This Week’s Birthdays (August 15 – 21)

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Head East (Mike Somerville, second from left)

Happy Birthday this week to:

August 15
1896 ● Léon Theremin / (Lev Sergeyevich Termen) → Russian inventor of the theremin, one of the first electronic musical instruments and which he debuted with the New York Philharmonic in 1928, died of natural causes on 11/3/1993, age 97
1909 ● Hugo Winterhalter → Orchestral-pop and easy listening arranger with 40 years of credits on Broadway, in films, on TV, and on the Billboard Hot 100, including “Canadian Sunset” (#2, R&B #7, 1956), died from cancer on 9/17/1973, age 64
1911 ● Buster Brown → Rustic R&B/blues singer and harmonica player whose biggest of three hits, “Fannie Mae” (#38, R&B #1, 1960) came when he was 50 year old, died 1/31/1976, age 64
1925 ● Bill Pinkney → Co-founder and first tenor for R&B/soul-doo wop The Drifters, “Up On The Roof” (#5, 1963), was the last surviving member of the group’s original lineup when he died after a heart attack on 7/4/2007, age 81
1930 ● Jackie Brenston → Tenor saxophonist and one hit wonder singer with a legitimate claim to the first rock ‘n’ roll record, “Rocket 88” (R&B #1, 1951), recorded at Sun Studios in Memphis with Ike Turner‘s Kings Of Rhythm as the backing band (credited as the Delta Cats), saw no further chart action and became a session musician and later a truck driver, died following an alcoholism-induced heart attack on 12/15/2007, age 49
1932 ● Johnny Thunder / (Gil Hamilton) → Session backing singer and one hit wonder novelty R&B/soul and pop soloist, “Loop De Loop” (#4, R&B #6, 1963), continued to record through the 60s with no further success, still tours on the oldies circuit
1933 ● Floyd Ashton → Vocals for R&B/soul The Tams, “What Kind Of Fool (Do You Think I Am)” (#9, 1963)
1933 ● Bobby Helms → Country-pop crossover singer with seven Country Top 40 and Five Pop Top 40, but best known as the first to record “Jingle Bell Rock” (#6, Country #13, 1957), the holiday standard since recorded by thousands of artists and now heard millions of times each year, died from emphysema on 6/19/1997, age 63
1933 ● Mike Seeger → Half-brother of folk legend Pete Seeger, award-winning folk musician and important music historian, co-founding member of influential folk revival/string band the New Lost City Ramblers and later the Strange Creek Singers, issued two dozen solo albums and produced dozens of documentary recordings of traditional American music, died from cancer on 8/7/2009, age 75
1934 ● Bobby Howard Byrd → Singer, songwriter and frontman for The Flames, which became James Brown‘s backing band The Famous Flames, later scored a handful of minor R&B and crossover hits as a solo artist, including “I Need Help (I Can’t Do It Alone) Pt. 1” (#69, R&B #14, 1970), just a few months after performing at Brown‘s memorial service died of cancer on 9/12/2007, age 73
1938 ● Shan Palmer / (Sheila Palmer) → Vocals for English pop trio The Kaye Sisters, “Ivory Tower” (UK #20, 1956)
1938 ● Stix Hooper / (Nesbert Hooper) → Jazz-fusion drummer with The Jazz Crusaders (The Crusaders after 1971), “Street Life” (#36, 1979), solo, sessions
1941 ● Don Rich → Country guitarist and pioneer of the “Bakersfield sound” of electrified country and pop crafted during his years as right-hand man to superstar Buck Owens (“I’ve Got A Tiger By The Tail” (#25, Country #1, 1965 and 19 other Country #1 hits), played with Owens‘s backing band The Buckaroos and issued several solo albums, died in a motorcycle accident on 7/17/1974, age 32
1942 ● Eddie Phillips → Guitarist for underappreciated and little known (except in Germany) Britbeat/power pop The Creation, “Painter Man” (UK #36, GER #8, 1967)
1942 ● Peter York → Drummer for Brit pop-rock Spencer Davis Group, “Gimme Some Lovin”” (#7, 1967), then Eric Clapton‘s short lived Powerhouse, solo, organized the “Superdrumming” series of shows with different bandmembers
1946 ● Jimmy Webb → Grammy-winning professional rock composer and lyricist, wrote “Up Up and Away” for The 5th Dimension (#7, 1967), “MacArthur Park” for Richard Harris (#2, 1968), “Galveston” for Glen Campbell (#4, 1969), producer and film score arranger
1948 ● Kate Taylor → Folk-rockabilly singer/songwriter and guitarist, covered “It’s In His Kiss (The Shoop Shoop Song)” (#49, 1977), sister of folk-pop legend James Taylor
1950 ● Joey Spampinato → Founding member, bassist, vocals and songwriting for 40-year cult roots rock bar band NRBQ (New Rhythm And Blues Quintet)
1950 ● Tom Aldrich → Journeyman rock drummer for Southern raunch-rock Black Oak Arkansas, “Jim Dandy To The Rescue” (Top 30, 1973), then bluesy hard rock The Pat Travers Band, “New Age Music” (Mainstream Rock #33, 1981), later with Ozzy Osbourne, Gary Moore, Whitesnake and others
1951 ● Bobby Caldwell → Smooth, jazzy blue-eyed soul singer with multiple Top 100 hits, including “What You Won’t Do For Love” (#9, R&B #6, 1979), moved to a Big Band sound in the 90s and continues tour and record into the 10s
1952 ● Mike Somerville / (Michael A. Somerville) → Lead guitarist and songwriter for Midwest AOR Head East, wrote their two most memorable original songs, “Never Been Any Reason” (#68, 1975) and “Love Me Tonight” (#46, 1975), moved to other projects when the band splintered in 1980 but returned in 1994 and stayed through the early 2000s, played in the 50th anniversary tour in 2018, died following an undisclosed illness on 2/28/2020, age 67.
