This Week’s Birthdays (December 26 – January 1)

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Fontella Bass

Happy Birthday this week to:

December 26
1921 ● Steve Allen → TV personality, musician, composer, comedian and author, first host of The Tonight Show, hosted numerous game and variety shows including The Steve Allen Show and I’ve Got A Secret, penned thousands of songs including Grammy-winning “The Gravy Waltz” (1963) and pop/easy listening tunes covered by Perry Como, Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme and others, issued several albums of piano works, died from a heart attack following a car accident on 10/30/2000, age 78
1935 ● Duke Fakir / (Abdul Fakir) → Ethiopian-American tenor vocalist in six decade R&B/soul vocal quartet The Four Tops, “Reach Out (I’ll Be There)” (#1, 1966), last surviving member of the group that performed together for over 40 years from 1953 without a change in lineup
1939 ● Phil Spector → Immensely influential pop music producer and convicted murderer, principal architect of the “Wall of Sound” production technique featuring layered guitars, percussion and strings in a lavish operatic instrumentation, pioneered the early 60s girl groups sound with The Crystals (“Da Doo Ron Ron (When He Walked Me Home)),” #3, 1963) and The Ronettes (“Be My Baby,” #2, 1963), produced 18 Top 10 hits through the 70s, including The Righteous Brothers‘ “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'” (#1, 1965) and George Harrison‘s “My Sweet Lord” (Worldwide #1, 1970), and produced albums for The Beatles (Let It Be, 1970), Leonard Cohen and The Ramones, dropped out of the industry in the 80s and led a reclusive and eccentric existence until being convicted in 2009 of 2nd degree murder in the 2003 shooting death of actress Lana Clarkson, sentenced to 19 years to life in prison, died in a California penitentiary from the COVID-19 virus on 12/16/2021, age 81.
1946 ● Bob Carpenter → Pianist (from 1977) for country-folk-bluegrass-rock The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and simply The Dirt Band, backed Steve Martin on “King Tut” (#17, 1978)
1947 ● George J. Porter, Jr. → Founding member and bassist for influential New Orleans soul-funk The Meters, “Chicken Strut” (1970), backing bassist for Paul McCartney, Jimmy Buffett, Tori Amos and others, continues to perform and record with others and as a solo artist into the 10s
1951 ● Paul Anthony Quinn → Early and influential New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) band Saxon, “Power And The Glory” (#32, 1983)
1953 ● Henning Schmitz → Sound engineer then keyboardist for German electro-rock Kraftwerk, “Autobahn” (#25, 1975)
1953 ● Steve Witherington → Drummer for Brit pub rock/blue-eyed soul Ace, “How Long” (#3, 1975)
1956 ● Kashif Saleem / (Michael Jones) → Singer, producer, songwriter and key figure on the development of R&B in the post-disco 80s, joined funk/disco B. T. Express (“Do It (‘Til You’re Satisfied),” #2, R&B #1, 1974) in 1971 as a teenager, in the 80s did session work, went solo with numerous R&B hits, including “I Just Gotta Have You (Lover Turn Me On),” #103, R&B #5, 1983) and produced hits for Whitney Houston, went behind the scenes in the 90s, wrote several books and was producing a documentary film about R&B music when he died from undisclosed causes on 9/25/2016, age 59.
1963 ● Dana Baldinger → Bassist for Brit indie-folk-pop Popinjays, “Vote Elvis” (Modern Rock #17, 1988)
1963 ● Lars Ulrich → Drummer for heavy metal Metallica, “Enter Sandman” (#10, 1991)
1967 ● J. / (Jay Noel Yuenger) → Guitarist for groove/alt metal White Zombie, “More Human Than Human” (#10, 1995)
1969 ● Peter Klett → Founding member and guitarist for grunge-rock Candlebox, “Far Behind” (#18, 1994)
1971 ● Jared Leto / (Jared Joseph Leto) → Lead vocals, guitar and songwriter for indie pop-rock 30 Seconds To Mars, “From Yesterday” (Alt Rock #1, 2006), actor
1979 ● Chris Daughtry → Fifth season American Idol finalist, bandleader and guitarist for rock Daughtry “It’s Not Over” (#4, 2006)

December 27
1931 ● Scotty Moore / (Winfield Scott Moore III) → Sun Records sessionman, longtime Elvis Presley backing band guitarist and Rolling Stone magazine’s #29 Greatest Guitarist of All Time, established the guitar as a lead instrument in rock ‘n’ roll music and invented power chording, played on dozens of Elvis‘s early hits, including “Hound Dog” (#1, 1956), “Jailhouse Rock” (#1, 1957) and “Little Sister” (#5, 1961), left Sun Records in 1964 for a career as a freelance studio engineer, died on 6/28/2016, age 84.
1941 ● Leslie Maguire → Piano and saxophone for Merseybeat pop-rock Gerry & The Pacemakers, “How Do You Do It?” (#9, 1964)
1941 ● Mike Pinder → Keyboards and vocals for Brit prog rock then pop-rock The Moody Blues, “Nights In White Satin” (#2, 1967), left in 1978 for a solo career.
