This Week’s Birthdays (December 31 – January 6)

Donna Summer

Happy Birthday this week to:

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 ● 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
1931 ● “Little Sister” Bobbie Nelson / (Bobbie Lee Nelson) → Longtime pianist in country music’s Willie Nelson & Family, the act fronted by her legendary younger brother with whom she’d been playing music since childhood, first in churches and neighborhood gatherings and later with her first husband Bud Fletcher and Willie in country-grass The Texans, following divorce, dissolution of the band in 1955 and Fletcher‘s death in 1961, left the music industry and worked for a time at the Hammond Organ Company, returned in 1973 to join Willie in the Family Band for nearly 50 years, from 1973’s Shotgun Willie to 2021’s The Willie Nelson Family, issued a lone solo album, Audiobiography in 2008 at age 76, co-authored with her brother and writer David Ritz the autobiography Me and Sister Bobbie: True Tales of the Family Band (2020), died of natural causes on 3/10/2022, age 91.
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)
1947 ● John Drake / (John William Brake) → One of the “founding fathers of Detroit rock ‘n’ roll,” lead singer in 60s psych-rock Amboy Dukes with high school classmate Ted Nugent, co-wrote their lone hit single, “Journey To The Center Of The Mind” (#16, 1968), left in 1969 to form the John Drake Shakedown, work for a short period as a Detroit-area radio DJ, manage concert bookings through a talent agency, operate an auto parts distribution company and appear occasionally with Nugent or in Amboy Dukes reunion shows, retired in 2017 and died from complications of bladder cancer on 8/29/2021, age 74.
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 / (Stephen 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)
1960 ● John Waddington → Started his own punk band at age 17, then co-founded influential Brit post-punk The Pop Group for two singles including “Where There’s A Will There’s A Way” (UK Indie #2, 1980) and two albums before the group split in 1981, joined post-punk Maximum Joy for a two-year stint and later German electro group UBahnX for a short time, largely dropped for the limelight in the later 80s and performed as a session musician for years, died from undisclosed causes on 6/20/2023, age 63.
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)

January 02
1926 ● Harold Bradley / (Harold Ray Bradley) → Guitarist, producer, de facto leader of the “Nashville A-Team” of versatile, in-demand session musicians and one of the most widely-heard guitarists of all time, over a 50-year career played on thousands of songs by Patsy Cline (“I’m Sorry,” #1, 1960), Roy Orbison (“Only The Lonely,” #2, 1960), The Lovin’ Spoonful (the tribute song “Nashville Cats,” #8, 1966) and many others, including Bob Dylan, The Byrds and Jerry Lee Lewis, recorded five solo albums as a pop guitarist, in the 90s and 00s served as a senior executive with the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) and received a Trustees Award from the Grammy-awarding The Recording Academy in 2010, died of undisclosed causes on 1/31/2019, age 93.
1930 ● Julius La Rosa → Italian-American traditional pop singer with ten Top 25 hits in the 50s, including “Eh Cumpari” (#2, 1953), was fired on-air from the Arthur Godfrey Show in 1953, later guested on various TV variety shows and sitcoms and enjoyed a long career as a New York City radio DJ, continued to record and release pop CDs until a few years before his death from natural causes on 5/12/2016, age 86
1936 ● Roger Miller / (Roger Dean Miller, Sr.) → Nashville songwriter in the 50s for Jim Reeves (“Billy Bayou,” Country #1, 1958), Ray Price and others before becoming a Grammy-winning country-pop crossover star known for his quirkly, pun-filled lyrics, released nine Top 10 crossover hits in the 60s (five in 1965 alone), among them “King Of The Road” (#4, Country #1, 1965) and “England Swings” (#1, Country #3, 1965), appeared in several films and TV shows over the years, wrote the score and won a Tony Award for the Broadway musical Big River (1985), died of lung cancer on 10/25/1992, age 56.