1961 ● Matt Johnson → Founder, frontman, vocals, songwriter and only constant member of eclectic alt pop-dance-rock The The, “Dogs Of Lust” (Modern Rock #2, 1993), solo
1962 ● Marcia Schofield → Keyboards from 1987-90 for 35+ year punk and post-punk The Fall, “There’s A Ghost In My House” (UK #30, 1987), left for a career as a palliative care doctor
1972 ● Mikey Graham / (Michael Graham) → Vocals for Irish teen-pop boy band Boyzone, “No Matter What” (Adult Contemporary #12, 1999)
1972 ● Tim Foreman → Bassist for Grammy-winning alt rock/Christian rock Switchfoot, “Meant To Live” (#18, Modern Rock #5, 2004)
1984 ● David Welsh → Lead guitar for mainstream/piano rock The Fray, “How To Save A Life” (#3, 2006)
1984 ● Ted Dwane → Bassist for Grammy-winning Brit folk-rock Mumford & Sons, “I Will Wait” (#12, Alt Rock #1, 2012)
1989 ● Joe Jonas → Lead singer with brothers Nick and Kevin in pre-fab Disney Channel teen-pop ballad trio the Jonas Brothers, “Burnin’ Up” (#5, 2008)

August 16
1915 ● Al Hibbler → Baritone jazz-pop-R&B singer, first with Duke Ellington‘s orchestra in the 40s, “Do Nothin’ Til You Here From Me” (#6, 1944), then solo, “Unchained Melody” (#3, 1955), died 4/24/2001, age 85
1922 ● Ernie Freeman / (Ernest Aaron Freeman) → Pop and early rock ‘n’ roll bandleader, pianist and session musician, worked on hits by The Platters (“The Great Pretender,” #1, 1956), Dean Martin (“Everybody Loves Somebody,” #1, 1964), Frank Sinatra (“That’s Life,” #4, 1966) and others, wrote film scores and served as musical director at Reprise Records, died at home from a heart attack on 5/16/1981, age 58
1923 ● Johnny Reed → Founding member, bass vocals and double bass for doo wop and “bird group” trendsetting R&B vocal group The Orioles (“Crying In The Chapel,” #11, R&B #1, 1953) last surviving original member of the group when he died on 6/18/2005, age 81
1923 ● Eddie Kirkland → Electric blues guitarist, singer and songwriter known as the “Gypsy of the Blues” for his rigorous touring schedule, released over 30 albums on various labels and toured with John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, English blues-rock band Foghat and others, continued to record, write and tour until his death in a car accident on 2/27/2011, age 87
1931 ● Eydie Gormé / (Edith Gormezano) → Broadway and TV actress, nightclub and Vegas showroom entertainer, Grammy-winning traditional pop singer, “Blame It On The Bossa Nova” (#7, 1963), wife and singing partner of crooner Steve Lawrence, died from undisclosed causes on 8/10/2013, age 82
1934 ● Ketty Lester / (Revoyda Frierson) → One hit wonder pop singer and actress with the crossover cover of “Love Letters” (#5, R&B #2, UK #5, 1962), shifted to a more-R&B style in the late 60s with little commercial success, turned to acting in the 70s and appeared in movies and on TV in various roles
1939 ● Billy Joe Shaver → Rough-cut, pioneering Texas “outlaw country” songwriter and guitarist with 17 mostly forgotten studio albums, the last of which was the only one to chart (Long In The Tooth, #157, Country #19, 2014), but whose whose legacy in outlaw country music is deep, including essentials “Georgia On A Fast Train,” “Live Forever” and “Old Five and Dimers Like Me,” nine of the 10 songs on Waylon Jennings’ non-conformist breakthrough album Honky Tonk Heroes (#185, Country #14, 1973), and cover recordings by Bobby Bare, Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson and Elvis Presley, suffered a heart attack on stage in 2001 but recovered to continue touring and recording until his death following a massive stroke on 10/28/2020, age 81.
1939 ● Eric Weissberg → Multi-instrumentalist bluegrass musician as a member of folk-pop The Tarriers (“The Banana Boat Song,” #4, 1956) in the 50s and as a sessionman in the 60s, recorded with Judy Collins, John Denver, Bob Dylan and others, famously arranged and played the banjo solo on a version of Arthur Smith‘s “Dueling Banjos” in the film Deliverance (1972) and on the follow-on single (#2, Country #5, 1973) in his own name, toured as a bandleader and recorded as a session player through the 00s, died in a nursing home from Alzheimer’s disease on 3/22/2020, age 80.
1940 ● Alix Dobkin / (Alix Cecil Dobkin) → Folk singer-songwriter and activist in the folk revival scene in New York’s Greenwich Village in the early 60s, issued her debut album, the groundbreaking Lavender Jane Loves Women, in 1973 describing a lesbian separatist utopia, later became the first American lesbian feminist musician to tour Europe, continued to tour and perform through the 00s, suffered a brain aneurysm in April 2021 and died following a stroke on 5/19/2021, age 80.
