This Week’s Birthdays (December 10 – 16)

0
554
The Partridge Family (Susan Dey, far right)

Happy Birthday this week to:

December 10
1906 ● Harold Adamson → Pop music lyricist known for writing or co-writing dozens of standards, including “Time On My Hands” (1930), “I Couldn’t Sleep A Wink Last Night” (1944) and “An Affair To Remember” (1957) as well as the theme song to the 60s sitcom I Love Lucy, died on 8/17/1980, age 73
1910 ● John Hammond / (John Henry Hammond II) → Influential Columbia Records executive and A&R scout, responsible for starting or furthering the careers of Billie Holiday, Count Basie, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Bruce Springsteen, Janis Joplin, Stevie Ray Vaughan and many others, died following a stroke on 7/10/1987, age 76
1924 ● Ken Albers / (John Kenneth Albers) → Vocals and trumpet in clean-cut, jazz/collegiate-pop harmony quartet The Four Freshmen (“Graduation Day,” #17, 1956), a major influence on Brain Wilson of The Beach Boys but lost relevance during the British Invasion, died after a long illness on 4/19/2007, age 82
1926 ● Guitar Slim / (Eddie Jones) → Flamboyant and oft-covered New Orleans blues guitarist, “The Things That I Used To Do” (R&B #1, 1954), included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs That Shaped Rock ‘n’ Roll, died penniless from pneumonia on 2/7/1959, age 32
1941 ● Chad Stuart / (David Stuart Chadwick) → Vocals and guitar with Jeremy Clyde in 60s strings-backed, British Invasion light folk-pop duo Chad & Jeremy, scored seven US Top 40 hits in less than four years, including “A Summer Song” (#7, 1964) before breaking up and fading into obscurity, resurfaced on the oldies circuit in the 80s and reunited again in the 00s to tour and record until his death from pneumonia on 12/20/2020, age 79.
1941 ● Ralph Tavares / (Ralph Edward Vierra Tavares) → Vocals and oldest of five brothers in R&B/funk-disco Tavares with ten R&B Top 10 hits in the mid-70s, including the crossover “It Only Takes A Minute” (#10, R&B #1, 1976), left the band in 1984 to become a Massachusetts municipal court officer, retired in 2015 and rejoined his brothers in Tavares until his death from undisclosed causes on 12/8/2021, age 79.
1941 ● Mike Irving / (Michael Herbert Lang) → Multi-keyboardist noted for playing on an estimated 2,500 film and TV scores starting in the mid-1960s, including music soundtracks by virtually every great late 20th Century film composer and covering jazz, classical, pop, and R&B sounds, including John WilliamsClose Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) and John Barry‘s Body Heat (1981), plus TV theme songs for The Waltons and Kung Fu in the 1970s and The Simpsons and Frasier in the 90s, among hundreds of others, also did session work over five decades for Ray Charles, Willie Nelson, John Denver, NSYNC, John Lennon, Barbra Streisand, Frank Zappa and others, died from lung cancer on 8/5/2022, age 80.
1946 ● Ace Kefford / (Christopher John Kefford) → Bassist and founding member of Brit psych-rock The Move, “Blackberry Way” (UK #1, 1968), solo
1948 ● Jessica Cleaves → Lead singer for pop-rock vocal group The Friends Of Distinction, “Grazing In The Grass” (#3, 1969), backing vocals for Earth, Wind & Fire and Parliament/Funkadelic, died following a stroke on 5/2/2014, age 65
1951 ● Johnny Rodriguez / (Juan Raul David Rodriguez) → Latin-American outlaw country singer and songwriter, “Ridin’ My Thumb To Mexico” (#70, Country #1, 1973) and five other Country #1 hits and 23 other Country Top 40 singles
1952 ● Susan Dey / (Susan Hallock Dey) → TV and film actress best known for her role as the older singing daughter in the pre-fab TV show sunshine pop group The Partridge Family (“I Think I Love You,” #1, 1970) and as the Assistant D.A. in the drama series L.A. Law (1986-92)
1954 ● Geoff Deane → Vocalist for Brit dance-pop band Modern Romance, “Can You Move” (Dance/Club #2, 1981) and “Best Years Of Our Lives” (UK #4, 1982)
1957 ● Paul Hardcastle → Session keyboard player in the 70s, then solo synth-dance-pop music composer and producer, “19” (#20, Dance #1, 1985), now produces TV soundtracks and remixes for others
1958 ● Pepsi DeMacque / (Helen DeMacque) → Backing vocals for New Wave dance-pop Wham!, “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” (#1, 1984), left to form pop duo Pepsi & Shirlie, “Heartache” (#78, Dance #2, 1987)