1942 ● Mike Heron → Guitar, keyboards and vocals in esoteric Scottish psych-Celtic-folk/early World music duo The Incredible String Band
1943 ● Peter Sinfield → Early member of prog/space-rock King Crimson, “The Court Of The Crimson King” (#80, 1970), then solo and songwriter
1944 ● Mick Jones / (Michael Leslie Jones) → Rock guitarist for Spooky Tooth and founding member of hard/arena rock Foreigner, “Double Vision” (#2, 1978)
1944 ● Tracy Nelson → Founder, frontwoman and lead vocals for underappreciated 60s psych-blues-rock Mother Earth, then solo
1946 ● Lenny Kaye → Musician, writer, record producer and lead guitarist for the Patti Smith Group (“Because The Night,” #13, UK #5, 1978), compiled and produced Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From the First Psychedelic Era 1965-1968 (1972), the double album collection of garage rock and proto-punk recordings that influenced punk and college rock in the 70s, co-authored Waylon, The Life Story of Waylon Jennings, produced albums for R.E.M., Suzanne Vega, Soul Asylum and others, continues to write and record into the 10s.
1948 ● Larry Byrom → Guitar for Canadian-American hard rock, proto-metal Steppenwolf, “Born To Be Wild” (#2, 1968), solo, sessions
1948 ● Ronnie Caldwell / (Ronald Louis Caldwell) → Founding member, keyboardist and lone white member of soul/funk The Bar-Kays, “Soul Finger” (#17, R&B #3, 1967), which also served as Stax Records‘ in-house session group and Otis Redding‘s backing band, died three weeks shy of his 19th birthday in the Wisconsin plane crash that killed Redding and four Bar-Kays bandmates on 12/10/1967, age 18.
1948 ● Martin Birch → British musician and studio sound engineer on dozens of recordings by top UK hard rock acts in the 60s and 70s, including five early Fleetwood Mac albums, eight by Deep Purple and three by Wishbone Ash, among others, in the late 70s and 80s moved up to produce or co-produce additional Deep Purple albums, nine by Whitesnake, ten by Iron Maiden and over two dozen more by Jeff Beck, Blue Öyster Cult, Rainbow and others, retired in 1992 and died from undisclosed causes on 8/9/2020, age 71.
1950 ● Terry Bozzio → Drummer for Frank Zappa‘s band, then founded New Wave pop-rock Missing Persons, “Walking In L.A.” (Mainstream #12, 1982)
1952 ● David Knopfler → Rhythm guitar and vocals for post-punk New Wave rock Dire Straits, “Sultans Of Swing” (#4, 1979), solo, songwriter, younger brother of Mark Knopfler
1952 ● Karla Bonoff → L.A. pop-rock singer and songwriter, backing vocalist in Linda Ronstadt‘s band, solo “Personally” (#19, 1982)
1957 ● Jerry Gaskill → Drummer for progressive metal/Christian rock King’s X, “It’s Love” (Mainstream Rock #6, 1990)
1960 ● Youth Glover / (Martin Glover ) → Founding member and bassist for post-punk New Wave dance-rock Killing Joke, “Follow The Leaders” (Club-Dance #25, 1981)
1972 ● Matt Slocum → Lead guitar and principal songwriter for Christian pop-rock Sixpence None The Richer, “Kiss Me” (#2, 1998)
1988 ● Hayley Nichole Williams → Lead vocals and keyboards for alt rock/pop-punk Paramore, “Misery Business” (#27, 2007)

December 28
1903 ● Fatha Hines / (Earl Kenneth Hines) → Early and influential modern jazz pianist and orchestra leader, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and Sarah Vaughan played in his band, died 4/22/1983, age 79.
1910 ● Billy Williams → R&B/soul-blues singer with six Top 40 hits in the 50s, including the oft-covered pop standard “I’m Going to Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter” (#3, 1957), lost his voice due to diabetes in the 60s and became a social worker until his death on 10/17/1972, age 61
1910 ● Harold Rhodes → Inventor of the Rhodes electric piano, which became the most successful piano of its kind and dominated rock, pop, soul and jazz music in the 60s and 70s until succumbing to Japanese competition and digital synthesizers in the 80s but enjoys a resurgence of use in the 00s, died from complications of pneumonia on 12/17/2000, age 89
1915 ● Pops Staples / (Roebuck Staples) → Patriarch and manager of influential R&B/soul-gospel father-daughters quartet The Staple Singers, whose gospel roots and early focus shifted to soul music and non-religious lyrics in the 70s and produced a string of Top 40 hits, including “I’ll Take You There” (#1, 1972), died on 12/19/2000, age 84.
1921 ● Johnny Otis / (Ioannis Veliotes) → Swing-era bandleader, R&B record producer, record company A&R executive, rock band manager, songwriter and 50s and 60s R&B/soul singer, “Willie And The Hand Jive” (#9, R&B #3, 1958), continued to perform and record with his band The Johnny Otis Show into the 80s and host an annual rock and R&B festival in Los Angeles into the 00s, died from natural causes on 1/17/2012, age 90.