1942 ● Barbara George → One hit wonder New Orleans R&B singer with her self-penned crossover hit, “I Know (You Don’t Love Me No More)” (#3, 1961), died from a lung infection on 8/10/2006, age 63
1942 ● Squirrel Lester / (Robert Lester) → Tenor vocals for smooth R&B/Chicago soul The Chi-Lites, “Have You Seen Her?” (#3, 1971), died from liver cancer 1/21/2010, age 67
1945 ● Gary Loizzo → Guitar/vocals and founder, pop-rock one hit wonder American Breed, “Bend Me Shape Me” (Top 10, 1968)
1945 ● Kevin Ayers → Eccentric singer/songwriter and original bassist for Canterbury-scene psych-art-jazz-prog rock fusion Soft Machine, switched to guitar and solo in 1969, has issued more than a dozen albums over 40 years
1946 ● Snowy Fleet / (Gordon Fleet) → Drummer for Aussie-based 60s pop-rock The Easybeats, “Friday On My Mind” (#16, 1967)
1948 ● Barry Hay → Lead vocals and frontman for Dutch hard rock Golden Earring, “Radar Love” (#13, 1974), over 40 hits and 30 gold and platinum albums in the Netherlands
1949 ● Sputnik Spooner / (William Spooner) → Guitarist and founder of camp-rock pop-rock satirists The Tubes, “She’s A Beauty” (#10, 1978), solo
1949 ● Rock Action Asheton / (Scott Asheton) → Drummer for hard rock/proto-punk The Stooges, “I Wanna Be Your Dog” (1969), sessions, died from a heart attack on 3/15/2014, age 64
1953 ● J. T. Taylor / (James Taylor) → Lead singer for jazz-fusion then R&B/funk Kool & The Gang, “Celebration” (#1, 1981), left in 1988 for a largely unsuccessful solo career
1957 ● Tim Farriss → Guitarist for Aussie New Wave dance-groove-pop INXS, “Need You Tonight” (#1, 1987)
1958 ● Madonna / (Madonna Louise Victoria Ciccone) → Film actress, record producer, entrepreneur and dance-pop megastar, “Like A Virgin” (#1, 1984), best selling female rock artist of the 20th century and second (behind Barbra Streisand) top selling US female artist of all time
1960 ● Chris Pedersen → Drummer for eclectic alt rock pop-ska-punk-folk fusion Camper Van Beethoven, “Take The Skinheads Bowling” (1985)
1964 ● Matt Lukin → Bassist for grunge rock Mudhoney, “Suck You Dry” (Modern Rock #23, 1992)
1967 ● MC Remedee / (Debbie Pryce) → Vocals in female rap/house music duo Cookie Crew, “Rok Da House” (UK #5, 1988)
1972 ● Emily Burns Strayer / (Emily Burns Erwin Robison Strayer) → Multi-instrumentalist singer, songwriter and founding member of country-rock girl group Dixie Chicks, “Not Ready To Make Nice” (#4, 2006), formed Court Yard Hounds in 2010 with sister and former Dixie Chicks bandmate Martie Erwin Maguire
1980 ● Bob Hardy → Bassist for Scottish art-pop-rock Franz Ferdinand, “Take Me Out” (Alt Rock #3, 2004)
1980 ● Vanessa Lee Carlton → One hit wonder “new era” female pop-rock singer/songwriter, “A Thousand Miles” (#5, 2002)

August 17
1919 ● Georgia Gibbs / (Frieda Lipschitz) → Jazz-pop and R&B vocalist, first as a radio show singer and later as a widely popular 50s novelty pop artist, covered and bested LaVern Baker‘s “Tweedlee Dee” (#2, 1955), died of leukemia on 12/9/2006, age 87
1933 ● Mark Dinning / (Max Dinning) → One hit wonder pop singer, “Teen Angel” (#1, 1959), died from an alcoholism-related heart attack on 3/22/1986, age 52
1939 ● Ed Saunders → Poet, social activist, environmentalist and bandleader for 60s underground rock The Fugs, author of numerous books including The Family (1971) about Charles Manson and the Tate-LaBianca murders and a nine-volume collection America: A History In Verse (started in 1998)
1939 ● Luther Allison → Distinctive Chicago electric blues guitarist and songwriter with a remarkable career upsurge after signing with Alligator Records in 1994 and returning to the U.S. from France after a 20-year trip abroad, issued two Top 20 Blues albums before being diagnosed with a malignant lung tumor and dying a month later on 8/12/1997, age 57
1942 ● Tommy West / (Thomas Picardo, Jr.) → Singer/songwriter, producer, member of 50s doo wop The Criterions (“I Remain Truly Yours,” 1959) and one half of the early 70s folk-pop duo Cashman & West (“American City Suite,” #27, 1972) with Dave Cashman, the two also co-wrote songs for The Partridge Family and produced three award-winning albums for Jim Croce plus the hits “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown (#1, 1972) and “Time In A bottle” (#1, 193), also worked with Mary Travers, Henry Gross and others, after splitting from the partnership moved to Nashville and wrote country music and produced albums for multiple artists, including several for singer Anne Murray, died of complications associated with Parkinson’s disease on 5/2/2021, age 78.