1965 ● Joseph Donald “J” Mascis → Singer, songwriter and lead guitar for influential indie/cult rock Dinosaur Jr., “Start Choppin'” (Modern Rock #3, 1993)
1966 ● Timothy Riley / (Timothy Christian Riley) → Drummer for R&B/new jack swing soul-funk Tony! Toni! Tone!, “If I Had No Loot” (#7, 1993)
1972 ● Brian Molko → Scottish-American singer, songwriter and guitarist for alt glam-rock/punk revival Placebo, “Pure Morning” (Mainstream Rock #40, 1999)
1972 ● Scot Alexander → Bassist for melodic hard rock Dishwalla, “Counting Blue Cars” (#15, 1996)
1974 ● Meg White → Drummer with husband Jack in alt rock duo The White Stripes, “Seven Nation Army” (Mainstream Rock #12, 2004)

December 11
1916 ● Perez Prado → The “King of the Mambo,” Cuban-born bandleader, pianist and composer, “Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White” (#1, 1955), died from a stroke on 9/14/1989, age 72
1926 ● Big Mama Thornton / (Willie Mae Thornton) → Early blues singer and songwriter, recorded “Hound Dog” (R&B #1, 1952) before Elvis, wrote and recorded “Ball And Chain” (1968) which was covered by Janis Joplin, died from liver failure on 7/25/1984, age 57
1931 ● Rita Moreno / (Rosa Delores Alverio) → Puerto Rican singer and actress, one of only 12 performers to have one Academy, Emmy, Grammy and Tony awards, best known for her role as Anita in the film version of West Side Story (1962), continues to perform on stage and film into the 10s
1934 ● Curtis Williams → Founding member and baritone vocals for one hit wonder R&B/doo wop quartet The Penguins, their enduring “Earth Angel” (#8, R&B #1, 1954) was one of the earliest R&B-to-pop crossover hits, died on 8/10/1979, age 44
1935 ● Tom Brumley / (Thomas Rexton Brumley) → “Bakersfield Sound” pedal steel guitarist for Buck Owens’ Buckaroos (solo on “Together Again,” Country #1, 1964), Rick Nelson’s Stone Canyon Band (“Garden Party,” #6, AC #1, 1972), Chris Hillman’s Desert Rose Band (“He’s Back And I’m Blue,” Country #1, 1988) and as a session player for Glen Campbell, Chris Isaak, Rod Stewart and multiple others, died following a heart attack on 2/3/2009, age 73
1938 ● McCoy Tyner / (Alfred McCoy Tyner) → National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Jazz Master and Grammy-winning acoustic jazz pianist, key member of John Coltrane‘s influential 60s quartet and renowned solo artist with over 70 well-regarded acoustic jazz albums released over nearly 50 years, also appeared as a sideman on dozens of albums by many modern jazz greats, Milt Jackson, Stanley Turrentine and Wayne Shorter among them, died from unspecified causes on 3/6/2020, age 81.
1940 ● David Gates → Singer, songwriter, guitarist, producer and co-founder of soft MOR pop-rock Bread, “Make It With You” (#1, 1970), sessions and solo, “Goodbye Girl” (#15, 1978)
1941 ● J. Frank Wilson → Frontman for one hit wonder pop-rock The Cavaliers (“Last Kiss,” #1, 1964), continued to record into the 70s without impact, died following years of alcohol abuse on 10/4/1991, age 49
1942 ● Ananda Shankar → Bengali composer and sitar player, member of Indian royalty and pioneer in fusion of East and West by combining psychedelic electronica with Indian music, nephew of world-famous Ravi Shankar, missed a posthumous revival of interest in his music in the 90s and 00s in the U.S. and abroad, died from a heart attack on 3/26/1999, age 56
1944 ● Brenda Lee / (Brenda Mae Tarpley)) → Pop, country and rockabilly singer, “I’m Sorry” (#1, 1960) and 27 other Top 40 hits between 1960 and 1967
1944 ● Michael Lang / (Michael Scott Lang) → Concert promoter, music producer and graphic artist, co-produced the 1968 Pop & Underground Festival in Miami, then as organizer and frontman of the instantly-legendary, pop culture-defining Woodstock Music & Arts Festival in 1969 (with follow-up shows in 1994 and 1999, and an unsuccessful attempt to stage a 50th-anniversary concert in 2019), later formed a record label, Just Sunshine, through his Michael Lang Organization managed Woodstock ’69 veteran Joe Cocker, Rikki Lee Jones and other artists, produced movies, organized live events and oversaw the Woodstock brand and legacy, died from non-Hodgkin lymphoma on 1/8/2022, age 77.