1946 ● Richard Cole → For-hire tour manager in the mid-60s (The Who, Yardbirds and others) and one of the first to specialize in American tours by British acts, joined Led Zeppelin in 1968 and served as tour manager for the band until being fired for substance addiction in 1980, later served as tour manager for Eric Clapton, Black Sabbath, Three Dog Night and others, authored the tell-all book Stairway to Heaven: Led Zeppelin Uncensored (1992), reconciled with the band in the 00s and appeared at Led Zeppelin events into the 10s while managing various other UK bands, died from cancer on 12/32/2021, age 74.
1948 ● Kerry Minnear / (Kerry C. Minnear) → Classically-trained, multi-instrumentalist composer and arranger, keyboardist of Brit progressive rock Gentle Giant during the 70s, left to teach and perform in church assembles, continues to compose music for film and TV, manages the release of Gentle Giant anthologies
1949 ● Chick Churchill / (Michael George Churchill) → Keyboardist for British blues-rock Ten Years After, “I’d Love To Change The World” (#40, 1971), later switched to ambient music and writing TV commercial jingles before becoming a professional photographer
1954 ● Glen Goins → Guitar and vocals for R&B/soul-funk (“P-Funk”) Parliament-Funkadelic, “One Nation Under A Groove” (#31, 1978), died from Hodgkin’s lymphoma on 7/29/1978, age 24
1963 ● Keith Gregory → Bassist for Brit indie pop-rock The Wedding Present, “Come Play With Me” (UK #10, 1992), the band released a single in every month of 1992 and earned 12 UK Top 30 hits, the only band with more than 10 new UK hits in one year
1967 ● Robert Gregory → Drummer for Brit lounge/melodramatic pop group Babybird, “You’re Gorgeous” (UK #3, 1996)
1975 ● Chris Cheney → Lead guitar, lead vocals and songwriter for Aussie punk rock/psychobilly The Living End, “Prisoner Of Society” (Rock #23, 1997)
1975 ● Douglas Robb → Vocalist for post-grunge indie pop-rock Hoobastank, “The Reason” (#2, 2004)
1981 ● Little Drummer Boy / (Kelton Kessee) → Drummer for L.A. pre-teen R&B/pop-rap Immature, “Never Lie” (#5, 1994), then name change to Imx, “Stay The Night” (#23, 1999)

January 03
1909 ● Victor Borge / (Borge Rosenbaum) → The “Clown Prince of Denmark,” Danish teenage piano prodigy and film star, escaped the Nazi invasion in 1940 and became a popular radio, stage and film star in the U.S. with a unique blend of classical music and comedy routines, died in his sleep on 12/23/2000, age 91
1916 ● Maxene Andrews / (Maxene Angelyn Andrews) → Soprano vocals in hugely popular pre-60s all-girl sibling pop harmony trio The Andrews Sisters, “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” (#6, 1941), died on 10/21/1995, age 79
1926 ● Sir George Martin / (George Henry Martin) → Highly-successful and influential record producer, most notable for producing all but one of The Beatles‘ albums and becoming the “Fifth Beatle” for his creative arrangements and complement to the songwriting of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, also worked with Peter Sellers, Ella Fitzgerald, Peter Gabriel, Celine Dion and others, overall produced 23 number one singles and 19 number one albums in the U.S., died in his sleep on 3/8/2016, age 90
1937 ● John Gorman → Brit comedian and vocalist with Paul McCartney‘s brother in pop-rock trio The Scaffold, “Thank U Very Much” (#69, UK #4, 1968)
1937 ● Glen Larson → Founding member and baritone singer for clean-cut light pop vocal quartet The Four Preps, “26 Miles (Santa Catalina)” (#2, 1958) and 6 other Top 40 hits between 1958 and 1961, later became a TV producer and creator of Battlestar Galactica, Magnum PI, Quincy, Knight Rider and other drama series, died from esophageal cancer on 11/14/2014, age 77
1939 ● Gene Summers / (David Eugene Summers) → Rockabilly singer and bandleader known as the “Texas Rebel” in a 60-year career recording and performing, first as a solo act in the 50s and then in the 60s as frontman for Gene Summers & The Tom Toms, best known for his rendition of the rockabilly standard, “Big Blue Diamond” (1964), returned to working solo in the 70s and issued over than a dozen albums, mostly to his cult fans in Europe, inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame in 1997 and issued his last album, Reminisce Café in 2008, hospitalized following an injury at home and died on 2/17/2021, age 82.
