backing vocals for Mariah Carey, Aretha Franklin, Faith Evans, Mase and Notorious B.I.G., and solo, “Friend Of Mine” (#12, 1998)
1974 ● Andre Dalyrimple → Vocals for urban R&B/dance-club brother quartet Soul For Real, “Candy Rain” (#2, 1995)
1975 ● Phil A. Jimenez → Vocals and percussion for post-grunge Wheatus, “Teenage Dirtbag” (Modern Rock #7, 2001)
1978 ● Lemar Obika → Brit R&B/soul-pop singer, appeared on BBC TV talent show Fame Academy, “Dance (With You)” (UK #3, 2002)
1980 ● Johnny Borrell → Guitar and vocals for Brit-Swede indie pop-rock Razorlight, “America” (UK #1, 2006)

April 05
1906 ● Lord Buckley / (Richard Myril Buckley) → Sophisticated and influential Beat poet, comedian, stage performer, spoken word recording artist and proto-rapper, influenced Lenny Bruce, Wavy Gravy, George Harrison, Bob Dylan and Jimmy Buffett, died following a stroke on 11/12/1960, age 54
1911 ● Goddard Lieberson / (Peter Goddard Lieberson) → Columbia Records executive responsible for introducing the long-play record (LP) at the label in the early 50s, served as president of Columbia/CBS from 1956 to 1971 and from 1973 to 1975 and as president of the Recording Industry Association of America from 1964 to 1977, died from cancer on 5/29/1977, age 66.
1922 ● Gale Storm / (Josephine Cottle) → TV star in early sitcom My Little Margie (1952-1955) and pop vocalist with three Top 10 hits, including a cover of early rock ‘n’ roller “I Hear You Knockin'” (#2, 1956), found bit parts on TV in he 80s and acted in regional theater, died from natural causes on 6/27/2009, age 87
1928 ● Tony Williams → Former parking lot attendant turned lead tenor for hugely successful R&B/doo wop The Platters, “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” (#1, 1958) and 13 other Top 20 hits between 1955 and 1967, left the group in 1960 for a mildly successful solo career, died of emphysema on 8/14/1992, age 64
1929 ● Joe Meek / (Robert George Meek) → Brit 60s rock ‘n’ roll record producer, songwriter and film composer, produced The Tornados‘ hit “Telstar” (#1, 1961) among others, committed suicide after murdering his landlady on 2/3/1967, age 37
1931 ● “Cowboy Jack” Clement / (Jack Henderson Clement) → Country, pop and rock ‘n’ roll singer, songwriter and producer, “discovered” rockabilly Jerry Lee Lewis while working at Sun Records and produced Lewis‘s “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” (#3, Country #1, R&B #1, 1957), wrote “Guess Things Happen That Way” for Johnny Cash (#11, Country #1, 1958), from the 50s to the late 80s produced hundreds of albums for Ray Charles, Elvis Presley, Waylon Jennings, U2 and many others, died from liver cancer on 8/8/2013, age 82
1932 ● Billy Bland → One hit wonder R&B singer and songwriter, “Let The Little Girl Dance” (#7, R&B #11, 1960), left the industry in 1963 and currently runs a soul food restaurant in Harlem
1933 ● Reggie Lavong / (Reginald Jerome Nelson) → Smooth-voiced R&B, soul and blues DJ best known as Dr. Jive on WWRL-AM in New York City in the 60s and later on WHAT in Philadelphia, became an executive promoting R&B artists for Capitol, Island and then MCA Records and a small business entrepreneur, moved to the financial world as a Wall Street stock broker before retiring, died from complications of an infection on 9/19/2017, age 84