1951 ● Spike Edney / (Philip Edney) → Keyboardist and session musician for Queen, The Rolling Stones, Duran Duran, Boomtown Rats, Dexy’s Midnight Runners, Haircut 100 and others, bandleader for Spike’s All-Stars
1954 ● Jermaine Jackson → Bass and vocals in R&B/pop-soul sibling act The Jackson 5, “I Want You Back” (#1, 1970), then solo, “Let’s Get Serious” (#9, 1978) and six other Top 40 hits, occasional film producer and director
1957 ● Mike Mesaros → Bass and vocals for alt pop-rock The Smithereens, “Only A Memory” (Mainstream Rock #1, 1988)
1958 ● Nikki Sixx / (Franklin Carlton Serafino Ferrana, Jr.) → Co-founder, songwriter and bassist for hair-metal Mötley Crüe, “Dr. Feelgood” (#6, 1989) and Brides Of Destruction, session work, producer, collaborator, fashion designer and author
1961 ● The Munch / (Darryl Jones) → Bassist for The Rolling Stones since Bill Wyman’s departure in 1993, session work with Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Sting, Peter Gabriel, Madonna, Eric Clapton, Joan Armatrading and others
1962 ● Curtis Williams → Keyboards for jazz-fusion then R&B/funk Kool & The Gang, “Jungle Boogie” (#4, 1973), producer
1964 ● Justin Currie → Founding member, bass, vocals and songwriting for pop and country-rock Del Amitri, “Roll To Me” (#10, 1995)
1967 ● DJ Yella / (Antoine Carraby) → Longest-lasting member of controversial and influential gangsta rap quintet N.W.A., “Express Yourself” (Hot Dance #38, 1989)
1972 ● Easther Bennett → Brit R&B/dance-pop singer for girl-group Eternal, “Stay” (#19, 1994), collaborated with Aswad, songwriter
1972 ● Mos Def / (Dante Terrell Smith) → Actor and hip hop MC, first with Talib Kweli in rap duo Black Star, then solo, “Oh No” (#83, Rap #1, 2000), Emmy-nominated TV and film actor
1975 ● Samantha Maloney → Grunge and metal drummer, replaced Patty Schemel in grunge rock Hole (“Celebrity Skin,” Alt Rock #1, 1998), left in 2002 to replace Randy Castillo in heavy metal Mötley Crüe (“Dr. Feelgood,” #6. 1989), later with grunge girl group The Chelsea, Eagles Of Death Metal and multiple other alt rock bands
1981 ● Zacky Vengeance / (Zachary James Baker) → Rhythm guitar and backing vocals for pop/metal Avenged Sevenfold, “Bat Country” (#60, Mainstream Rock #2, 2005)

December 12
1915 ● Frank Sinatra / (Francis Albert Sinatra) → Immensely popular entertainer, film actor, “Rat Pack” founding member and nine-time Grammy-winning swing, pop and adult contemporary singer, “That’s Life” (#4, 1966) and 26 other Top 40 singles, died following a heart attack on 5/14/1998, age 82
1918 ● Joe Williams → Bluesy-jazz, smooth baritone singer and frontman for the Count Basie Orchestra from 1954 to 1961, as a solo performer won a Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal with “Nothin’ But The Blues’ (1984) and had four Jazz Top 20 albums in the 80s and 90s, continued to perform in clubs and cruise ship cabarets up to his death after collapsing on a Las Vegas street on 3/29/1999, age 80
1920 ● Dick James / (Leon Isaac Vapnick) → British pop singer and later music publisher and co-founder (with his son, Stephen) of the DJM record label and (with Brian Epstein) The Beatles‘ publishing label Northern Songs Ltd., signed Elton John and Bernie Taupin and handled Billy J. Kramer and Gerry And The Pacemakers, among other 60s acts, died of a heart attack on 2/1/1986, age 65
1933 ● Manu Dibango / (Emmanuel N’Djoké Dibango) → Cameroonian saxophonist and bandleader best known for his international disco-funk “Soul Makossa” (#35, R&B #21, 1973), with lyrics in the native language Duala, that was covered nearly 20 times and adapted on dozens of songs Michael Jackson, Jennifer Lopez, Black Eyed Peas and others, also widely acclaimed for collaborations with others and over 70 albums released during a 50-year career, died from complications of the COVID-19 virus on 3/24/2020, age 86.
1935 ● Joan Weber → One hit wonder pop singer who recorded her only hit “Let Me Go, Lover!” (#1, 1955) while pregnant, took a career pause for motherhood and never returned, died in a mental institution on 5/13/1981, age 45
1936 ● Reggie Young / (Reggie Grimes Young) → Guitarist, A-list session musician and member of The Memphis Boys, American Sound Studio‘s house band, played electric sitar on The Box Tops‘ “Cry Like A Baby” (#2, 1968) and B. J. Thomas‘s “Hooked On A Feeling” (#5, 1969), and six-string on hundreds of hits by Elvis Presley (“Suspicious Minds,” #1 1969), Dusty Springfield (“Son Of A Preacher Man,” #10, 1969), Kenny Rogers (“The Gambler,” #16, Country #1, 1978) and others, also played in the Bill Black Combo in the 50s and 60s, Jimmy Buffett‘s Coral Reefer Band in the 70s and 80s, and the touring band for supergroup The Highwaymen in the 90s, issued a lone solo album in 2008 and wrote and recorded until dying from heart failure on 1/17/2019, age 82.
1938 ● Connie Francis / (Conetta Rosa Maria Franconera) → Hugely successful 50s and 60s pop singer and one of the top selling female pop artists of all time, “Where The Boys Are” (#4, 1961) plus 32 other Top 40 hits
1939 ● Terry Kirkman / (Terry Robert Kirkman) → Founding member, multi-instrumentalist musician and songwriter for clean-cut, sunshine pop vocal group The Association, wrote “Cherish” (#1, 1966) and “Everything That Touches You” (#10, CAN #8, 1968), plus several other minor hits for the group, sang backing vocals on his and others Association songs, left in 1972 but participated in reunions in the 80s and 90s, in later years served as a counselor in a California addictions center, died from congestive heart failure on 9/23/2023, age 83.