1941 ● Van Dyke Parks → Singer, sessionman, composer, lyricist (co-wrote The Beach Boys‘ “Heroes And Villains” and other songs), producer for Ry Cooder, Ringo Starr, The Byrds and others
1945 ● Philip Goodhand-Tait → UK singer, producer and songwriter, wrote “Oceans Away” (1975) for Roger Daltrey, “You Are” for Gene Pitney, others
1945 ● Stephen Stills / (Stephen Arthur Stills) → Folk-rock and country-rock singer, songwriter and guitarist, founding member of Buffalo Springfield (“For What It’s Worth”, #17, 1967) and folk-pop Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, “Just A Song Before I Go” (#7, 1977), frontman for Manassas and solo, “Love The One You’re With” (#14, 1971)
1946 ● John Paul Jones / (John Baldwin) → 60s session musician for The Rolling Stones, Jeff Beck, The Yardbirds and others, then founding member, bass and keyboards for hard rock Led Zeppelin, “Whole Lotta Love” (#4, 1970), now with Them Crooked Vultures, “New Fang” (Mainstream Rock #13, 2009)
1946 ● James Mtume / (James Forman) → Jazz percussionist with the Miles David Group in the early 70s, smooth R&B songwriter in the 80s (including Stephanie Mill‘s disco “Never Knew Love Like This Before,” #6, R&B #5, 1980), bandleader for eponymous group Mtume with the oft-sampled hit “Juicy Fruit” (#45, R&B #1, 1983) and “You, Me and He” (#83, R&B #2, 1984), produced albums and songs for multiple R&B and hip hop artists, hosted talk radio programs from New York from 1998 to 2013, died from an unspecified form of cancer on 1/9/2022, age 76.
1947 ● Harold Beane / (Harold Dewitt Beane Sr.) → Stax Records‘ session guitarist who played on over 40 albums as a member of the Bar-Kays, the label’s house band in the 60s, later played with George Clinton‘s Parliament-Funkadelic musicians collective and in Isaac Hayes backing bands, most famous for his fuzz-tone and tremolo guitar on Hayes‘s 12-minute funk-soul cover of the Burt Bacharach classic “Walk On By” (#30, R&B #13, 1969), left music in 1987 for a mid-life career as a computer salesman but returned to Memphis in 2011 to play in various blues bands, died from an unspecified illness on 2/1/2020, age 73.
1948 ● Rex Braley / (Rex Charles Braley) → Guitarist for London-based, teenage R&B/soul-pop Love Affair, “Everlasting Love” (UK #1, 1968) and four other UK Top 20 hits in the late 60s, fell into obscurity following the band’s break-up in the 70s
1955 ● Clive Gregson → Founder, frontman, vocals and songwriter for New Wave punk-pop Any Trouble, then 90s Brit folk-rock revival duo Gregson & Collister, solo and producer for others
1958 ● Marcel King → Lead vocals for Philly-style Brit R&B/soul Sweet Sensation, “Sad Sweet Dreamer” (#14, UK #1, 1975), died from a brain hemorrhage on 10/5/1995, age 37.
1964 ● Raymond McGinley → Lead guitar and vocals for Scot pre-grunge, then power pop Teenage Fanclub, “Star Sign” (Mainstream Rock #4, 1991)
1975 ● Thomas Bangaltier → DJ for French progressive electronic dance-pop duo Daft Punk, “Face To Face” (Dance/Club #1, 2004)
1977 ● Timothy Wheeler → Founding member, songwriter and vocals for Irish neo-punk/pop-rock Ash, “Goldfinger” (UK #5, 1996)
1978 ● Kimberly Locke → Adult contemporary pop singer, “Band Of Gold” (Dance #1, Adult Contemporary #9, 2007)

January 04
1923 ● Miriam Kahan Abramson Bienstock / (Miriam Kahan Abramson) → With Ahmet Ertegun and then-husband Herb Abramson, co-founder in 1947 of Atlantic Records, financial manager for the company n the 50s and vice president for publishing in the 60s, sold her stock and left for a career in theater work, died from natural causes on 3/21/2015, age 92
1938 ● Greg Webster / (Gregory Allen Webster, Sr.) → Founding member, drummer and co-songwriter for important R&B/funk Ohio Players, the band known for fluid lineups, horn-driven grooves and erotic album covers, plus eight Top 10 hits in the mid-70s, including “Fire” (#1, R&B #1, 1974) and “Love Rollercoaster” (#1, R&B #1, 1975), left the band by 1975 for a career as a sessionman for funk and jazz artists, played in his church ensemble in hometown Dayton (Ohio) for decades, wrote the 2001 biography of the band, The Early Years/The Ohio Players, last original member of the band at his death following a short illness on 1/14/2022, age 84.