1944 ● The Chief Seiter / (John Seiter) → Drums and vocals for folk-sunshine-pop Spanky & Our Gang, “Someday Will Never Be The Same” (#9, 1967)
1944 ● Baby Huey / (James Ramey) → Corpulent rock and soul singer, songwriter and frontman for Baby Huey & The Babysitters whose lone album for Curtis Mayfield‘s Custom label, The Baby Huey Story: The Living Legend (1971) was released posthumously and is considered an early forerunner of hip hop music and a period classic, died from a weight and drug-induced heart attack on 10/28/1970, age 26
1946 ● Drake Levin / (Drake Levinshefski) → Lead guitar and backing vocals for hard-edged rock ‘n roll Paul Revere & The Raiders, “Just Like Me” (#11, 1965) and 14 other Top 30 hits, joined the band at age 16 for their prime hit-making years, left in 1967 in a dispute with bandleader Paul Revere (Dick) and formed power trio Brotherhood with two former Raiders, did session work and performed in Raiderss reunion tours until his death from cancer on 7/4/2009, age 62
1947 ● Gary Talley → Guitar for short-lived blue-eyed soul The Box Tops, “The Letter” (#1, 1967), then session work in Nashville, Memphis and Atlanta
1949 ● Sib Hashian / (John Hashian) → Drummer for 70s-80s arena rock Boston, “More Than A Feeling” (#5, 1976), after leaving the band sued leader Tom Scholz for back royalties and settled out of court
1950 ● Greg Arama → Bassist for Chicago-area garage rock The Gang, which became one hit wonder for psych-rock Amboy Dukes, “Journey To The Centre Of The Mind” (#16, 1968), died in a motorcycle accident on 9/18/1979, age 29
1953 ● Kevin Rowland → Vocals for New Wave pop-rock Dexys Midnight Runners, “Come On Eileen” (#1, 1983), solo career after the band broke up in 1987, reformed in 2003
1955 ● Colin Moulding → Bassist for quirky New Wave synth-pop XTC, “Making Plans For Nigel” (UK #17, 1979) and side project for the band under the pseudonym The Dukes Of Stratosphear
1958 ● Belinda Carlisle → Co-founder and lead vocals for New Wave pop-punk girl group The Go-Go’s, “We Got The Beat”, (#2, 1982), the most successful all-female pop and rock band of all time and the only one to play their own instruments and write their own songs, started a solo career following The Go-Go’s breakup, “Heaven Is A Place On Earth” (#1, 1987), wrote autobiography Lips Unsealed (2010) which reached #27 on the New York Times bestseller list
1962 ● Gilby Clarke / (Gilbert Clarke) → Rhythm guitarist, replaced Izzy Stradlin in 1991 as lead guitar for hard rock Guns N’ Roses, “November Rain” (#3, 1992), left in 1994 for solo career and sessions with Slash’s Snakepit, Heart, MC5 and others
1964 ● Maria McKee → Co-founder and lead vocals for roots rock Lone Justice, “Shelter” (#47, Mainstream Rock #26, 1986), dissolved the band in favor of a solo career, “Show Me Heaven” (Adult Contemporary #28, UK #1, 1990) plus sessions
1965 ● Deen Castronovo → Journeyman rock drummer and session musician, worked with Bad English, Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne, Social Distortion and many others before joining arena rock Journey as the band’s current drummer and backing vocalist (thru 2013)
1965 ● Steve Gorman → Drummer for roots/raunch rock The Black Crowes, “Hard To Handle” (Mainstream Rock #1, 1991)
1966 ● Jill Cunniff → Bassist and vocals for all-girl alt rock/hip hop Luscious Jackson, “Naked Eye” (#36, 1996)
1969 ● Donnie Wahlberg → Vocals for early 90s teen-pop boy band New Kids On The Block, “Step By Step” (#1, 1990), TV and film actor, brother of NKOTB bandmate and fellow actor Mark Wahlberg
1969 ● Posdnuos / (Kelvin Mercer) → MC and vocals for jazz rap and alt hip hop trio De La Soul, “Me Myself And I” (R&B #1, 1989)
1977 ● Claire Richards → Vocals and dance routines for pre-fab Brit dance-pop group The Steps, “5, 6, 7, 8” (UK #14, 1997)
1979 ● Mike Lewis → Guitarist for Welsh alt hard rock Lostprophets, “Last Train Home” (Mainstream Rock #10, 2004)

August 18
1918 ● Cisco Houston / (Gilbert Vandine Houston) → Traditional folk singer and guitarist, Woody Guthrie‘s traveling companion and harmony vocalist, died of cancer on 4/29/1961 shortly after career-boosting TV performances and appearance at the 1960 Newport Folk Festival, age 42
1925 ● Sonny Til / (Earlington Carl Tilghman) → Lead singer and frontman for doo wop and “bird group” trendsetting R&B vocal group The Orioles (“Crying In The Chapel,” #11, R&B #1, 1953), died of heart failure complicated by diabetes on 12/9/1981, age 56
1939 ● Maxine Brown → Underrated R&B/soul vocalist, “All In My Mind” (#19, 1960) and several other charting singles in the 60s
1939 ● Johnny Preston / (John Preston Courville) → Two hit wonder pop-rock singer discovered by J. P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson, “Running Bear” (#1, 1960) and “Cradle Of Love” (#7, 1960), died of heart failure on 3/4/2011, age 71
1944 ● Carl Wayne / (Colin David Tooley) → Founding member and lead singer for Brit psych-rock The Move, “Blackberry Way” (UK #1, 1968), left for a pop music, cabaret and TV theme song career, joined The Hollies in 2003, died of cancer on 8/31/2004, age 60
1945 ● Barbara Ann Harris → Singer for pop girl trio The Toys, “A Lover’s Concerto” (#2, 1965)