1928 ● Ray Santos / (Raymond Santos) → Grammy-winning Latin jazz saxophonist, played with top mambo bands led by stars Machito, Tito Puente and Tito Rodriguez in the 50s and 60s, taught music at City College in New York for nearly thirty years, arranged the score to the movie The Mambo Kings (1992) and Linda Ronstadt‘s Frenesi album (US Latin #17, 1992), among many other projects, remained active until dying from congestive heart failure on 10/17/2019, age 90.
1929 ● Matt “Guitar” Murphy / (Matthew Tyler Murphy) → Highly-regarded electric blues guitarist best known as a member of The Blues Brothers band (“Soul Man,” #14, 1979) and appearances in both Blues Brothers movies as the fictional husband of diner-matron Aretha Franklin, over the years played with Howlin’ Wolf, Chuck Berry, James Cotton and other notable blues masters, issued four respectable solo albums, died from undisclosed causes on 6/15/2018, age 88.
1932 ● Dorsey Burnette → Country-pop and rockabilly singer with his brother in the Johnny Burnette Trio, solo, “(There Was A) Tall Oak Tree” (#23, 1962), prolific songwriter with over 350 titles covered by Glen Campbell, Jerry Lee Lewis, Rick Nelson, Stevie Wonder and others, died of a coronary arrest on 8/19/1979, age 46.
1938 ● Charles Neville → Jazz-influenced saxophonist for blues great B. B. King, pop-rock Joey Dee & The Starliters (“Peppermint Twist,” #1, 1962) and several New York R&B bands, returned home in 1977 to co-found celebrated New Orleans R&B/soul sibling act The Neville Brothers (Grammy-winning “Healing Chant,” 1989), recorded and toured for over 30 years until declining health forced his retirement, died from pancreatic cancer on 4/27/2018, age 79.
1939 ● Bonnie MacLean / (Bonnie MacLean Graham) → San Francisco office manager and part-time artist tapped in 1967 by then-husband Bill Graham to create posters announcing upcoming shows at his Fillmore West venue, becoming for a brief time the lone female among the top half-dozen designers of the day, her hand-drawn plumes, curved letters and stoic faces promoted concerts by Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd and many others over the next four years, divorced Graham in 1975 and relocated to Pennsylvania where she remarried and worked as a fine artist, with a focus on nudes and landscapes, until dying from undisclosed causes on 2/4/2020, age 80.
1941 ● Bob Seidenmann / (Robert Emett Seidenmann) → Photographer in the counterculture scene in 1960s San Francisco, where he created concert posters and iconic photographs of Janis Joplin, Grateful Dead and others, later moved to England where he worked with Eric Clapton and produced the infamous cover photograph for his supergroup’s eponymous debut (and only) album, Blind Faith (#1, UK #1, 1969), returned to the US and developed a second career photographing aviation stars like Chuck Yeager and Gen. James H. Doolittle, died from complications of Parkinson’s disease on 11/27/2017, age 75.
1943 ● Chas Hodges / (Charles Hodges) → Guitar, banjo, piano and vocals for Brit country-rock Head Hands & Feet, then pop-“rockney” duo Chas & Dave, “Gertcha” (UK #20, 1979)
1946 ● Edgar Winter → Straight blues and blues-rock keyboardist and saxophonist, songwriter and bandleader, The Edgar Winter Group, “Frankenstein” (#1, 1973), younger brother of Johnny Winter
1947 ● Dick Diamonde / (Dingeman Ariaan Henry van der Sluijs) → Bassist in Aussie-based 60s pop-rock The Easybeats, “Friday On My Mind” (#16, 1967)
1948 ● Mary Weiss → Lead vocals for quintessential girl group quartet The Shangri-Las, “Leader Of The Pack” (#1, 1964), resurfaced with a solo album in 2007
1948 ● Ziggy Modeliste / (Joseph Modeliste) → Founding member and drummer for New Orleans soul-funk The Meters, “Chicken Strut” (1970), backing drummer for Robert Palmer, Dr. John and others, formed funk band The Wild Tchoupitoulas in the 70s, continues to perform with both band and record as a solo artist into the 10s.
1950 ● Alex Chilton → Frontman for short-lived blue-eyed soul The Box Tops, “The Letter” (#1, 1967), then influential but only cult-level power-pop band Big Star, “September Gurls” (1974, Rolling Stone #178), died from heart failure on 3/17/2010, age 59.