1942 ● John McLaughlin → Jazz-fusion guitarist and composer, played with Miles Davis, founded the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Rolling Stone magazine #49 Greatest Guitarist of All Time
1944 ● Volker Hombach → Flutist for first lineup of atmospheric space/new age electro-synth proto-Kraut rock Tangerine Dream
1944 ● Howell Begle / (Howell Edward Begle Jr) → Successful entertainment industry attorney who represented 50s-60s R&B/soul singer Ruth Brown (“(Mama) He Treats Your Daughter Mean,” #23, R&B #1, 1953) on a pro bono basis in her 1980s action against Atlantic Records for payment of back royalties, leading to other black artists in similar straits and eventually to the 1988 creation of the Rhythm & Blues Foundation, which is dedicated to the historical and cultural preservation of R&B music and supporting R&B artists in need through grants and medical assistance, became its first executive director, continued to represent industry clients – the Kennedy Center, the American Film Institute and the Academy Awards, among them – until suffering serious injuries in a skiing accident and dying six days later on 12/30/2018, age 74.
1946 ● Arthur Conley → R&B/soul vocalist and songwriter, co-wrote (with Otis Redding) and sang “Sweet Soul Music” (#2, R&B #2, UK #7, 1967), died from cancer on 11/16/2003, age 57
1955 ● Mark Hollis / (Mark David Hollis) → Guitarist, songwriter and frontman for 1980s New Romantic synth-pop Talk Talk (“It’s My Life,” #31, UK #24, 1984), his band was far more influential than commercially successful, their languid, experimental album This Is Eden is widely considered the first “post-rock” album, continued to record as a solo artist until dropping out of the music scene in the late 1990s, died from undisclosed causes on 2/25/2019, age 64.
1956 ● Bernard Sumner / (Bernard Edward Sumner) → Guitar and keyboards for post-punk Joy Division, “Love Will Tear Us Apart” (Dance/Club #42, 1980), then New Wave synth-dance-pop New Order, “Blue Monday” (Dance #5, 1983) and Electronic, “Get The Message” (UK #8, 1991)
1956 ● Nels Cline → Guitarist and songwriter for alt country-rock Wilco, “Outtasite (Outta Mind)” (Mainstream Rock #22, 1997)
1957 ● Patty Loveless / (Patricia Lee Ramey) → Grammy-winning neo-traditional country-rock and honky tonk singer, “Chains” (Country #1, 1989) and 34 other Country Top 40 singles
1958 ● Lorna Doom / (Teresa Marie Ryan) → High school chum of Belinda Carlisle (who would go on to lead vocals for the Go-Gos), together answered an ad for musicians to form a new punk rock band and became founding member and bassist in influential L.A. punk rock Germs (“Lexicon Devil,” 1979 – the debut single on Stash Records), left the band in 1980 but returned from New York in 2005 for a reunion and tours, died of cancer on 1/6/2019, age 61.