1945 ● Sara Dash → Founding member of 60s doo wop girl group The Bluebelles, which morphed into disco-funk Labelle, “Lady Marmalade” (#1, 1975), released four solo albums and the disco hit, “Sinner Man” (#71, Dance/Club #9, 1978), session singer for Laura Nyro, The Marshall Tucker Band, The Rolling Stones and others, toured with Keith Richards
1945 ● Vince Melouney → Australian musician, original guitarist for pop-rock The Bee Gees (“I Started A Joke,” #6, 1968) and one of three official bandmembers who were not Gibb family members, left the band in 1968 to pursue other interests
1949 ● Nigel Griggs → Bassist for Aussie New Wave pop-rock Split Enz, “I Got You” (#53, UK #12, 1980)
1950 ● Dennis Elliott → Original drummer for Foreigner, “Double Vision” (#2, 1978), left in 1992 to pursue a career in wood sculpting
1951 ● John Rees → Bass and backing vocals for Scottish-Australian Men At Work, “Down Under” (#1, UK #1, 1983), their Grammy-winning debut album, Business As Usual, was simultaneously the #1 US and UK album in January 1983, gaining them the distinction of being the only Aussie band to hold all four top spots at once
1952 ● Patrick Swayze → TV and film actor, Dirty Dancing (1987) and Ghost (1990), one hit wonder pop singer, “She’s Like The Wind” (#3, 1987), died from pancreatic cancer on 9/14/2009, age 57
1953 ● Marvin Isley → Bass guitar for six-decade, multi-generation R&B/soul family group The Isley Brothers, “That Lady, Pts. 1-2” (#6, 1973), died from complications of diabetes on 6/6/2010, age 56
1956 ● Tony Garnier → Bass guitarist with Asleep At The Wheel and other bands, since 1989 toured and recorded in Bob Dylan‘s backing band as Dylan‘s longest-serving sideman, also recorded with Tom Waits, Paul Simon and Michelle Branch
1957 ● Ron Strykert → Co-founder, vocals and guitar for Scottish-Australian Men At Work, “Down Under” (#1, UK #1, 1983), their Grammy-winning debut album, Business As Usual, was simultaneously the #1 US and UK album in January 1983, gaining them the distinction of being the only Aussie band to hold all four top spots at once
1967 ● Blas Elias → Drummer in pop-glam metal Slaughter, “Fly To The Angels” (#19, 1990) and the Las Vegas production of Blue Man Group
1967 ● Dan Peters → Founding member and drummer for grunge rock Mudhoney, “Suck You Dry” (Modern Rock #23, 1992)
1967 ● Tracy Tracy / (Tracy Catell) → Peroxide-blonde lead vocals for indie pop-rockers The Primitives, “Crash” (Modern Rock #3, 1988)
1969 ● Everlast / (Erik Francis Schrody) → Irish-American rapper and singer-songwriter, founding member of one hit wonder hip hop trio House Of Pain, “Jump Around” (#3, Rap #5, 1992), left for blues-rock/hip hop solo career, “What It’s Like” (#13, Mainstream Rock #1, 1998), then hip hop supergroup La Coka Nostra
1971 ● Richard D. James → Influential acid/ambient electronic music composer and performer under the pseudonym Aphex Twin, “Windowlicker” (Dance #15, 1999)
1976 ● Dirk Lance / (George Alex Katunich) → Original bassist for alt-metal Incubus, “Drive” (#9, 2001), left in 2003 to pursue video game development, joined jam/funk Willie’s Nerve Clinic in 2006
1983 ● Mika / (Michael Penniman) → Lebanese-American pop singer and musician popular everywhere but North America, “Grace Kelly” (UK #1, 2007) and six other UK Top 20 singles

August 19
1935 ● Earl Gaines → Hard-luck soul-blues and electric blues singer, his top charting song, “It’s Love Baby (24 Hours A Day)” (R&B #2, 1955) was credited to the backing band Louis Brooks & The Hi-Toppers, two decades worth of follow-ups were less than successful, left the industry in the late 70s to work as a truck driver, returned in the 90s and recorded several further albums, died from cancer on 12/31/2009, age 74.
1939 ● Ginger Baker / (Peter Edward Baker) → One of the first superstar rock drummers, known equally for his jazz-influenced artistry as for his difficult personality, played in jazz ensembles in London during the 50s, joined early Brit blues-rock Blues Incorporated in 1962 and R&B/blues Graham Bond Organisation in 1963, co-founded blues-rock super-trio Cream (“Sunshine Of Your Love,” #5, 1968) and supergroup Blind Faith (US #1 album Blind Faith, 1969), went solo in 1970 and fronted jazz-rock fusion Ginger Baker’s Air Force for a brief period before dropping out of the mainstream to open a recording studio in Lagos, Nigeria, played with various other artists and in Cream spin-offs and reunions until his death from heart failure on 10/6/2019, age 80.
1940 ● Don Fardon / (Donald Arthur Maughn) → Lead singer for 60s Brit mod scene freakbeat The Sorrows (“Take A Heart,” UK #21, 1965), then one hit wonder pop singer with his cover of “(The Lament Of The Cherokee) Indian Reservation” (#20, 1968), continued to perform into the 00s
1940 ● Johnny Nash / (John Lester Nash, Jr.) → Texas-born soul-pop singer/songwriter with several minor hits in the early 60s and a chart-topper with the Jamaica-tinged, million-selling, self-penned “I Can See Clearly Now” (#1, 1972), a major component in the mainstreaming of reggae music in the US and Europe in the early 70s, which he nurtured through his record label, his music and his promotion of and production work for Bob Marley & The Wailers, Peter Tosh and others, largely dropped out of sight by the mid-80s and died from natural causes after a long period of declining health on 10/2/2020, age 80.