1951 ● Louis A. McCall, Sr. → Drummer, songwriter, singer and co-founder of R&B/soul-funk Con Funk Shun, “Ffun” (#23, R&B #1, 1978), murdered in a home invasion robbery on 6/25/1997, age 45
1953 ● Richard Clayderman (Philipe Pages) → The Guinness Book of World Records‘ “most successful pianist in the world,” French easy listening/instrumental pop composer and pianist with over 400 albums and 70 million in unit sales, compositions include original works, covered materials, film scores and easy listening renditions of classical works
1954 ● Rosie Vela → Model, actress, pop-rock singer and songwriter, “Magic Smile” (Adult #29, 1986)
1958 ● Mike McGuire → Drummer for neo-trad country Shenandoah, “The Church On Cumberland Road” (Country #1, 1989)
1958 ● Joe Diffie / (Joe Logan Diffie) → Country and crossover pop singer and guitarist with 33 charting singles – fifteen of them Country Top 10 hits with five Country #1s – during country music’s resurgence in the 90s and early 00s, including his most successful, “Pickup Man” (#60, Country #1, 1994), wrote songs for others such as Tim McGraw (“Memory Lane,” Country #60, 1993) and Jo Dee Messina (“My Give a Damn’s Busted,” #63, Country #1, 2005), won a Grammy for best country collaboration with several other superstars for “Same Old Train” (1998), issued his 14th studio album, Joe, Joe, Joe Diffie! (2019) before dying from complications of the COVID-19 virus on 3/29/2020, age 61.
1960 ● Marty Roe → Founder, rhythm guitar and lead vocals for country-pop-bluegrass Diamond Rio, “One More Day” (Country #1, 2000)
1961 ● Christine Collister → Contemporary Brit folk-rock vocalist, backing singer with the Richard Thompson Band and five albums of duets with Clive Gregson in the late 80s, released solo albums in the 90s, toured with all-female vocal group Daphne’s Flight and collaborated in various projects and tours in the 00s and 10s
1964 ● Paul Wagstaff → Guitarist for Madchester electro-dance club septet Paris Angels, “Perfume” (UK #55, 1990), then Happy Mondays, “Stinkin Thinkin” (Dance/Club #1, 1992) and Black Grape, “In The Name Of The Father” (UK #8, 1995)
1969 ● Joey Shuffield → Drummer for alt rock/power pop Fastball, “Out Of My Head” (#20, Adult Top 40 #3, 1999)
1971 ● Anita Dels → Vocals for Euro dance-pop 2 Unlimited, “Tribal Dance” (Dance/Club #7, 1993)
1977 ● LeShawn “Big Shiz” Daniels / (LeShawn Ameen Daniels) → R&B/pop songwriter, vocal arranger and producer for megastars including Lady Gaga, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson and others, co-wrote his first hit at age 21, “Top Of The World” for Brandy Norwood (R&B #1, UK #2, 1998) and followed with “The Boy Is Mine” for Brandy & Monica (#1, 1998), the Grammy-winning “Say My Name” by Destiny’s Child (#1, R&B #1, 2000) and 25 other charting singles before
dying in a car crash on 9/3/2019, age 41.
1978 ● John Legend / (John Stephens) → Neo-soul singer, pianist and songwriter, “Ordinary People” (#24, 2005)

December 29
1922 ● Rose Lee Maphis / (Doris Helen Schetrompf) → Singer, guitarist, songwriter and early figure in the development of the renegade Bakersfield sound in country music in tandem with her husband, Joe Maphis, the two became known as “Mr. and Mrs. Country Music” for their long-running appearances as cast members of Town Hall Party, a pioneering TV barn dance seen on KTTV in Los Angeles in the 1950s, later co-wrote with Joe the honky-tonk standard “Dim Lights, Thick Smoke (And Loud, Loud Music)” originally recorded by Flatt & Scruggs and later by New Riders Of The Purple Sage and other country rock bands, dropped out of the music industry in the 70s to raise her faimly and died of kidney failure on 10/2/2021, age 98.
1931 ● Buddy Bailey / (John H. Bailey) → Founding member, tenor and lead vocals in pioneering, genre-defining R&B/doo wop The Clovers, “Ting-A-Ling” (R&B #1, 1952) and 18 other R&B Top 10 hits in the early 50s plus the crossover “Love Potion No. 9” (#23, R&B #23, 1959), stayed with the group and various splinters, and toured with other doo wop groups until his death on 2/3/1994, age 62.
1935 ● Virgil Johnson → Lead singer for R&B/doo wop The Velvets, “Tonight (Could Be The Night)” (#26, 1961)
1939 ● Ed Bruce / (William Edwin Bruce, Jr.) → Country music songwriter, singer and TV actor, co-wrote the Grammy-winning “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys” for himself (Country #15, 1976) and covered by Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson (Country #1, 1978) on the duet album Waylon & Willy (#12, Country #1, 1978), wrote and sang the theme song, and co-starred with James Garner in the TV series Bret Maverick (1981-82), scored six Country Top 10 hits in the 80s among 35 overall charting singles, died of natural causes on 1/8/2021, age 81.
1941 ● Ray Thomas → Founding member, harmonica, flute and vocals for prog rock then pop-rock The Moody Blues, his flute solo on “Nights In White Satin” (#2, 1967) is widely considered to be a defining moment in rock music and the development of the prog rock subgenre, recorded two solo albums in the 70s while the band was on hiatus, left in 2002 due to declining health and died from prostate cancer on 1/4/2018, age 76.
1942 ● Jerry Summers / (Jerry Gross) → Lead and first tenor for doo wop a cappella harmony turned early garage-rock/dance craze The Dovells, “Bristol Stomp” (#2, 1961)
1942 ● Rick Danko → Canadian-born bassist, vocalist and occasional songwriter for seminal roots rock The Band, “Up On Cripple Creek” (#25, 1970), solo, died at home in his sleep from heart failure on 12/10/1999, age 56.