1940 ● Dionne Warwick / (Marie Dionne Warrick) → Grammy-winning, sweet-voiced pop and soul diva, “Walk On By” (#6, 1964), “Then Came You” (#1, 1974) and “That’s What Friends Are For” (#1, 1985) and 28 other Top 40 hits
1942 ● Dec Cluskey / (Declan Cluskey) → With his brother, Con and John Stokes, founding member, vocals and multiple instruments in Irish beat pop-rock trio The Bachelors, “Diane” (#10, UK #1, 1964) and seven other UK Top 10 hits in 1964-66, continued to perform with various lineups of the band through the 00s
1942 ● Tim Hauser → Founding member and singer in ten-time Grammy-winning jazz-pop fusion vocal group Manhattan Transfer, “Boy From New York City” (#7, 1981), served on the voting committee of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the late 80s, died from cardiac arrest on 10/16/2014, age 71
1943 ● Dickey Betts / (Forrest Richard Betts) → Singer, songwriter and lead guitarist for Southern rock The Allman Brothers Band, wrote “Ramblin’ Man” (#2, 1973), solo and frontman for Great Southern, Rolling Stone magazine #58 Greatest Guitarist of All-Time
1943 ● Grover Washington Jr. → Grammy-winning R&B/jazz-soul fusion saxophonist, composer and bandleader, “Just The Two Of Us” (#2, 1981), died of a heart attack on 12/17/1999, age 56
1944 ● Rob Tyner / (Robert W. Derminer) → Lead vocals for Detroit proto-punk rockers MC5, “Kick Out The Jams” (1969), died of a heart attack on 9/17/1991, age 46.
1944 ● Paul Harris → Versatile keyboardist, session and supporting musician with numerous credits, including the orchestral arrangements for The Doors album The Soft Parade (1969), performed as a member of King Harvest, Stephen Stills’ Manassas, The Southern Hillman Furay Band and Todd Rundgren’s Utopia, also recorded as a session musician for ABBA, Judy Collins, Bob Seger and Joe Walsh, among many others, died from unspecified causes on 10/24/2023, age 78.
1945 ● Alan Ward → Lead guitarist for one hit wonder English beat/pop-rock The Honeycombs, “Have I The Right?” (#5, 1964)
1945 ● Tony Williams → Respected jazz-fusion drummer with the Miles Davis band, then fronted his own band Lifetime, member of V.S.O.P., died from a heart attack following gall bladder surgery on 2/23/1997, age 51
1947 ● Ralph Scala → Organ and vocals for early psychedelic rock quintet Blues Magoos, “(We Ain’t Got) Nothin’ Yet” (#5, 1967)
1947 ● Vin Scelsa → Long-time and beloved New York City area progressive FM radio DJ, WFMU (Upsala College, New Jersey), WLIR (Long Island), WABC, WPLJ and WNEW (New York)
1948 ● Ray Jackson → Vocals, mandolin and harmonica for Brit folk-rock Lindisfarne, “Lady Eleanor” (UK #3, 1971)
1953 ● Bruce Kulick / (Bruce Howard Kulick) → Hard rock bassist best known for his long run with glam/hard rock Kiss from 1984 to 1996, including “Forever” (#17, Rock #8, 1990), left to form several nondescript hard rock bands and joined a reconstituted Grand Funk Railroad in 2001.
1953 ● Bruce Kulik → Session and touring band guitarist for Meat Loaf, Kiss, Grand Funk Railroad, Michael Bolton and others
1957 ● Cy Curnin → Founder and lead vocals of New Wave pop-rock The Fixx, “One Thing Leads To Another” (#4, 1983)
1957 ● Sheila E. / (Sheila Escovedo) → R&B/dance-pop singer and drummer, “The Glamorous Life” (#7, 1984), session work with Prince, Stevie Wonder, Mariah Carey, Phil Collins, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion and others
1958 ● Fruitbat Carter / (Leslie Carter) → Founder, namesake and guitarist for Brit indie rock Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine, “The Only Living Boy In New Cross” (Modern Rock #26, 1992)
1959 ● Belouis Some / (Neville Keighley) → New Wave electronic/synth-dance-pop singer, “Some People” (#67, Dance/Club #8, 1985)
1961 ● Daniel O’Donnell → Irish country-pop crooner and songwriter, “Give A Little Love” (#7, 1998)
1963 ● Claudia Brücken → Vocals and frontwoman with German synth-pop Propaganda, “p:Machinery” (Dance/Club #10, 1986)
1963 ● Eric Schenkman → Guitarist for alt blues-rock jam band Spin Doctors, “Two Princes” (#7, 1993)
1965 ● David Batiste / (David Russell Batiste, Jr.) → Drummer for The Funky Meters, a reincarnation of influential New Orleans soul-funk The Meters, “Chicken Strut” (1970), plus solo and session work
1967 ● Nick Dimichino → Bassist for indie power pop band Nine Days, “Absolutely (Story Of A Girl)” (#6, 2000)
1968 ● Danny Boy O’Connor / (Daniel O’Connor) → Vocals in white hip-hop one hit wonder trio House Of Pain, “Jump Around” (#3, 1992)
1971 ● Johnny Dean → Vocals for short-lived, super-hyped 90s Britpop Menswear, “Being Brave” (UK #10, 1996)
1976 ● Dan Hawkins → Guitarist and vocals for Brit hard rock The Darkness, “I Believe In A Thing Called Love” (Mainstream #35, 2004)
1977 ● Dino Meneghin → Guitarist for post-grunge alt rock The Calling, “Wherever You Will Go” (#5, 2001)
1980 ● Carl Dalemo → Bassist for Brit-Swede indie pop-rock Razorlight, “America” (UK #1, 2006)

December 13
1928 ● Joe Messina / (Joseph Lucian Messina) → High school drop-out whose dream of becoming a professional musician led through Detroit jazz clubs and a local ABC-TV studio orchestra to joining Motown Records in 1960 and becoming an integral part of the label’s in-house studio band The Funk Brothers, recorded pop music history on hundreds of hits laid down in the cramped basement recording studio named “the Snakepit” underneath a converted Detroit house known as “Hitsville USA,” earned the moniker “white brother with soul” and was featured prominently in the acclaimed 2002 documentary Standing in the Shadows of Motown, stayed in Detroit when the company moved to Los Angeles in 1972, owned several businesses and gigged with other musicians despite giving up his guitars for 30 years, suffered from kidney disease during his last dozen years and died on 4/4/2022, age 93.