1940 ● Roger Cook → British pop music songwriter and performer, as Jonathan was one half the pop vocal duo David & Jonathan, “Michelle” (#18, Adult Contemporary #3, 1966), collaborated with Roger Greenaway (aka David) to pen dozens of pop-rock hit singles, including “Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress” (The Hollies, #2, 1972) and “I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing” (The New Seekers, #7, 1971)
1942 ● Bob Kuban → Drummer and frontman for St. Louis-based one hit wonder horn-rock Bob Kuban & The In-Men (“The Cheater,” #12, 1966), continues to perform with various incarnations the band into the 10s
1943 ● Billy J. Kramer / (William Howard Ashton) → Frontman for British Invasion pop-rock The Dakotas, “Little Children” (#7, 1964) and four other Top 40 singles in 1964
1943 ● Edwin Hawkins / (Edwin Reuben Hawkins) → Multiple Grammy-winning contemporary gospel and R&B singer, composer, keyboardist and leader of the gospel-pop Edwin Hawkins Singers, best known for the catchy, unplanned worldwide hit “Oh Happy Day” (#4, R&B #2, CAN #2, UK #2, 1969) but racked up 19 other Grammy gospel nominations and three other wins over a 30-year music career, inducted into the Christian Music Hall of Fame in 2007, died from pancreatic cancer on 1/15/2018, age 74
1945 ● Ian Gillan → Heavy metal vocalist, joined hard rock/prog rock Deep Purple, “Smoke On The Water” (#4, 1973) in 1969 but left in 1973, sang lead on the Jesus Christ Superstar (1971) concept album and Broadway show soundtrack, solo and frontman for the Ian Gillan Band and Gillan, joined Black Sabbath in 1984, reunited with Deep Purple in late-1984
1947 ● George Newsome → Drums and vocals for Brit blues-rock Climax Blues Band, “Couldn’t Get It Right” (#3, 1977)
1948 ● Elliott Lurie → Co-founder, guitarist and singer/songwriter for one hit wonder pop-rock Looking Glass, “Brandy (You’re A Fine Girl)” (#1, 1972), now a movie music composer and arranger
1948 ● Susan Jacks / (Susan Pesklevits) → Canadian pop singer/songwriter with former husband Terry Jacks in pop-rock duo The Poppy Family, “Which Way You Goin’, Billy? (#2, 1969), then solo and songwriting
1951 ● John Deacon → Bassist and songwriter for camp rock/mock-opera/hard pop Queen, “Bohemian Rhapsody” (#9, 1976), wrote or co-wrote “Stone Cold Crazy,” “You’re My Best Fiend,” “Another One Bites The Dust” (#1, 1980) and others, retired from the music business in the 90s
1963 ● Joey Tempest / (Joakim Larsson) → Vocals for Swedish hard rock/glam-metal Europe, “The Final Countdown” (#8, 1986)
1966 ● Lee Ann Womack → Grammy-winning traditional country and pop crossover singer/songwriter, “I Hope You Dance” (#14, Country #1, 2000), actress
1970 ● Fat Joe / (Joseph Cartagena) → Hip hop entertainer and entrepreneur, East Coast/gangsta/Latino rapper, “What’s Luv” (#2, 2002), founder and CEO of hip hop record label Terror Squad Entertainment
1970 ● MC Eric / (Eric Martin) → Vocals for Belgian studio-based electro-dance-pop “house” music Technotronic, “Pump Up The Jam” (#2, 1989), solo, producer, teacher
1976 ● Régine Chassagne → Singer, multi-instrumentalist musician and co-founding member, with her husband Win Butler, of Grammy-winning Canadian alt/indie rock Arcade Fire, “Keep The Car Running” (Alt #32, 2007)
1980 ● Darius Campbell-Danesh → Scottish stage actor, UK TV Popstars contestant in 2001 and folk-pop singer, “Colourblind” (UK #1, 2002)
1983 ● Missy Higgins / (Melissa Higgins) → Australian pop singer/songwriter and guitarist, “Where I Stood” (Adult Top 40 #6, Aussie #10, 2006)
1989 ● Lil’ Romeo / (Percy Miller, Jr.) → Pre-teen rapper, “My Baby” (#3, Rap #1, 2001), actor and host of his own Nickelodeon TV show Romeo, son of hardcore rapper Master P (Percy Miller)

August 20
1923 ● “Gentleman” Jim Reeves / (James Travis Reeves) → Country guitarist and singer, early purveyor of the “Nashville sound” combining country with pop sounds, first country-pop crossover hit, “He’ll Have to Go” (#2, Country #1, 1960) and over 70 other Country Top 20 hits, died in a single-engine plane crash on 7/31/1964, age 40
1931 ● Paul Robi → Early member and vocals 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, continued with several splinter groups using variations on The Platters name into the 80s, died of pancreatic cancer on 2/1/1989, age 57
1933 ● Roland Janes / (Roland E. Janes) → Rockabilly session guitarist at Sun Records (1956-1963) and important behind-the-scenes figure in the birth of rock ‘n’ roll, played on the most of the Sun recordings by Jerry Lee Lewis (“Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” #3, R&B #1, 1957), Billy Lee Riley, Charlie Rich and other lesser stars, left to form his own record company but returned to Sun in the 80s and appears on grunge rock Mudhoney‘s album Tomorrow Hit Today (1998), died following a heart attack on 10/18/2013, age 80.
1934 ● Sneaky Pete Kleinow / (Peter E. Kleinow) → Peddle steel guitarist, songwriter and session musician, original member of Flying Burrito Brothers, worked with Joan Baez, Eagles, Steve Miller Band, Joni Mitchell, Linda Ronstadt and many others, solo, died from complications of Alzheimer’s disease on 1/6/2007, age 72
1937 ● Sky “Sunlight” Saxon / (Richard Elvern Marsh) → Frontman and lead singer for L.A. psychedelic flower power/garage rock The Seeds, “Pushin’ Too Hard” (#36, 1967), continued to record and perform with various bands and eclectic projects through the 00s, died from renal failure caused by an untreated infection on 6/25/2000, age 71
1939 ● Pee Wee Middlebrooks / (Ralph Middlebrooks) → Trumpet and trombone for influential R&B/funk The Ohio Players, “Love Rollercoaster” (#1, 1975) and six other Top 40 hits in the mid-70s, died of cancer on 11/15/1997, age 58
1940 ● John Lantree → Bassist for one hit wonder English beat/pop-rock The Honeycombs, “Have I The Right?” (#5, 1964)
1941 ● David Brock → Co-founder, guitarist, bassist, songwriter and musical focus for space rock pioneers Hawkwind, “Silver Machine” (UK #3, 1972), solo