1943 ● Bill Aucion → Artist consultant and band manager credited with discovering campy hard/glam-rock Kiss, “Detroit Rock City” (#7, 1976) and developing their costumes, stage presence, record contracts and merchandise into a multi-million dollar enterprise, also managed other hard rock bands, including Billy Idol, Starz and Finnish heavy metal Lordi, died from complications following prostrate cancer surgery on 6/28/2010, age 66
1943 ● Barbara Alston / (Barbara Ann Alston) → Founding member in Phil Spector-produced 60s girl group The Crystals and lead singer on their first two hits, “There’s No Other (Like My Baby)” (#20, 1962) and “Uptown” (#13, 1962), relinquished the front spot due to stage fright and sang back-up until leaving the group in 1965 to raise her first son (who was transgender and killed in an unsolved murder in 2010), died from complications of the flu on 2/16/2018, age 74.
1946 ● Marianne Faithfull → Pop-rock singer and songwriter, former paramour of Mick Jagger, co-wrote The Rolling Stones‘ “Sister Morphine,” solo vocalist, “As Tears Go By” (#22, 1964), continues to record and release albums into the 10s.
1947 ● Cozy Powell (Colin Flooks) → Journeyman but sought after and influential rock drummer with the Jeff Beck Group, Rainbow, Whitesnake, Black Sabbath, Thin Lizzy and others, died in a one-car crash in the UK on 4/5/1998, age 50
1948 ● Charlie Spinosa → Trumpeter in blue-eyed soul one hit wonder John Fred & His Playboy Band, “Judy In Disguise (With Glasses)” (#1, 1968)
1951 ● Yvonne Elliman → Hawaii-born pop-rock singer and songwriter, acted in the Broadway stage production of Jesus Christ Superstar (1971), member of Eric Clapton‘s band and solo “If I Can’t Have You” (#1, 1977)
1955 ● Spyder Giraldo / (Neil Giraldo) → Lead guitarist for Pat Benatar‘s band, “Love Is A Battlefield” (#5, 1983)
1961 ● Cow Day / (Mark Day) → Guitarist for Madchester electro-dance club Happy Mondays, “Stinkin Thinkin” (Dance/Club #1, 1992)
1961 ● Jim Reid → Co-founder and lead singer in Scottish alt-pop-rock Jesus And Mary Chain, “Sometimes Always” (Modern Rock #4, 1994)
1963 ● Alex Gifford → Keyboards, bass and DJ for techno-dance Propellerheads, “History Repeating” (Dance/Club #10, 1998)
1965 ● Dexter Holland / (Bryan Keith Holland) → Aspiring molecular biology PhD candidate turned frontman, guitar and vocals for 90s punk revival The Offspring, “Gone Away” (Mainstream Rock #1, 1997), returned to academia in the 10s
1968 ● Sadat X / (Derek Murphy) → DJ and MC for alt hip hop trio Brand Nubian, “Don’t Let It Go To Your Head” (#54, Rap #3, 1998)
1970 ● Glen Phillips → Founder, lead vocals and songwriter for alt pop-rock Toad The Wet Sprocket, “All I Want” (#15, 1992), solo

December 30
1917 ● Wesley Tuttle → Early and influential country-pop, hillbilly and smooth-Western singer and guitarist known for having only a thumb and pinky finger on his left hand but scoring the early hits “With Tears in My Eyes” (Country #1, 1945) and “Detour” (Country #4, 1946), and for yodeling to the “Silly Song” in Walt Disney‘s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, left the music industry in the 90s and died from heart failure on 9/29/2003, age 85.
1928 ● Bo Diddley / (Ellas Otha Bates McDanie) → Grammy-winning early R&B/rock ‘n roll guitarist, prolific singer and songwriter, “I’m A Man” (R&B #1, 1955) and nine other R&B Top 40 hits, originator of the oft-used “Diddley Beat” (bomp, ba-bomp-bomp, bomp-bomp), died from heart failure on 6/2/2008, age 79.
1930 ● Alvin “Seeco” Patterson / (Francisco Aloysius Willie) → Cuban-born Jamaican percussionist and early mentor to Bob Marley and his original Wailers band beginning in 1964, joined the band in 1967 as a backing musician in the studio and on tour, from 1973 contributed to every Wailers recording and live performance through to Marley’s death in 1981, continued with the reformed Wailers until a 1990 brain hemorrhage forced his retirement, died in his sleep from cerebral bleeding on 11/1/2021, age 90.

1931 ● Skeeter Davis / (Mary Frances Penick) → Unheralded early rockabilly and later country-crossover singer, “The End Of The World” (#2, 1963), died from breast cancer on 9/19/2004, age 72
1934 ● Del Shannon / (Charles Westover) → Early rock ‘n roll teen idol then heralded pop-rock singer/songwriter, “Runaway” (#1, 1961), rumored to be replacing Roy Orbison in pop-rock supergroup Traveling Wilburys but shot-gunned himself to death before any official announcement on 2/8/1990, age 55.
