This Week’s Birthdays (December 6 – 12)

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Happy Birthday this week to:

December 06
1896 ● Ira Gershwin / (Israel Gershowitz) → With his brother, George Gershwin, one of the greatest songwriters of the early 20th century, Tin Pan Alley stage, film and opera lyricist and librettist, best known their his jazz-influenced classical composition “Rhapsody In Blue” (1924) and the opera Porgy And Bess (1934), continued to write music for decades after his brother’s death in 1937, including “Long Ago (And Far Away)” (#2, 1944) with Jerome Kern from the film Cover Girl (1944), died from cardiovascular disease on 8/17/1983, age 86
1916 ● Hugo E. Peretti → Songwriter, producer, record label executive, teamed with cousin Luigi Creatore to produce dozens of hit songs for multiple artists, including Sam Cooke‘s “Twistin’ The Night Away” (#9, 1962) and The Isley Brothers‘ “Shout” (#49, 1959), died from undisclosed causes on 5/1/1986, age 69
1920 ● Dave Brubeck / (David Warren Brubeck) → Renowned jazz-pop pianist, bandleader and composer, best known for the enduring jazz-pop “Take Five” (Adult Contemporary #5, 1961) from the album Time Out, the first jazz album to sell upwards of a million copies,, died from heart failure while enroute to his cardiologist on 12/5/2012, age 91
1935 ● George Williams / (George Reginald Williams, Jr.) → Lead vocals in Philly soul The Tymes, one of the few acts to have their only #1 hits in both the U.S. and the U.K. with different songs – “So Much In Love” (#1, UK #21, 1963) and “Ms. Grace” (#91, UK #1, 1974), left the band in 1978 and relocated to the U.K., died on 7/28/2004, age 66
1936 ● David Ossman → Comedian, novelist, theater producer and member of 60s/70s eclectic, satiric, surrealistic radio-friendly comic quartet The Firesign Theatre, the group’s nearly 40 albums were cult hits, particluarly for college audiences, produced major audio theater broadcasts for National Public Radio during the 80s and live radio plays in the 00s
1939 ● Steve Alaimo → Early 60s teen idol pop singer with nine Billboard Top 100 singles without a Top 40 hit – the most low-enders by any artist anytime – later hosted and co-produced with Dick Clark the American Bandstand spinoff music variety show Where The Action Is (1965-67), became a mildly successful record producer and label owner
1942 ● Robb Royer / (Robert W. Royer) → Guitar, keyboards, bass and songwriting for soft MOR pop-rock Bread, “Make It With You” (#1, 1970), co-wrote “For All We Know,” the 1971 Academy Award Best Song of the Year by the Carpenters from the movie Lovers And Other Strangers, songwriting credits include songs written for The Remingtons, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Randy Travis and others
1943 ● Keith West (Hopkins) / (Keith Alan Hopkins) → Singer, songwriter and frontman for Brit early psych-rock group Tomorrow, then pop-psych solo career, “Excerpt From A Teenage Opera” (UK #2, 1967), now a producer of music
1943 ● Mike Smith / (Michael George Smith) → Keyboards and vocals for British Invasion pop-rock Dave Clark Five, “Catch Us If You Can” (#4, 1965) and 13 other Top 25 hits in the US (but only nine in their home UK), suffered a spinal injury in a fall from a fence in 2003 and was paralyzed from the waist down, died from pneumonia on 2/28/2008, age 64
1944 ● Jonathan King / (Kenneth George King) → Brit singer and songwriter, “Everyone’s Gone To The Moon” (#17, 1965) plus 12 other UK Top 40 singles under various names, record producer, early manager for prog rock Genesis, convicted and jailed (2001) sex offender
1947 ● Kim Simmonds → Founder and guitarist for Brit blues-rock Savoy Brown, “Tell Mama” (#83, 1971)
1947 ● Miroslav Vitous → Czech-born bassist for jazz-rock fusion Weather Report, “Birdland” (1977), solo
1947 ● Fritz Fryer / (David Roderick Fryer) → Lead guitarist for early 60s Brit pop The Four Pennies, “Juliet” (UK #1, 1964), the most important British Invasion era act with no chart presence in the US, died of pancreatic cancer on 9/2/2007, age 59
1952 ● Randy Rhoads → Up and coming heavy metal/pop-metal guitarist, founder of hard rock Quiet Riot, joined Ozzy Osbourne‘s backing band for landmark albums Blizzard Of Ozz (1980) and Diary Of A Madman (1981), died in a plane crash while on tour in Florida on 3/19/1982, age 29
1954 ● Robert Kane → Lead vocals since 1999 for Brit pub-rock Dr. Feelgood, “Milk And Alcohol” (UK #9, 1979)
1955 ● Edward Tudor-Pole → Leader of Brit punk-rock band Tenpole Tudor, “Swords Of A Thousand Men”, (UK #6, 1981), solo, “Who Killed Bambi?” (1978), TV actor and host
1955 ● Rick Buckler → Drummer for Brit punk-rock/mod revival The Jam, “Town Called Malice” (Mainstream Rock #31, 1982)
1956 ● Peter Buck → Guitarist and songwriter for influential post-punk R.E.M., “The One I Love” (#9, 1987)
1957 ● Adrian Borland → Brit singer, songwriter and guitarist for post-punk, critically successful The Sound from 1979 to 1987, issued five albums as a solo artist before committing suicide on 4/26/1999, age 41
1961 ● David Lovering → Drummer for melodic post-punk alternative rock The Pixies, “Here Comes Your Man” (Modern Rock #3, 1989)
1961 ● Jonathan Melvoin → Multi-instrumentalist session and touring musician for various 80s punk bands, contributed to projects for his sister Wendy Melvoin‘s funk-pop vocal duet Wendy & Lisa as well as for Prince & The Revolution, toured with The Smashing Pumpkins up to his death from a heroin overdose on 7/12/1996, age 34
1962 ● Ben Watt → Guitar, keyboards and vocals in Brit pop-dance-club duo Everything But The Girl, “Missing” (#2, 1995), solo
1964 ● Blando Bland / (Jeff Bland) → Guitarist in pop-glam metal Slaughter, “Fly To The Angels” (#19, 1990), died in a car crash on 2/5/1998
1969 ● Mark Gardener → Singer and guitarist for Brit neo-psych shoegazing band Ride, “Twisterella” (Modern Rock #12, 1992)
1969 ● Steven Drozd → Drummer and vocalist for neo-psych alt rock The Flaming Lips, “She Don’t Use Jelly” (#55, 1995)
1970 ● Ulf Ekberg → Keyboards and vocals for Swedish pop-rockers Ace Of Base, “All That She Wants” (#2, 1993)