1934 ● Stanley Turrentine / (Stanley William Turrentine) → The “Sugar Man,” tenor saxophone legend starting with blues and R&B bands in the 50s, played soul-jazz with Jimmy Smith and his own jam bands in the 60s, shifted to jazz fusion in the 70s and recorded albums for the CTI Records jazz label, continued to record and perform through the 90s despite nominal commercial success, died following a stroke on 9/12/2000, age 66
1935 ● “G” Grant / (Peter James Grant) → Brit movie actor turned rock band manager for The Nashville Teens, The Yardbirds, Led Zeppelin, Jeff Beck and others, co-founder of Swan Song Records, died from a heart attack on 11/22/1995, age 60
1939 ● Ronnie White / (Ronald Anthony White) → Founding member and vocalist for R&B/soul-pop The Miracles, who charted 18 Top 10 hits including “Tears of a Clown” (#1, 1970), introduced Stevie Wonder to Motown chief Berry Gordy Jr., died of leukemia on 8/26/1995, age 56
1941 ● Dave Swarbrick → Important figure in the 60s British folk revival and in the development for electrified folk-rock, first with the Ian Campbell Folk Group and then on fiddle, mandolin, songwriting and vocals for renowned folk-rock Fairport Convention, “Si Tu Dos Partir” (1969), after disbandment in 1979 played in multiple acoustic groups and as a session musician, issued a dozen solo albums through 2010, died from emphysema on 6/3/2016, age 75
1942 ● Allan Clarke → Guitarist, singer and songwriter for British Invasion pop-rock harmony group The Hollies, “Bus Stop” (#5, 1966)
1944 ● Crispian St. Peters / (Robin Peter Smith) → Folk-pop two hit wonder singer/songwriter, “The Pied Piper” (#4, UK #5, 1966) and “You Were On My Mind” (UK #2, 1967), died following a long illness on 6/8/2010, age 66
1944 ● Nick Caldwell / (Nicholas Caldwell) → Original member of R&B/soul vocal quintet The Whispers, “And The Beat Goes On” (#19, R&B #1, 1980) and 33 other R&B Top 40 hits from 1969 to 1991, continued to perform with the group until his death from congestive heart failure on 1/5/2016, age 71
1946 ● Dave Holland → Drummer with influential “New Wave” heavy metal band Judas Priest, “Breaking The Law” (1980).
1948 ● Kent Henry / (Kent Henry Plischke) → Rock guitarist with pop-rock Blues Image (“Ride Captain Ride, #4, 1970) and hard rock Steppenwolf in the 70s, died during intestinal surgery on 3/18/2009, age 61
1950 ● Anna Fältskog / (Agnetha Åse Fältskog) → Vocals for internationally successful Scandinavian pop quartet ABBA, “Dancing Queen” (#1, 1976)
1951 ● Everett Morton / (Everett Matthew Livingstone Morton) → Kittitan-born British pecussionist whose Caribbean-influenced drumming provided the reggae beat behind 80s ska revival band The Beat (known as the English Beat in the US), “Mirror In The Bathroom” (Dance/Club #22, UK #4, 1980), later performed with former bandmate Saxa in The International Beat, and with Roger Ranking in a reincarnation The Beat from 2005 through Roger’s death in 2019, died from undisclsoed causes on 10/8/2021, age 70.
1954 ● Stan Ridgeway → Frontman and distinctive baritone vocalist for alt indie rock Wall Of Voodoo, “Mexican Radio” (Mainstream Rock #41, 1982), then solo with “Goin’ Southbound” (Modern Rock #8, 1989)
1961 ● Jacob Slichter → Drummer for post-grunge alt rock Semisonic, “Closing Time” (Modern Rock #4, 1998), authored book So You Wanna Be A Rock & Roll Star (2004)
1964 ● Kid Reid / (Christopher Reid) → With Christopher “Play” Martin, one half of the positive-attitude hip hop musical duo Kid ‘N Play, “Ain’t Gonna Hurt Nobody” (#51, Rap #1, 1991), the duo branched into acting with film appearances and their own short-lived TV program