1959 ● Vanity / (Denise Matthews) → Canadian singer, sometime actress, backing vocalist for Prince and lead singer of R&B/dance-funk Vanity 6 (“Nasty Girl,” #, 1982) plus a brief solo career (“Under The Influence,” #56, R&B #9, 1986), eschewed the celebrity lifestyle after a cocaine-induced near-death kidney failure and become a Christian evangelist, died from kidney disease on 2/15/2016, age 57
1960 ● Michael Stipe → Frontman, lead vocals and lyricist for influential post-punk R.E.M., “The One I Love” (#9, 1987), now independent film producer
1962 ● Martin McAloon → Bassist for Brit pop-rock Prefab Sprout, “If You Don’t Love Me” (Dance/Club #3, 1992)
1962 ● Robin Guthrie → Guitar and drum machine for Scottish alt rock/dream-pop Cocteau Twins, “Heaven Or Las Vegas” (Modern Rock #9, 1990)
1962 ● Till Lindemann → Poet, frontman and lead vocals for German industrial metal band Rammstein, “Sehnsucht” (Mainstream Rock #20, 1998)
1962 ● Peter Steele / (Peter Thomas Ratajczyk) → Bassist, lead vocals and songwriting for goth metal Type O Negative, “Everything Dies” (Mainstream Rock #37, 1999), posed as the nude centerfold in Playgirl magazine in 1995, died from heart failure on 4/14/2010, age 48
1965 ● Beth Gibbons → Singer for avant-garde fusion of electronica and pop Portishead, “Sour Times” (#53, 1995)
1965 ● Cait O’Riordan → Bassist for Irish folk-punk-rock The Pogues, “Tuesday Morning” (Rock #11, 1993)
1965 ● David Glasper → Lead singer for Brit pop-rock Breathe, “Hands To Heaven” (#3, 1988)
1966 ● Deana Carter → Neo-traditional country-folk singer, “Did I Shave My Legs For This?” (Country #25, 1997)
1967 ● Benjamin Darvill → Harmonica for Canadian alt pop-rock Crash Test Dummies, “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm” (#4, 1993)
1967 ● David Berman / (David Craig Berman) → Poet, songwriter, anarchist and only constant member of indie rock/avant garde Silver Jews, formed the band in 1994 with two college roommates and issued six critically-acclaimed studio albums through 2008, then abruptly ended the project and retired from music to concentrate on promoting social injustice causes and attacking his father’s consulting business supporting guns, alcohol, union-busting and other industries of the like, resurfaced publicly in 2018 with a new project, Purple Mountains and released an eponymous debut album in July 2019, scheduled to renew touring to support the album two days before dying by hanging himself in his Brooklyn apartment on 8/7/2019, age 52.
1982 ● Justin Townes Earle → Alt-country singer, songwriter and guitarist, son of outlaw-country rocker Steve Earle and namesake of country-folk balladeer Townes Van Zandt, issued eight LPs after his 2007 debut EP, Yuma, and received the Americana Music Association‘s Emerging Artist of the Year award for 2009 and the Song of the Year award for “Harlem River Blues” in 2011, followed his father into drug and alcohol addiction and died from a suspected drug overdose on 8/20/2020, age 38.

January 05
1922 ● Bob Keane / (Robert Verril Kuhn) → Producer and record label owner best known for discovering and managing Ritchie Valens (“La Bamba,” #22, 1958), also “discovered” Sam Cooke and marketed his first hit, “You Send Me” (#1, UK #29, 1957) on his Keen Records label, formed Del-Fi Records in 1957 and in addition to Valens jumpstarted the careers of Brenda Holloway, Frank Zappa and Barry White, signed The Bobby Fuller Four (“I Fought The Law,” #1, 1965) and produced and sold music by surf band The Surfaris, among others, died from renal failure on 11/28/2009, age 87