1934 ● Dave Burgess → Aspiring songwriter and session guitarist, recorded several non-charting songs in the early 50s and wrote “I’m Available” (#9, 1957) for Margie Rayburn, then teamed with several other studio musicians to form one hit wonder Tex-Mex rockers The Champs and record the Latin-tinged instrumental classic “Tequila” (#1, R&B #1, 1959), the touring band hastily organized to capitalize on the surprise hit comprised multiple come-and-go members, including future luminaries Glen Campbell, Delaney Bramlett (Delaney & Bonnie), and Jim Shields and Dash Crofts (Seals & Crofts)
1938 ● Ron Haffkine / (Ronald Haffkine) → Producer, composer and band manager known his novelty-pop musical and film collaborations with comedian Shel Silverstein over a 30-year partnership, and as a Grammy-winning writer and producer for 70s pop-rock Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show, co-wrote their hits “Sylvia’s Mother” (#1, 1967) and the classic “Cover Of The Rolling Stone” (#1, 1972), later produced albums for Waylon Jennings, Lou Rawls, Mac Davis, Helen Reddy and many others, scored multiple film soundtracks over the decades, died from leukemia and kidney failure at his home in Mexico on 10/1/2023, age 84.
1940 ● Tony Gomez → Vocals for Brit R&B/soul-pop The Foundations, “Baby Now That I’ve Found You” (#11, 1967)
1945 ● Robert Martinez → Drummer for garage rock legends ? And The Mysterians, “96 Tears” (#1, 1966)
1948 ● Andy Peebles → BBC Radio DJ and the last person to interview John Lennon
1948 ● Skunk Baxter / (Jeffrey Allen Baxter) → Guitarist for Steely Dan, “Reeling In The Years” (#11, 1973), joined The Doobie Brothers in 1974, “Black Water” (#1, 1975), now a missile defense consultant and government contractor
1948 ● Ted Nugent → The “Motor City Madman,” guitarist for psych-rock Amboy Dukes, “Journey To The Center Of The Mind” (#16, 1968), solo, “Cat Scratch Fever” (#30, 1977) and supergroup Damn Yankees, “High Enough” (#3, 1991).
1948 ● Lester Bangs / (Leslie Conway Bangs) → Respected rock music journalist, critic, poet and author credited with coining the terms “heavy metal” and “punk rock,” wrote influential commentary for Rolling Stone, The Village Voice and other publications, played with and fronted several impromptu surf/punk rock bands, including The Delinquents and Birdland, died from an accidental flu medicine overdose on 4/30/1982, age 33
1949 ● Randy Owen → Founder and lead vocals for country-pop-rock Alabama, “Love In The First Degree” (#15, 1982)
1949 ● Tom Verlaine / (Thomas Miller) → Guitar and vocals for early 70s New Jersey punk-rock The Neon Boys with high school chum Richard Hell (nee Meyers), assumed the stage name Verlaine and alongside Hell formed highly influential New York art/punk rock Television, co-produced the recognized punk classic LP Marquee Moon (Rolling Stone 500 #128, 1977) and became an icon of the downtown New York “cool” scene for over 40 years, produced folk-rock Jeff Buckley’s album My Sweetheart The Drunk (1998) before the singer-songwriter’s death by drowning, released several solo albums from 1979 through 2006, occasionally reunited with Television, recorded with punk diva and former lover Patti Smith on several occasions over the years, died from metastatic prostate cancer on 1/28/2023, age 73.
1950 ● Davy O’List → Journeyman Brit guitarist for prog rock The Attack, The Nice, Pink Floyd, Roxy Music, Jet and others, solo
1952 ● Berton Averre → Guitarist for power pop The Knack, “My Sharona” (#1, 1979), now a stage and screenplay writer
1958 ● Dana Strum / (Dana Strumwasser) → Bassist in pop-glam metal Slaughter, “Fly To The Angels” (#19, 1990), died in a car crash on 2/5/1998
1964 ● Lucky Peterson / (Judge Kenneth Peterson) → Blues, gospel, soul and blues-rock child prodigy pianist and guitarist who released his first album, Our Future (1970) at age 5 and appeared on TV music variety programs multiple times by the time he was 9, as an adult issued over 30 mostly acclaimed albums, the last in 2019 (50 – Just Warming Up!), died after a short, undisclosed illness on 5/17/2020, age 55.