1966 ● Mike McCready → Lead guitarist for post-grunge/alt rock kings Pearl Jam, “Last Kiss” (#2, 1999)
1967 ● Troy Gentry → Country music singer and songwriter, one-half of the rough-hewed country/rock duo Montgomery Gentry (“Roll With Me,” #33, Country #1, CAN #66, 2003), died in a helicopter crash just before a performance near Trenton, NJ on 9/8/2017, age 50
1968 ● Paula Cole → Alt pop-rock dreamy 90s two hit singer/songwriter, “Where Have All The Cowboys Gone” (#8, 1997) and “I Don’t Want To Wait” (#11. 1997)
1973 ● Pharrell Williams → Grammy-winning rapper, fashion designer, and with Chad Hugo, one half of the hit songwriting/production duo The Neptunes, responsible for multiple pop, hip hop and R&B hits, including Britney Spears‘ “I’m A Slave 4 U” (Dance/Club #4, 2001), worked with Mase, Nelly and Kelis, solo US #1 album The Neptunes Present…Clones
1975 ● Juicy J / (Jordan Michael Houston) → Founding member, producer and MC for Memphis hip hop group Three 6 Mafia, “Stray Fly” (#18, R&B #9, 2005), later solo, “Bandz A Make Her Dance” (#29, Rap #5, 2012), produced tracks and albums for Ludacris, Lil Wayne and others

April 06
1918 ● Shakey Horton / (Walter Horton) → Influential blues harmonica player frequently referred to as “Big Walter,” session musician for Chess Records in Chicago in the 50s, played frequently with Muddy Waters, backed several notable blues musicians on their albums and issued four of his own, toured with Willie Dixon’s All-Stars and made guest appearances on albums by Savoy Brown and Fleetwood Mac, died from heart failure and alcohol abuse on 12/8/1981, age 63
1926 ● Sergio Franchi / (Sergio Franci Galli) → Italian pop ballad crooner, signed to RCA and moved to the U.S. for his debut album (Romantic Italian Songs, #17, 1962), issued 35 albums and made 24 appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show before his death from a brain tumor on 5/1/1990, age 64
1929 ● André George Previn / (Andreas Ludwig Priwin) → German-American jazz pianist, ten-time Grammy-winning film score composer, heralded conductor for symphony orchestras in Houston, London, Pittsburgh and Los Angeles, one of the most versatile musicians of any era with hundreds of recorded pieces in various genres, his many compositions and arrangements are well-known but include only one charting single, “Like Young” (#46, 1959), performed until just prior to his death from natural causes on 2/28/2019, age 89.
1937 ● Merle Haggard / (Merle Ronald Haggard) → Hugely successful and influential “Bakersfield Sound” traditional country guitarist, singer and songwriter with 38 Country #1 hits, including “Mama Tried” (Country #1, 1968) and “Workin’ Man Blues” (Country #1, 1969), plus 33 other Country Top 10 singles and ten crossover hits, inspired The Byrds, Grateful Dead, Elvis Costello and over 400 covers of “Today I Started Loving You Again,” died from pneumonia on 4/6/2016, his 79th birthday
1939 ● Beverly “Guitar” Watkins / (Beverly Hayes Watkins) → Rare female electric blues guitarist known for her searing delivery and endless stamina, recorded her first album (Back In Business, 1999) at age 60 after four decades as a session and touring guitarist for The Ink Spots, James Brown, Taj Mahal and others, and as a solo artist on the club and blues festival circuit, including as part of the all-star Hot Mamas: Women in the Blues tour in the late 90s, died from a heart attack following a stroke on 10/1/2019, age 80.