1923 ● Sam Phillips / (Samuel Cornelius Phillips) → Rock ‘n’ roll visionary and pioneer, founder of Sun Records, discovered, nurtured and made Elvis Presley a star, as well as Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Howlin’ Wolf and many others, DJ and radio station owner, died from respiratory failure on 7/30/2003, age 80
1932 ● Johnny Adams / (Laten John Adams) → R&B/blues, soul and gospel singer called the “Tan Canary” for his wide-ranging voice and styles, scored several hits minor hits in the 60s and 70s and a lone Top 10 charter, “Reconsider Me” (#28, R&B #8, 1969), continued to record until his death from prostate cancer on 9/14/1998, age 66
1934 ● Phil Ramone → Innovative, Grammy-winning recording engineer, record producer, violin prodigy, composer and founder of A&R Recording, Inc. studios in New York, which engineered and produced records for dozens of top pop and rock artists from Aretha Franklin to Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder, died from a brain aneurysm on 3/30/2013, age 79
1940 ● Athol Guy → Bass and vocals for Aussie folk-sunshine pop The Seekers, “Georgy Girl” (#2, 1967), later elected to the Victorian Legislative Assembly
1940 ● George Malone / (George Walter Malone) → Second tenor for one hit wonder R&B/doo wop sextet The Monotones, “(Who Wrote) The Book Of Love” (#5, 1958), reunited with the group for the oldies circuit in the 90s, died from a stroke on 10/5/2007, age 67
1941 ● Grady Thomas → Vocals for R&B/soul-funk (“P-Funk”) Parliament-Funkadelic, “One Nation Under A Groove” (#31, 1978)
1949 ● George “Funky” Brown / (George Melvin Brown) → With six of his teenaged schoolmates, founding member and drummer for New Jersey jazz-soul instrumental Jazziacs in 1964, the group eventually morphed into soul, funk, pop and disco fusion Kool & The Gang and a slew of memorable hits, including “Jungle Boogie” (#4, R&B #2, 1973), “Ladies’ Night” (#8, R&B #1, 1979) and the enduring “Celebration” (#1, R&B #1, 1980), recorded and toured with the group for six decades as one of two constant members, produced their 26th studio album, People Just Wanna Have Fun in 2023, died from lung cancer on 11/16/2023, age 74.
1950 ● Chris Stein → Guitarist for New Wave pop-rock Blondie, “Heart Of Glass” (#1, 1979)
1951 ● Biff Byford / (Peter Rodney Byford) → Lead vocals for early and influential New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) band Saxon, “Power And The Glory” (#32, 1983)
1957 ● Vincent Calloway → Multi-instrumentalist founder and leader (with brother Reggie Calloway) of synth-dance-funk Midnight Star (“Operator,” #18, R&B #1, 1984), left in 1990 to form bro-duo Calloway (“I Wanna Be Rich, #2, R&B #5, 1990)
1964 ● Grant Young → Drummer for garage rock superstar group Soul Asylum, “Runaway Train” (#5, 1993)
1964 ● Phil Thornalley → Vocals, guitar, songwriter and producer, briefly as bassist for post-punk The Cure, “Let’s Go To Bed” (Dance/Club #32, 1983) then fronted one hit wonder New Wave sophisti-pop Johnny Hates Jazz, “Shattered Dreams” (#2, 1988), co-wrote “Torn” (covered by Natalie Imbruglia, #13, 1998)
1966 ● Kate Schellenbach → Drummer for the Beastie Boys from 1979 to 1984 and all-girl alt rock/hip hop Luscious Jackson, “Naked Eye” (#36, 1996) through 2000, producer for TV talk The Ellen DeGeneres Show
1969 ● Marilyn Manson / (Brian Warner) → Self-proclaimed “Antichrist Superstar” and frontman for eponymous shock-rock band, “The Dope Show” (Mainstream Rock #12, 1998).