1937 ● Paul Stookey / (Noel Paul Stookey) → Vocals and guitar for seminal folk trio Peter, Paul & Mary, “Puff (The Magic Dragon)” (#2, 1963), then solo, “Wedding Song (There Is Love)” (#24, 1971)
1937 ● John Hartford / (John Harford) → Grammy-winning folk-pop-country-rock and Newgrass singer, songwriter and guitarist, wrote and recorded the oft-covered and hugely popular standard “Gentle On My Mind” (1967), died from Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma on 6/4/2001, age 63
1939 ● Felix Pappalardi / (Felix A. Pappalardi, Jr.) → Producer for blues-rock Cream, “Sunshine Of Your Love” (#5, 1968) and later bassist for pioneering hard rock/heavy metal trio Mountain, “Mississippi Queen” (#21, 1970), shot dead by his wife in a supposed accident on 4/17/1983, age 43
1940 ● Mr. Popeye / (Kenny Pentifallo) → Drummer for New Jersey rock ‘n roll bar band Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes, “Talk To Me” (1978)
1940 ● Jerry Granelli / (Gerald John Granelli) → American-born Canadian jazz percussionist forever known for his subtle, effective snare drumming underneath the venerable and beloved soundtrack to A Charlie Brown Christmas and other albums by the Vince Guaraldi Trio, with whom he played in the late 60s before leaving to perform with folk-pop Kingston Trio, psych-pop We Five and Sly Stone, eventually becoming a Canadian citizen and teaching jazz composition at Vancouver Community College, playing in multiple side projects and one-off groups in Canada and organizing an annual jazz festival in Halifax, NS, suffered a fall in December 2010 and died eight months later on 7/20/2021, age 80.

1940 ● Perry Ford → Member of Brit pop vocal trio The Ivy League, “Tossing And Turning” (#83, UK #3, 1965) and backing vocals for The Who
1942 ● Mike Nesmith / (Robert Michael Nesmith) → Moderately successful early 60s L.A. songwriter, wrote “Different Drum” for Linda Ronstadt (#13, 1967), answered an ad seeking actor/musicians for a TV show and found fame in 60s pre-fab pop-rock The Monkees with “Last Train To Clarksville” (#1, 1966) and four other Top 5 hits from 1966 to 1968, left in 1970 to form pioneering country-rock National Standard Band (“Joanne,” #21, 1970) and a solo career, produced numerous songs, albums and videos for other artists, produced and directed several movies, including Repo Man (1984), founded Pacific Arts Coporation and subsidiary, Pacific Arts Video, a pioneer in the home video market, created one of the earliest music videos and the MTV-precursor PopClips program on Nickolodeon cable TV, occasionally appeared in Monkees reunions over the years, wrote and produced the 1997 TV special Hey Hey It’s The Monkees, performed with bandmate Micky Dolenz in a Monkees farewell tour ending just before his death from heart failure on 12/10/2021, age 78.
1942 ● Robert Quine → Heralded punk-era guitarist with Richard Hell & The Voidoids, then collaborated with Lou Reed, Brian Eno, Tom Waits and others, committed suicide on 5/31/2004, age 61

1942 ● Dean Parrish / (Phillip Joseph Anastasi) → Blue-eyed pop-soul singer mostly ignored in his US homeland but revered in the UK where his “I’m On My Way” (UK #38, 1975) became an anthem during the 70s Northern Soul boom, continued to record sporadically and work sessions through the decades while performing in multiple pop-soul revival and oldies concerts around the UK until his death from undisclosed causes on 6/8/2021, age 79.
1945 ● Davy Jones / (David Thomas Jones) → Lead vocals for 60s bad-rap pre-fab pop-rock The Monkees, “Last Train To Clarksville” (#1, 1966), solo and stage actor, died from a heart attack on 2/29/2012, age 66
1946 ● Clive Bunker / (Clive William Bunker) → Drummer for early line-up of Brit folk-rock Jethro Tull, “Living In The Past” (#11, 1973)
1946 ● Patti Smith / (Patricia Lee Smith) → The “Godmother of Punk,” singer, poet, songwriter and bandleader, co-wrote with Bruce Springsteen “Because The Night” (#13, 1978)
1947 ● Jeff Lynne / (Jeffrey Lynne) → Top-level producer, keyboardist, songwriter and frontman for The Move, “Blackberry Way” (UK #1, 1968), Electric Light Orchestra, “Telephone Line” (#7, 1977), and the Traveling Wilburys supergroup, “Handle With Care”, Mainstream Rock #2, 1988).