1940 ● Don Myrick / (Donald Myrick) → Jazz-funk saxophonist, original member of Phoenix Horns Esq., the horn section for R&B/soul-dance-pop Earth, Wind & Fire (“Shining Star,” #1, 1975), later session work for Phil Collins (sax solo on “One More Night,” #1 , 1985), Carlos Santana, Heaven 17 and others, died after being accidentally shot by a police officer during a narcotics investigation on 7/30/1993, age 53
1941 ● Phil Austin → Comedian, writer and member of 60s/70s eclectic, satiric, surrealistic radio-friendly comic quartet The Firesign Theatre and the voice of the group’s best-known character, private eye Nick Danger, the group’s nearly 40 albums were cult hits, particluarly for college audiences, died from an aneurysm on 6/18/2015, age 74
1942 ● Anita Pallenberg → Fashion model, sometime actress known for roles in cult movies, 60s and 70s counterculture “It Girl” and muse to rock legends The Rolling Stones, had romantic relations with Brian Jones and, as rumored, with The Rolling Stones before taking up with Keith Richards and bearing two sons and a daughter with him, was exonerated from murder charges when a 17-year old boy shot himself in 1979 with a pistol in her bed in the suburban New York estate she shared with Richards, died from complications of hepatitis C on 6/13/2017, age 75
1944 ● John Stax / (John Edward Lee Fullager) → Original bassist for raunchy R&B/blues-rock British Invasion band The Pretty Things, “Don’t Bring Me Down” (UK #10, 1964)
1947 ● Tony Connor → Drummer for Brit interracial R&B/soul-disco-funk Hot Chocolate, “You Sexy Thing” (#3, 1976) and 27 other UK Top 40 hits, including one in every year from 1970 to 1984
1951 ● Ralph Cooper → Drummer for Aussie light pop-rock Air Supply, “The One That You Love” (#1, 1981)
1953 ● Christopher Franke → German keyboardist and composer for atmospheric space/new age electro-synth proto-Kraut rock Tangerine Dream
1956 ● Hal Willner → Music producer for film, TV and live events over a 40 year career, working on albums for Leon Redbone, Lou Reed, Lucinda Williams and others, known most prominently as the sketch music producer for venerable TV variety show Saturday Night Live from 1980 until his death from symptoms consistent with the COVID-19 virus on 4/7/2020, age 64.
1960 ● Warren Haynes → Blues-rock guitarist, singer, songwriter, solo artist, sideman and bandleader, founding member of power trio/jam band Gov’t Mule, “Drivin’ Rain” (Mainstream Rock #33, 2002), played with The Allman Brothers Band, David Allan Coe, the Dickie Betts Band, Phil Lesh & Friends and The Dead plus numerous session and special projects with Blues Traveler, Dave Matthews, John Mayall and others
1961 ● Gene Eugene / (Eugene Andrusco) → Canadian-born child actor (TV shows Bewitched, Jake And The Fatman and others), record producer (owner and chief engineer at The Green Room recording studio in Los Angeles), founding member of Christian alt rock supergroup Lost Dogs and frontman for innovative Christian funk-rock Adam Again, died from a brain aneurysm on 3/20/2000, age 38
1962 ● Stan Cullimore / (Ian Peter Cullimore) → Guitarist for Brit jangle guitar pop-rock The Housemartins, “Caravan Of Love” (UK #1, 1986), author of children’s books
1965 ● Black Francis / (Charles Michael Kittridge Thompson IV) → Guitarist and singer with influential alt melodic rock Pixies, “Velouria” (Modern Rock #4, 1990), formed Frank Black and the Catholics in 1993, reunited Pixies in 2004, plus over 10 solo albums.
1968 ● Joe Gittleman → Bassist for ska punk The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, “The Impression That I Get” (Top 40 #17, Modern Rock #1, 1997) and other bands, assistant professor of music at a Vermont college
1978 ● Myleene Klass → Singer for pre-fab mockstar dance-pop Hear’Say, “Pure And Simple” (UK #1, 2001), now TV host and model

April 07
1908 ● Percy Faith → Canadian-American composer, bandleader and pioneer of easy listening, lush pop music with 31 charting singles from 1950 to 1976, peaking in the early 60s with orchestral arrangements of then-current pop and rock hits, including his Grammy-winning, signature “The Theme From A Summer Place” (#1, 1960), also scored Broadway shows and Hollywood films over a 40-year career, in the 70s when his soft, melodic pop sound last favor, issued one country-pop and two disco-based albums before dying of cancer on 2/9/1976, age 67.