1970 ● Jeffrey Jay → Singer for Italian pop-rock Eiffel 65, “Blue (Da Ba Dee)” (#6, 1999), a #1 hit across Europe
1970 ● Troy Van Leeuwen → Six-string and pedal steel guitar for alt rock A Perfect Circle, “Weak And Powerless” (Mainstream Rock #1, 2003), then stoner metal Queens Of The Stone Age, “No One Knows” (#51, Mainstream Rock #5, 2002) and solo
1976 ● Matthew Walter Wachter → Bassist for indie pop-rock 30 Seconds To Mars, “From Yesterday” (Alt Rock #1, 2006) then punk-pop Angels & Airwaves, “The Adventure” (#55, 2006)

January 06
1924 ● Earl Scruggs → Five-string, three-finger banjo virtuoso, co-bandleader (with Lester Flatt) of renowned bluegrass band the Foggy Mountain Boys and Flatt & Scruggs, “The Ballad Of Jed Clampett” (#44, Country #1, 1963), frontman for the Earl Scruggs Revue
1929 ● Wilbert Harrison → Boogie-pop-rock singer, pianist and songwriter, “Kansas City” (#1, 1959) and “Let’s Work Together” (#32, 1969), the latter covered by blues-rock Canned Heat (#26, 1970) and Bryan Ferry, died of a stroke on 10/26/1994, age 65
1934 ● Bobby Lord / (Robert L. Lord) → Country and rockabilly music artist popular in the 50s and 60s, “Without Your Love” (#10, 1956) and five other Country Top 40 hits, also hosted TV shows, died after a long illness on 2/16/2008, age 74
1935 ● Nino Tempo / (Antonio LoTempio) → Session saxophonist and singer, recorded (with his sister Carol LoTempio) the duet “Deep Purple” (#1, 1963), then jazz musician
1937 ● Doris Troy / (Doris Elaine Higginsen) → R&B/soul, gospel and rock singer, backing vocalist for The Drifters, Solomon Burke and others before recording her lone US hit, “Just One Look” (#10, R&B #3, 1963), wrote or co-wrote songs for Dionne Warwick, Cissy Houston and others, moved to England and sang back-up for The Rolling Stones (wailer on “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” 1969) and Pink Floyd (vocals on Dark Side Of The Moon, 1973), subject of the long-running Broadway show Mama, I Want To Sing (1983), died from emphysema on 2/16/2004, age 67
1944 ● Van McCoy / (Van Allen Clinton McCoy) → R&B/soul producer, songwriter, conductor and bandleader best known for the disco hit “The Hustle” (#1, 1975), died after a heart attack on 7/6/1979, age 35
1946 ● Syd Barrett / (Roger Keith Barrett) → Original member, singer, songwriter and lead guitarist of psych/space rock Pink Floyd, left in 1968 for a brief solo career, subject of “Wish You Were Here” (1975), died from complications of diabetes on 7/7/2006, age 60
1947 ● Sandy Denny / (Alexandra Elene MacLean Denny) → Soprano singer, guitarist and pianist, joined British folk-bluegrass The Strawbs in 1967, left in 1968 for folk-rock pioneers Fairport Convention and contributed a number of songs to their catalog, including the definitive version of her folk standard “Who Knows Where The Time Goes” (1969), sang lead vocals on the group’s only pop hit, a French-language version of the Bob Dylan’s “If You Gotta Go, Go Now” renamed “Si Tu Dois Partir” (UK #23,, 1969), left to form folk group Fotheringay with future husband Trevor Lucas in 1970, within months started a four-album solo career, balancing that with session vocal work and Fairport Convention reunions but fell down a flight of stairs, suffered brain trauma and died four days later on 4/21/1978, age 31.
1951 ● Kim Wilson → Harmonica, lead vocals and songwriting for blues-boogie-rock Fabulous Thunderbirds, “Tuff Enuff” (#10, 1986)
1953 ● Malcolm Young / (Malcolm Mitchell Young) → Rhythm guitar, vocals and songwriter for Aussie power chord hard rockers AC/DC, “For Those About To Rock” (Mainstream Rock #4, 1982)
1959 ● Kathy 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
1959 ● Neil Simpson → Bassist for present-day incarnation of Brit blues-rock Climax Blues Band, “Couldn’t Get It Right” (#3, 1977)
1960 ● Muzz Skillings / (Manuel Skillings) → Original bassist and singer for Grammy-winning prog-funk-metal Living Colour, “Cult Of Personality” (#13, 1988), then Medicine Stick
1964 ● Mark O’Toole → Founding member, bassist and co-songwriter for Brit New Wave pop/rock Frankie Goes To Hollywood, “Relax” (#10, 1984)
1964 ● Tim Garbutt → Former club DJ, then partner and producer in Brit dance-pop duo Utah Saints, “Something Good” (UK #4, 1992)
1982 ● Morgan Lee Lander → Guitar and vocals for Canadian alternative metal girl group Kittie, “Funeral For Yesterday” (Mainstream Rock #40, 2006)
1986 ● Alex Turner → Guitar and vocals for Brit teen alt/indie rock Arctic Monkeys, “I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor” (Modern Rock #7, 2005)


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