1967 ● Jamie Foxx / (Eric Marlon Bishop) → Actor, pianist and singer, “Gold Digger” (#1, 2005), won Academy Award for his portrayal of soul great Ray Charles in the film Ray (2005)
1970 ● Daniel Patrick → Session and touring band guitars and keyboards for Nine Inch Nails, Tapeworm, Methods of Mayhem and others
1974 ● Nick McCarthy → Rhythm guitar and keyboards for Scottish art-pop-rock Franz Ferdinand, “Take Me Out” (Alt Rock #3, 2004)
1975 ● Tom DeLonge → Lead guitar and vocals for pop-punk Blink-182, “All The Small Things” (#6, 2000)
1981 ● Amy Lee / (Amy Lynn Lee Hartzler) → Founder, lead vocals, songwriter and pianist for Grammy-winning goth-pop-metal Evanescence, “Bring Me To Life” (#5, 2003)
1989 ● Taylor Swift / (Taylor Alison Swift) → Country-pop singer and songwriter, “You Belong With Me” (#2, 2009), actress

December 14
1911 ● Spike Jones / (Lindley Armstrong Jones) → Multi-instrumentalist, musical comedian and satirist, bandleader for The City Slickers and their unique parodies of popular hits of all eras and genres died from the effects of emphysema on 5/1/1965, age 53.
1915 ● Jerry Daniels / (Jerry Franklin Daniels) → Founding member, tenor vocals and string instruments for pioneering black R&B/doo wop group The Ink Spots, “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore” (#2, R&B #1, 1943), left the group in 1936 before they achieved popularity, became a high school music instructor but returned for various reunions through 1988, died on 11/7/1995, age 79
1932 ● Charlie Rich → The “Silver Fox,” Grammy-winning country-pop-blues singer and musician, “The Most Beautiful Girl” (#1, 1974) plus eight other Country #1 singles and seven other Top 40 hits, died from a blood clot in his lung on 7/25/1995, age 62
1934 ● Johnny Moore → Lead vocalist for R&B/doo wop The Drifters in the mid-50s, left for military service and an unsuccessful solo career under the alias Johnny Darrow, rejoined The Drifters on May 21, 1964 to sing lead on “Under The Boardwalk” (#4, 1964) in place of former lead vocalist Rudy Lewis (who died the night before from a suspected heroin overdose), remained with the group through several hits and three decades of touring, died from respiratory failure on 12/30/1998, age 64
1937 ● Warren Ryanes → Baritone vocals for one hit wonder R&B/doo wop sextet The Monotones, “(Who Wrote) The Book Of Love” (#5, 1958), died on 6/16/1982, age 44
1938 ● Don Addrisi → With his younger brother, Dick, one-half the pop vocal duo The Addrisi Brothers, scored several minor hits in the 60s and 70s but found greater success as a songwriting team, including “Never My Love” for The Association (#2, 1967) which they recorded for themselves and reached #80 (AC #28) in 1977, died from pancreatic cancer on 11/13/1984, age 45
1938 ● Gary Usher → California surf rock songwriter and record producer, co-wrote The Beach Boys‘ “In My Room” (#23, 1963) and others songs with Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys, produced two albums for The Byrds, died of cancer on 5/25/1990, age 51
1942 ● Dick Wagner → Hard rock guitarist, songwriter and frontman for Detroit-area rock bands The Bossmen and The Frost in the 60s, formed New York-based Ursa Major with Billy Joel in the early 70s, was recruited with Steve Hunter to form a one-two guitar punch for Lou Reed and Alice Cooper in the latter 70s, and worked with numerous other artists as a sessionman for 25 years until his death following a heart attack on 7/30/2014, age 71.
1943 ● Frank Allen / (Francis Renaud McNeice) → Bassist for Merseybeat band The Searchers, “Needles And Pins” (#13, 1963)
1944 ● Linda Jones → R&B/soul-gospel singer, “Hypnotized” (R&B #4, 1967), fell into a diabetes-caused coma while resting between shows at Harlem’s Apollo Theater in New York and died on 3/14/72, age 27
1946 ● Jackie McAuley → Keyboards for Irish garage-rock, proto-punk Them, “Gloria” (#71, 1966), solo and co-founder of The Belfast Gypsies
1946 ● Jane Birkin / (Jane Malorry Birkin) → English-born ingénue, film actress and pop singer, appeared in minor roles in several 60s French films, then started a 12-year romantic and musical partnership with actor/director Serge Gainsbourg, including their steamy, spoken-word duet “Je T’Aime…Moi Non Plus” (#69, UK #1, 1970), left Gainsbourg in 1980 to resume acting career and issue solo albums through 2020, appeared in over 30 French films through 2021, in the 80s lent her name to the distinctive and sought-after Birkin handbag by fashion designer/retailer Hermès, suffered a stroke in 2021 during a years-long battle with cancer and died at home from the disease on 7/16/2023, age 76.