1912 ● Jack Lawrence → Hall of Fame songwriter and musical theater lyricist noted for songs that helped launch the careers of The Ink Spots (“If I Didn’t Care,” #2, 1939), Frank Sinatra (“All Or Nothing At All,” #2, 1943) and Bobby Darin (“By The Sea,” #6, 1959), wrote the song “Linda” for his friend Lee Eastman‘s daughter, who grew up to marry Paul McCartney, died from complications of a broken pelvis from a fall in his home on 3/16/2009, age 96
1915 ● Billie Holiday / (Eleanora Fagan Gough) → Known as “Lady Day”, hugely successful and revered jazz-blues singer, “Lady Sings The Blues” (1956), died from liver failure on 7/17/1959, age 44
1920 ● Ravi Shankar / (Rabindra Shankar Chowdery) → World-renowned Indian sitarist, mentor to George Harrison, music professor and university department head, member of Indian parliament, father of contemporary jazz-pop star Norah Jones, died from complications following heart valve replacement surgery on 12/11/2012, age 92
1922 ● Mongo Santamaria / (Ramón Santamaría Rodríguez) → Grammy-winning Cuban percussionist and Latin-jazz bandleader, “Watermelon Man” (#10, R&B #8, 1963), died following a stroke on 2/1/2003, age 80.
1935 ● Bobby Bare → Country-pop singer/songwriter and guitarist, “All American Boy” (#2, 1959) and Grammy-winning “Detroit City” (#16, Adult Contemporary #4, 1963) plus over 50 Country Top 40 hits from 1964 to 1983
1937 ● Charlie Thomas → Vocals for R&B/doo wop The Five Crowns, who changed their name in 1958 to The Drifters, “Under The Boardwalk” (#4, 1964)
1938 ● Spencer Dryden → Drummer for 60s psych-rock Jefferson Airplane, “Somebody To Love” (#5, 1967), then country-folk-rock New Riders Of The Purple Sage, “Panama Red” (1973), died of cancer on 1/11/2005, age 66
1938 ● Freddie Hubbard / (Frederick Dewayne Hubbard) → Renowned jazz/be bop NEA Jazz Master trumpeter with a Grammy-winning album (First Light, 1972) which led to accusations of commercial sell-out, performed in numerous collaborations with George Benson, John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock, Stanley Turrentine and many others, died from a heart attack on 11/26/2008, age 70
1943 ● Mick Abrahams / (Michael Timothy Abrahams) → Original lead guitarist for long-lived Brit folk-rock Jethro Tull, “Living In The Past” (#11, 1973), left after a falling-out with bandleader Ian Anderson, formed blues-rock Blodwyn Pig that released two charting albums in the early 70s
1943 ● Alan Buck → Drummer for early 60s Brit pop The Four Pennies, “Juliet” (UK #1, 1964), the most important British Invasion era act with no chart presence in the U.S., died from a heart attack on 3/15/1994, age 50
1947 ● Florian Schneider / (Florian Schneider-Esleben) → Multi-instrumental musician and co-founder in 1970 of German electro-rock pioneers Kraftwerk (“Autobahn,” #25, 1975), the highly-influential, minimalist krautrock band that popularized electronic music and laid the groundwork for future electronica, synth-pop and techno music, recorded and performed with the band for 38 years before leaving in 2008 to support environmental causes, died after a long bout with cancer on 4/21/2020, age 73.
1947 ● Patricia Bennett → Vocals for top-tier 60s New York girl group The Chiffons, “He’s So Fine” (#1, 1963)
1947 ● Skip Pitts / (Charles Pitts) → Soul, funk and blues guitarist, “wah-wah” style innovator, session musician with Stax Records, performed with Isaac Hayes (soundtrack album Shaft, 1971), also worked with James Brown, Otis Redding, The Isley Brothers, Cyndi Lauper and others, died of cancer on 5/1/2012, age 65
1948 ● Carol Douglas → Disco diva with the early dance-pop/disco hit “Doctor’s Orders” (#11, Disco #2, 1975) and several other Dance/Club chart singles but little commercial success, continued to perform in clubs into the 90s
1948 ● Dallas Taylor, Jr. → Session drummer for John Sebastian and with Lowell George in pre-Little Feat folk-rock The Factory, founding member of 60s psych rock Clear Light (“Mr. Blue,” 1967), joined Crosby, Stills & Nash for their debut album (1969) and their follow-up with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young Déjà Vu (1970), played with Stephen Stills on his solo albums and with his band Manassas, toured with Paul Butterfield‘s band in the late 70s, died from liver failure on 1/18/2015, age 66
1948 ● Ronnie Wilson → With his younger brothers Charlie and Robert and a rotating cast of backing musicians, founding member and keyboardist for R&B/funk The Gap Band, their stripped-down street funk is often credited as foundational to hip-hop and produced fifteen R&B Top 10 hits from 1979 to 1990, including the crossover “Early In The Morning” (#24, R&B #1, 1982), later worked in the ministry and joined his brothers for occasional reunions, died following a stroke on 11/2/2021, age 73.