1941 ● Tom Coster → Keyboards and piano for San Francisco psych-jazz-rock “cosmic R&B” The Loading Zone, joined Latin-tinged rock Santana in 1972, “She’s Not There” (#27, 1977), since 1978 has fronted various jazz fusion combos
1941 ● Gilbert Moorer, Jr. → With his brother, Alvis, lead singer in R&B soul vocal group The Esquires (“Get On Up,” #11, 1967), died from throat cancer on 8/28/2008, age 67
1942 ● Isaac Hayes → Hugely influential R&B/soul artist, producer, composer, first as an in-house session musician, songwriter and record producer for Memphis-based Stax Records, later as a Grammy-winning solo artist and soundtrack composer, “Theme From Shaft” (#1, 1972), early rapper, “Ike’s Rap” (R&B Top 10, 1986), film actor, TV voice-over star as the character “Chef” on South Park, died following a stroke on 8/10/2008, age 65
1944 ● John Povey → Rhythm guitar for raunchy R&B/blues-rock British Invasion band The Pretty Things, “Don’t Bring Me Down” (UK #10, 1964)
1944 ● “Uncle John” Turner / (John Turner) → Drums and percussion for electric Texas blues-rock Johnny Winter Band, “Illustrated Man” (Mainstream Rock #36, 1991), later in Krackerjack with Stevie Ray Vaughan, sessions and tours with B. B. King, Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, Albert Collins and others, died on 7/26/1997, age 62
1946 ● Ralf Hütter → Co-founder, lead singer, keyboardist and de facto leader of German electro-rock pioneers Kraftwerk, “Autobahn” (#25, 1975)
1947 ● James Pankow → Trombonist, brass instrument arranger, songwriter and constant member of for pop-rock/horn band Chicago, wrote “Make Me Smile” (#9, 1970), “Colour My World” (#7, 1970), “Just You “N” Me” (#4, 1973) and others
1948 ● Robert Plant → Renowned and venerable rock vocalist and lyricist for hard rock Led Zeppelin, “Whole Lotta Love” (#4, 1969), solo, “Big Log” (#20, Mainstream Rock #6, 1983), formed The Honeydrippers with Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck and Nile Rodgers, “Sea Of Love” (#3, 1984), Grammy-winning collaboration album with country singer Alison Krauss, Raising Sand (#2, 2007), #1 in Rolling Stone magazine’s 2011 readers’ poll of the Best Lead Singers of All Time
1949 ● Phil Lynott / (Philip Parris Lynott) → Irish singer, songwriter, bassist and bandleader,, started in blues-rock Skid Row with guitarist Gary Moore, left in 1969 to co-found and front underrated Irish hard rock Thin Lizzy, “The Boys Are Back In Town” (#12, UK #8, 1976), following disbandment in 1983 issued two solo albums and founded hard rock Grand Slam, but struggled with heroin addiction which led to an overdose and coma, died ten days later on 1/4/1986, age 36.
1952 ● John Hiatt → Respected but commercially-neglected folk-rock singer/songwriter, guitarist and pianist, “Slow Turning” (Mainstream Rock #8, 1988), wrote songs covered by Paula Abdul, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, B. B. King, Aaron Neville, Iggy Pop, Bonnie Raitt and many others
1952 ● Rudy Gatlin → Country-pop music singer 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, composed music for TV specials and operated two theme restaurants in the 90s
1952 ● Doug Fieger → Lead vocals and rhythm guitar for power pop The Knack, “My Sharona” (#1, 1979), died of cancer on 2/14/2010, age 57
1954 ● Barry Johnson → Bassist for Philly-style Brit R&B/soul Sweet Sensation, “Sad Sweet Dreamer” (#14, UK #1, 1975).
1954 ● Nick Kane → Lead guitar for Grammy-winning country-rock The Mavericks, “All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down” (Country #13, 1996)
1961 ● David Morales → DJ, Grammy-winning remixer, producer and post-disco house music pioneer, “Needin’ U” (Dance/Club #1, 1998)
1966 ● Dimebag Abbott / (Darrell Abbott) → With brother Vincent Paul Abbott, co-founder and guitarist in thrash metal Pantera, “Planet Caravan” (Mainstream Rock #21, 1994) and supergroup Damageplan, “Save Me” (Mainstream Rock #16, 2004), died from gunshot wounds when a man stormed the stage and began firing shots at the band and crowd on 12/8/2004, age 38
1967 ● Serj Tankian → Vocals for Grammy-winning, Armenian-American hard rock/alt metal System Of A Down, “Aerials” (Mainstream Rock #1, 2002)
1968 ● Dina Carroll / (Geraldine Carroll) → Successful late-80s and 90s Brit soul-pop and dance-pop singer of Scottish and African American descent, “Don’t Be A Stranger” (UK #3, 1993) and “Special Kind Of Love” (Dance/Club #4, 1993)
1970 ● Fred Durst → Co-founder, lead vocals and frontman for rap-metal Limp Bizkit, “Nookie” (Mainstream Rock #6, 1999), producer, music video director, solo
1979 ● Jamie Cullum → Brit jazz-pop and easy listening singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, “These Are The Days” (UK #12, 2004)
1985 ● Mikey Shoes / (Michael Shuman) → Bassist for stoner metal Queens Of The Stone Age, “No One Knows” (#51, Mainstream Rock #5, 2002), also co-fronted L.A. area rock bands Wires On Fire and Jubilee
1992 ● Demi Lovato / (Demetria Lovato) → Singer, songwriter, musician and actress, played “Mitchie Torres” in the Disney Channel movie Camp Rock (2008), pop solo singer, “Here We Go Again” (#15, 2009)

August 21
1904 ● Count Basie / (William Allen Basie) → Renowned nine-time Grammy-winning swing era jazz, blues and swing pianist, composer and bandleader, “April In Paris” (#28, R&B #8, 1956), led his Count Basie Orchestra for nearly 50 years, died of pancreatic cancer on 4/26/1984 , age 79
1907 ● Hy Zaret / (Hyram Harry Zaritsky) → Tin Pan Alley lyricist and composer with multiple hits in the 40s and 50s, best known as the co-author of the Academy Award-winning 1955 hit “Unchained Melody,” one of the 25 most recorded songs of the 20th Century with over 300 versions released by The Righteous Brothers (#4, 1965), Elvis Presley (Country #6, 1978), U2 and many others, also wrote children’s songs, including “Why Does The Sun Shine?” (1959, covered by alt-rock They Might Be Giants in 1993), died from natural causes on 7/2/207, age 99.