1946 ● John Du Prez / (Trevor Jones) → Trumpeter for Brit dance-pop band Modern Romance, “Can You Move” (Dance/Club #2, 1981) and “Best Years Of Our Lives” (UK #4, 1982)
1946 ● Joyce Vincent-Wilson → Light pop vocalist in Tony Orlando & Dawn, “Knock Three Times” (#1, 1971)
1947 ● Patty Duke / (Anna Marie Duke) → Academy Award winning child star of stage, screen and TV (The Miracle Worker and The Patty Duke Show), pop singer (“Don’t Just Stand There,” #8, 1965), Screen Actors Guild president, bipolar disorder sufferer and advocate for mental health issues, died from a ruptured intestine on 3/29/2016, age 68
1949 ● Cliff Williams → Bassist for AC/DC replacing Mark Evans in 1977, “Back In Black” (#37, 1981)
1954 ● Ray Stephens → TV actor and later lead singer for gay disco troupe Village People, “YMCA” (#2, 1979), died from drug abuse on 10/4/1990
1958 ● Mike Scott → Singer, songwriter and leader of Celtic folk-rock The Waterboys, “Fisherman’s Blues” (Modern Rock #3, 1988)
1958 ● Peter “Spider” Stacy / (Peter Stacy) → Founding member, vocals, guitar and tin whistle in Irish folk-punk-rock The Pogues, “Tuesday Morning” (Rock #11, 1993)
1966 ● Mark Gillespie → Vocals for Brit electronic dance-pop boy band Big Fun, “Stomp!” (#12, 1994)
1966 ● Tim Sköld → Former bassist for industrial-pop-metal Marilyn Manson, “The Dope Show” (Mainstream Rock #12, 1998).
1975 ● Brian Dalyrimple → Vocals for urban R&B/dance-club brother quartet Soul For Real, “Candy Rain” (#2, 1995)
1979 ● Sophie Monk → Singer in pre-fab Aussie all-girl pop vocal quintet Bardot, “Poison” (Aus. #1, 2000), solo
1988 ● Vanessa Hudgens → American actress and singer in High School Musical movies (most watched cable TV movies ever)

December 15
1911 ● Stan Kenton / (Stanley Newcomb Kenton) → Innovative, atypical swing music pianist, composer and bandleader through various stages of development from 40s traditional swing to “progressive” jazz and later experimental music in the 60s, issued dozens of albums with three making the Billboard Top 20, scored several chart hits including “My Love” (#47, R&B #12, 1960), continued to tour and teach up to his death from a stroke on 8/25/1979, age 67
1919 ● Max Yasgur / (Max B. Yasgur) → Bethel, NY dairy farmer on whose property the 1969 Woodstock Music and Arts Festival was held, died of a heart attack on 2/8/1973, age 53
1919 ● Tommy Durden / (Thomas Russell Durden) → Session steel guitarist and member of backing bands for country stars Johnny Cash and Tex Ritter, but best known as a one hit wonder songwriter for co-writing “Heartbreak Hotel” (#, 1957), Elvis Presley‘s first national-level hit and a rock ‘n’ roll classic, worked as a commercial dishwasher repairman prior to his death on 10/17/1999, age 79
1921 ● Moondog Freed / (Albert James Freed) → Superstar radio DJ, coined term “rock & roll”, TV and film cameo actor, died from liver failure 1/20/1965, age 43
1928 ● Mr. Smooth / (Jerry Wallace) → Mildly successful pop crooner, “Primrose Lane” (#8, 1959), switched to country in the late 60s and scored four Country Top 25 hits and over 30 other minor hits, died of heart failure on 5/5/2008, age 79
1932 ● Jesse Belvin → Early and underappreciated R&B/soul singer and songwriter, “Goodnight My Love” (R&B #7, 1956), co-wrote “Earth Angel” for The Penguins (#8, R&B #1, 1955), killed in a car crash during a career upswing on 2/6/1960, age 27
1939 ● Cindy Birdsong / (Cynthia Ann Birdsong) → R&B/soul vocals for Patti LaBelle & The Bluebelles, “I Sold My Heart To The Junkman” (#15, 1962), replaced Flo Ballard in The Supremes in 1967, “River Deep, Mountain High” (#14, 1971), participates in reunions of both bands
1942 ● Dave Clark → Frontman and drummer for Brit Invasion pop-rock Dave Clark Five, “Catch Us If You Can” (#4, 1965) and 11 other Top 25 hits in the US
1946 ● Carmine Appice → Drummer for hard psych rock/proto-metal Vanilla Fudge, “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” (#6, 1968), formed boogie-rock Cactus in 1972, then “super” trio Beck, Bogert & Appice, “Superstition” (1973) and the Rod Stewart band
1946 ● Harry Ray → Vocals in R&B/smooth soul trio The Moments, “Sexy Mama” (#17, R&B #3, 1973) and 26 other R&B chart hits, changed their name to Ray, Goodman & Brown in 1979 due to a contract dispute and scored 10 more R&B hits, including “Special Lady” (#5, 1979), continued to perform with the group until his death from a stroke on 10/1/1992, age 45
1949 ● Don Johnson → Star of the 80s cop show Miami Vice and one hit wonder pop singer, “Heartbeat” (#5, 1986)
1953 ● Randy Parton / (Randel Huston Parton) → Country-pop wannabe singer and songwriter, younger brother of megastar Dolly Parton, issued a half-dozen unimportant singles in the 70s and 80s, including “Shot Full Of Love” (Country #30, 1981) and performed live and on several albums in his sister’s shadow before entering into a lucrative but questionable and ultimately failed business deal with a North Carolina city to manage a Dollywood-like music venue, died from cancer on 1/21/2021, age 67.