1949 ● John Oates → Singer/songwriter and one half of Philly soul-pop-rock duo Hall & Oates, “Private Eyes” (#1, 1981), plus 20 other Top 20 hits
1949 ● Wells Kelly → Multi-instrumentalist musician, early member of pop-rock King Harvest (his brother Sherman wrote the hit “Dancing In The Moonlight” – #1, 1973) and co-founder of pop-rock Orleans (“Still The One,” #5, 1976), toured with Steve Forbert, Clarence Clemons and Meat Loaf in the early 80s, found dead on the front steps of a London flat after a night of partying during a tour on 10/29/1984, age 35
1950 ● Steve Ellis / (Stephen John Ellis) → Vocals for London-based R&B/soul-pop Love Affair, “Everlasting Love” (UK #1, 1968) and four other UK Top 20 hits in the late 60s, left in 1969 for a marginal solo career and stints with various Brit rock bands, still records and performs with The New Amen Corner into the 10s
1951 ● Janis Ian / (Janis Eddy Fink) → Grammy-winning, often controversial singer/songwriter, first hit was at age 16, “Society’s Child (Baby I’ve Been Thinking)” (#14, 1967), then “At Seventeen” (#3, 1975)
1951 ● Bruce Gary → Drummer for power pop The Knack, “My Sharona” (#1, 1979), worked with Albert Collins, Jack Bruce, Dr. John in the 70s and Bob Dylan, Sheryl Crow, Yoko Ono, Bette Midler and others, and as a producer before dying of lymphoma on 8/22/2006, age 55.
1960 ● Simon Climie → Songwriter and member of the Brit pop duo Climie Fisher, “Love Changes (Everything)” (#23, 1988), lately collaborating with Eric Clapton
1962 ● Barbara Kessler → Folk-pop singer and songwriter (“Deep Country,” 1994)
1978 ● Duncan James / (Duncan Matthew James Inglis) → Actor, TV host and singer with Brit boy band Blue, “If You Come Back” (UK #1, 2002), solo

April 08
1896 ● Yip Harburg / (Edgar Yipsel Harburg) → One of the top Broadway and Hollywood lyricists of the 30s and 40s, wrote the lyrics to multiple pop standards, including “Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?” (1932), co-wrote the songs to The Wizard Of Oz and the Oscar-winning “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” (1939), died from a heart attack on 3/5/1981, age 84
1914 ● Irving Taylor / (Irving Goldberg) → Composer, lyricist and screenwriter known for his late 50s whimsical novelty and parody songs, and for co-writing “Everybody Loves Somebody” (Dean Martin, #1, 1964) which improbably knocked The Beatles‘ “A Hard Day’s Night” off Billboard’s top spot, also wrote for Bob Newhart and Jonathan Winters on their TV show scripts, died on 12/3/1983, age 69
1920 ● Carmen McRae → Pianist, songwriter and versatile jazz singer, worked with Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie and Count Basie, recorded over 60 albums and was a seven-time Grammy nominee for Best Jazz Performance – Female, received a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Award in 1994, continued to tour and perform until just before her death following a stroke on 11/10/1994, age 74
1929 ● Jacques Brel → Internationally acclaimed Belgian singer and songwriter whose compositions have been interpreted by Marc Almond, David Bowie, Ray Charles, Judy Collins, The Kingston Trio, Frank Sinatra, Nina Simone, sold over 25 million records worldwide, all in French, died of cancer 10/9/1978, age 49
1941 ● J.J. Jackson / (Jerome Louis Jackson) → R&B/soul singer and organist, “But It’s Alright” (#22, R&B #4, 1966)