1951 ● Chris Jasper → Brother-in-law, keyboardist and key member of six-decade, multi-generation R&B/soul family group The Isley Brothers, “That Lady, Pts. 1-2” (#6, 1973)
1956 ● Suzy Bogguss / (Susan Kay Bogguss) → Award-winning country singer and songwriter, “Drive South” (Country #2, 1992)
1959 ● Tracey Ullman / (Trace Ullman) → 80s “girl-group revival” pop-rock singer “They Don’t Know” (#8, 1984), then TV comedienne
1969 ● Jay Kay Cheetham / (Jason “Jay Kay” Cheetham) → Lead singer in Grammy-winning Brit acid jazz-funk-pop Jamiroquai, “Canned Heat” (Dance #1, 1999)
1970 ● Sister Bliss / (Ayalah Bentovim) → Former club DJ then founding member of techno-club-dance duo Faithless, “Insomnia” (Dance/Club #1, 1997)
1973 ● Jon Theodore → Current drummer for hard rock/stoner metal Queens Of The Stone Age (“No One Knows,” #51, Mainstream Rock #5, 2002) and in power duo One Day As A Lion with Zack de la Rocha of Grammy-winning punk/hip hop/thrash metal Rage Against The Machine (“Guerrilla Radio,” Modern Rock #6, 1999)
1978 ● Tyrese / (Tyrese Darnell Gibson) → R&B/hip hop singer, songwriter and rapper, “How You Gonna Act Like That” (#7, 2003), film actor, producer
1986 ● Ellie Goulding / (Elena Jane Goulding) → Brit indie folk-pop singer and songwriter with several charting hits in the U.S., including “Lights” (#2, UK #49, 2011) and “Love Me Like You Do” (#3, UK #1, 2015)
1988 ● Leon Jackson → Scottish pop singer and winner of the UK TV talent show The X Factor in 2007, “When You Believe” (#1, 2007)

December 31
1914 ● Cyril Stapleton → Brit jazz-pop bandleader in the 40s and 50s, “Children’s Marching Song (Nick, Nack Paddywack)” (#13, 1959), producer and record company A&R executive, died on 2/25/1974, age 59
1920 ● Rex Allen / (Rex Elvie Allen) → Actor, songwriter and “singing cowboy” with nearly 50 Western movie roles, over 150 narrations of Disney films, a dozen albums and five Top 30 country-pop crossover hits, including his cover of “Crying In The Chapel” (#8, Country #4, 1953), died after his caregiver accidentally ran over him with his car in his driveway on 12/17/1999, age 79.
1928 ● Ross Barbour → Founding member of clean-cut, jazz/collegiate-pop harmony quartet The Four Freshmen (“Graduation Day,” #17, 1956), a major influence on Brian Wilson of The Beach Boyss but lost relevance during the British Invasion, retired in 1977 and died of lung cancer on 8/20/2001, age 82
1930 ● Odetta Holmes → “The Voice of the Civil Rights Movement,” folk-blues and folk revival protest singer, songwriter and guitarist, National Endowment of the Arts award-winner, died from heart disease on 12/2/2008, age 77
1942 ● Andy Summers / (Andrew James Somers) → Multi-instrumentalist, composer and songwriter best known as the guitarist for post-punk New Wave pop-rock The Police (“Every Breath You Take,” #1, 1983), briefly with psych rock Soft Machine and The Animals in the 60s, joined short-lived rock band Strontium 90 with Sting and Stewart Copeland in 1977 before the trio left to form The Police late that year, issued a dozen solo albums, composed several film scores, toured and recorded with other artists, ranked by Rolling Stone magazine as the 85th greatest guitarist of all-time
1943 ● John Denver / (Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr.) → Light folk-country-pop singer/songwriter, “Rocky Mountain High” (#9, 1973) plus 14 other Top 40 singles, Grammy-winning children’s music album All Aboard! (1997), died when his experimental airplane crashed on 10/12/1997, age 53
1943 ● Peter Quaife → Founding member and first bassist for Brit folk-pop-rock The Kinks, left before “Lola” (#9, 1970) for a brief solo career, then cartoonist and graphic artist, died from kidney failure on 6/24/2010, age 66
1947 ● Burton Cummings → Founder and frontman for Canadian rockers The Guess Who, “American Woman” (#1, 1970), solo
1948 ● Donna Summer / (LaDonna Adriene Gaines) → The unparalleled “Queen of Disco”, Grammy-winning singer and songwriter, “Bad Girls” (#1, 1975) plus 19 other Top 40 hits, died from lung cancer on 5/17/2012, age 63
1948 ● Steve Farmer / (Steven Orville Farmer) → Second guitarist and songwriter with 60s one hit wonder The Amboy Dukes, co-wrote with frontman Ted Nugent 22 songs for the group, including the psych-rock anthem “Journey To The Center Of Your Mind” (#16, 1968), continued to write and record for decades until his death from unspecified coronary issues on 4/7/2020, age 71.