1955 ● Paul Simonon → Bassist for influential and acclaimed punk-ska-dance-rock The Clash, “Rock The Casbah” (#8, 1982)
1957 ● Tim Reynolds → Multi-instrumental musician and songwriter, sessions and tours with the Dave Matthews Band (“Space Between” #22, 2002) and permanent lead guitarist since 2008
1960 ● Tich Critchlow / (Anthony Critchlow) → Drummer in Brit dance-pop-funk Living In A Box, “Living In A Box” (#17, 1987)
1961 ● Nick Beggs → Bassist for one hit wonder New Wave light synth-bubblegum-pop Kajagoogoo, “Too Shy” (#5, 1983)
1979 ● Edele Lynch → Vocals in Irish one hit wonder girl-group BWitched, “C’est La Vie” (#9, 1999)
1979 ● Keavy Lynch → Vocals in Irish one hit wonder girl-group B
Witched, “C’est La Vie” (#9, 1999)
1980 ● Sergio Pizzorno → Guitar and vocals for Brit alt rock Kasabian, “Club Foot” (Modern Rock #27, 2004)

December 16
1899 ● Noel Coward → Multi-talented author, poet, playwright, actor, stage, film and television producer and director, songwriter and pop/cabaret singer, “Mad About The Boy” (1932), died of a heart attack on 3/26/1973, age 73
1931 ● Karl Denver / (Angus Murdo McKenzie) → Scottish pop-rock singer with eleven UK Top 40 hits just before The Beatles hit big, including a cover of “Wimoweh” (UK #4, 1961), continued to perform and record sporadically into the 90s, died from a brain tumor on 12/21/1998, age 67
1937 ● Jim Glaser / (James William Glaser) → Country music singer and songwriter, joined with brothers Chuck and Tompall in sibling trio The Glaser Brothers for 16 albums and 24 charting singles between 1960 and 1982 (“Lovin’ Her Was Easier (Than Anything I’ll Ever Do Again),” Country #2, 1981), the trio also operated Glaser Sound Studios in Nashville (aka “Hillbilly Central,” a focal point for the “outlaw country” movement) and among many others, published “Gentle On My Mind” (Glen Campbell, #39, 1968), better known for writing “Woman, Woman” for Gary Puckett & The Union Gap (#4, 1967) and for his own solo hit “You’re Gettin’ to Me Again” (Country #1, 1984), died after a heart attack on 4/6/2019, age 81.
1944 ● John Abercrombie / (John Laird Abercrombie) → Prominent 70s jazz-rock fusion guitarist, sideman for Gato Barbieri, Billy Cobham and others, began to move away from fusion following release of his first solo album, Timeless (1974), became a respected improvisational jazz, post bop and avant-garde jazz guitarist with dozens of collaborations and over 30 solo albums, mostly with jazz-label ECM Records, continued to record and perform until his death from heart failure on 8/22/2017, age 72.
1945 ● Tony Hicks → Guitar and vocals for British Invasion pop-rock The Hollies, “Bus Stop” (#5, 1966) and “Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress” (#2, 1972)
1946 ● Benny Andersson → Keyboards and vocals for internationally successful Scandinavian pop group ABBA, “Dancing Queen” (#1, 1976)
1948 ● Donald Robert “Don Bob” Shannon / ( Donald Keith Bombard Jr.) → Teenaged FM radio DJ and later programmer for three different stations in Syracuse, NY from 1965 thru 1977, moved to WKTQ in Pittsburgh, PA, then to New York and flagship station WCBS-FM, where he held various air slots from 1982 thru a format change in 2005, over the years produced and hosted several nationally-syndicated music programs, including Keeping The ’70s Alive and the online Behind the Hits, retired from broadcasting and died after a long battle with respiratory disease on 6/28/2023, age 74.
1949 ● Reverend Willie G. or Billy Gibbons / (William Frederick Gibbons) → Guitar and vocals for venerable Texas blues/boogie rock trio ZZ Top, “Legs” (#8, 1984)
1959 ● Steven Irvine → Drummer for Brit pop-rock Lloyd Cole & The Commotions, “Lost Weekend” (UK #17, 1985)
1968 ● Christopher Thorn → Guitarist for roots-psych-alt rock Blind Melon, “No Rain” (Modern Rock #1, 1993)
1968 ● Lalah Hathaway / (Eulaulah Donyll Hathaway) → The “First Daughter of Soul,” contemporary R&B and jazz-pop singer, “Heaven Knows” (R&B/Hip Hop #3, 1990), daughter of R&B/soul legend Donny Hathaway, member of the Daughters Of Soul supergroup with Nona Hendryx and others
1971 ● Michael McCary → Former bass vocals for R&B/urban soul a cappella Boyz II Men, “End Of The Road” (#1, 1992)

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here