1941 ● Peggy Lennon / (Margaret Anne Lennon) → With her sisters, vocals in semi-religious pop vocal quartet The Lennon Sisters (“Tonight You Belong To Me,” #15, 1956), performed regularly on TV variety shows, including The Lawrence Welk Show from 1955 to 1968, retired in 1999 and was replaced by her younger sister, Mimi
1942 ● Chappo Chapman / (Roger Chapman) → Co-frontman and lead vocals for Brit art/blues-rock Family, then hard blues-rock Streetwalkers, now solo
1942 ● Leon Huff → With partner Kenny Gamble in the famed Philadelphia songwriting and production team of Gamble & Huff, crafted the “Philly soul” sound as the founders and chief creative team for Motown-rival Philadelphia International Records, wrote and produced dozens of hits from “Expressway To Your Heart” (The Soul Survivors, #4, R&B #3, 1967) to “Love Train” (The O’Jays, #1, R&B #1, 1872) and “Close the Door” (Teddy Pendergrass, #25, R&B #1, 1978), after the disco era the shine on the label faded but the two continue to write into the 10s
1944 ● Keef Hartley → Drummer for Brit beat group Rory Storm & The Hurricanes (replaced Ringo Starr), then blues-rock John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, then founded jazz-pop-rock fusion Keef Hartley Band and was the first British act to appear at Woodstock, died from unspecified causes on 11/26/2011, age 67
1944 ● Deke Richards / (Dennis Lussier) → Songwriter and record producer, part of the Motown songwriting team known as “The Clan” and later “The Corporation,” co-wrote multiple hits for several Motown bands, most importantly bubblegum-soul The Jackson 5 including “I Want You Back” (#1, 1970), “ABC” (#1, 1970), retired to operate a vintage movie poster business and died from esophageal cancer on 3/24/2013, age 68
1947 ● Steve Howe → Lead guitarist in archetypal, pioneer progressive rock band Yes, “Roundabout” (#13, 1971) and “Owner Of A Lonely Heart” (#1, 1983), then pop-rock Asia, “Heat Of The Moment” (#4, 1982), also Bodast, GTR, the Syndicats and Tomorrow
1947 ● Larry Norman → Musician, singer, songwriter, record label owner and pioneer of Christian rock music with a catalogue of over 100 albums despite an often contentious relationship with the Christian church and the Christian music industry, his long hair and radical social themes kept his records out of Bible stores for much of his career, died from complications of long-term heart ailments on 2/27/2008, age 60
1956 ● Justin Sullivan → Frontman, guitarist and lyricist for post-punk/alt rock New Model Army, “No Rest” (UK #28, 1985)
1962 ● Adam Mole → Keyboards for “grebo” dance-rock Pop Will Eat Itself, “X, Y & Zee” (Modern Rock #11, 1991)
1962 ● Izzy Stradlin / (Jeffrey Isbell) → Guitarist for hard rock Guns N’ Roses, “Sweet Child O’ Mine” (#1, 1988), also fronted the Ju Ju Hounds
1962 ● Jem Kelly → Guitars for New Wave/New Romantic pop-rock The Lotus Eaters, “The First Picture Of You” (UK #15, 1983)
1963 ● Donita Sparks → Co-founder, guitar and vocals for all-girl post-punk/grunge band L7, “Pretend We’re Dead” (Alt Rock #8, 1992)
1963 ● Julian Lennon → Guitarist and singer/songwriter, pop-rock “Too Late For Goodbyes” (#11, 1984), son of John and only child of his first wife Cynthia
1964 ● Biz Markie / (Marcel Theo Hall) → The “Clown Price of Hip-Hop,” jovial freestyle rhymer/rapper best known for his hit “Just A Friend” (#9, Rap #5, 1989) and three other Rap Top 10 singles in the 90s, suffered from diabetes in later years and died following a stroke on 7/16/2021, age 57.