1951 ● Fermin Goytisolo → Percussionist for R&B/soul-funk-disco KC & The Sunshine Band, “That’s The Way (I Like It)” (#1, 1975) and five other #1 hits
1951 ● Tom Hamilton → Bassist for Grammy-winning, venerable hard rockers Aerosmith, “Dream On” (#6, 1976), “Angel” (#3, 1988), “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” (#1, 1998), “Baby, Please Don’t Go” (Mainstream Rock #7, 2004)
1959 ● Paul Westerberg / (Paul Harold Westerberg) → Founder, frontman and songwriter for garage punk then alt rock pioneers The Replacements, “I’ll Be You” (Mainstream Rock #1, 1989)
1961 ● Scott Taylor → Guitarist for New Wave synth-pop-soul Then Jerico, “The Motive” (UK #18, 1987)
1963 ● Scott Ian / (Scott Ian Rosenfeld) → Guitarist for speed/thrash metal Anthrax, “Only” (Mainstream #26, 1993)
1970 ● Danny McNamara / (Daniel Anthony McNamara) → Founder and lead vocals for Brit pop-rock Embrace, “Gravity” (Mainstream Rock #36, UK #7, 2004)
1972 ● Joey McIntyre / (Joseph Mulrey McIntyre) → Vocalist in early 90s teen-pop boy band New Kids On The Block, “Step By Step” (#1, 1990)
1977 ● PSY / (Park Jae-Sang) → South Korean singer-songwriter, actor, record producer, rapper and “K-Pop” phenomenon known for his global hit “Gangnam Style” (#2, UK #1, 2012)
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.

1979 ● Bob Bryar / (Robert Nathaniel Corey Bryar) → Drummer for 00s alt rock/emo band My Chemical Romance, “Welcome To The Black Parade” (#9, 2006)

January 01
1931 ● Miss Toni Fisher / (Toni Fisher Monzello) → Teen pop one hit wonder nightclub circuit singer, “The Big Hurt” (#3, 1959), which utilized innovative electronic phasing techniques that would become commonplace in the 60s and in synth-pop music of the 80s, died from a heart attack on 2/12/1999, age 68
1941 ● James West → Tenor vocals and lead singer for smooth pop trio The Innocents (“Honest I Do,” #32, 1960) and as the backing vocal group for teenage pop singer Kathy Young (“A Thousand Stars, #3, 1961), continued to record and perform as a solo act and in various reunions for the oldies circuit into the 00s
1942 ● “Country Joe” McDonald / (Joseph Allen McDonald) → Co-founder, frontman and lead vocals for 60s psych-folk-rock protest band Country Joe & The Fish, “I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-To-Die Rag” (1967)
1949 ● Phalon Jones / (Phalon R. Jones, Jr.) → Saxophonist and founding member of soul/funk The Bar-Kays, “Soul Finger” (#17, R&B #3, 1967), which also served as Stax Records‘ in-house session group and Otis Redding‘s backing band, died in the Wisconsin plane crash that killed Redding and four Bar-Kays bandmates on 12/10/1967, age 18
1950 ● Morgan Fisher / (Stehphen Morgan Fisher) → Keyboards for early Brit glam-rockers Mott The Hoople, “All The Young Dudes” (#37, 1972)
1954 ● Billy Miller / (William Henry Miller, Jr.) → Rock music archivist, collector, publisher and record label executive, co-founded Kicks magazine in 1979 and Norton Records in 1986 with his wife and fellow arcane music enthusiast Miriam Linna (former drummer for punk/rockabilly The Cramps), focused on overlooked garage rock, rockabilly and rock ‘n’ roll artists such as Link Wray, The Alarm Clocks and the Wailers, among many others, died from complications of multiple myeloma on 11/13/2016, age 62
1956 ● Andy Gill / (Andrew James Dalrymple Gill) → British guitarist, record producer, songwriter, founder and only constant member of influential post-punk Gang Of Four (“Don’t Fix What Ain’t Broke,” Modern Rock #14, 1991), co-wrote with one or more bandmembers all tracks on the group’s first eight albums, and alone on their final two albums, in between produced albums for Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Stranglers and Michael Hutchence, among others, died from pneumonia on 2/1/2020, age 64.
1958 ● Grandmaster Flash / (Joseph Saddler) → Early rapper, lightning fast DJ and mixmaster and leader of The Furious Five, “The Message” (R&B #4, 1982)
1960 ● Iain Bayne → Drummer for Scottish Celtic folk-rock Runrig, “An Ubhal As Airde (The Highest Apple)” (UK #18, 1995)
1963 ● Michael Hanson → Drummer for Canadian pop-rock Glass Tiger, “Don’t Forget Me (When I’m Gone)” (#2, 1986)
1966 ● Amelia Fletcher → Twee pop bandleader, singer and guitarist turned university professor and OBE-winning economist for the British government, formed power pop/twee pop/indie bands Talulah Gosh, Heavenly, Marine Research, Tender Trap and The Catenary Wires from the 80s to the 10s, all the while studying for and earning her Ph.D. then pursuing a career in economic policy and teaching
1966 ● Crazy Legs / (Richard Colón) → Early and pioneering hip hop entertainer and “b-boy” breakdancer
1968 ● Rick J. Jordan / (Hendrik Stedler) → Keyboardist for huge Euro-German techno-dance-pop Scooter, “Fire” (Dance/Club #30, 1998)
1972 ● Tom Barman → Vocals and guitar for Belgian avante-grunge indie rock dEUS, “Little Arithmethics” (UK #44, 1996)
1975 ● Steve Ripley → Frontman and lead guitar for 90s country-rockers The Tractors, “Baby Likes To Rock It” (#11, 1994)

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