1938 ● Kenny Rogers / (Kenneth Ray Rogers) → Grammy-winning singer, songwriter and hugely successful country-pop crossover star with dozens of pop and country Top 10 hits, including a pair of double-#1s, “Lady” (#1, Country #1, 1980) and “Islands In The Stream” (#1, Country #1, 1983), started as a solo artist in the 50s, joined folk-revival The New Christy Minstrels (“Green, Green,” #14, 1963) in the mid-60s, co-founded and fronted country-pop The First Edition (“Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town,” #6, 1969) from 1967-1976, resumed his solo career and scored nine Top 10 pop and 17 #1 country hits, starred in films (Six Pack, 1982) and the 1980-1994 TV series based on his signature song, “The Gambler” (#16, Country #1, 1978), co-founded a chain of fast-food restaurants, recorded and performed until retiring for health reasons in 2017, died from complications related to the COVID-19 virus on 3/20/2020, age 81.
1939 ● Harold Reid / (Harold Wilson Reid) → Bass vocals, songwriter and de facto leader of country-gospel-pop crossover harmony quartet The Statler Brothers (Grammy-winning “Flowers On The Wall,” #4, Country #2, 1965), the group was a force on the country charts for 25 years with 32 Country Top 10 singles between 1965 and 1989 – he and his younger brother, Don, were the only brothers in the group and no one was named Statler – retired after the band’s 38th studio album and farewell tour in 2002, died of kidney failure on 4/24/2020, age 80.
1943 ● Clydie King / (Clydie Mae King) → R&B/pop singer with over 30 singles as a solo artist, the lead singer in various groups and under the pseudonym Brown Sugar, scored a lone pop hit “Loneliness (Will Bring Us Together Again)” (#44, 1973), best known as a backing singer for dozens of major artists such as Steely Dan, The Rolling Stones and Lynyrd Skynyrd, joined Bob Dylan‘s band in 1980 and had a romantic relationship with him through the late 80s, dropped out of the music business for health reasons and died from complications of a blood infection acquired during dialysis treatment on 1/7/2019, age 75.
1944 ● Jackie DeShannon / (Sharon Lee Myers) → Early female rock ‘n’ roll singer/songwriter, toured with The Beatles in 1964, co-wrote songs with Jimmy Page and Randy Newman, moved to folk-pop sounds in the late-60s, wrote and sang “Put A Little Love In Your Heart” (#4, 1969), co-wrote Grammy-winning “Bette Davis Eyes” for Kim Carnes (#1, 1981)
1947 ● Carl Giammarese → Guitarist and co-founder of Chicago-based pop-horn-rock The Buckinghams, “Kind Of A Drag” (#1, 1967), continues to front the band on the oldies circuit
1949 ● Dominic Grant / (Keith Purdie) → Singer with Brit pop sextet then quartet vocal group Guys ‘n’ Dolls with several hits in the UK and Europe in the 70s and 80s, including “There’s A Whole Lot Of Loving” (UK #2, NL #9, 1975) and “You’re My World” (NL #1, 1977) but little recognition in North America, following breakup in 1985 continued to perform with his wife and former GnD bandmate Julie Forsyth as country/western duo Grant & Forsyth, scored six Top 40 hits in the Netherlands before retiring from music in the 90s to concentrate on sculpting bronze figures, died suddenly from a ruptured artery (abdominal aortic aneurysm) on 11/18/2020, age 71.
1952 ● Glenn Hughes → Bass and vocals for Brit hard rock Trapeze, left in 1973 to join Deep Purple, “Smoke On The Water” (#4, 1973), sang for Black Sabbath on the Seventh Star album (1986), various solo and collaboration albums, currently fronts hard rock supergroup Black Country Communion
1952 ● Joe Strummer / (John Graham Mellor) → Frontman and principal songwriter of influential and acclaimed punk-ska-dance-rock The Clash, “Rock The Casbah” (#8, 1982), actor, film score composer, radio host, solo and frontman for The Mescaleros, died of a heart attack on 12/22/2002, age 50
1954 ● Steve Smith → Drummer for arena rock Journey, “Who’s Crying Now” (#4, 1981) during the band’s peak years in the late-70s and early 80s, founded fusion group Vital Information in 1983, joined fusion group Steps Ahead in 1986, in 2001 voted into the Top 25 Drummers of All Time list in Modern Drummer magazine
1957 ● Budgie / (Peter Edward Clarke) → Drummer for punk then dance-rock Siouxsie & The Banshees, “Kiss Them For Me”, (#23, 1991), side project The Creatures, “Right Now” (UK #14, 1983), toured with John Cale, sessions
1957 ● Kim Sledge → Lead vocals for family R&B/disco girl-group Sister Sledge and the disco anthem “We Are Family” (#2, 1979) plus ten other R&B Top 10 hits
1965 ● Mike Howe → Founding member and lead singer in Detroit- then LA-based metal band Heretic, left in 1988 after the band’s first LP and fronted early thrash metal act Metal Church until 1994, when he left to become a carpenter and start a family, rejoined Metal Church as lead singer in 2015 and issued four albums with the band before dying from suicide by hanging on 7/26/2021, age 55.
1971 ● Master H. / (Liam Howlett) → MC and vocals for “big beat” electronic dance/rap The Prodigy, “Firestarter” (#30, 1996), producer and music DJ
1979 ● Kelis / (Kelis Rogers) → Urban contemporary R&B vocalist, “Milkshake” (#3, Dance/Club #1, 2003), former spouse of rapper Nas
1984 ● Melissa Schuman → Vocals for R&B/dance-pop all-girl quartet Dream, “He Loves U Not” (#2, 2000), solo, actress
1986 ● Conor Clapton → Son of rock superstar Eric Clapton and subject of his father’s lamenting, Grammy-winning song “Tears In Heaven” (#1, 1992) about the toddler’s tragic death from a fall out of a 53rd floor apartment window in New York City on 3/20/1991, age 4

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