1971 ● Darren Jessee → Drummer for piano-based indie pop-rock Ben Folds Five, “Brick” (Modern Rock #6, 1998)
1972 ● The Pig / (Paul Dedrick Gray) → Founding member, bassist and songwriter for Grammy-winning alt metal/rap-metal Slipknot, “Duality” (Mainstream Rock #5, 2004), died from an accidental drug overdose on 5/24/2010, age 38
1975 ● Anouk Teeuwe → Dutch pop-rock singer, “Nobody’s Wife” (1997)
1979 ● Alexi Laiho / (Markku Uula Aleksi Laiho) → Founding member and frontman for top-tier Finnish metal band Children Of Bodom, which released eight Finland Top 10 hits from 1998 to 2011, including “Blooddrunk” (FIN #1, UK #8, 2008) from the album of the same name (#22, FIN #1, 2008), one of five albums that charted in the US, ranked #96 out of 100 Greatest Heavy Metal Guitarists of All Time by Guitar World magazine (2004), participated in various side projects and collaborations in the 00s and 10s, reformed the band as Bodom After Midnight in 2019, suffered from a “long-term illness” and died on 12/31/2020, age 41.
1984 ● Ezra Koenig → Lead singer and rhythm guitar for indie Afro-pop/rock Vampire Weekend, “Cousins” (Alt Rock #18, 2009)

April 09
1932 ● Carl Perkins → The “King of Rockabilly,” singer, songwriter and guitarist, “Blue Suede Shoes” (#2, 1955), died from throat cancer on 1/19/1998, age 65
1938 ● “Rockin'” Sidney Simien / (Sidney Simien) → Grammy-winning Cajun/swamp blues and zydeco singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, one hit wonder crossover phenomenon “My Toot Toot” (Country #19, 1985), zydeco’s first international hit, died of throat cancer on 2/25/1998, age 59
1943 ● Terry Knight / (Richard Terrance Knapp) → Producer, promote, radio DJ and later manager for hard rock/early heavy metal power trio Grand Funk Railroad, “We’re An American Band” (#1, 1973) and Bloodrock, “D.O.A.” (#76, 1978), died from multiple stab wounds inflicted by his teenage daughter’s boyfriend during an argument on 11/1/2004, age 61
1944 ● Emil Stucchio → Vocals for white harmony group The Classics, “Till Then” (#20, Adult Contemporary #7, 1963)
1946 ● Les Gray / (Thomas Leslie Gray) → Vocals for Brit “good time” glam-rock ‘n’ roll Mud, “Tiger Feet” (UK #1, 1974), died from throat cancer on 2/21/2004, age 57
1948 ● Phillip Wright → Drummer and lead vocals for pop/rock one hit wonder Paper Lace, “The Night Chicago Died” (#1, 1974), a second single “Billy, Don’t Be A Hero” (#96, UK #1, 1974) qualifies them as a two hit wonder in the UK
1948 ● Chico Ryan / (David Allen Ryan) → Vocals for “greaser” revival parody rock-and-doo-wop Sha Na Na (“(Just Like) Romeo And Juliet,” #55, 1975), died on 7/26/1998, age 50
1950 ● Peter Wood → Keyboardist for folk-pop-rock Quiver and The Sutherland Brothers & Quiver (“Arms Of Mary,” #81, UK #5, 1976), later worked with Al Stewart, with whom he co-wrote “Year Of The Cat” (#8, 1977), and Roger Waters of Pink Floyd in the backing band for The Wall concerts in 1980-81, died in December 1994, age 44
1961 ● Mark Kelly → Keyboards for Brit prog-rock revival group Marillion, “Kayleigh” (Mainstream Rock #14, 1985)
1969 ● Kevin Martin → Lead vocals for grunge-rock Candlebox, “Far Behind” (#18, 1994)
1977 ● Gerard Way → Vocals for 00s alt rock/emo band My Chemical Romance, “Welcome To The Black Parade” (#9, 2006)
1978 ● Rachel Stevens → Vocals for pre-fab teen pop S Club 7, “Never Had A Dream Come True” (#10, 2001)
1980 ● Albert L. Hammond, Jr. → Guitarist for early 00s garage rock revival The Strokes, “Juicebox” (Modern Rock #9, 2005)
1987 ● Jesse McCartney → Teen TV actor (All My Children), then dance-pop boy band Dream Street, solo, “Beautiful Soul” (#16, 2006)

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