December 07
1910 ● Louis Prima → New Orleans jazz band frontman in the 20s, swing combo member in 30s, Big Band leader in the 40s, Las Vegas lounge act with then wife Keely Smith in the 50s (Grammy-winning “That Ol’ Black Magic,” #18, 1958) and pop-rocker in the 60s and 70s, died from pneumonia while in a coma following unsuccessful brain tumor surgery on 8/24/1978, age 67
1924 ● Bent Fabric / (Bent Fabricius-Bjerre) → Danish pianist and composer with the Grammy-winning, worldwide instrumental pop hit “Alley Cat” (#7, AC #2, 1962), a simple but infectious earworm released in Denmark in 1961 as “Omkring et Flygel” (“Around a Piano”), also credited with scoring more than 70 films and TV shows, plus theater and ballet music, died following a short illness on 7/28/2020, age 96.
1924 ● Boyd Bennett → Rockabilly singer and songwriter with two Top 40 hits in the early days of rock ‘n’ roll, “Seventeen” (#5, R&B #7, 1955) and “My Boy Flat-Top” (#39, R&B #13, 1955), when his teenage audience began ageing, retired from music in the early 60s and ventured into business ownership, died from a lung ailment on 6/2/2002, age 77
1931 ● Bobby Osborne → With his younger brother, Sonny, one half of the influential bluegrass act The Osborne Brothers, “Rocky Top” (Country #33, 1967), the song was voted the official state song of Tennessee and one of two official state songs the brothers recorded, the other being “My Old Kentucky Home” (Country #69, 1970)
1942 ● Harry Chapin / (Harry Foster Chapin) → Folk-pop singer, songwriter and guitarist, composed many narrative-based “story songs” including “Taxi” (#24, CAN #5, 1972) and “Cat’s In The Cradle” (#1, CAN #3, 1974), died in a car collision on the Long Island Expressway on 7/16/1981, age 38
1949 ● Tom Waits → Grammy-winning gravelly, growling blues-rock singer and songwriter, film actor, film score composer, voice-over contributor, wrote “Ol’ 55′” for the Eagles (1974)
1954 ● Mike Nolan → Vocals in Brit mixed-gender euro-pop/disco Bucks Fizz, “Making Your Mind Up” (UK #1, 1981) and 12 other UK Top 40 singles
1954 ● Thunderstick / (Barry Purkis) → Brit drummer briefly with early Iron Maiden and later with the cult band Samson, known for wearing various horror masks and performing in a cage, named by Classic Rock magazine as number 36 on the “50 Greatest Drummers of Rock” list
1958 ● Timothy Butler → Bassist and co-founder of Brit New Wave post-punk The Psychedelic Furs, “Pretty In Pink” (#41, 1981)
1961 ● Robert Downes → Guitarist in New Wave synth-pop-soul Then Jerico, “The Motive” (UK #18, 1987)
1963 ● Barbara Weathers → Lead vocals for 80s urban contemporary soul Atlantic Starr, “Always” (#1, 1987)
1963 ● Huw Chadbourne → Keyboardist for Brit lounge/melodramatic pop group Babybird, “You’re Gorgeous” (UK #3, 1996)
1965 ● Brian Futter → Guitarist for Brit indie rock/shoegazing band Catherine Wheel, “Black Metallic” (Modern Rock #9, 1991)
1973 ● Dodi Ma / (Damien Rice) → Multi-instrumentalist Irish indie folk-rock singer and songwriter, fronted folk-pop Juniper, then solo, “Cannonball” (UK #19, 2004)
1974 ● Nicole Appleton → Canadian singer in Brit dance-pop-rock all-girl quartet All Saints, “Never Ever” (#4, 1998), then dance-pop sister duo Appleton, “Never Ever” (UK #2, 2003)
1977 ● Dominic Howard → Drummer for prog-glam-electronic rock Muse, “Uprising” (#37, 2009).
1979 ● Sara Beth Bareilles → Grammy-nominated contemporary pop-rock pianist, guitarist and singer/songwriter, “Love Song” (#4, 2007)
1986 ● Jonathan Benjamin “J.B.” Gill → Vocals in Brit R&B/soul-pop boy band JLS (aka Jack The Lad Swing), “She Makes Me Wanna” (Dance/Club #25, 2011), runners-up of the fifth season (2008) of The X Factor
1987 ● Aaron Carter → Teen idol hip hop/pop singer, “Aaron’s Party (Come And Get It)” (#35, 2002)
1988 ● Winston Marshall → Electric guitar, banjo and vocals for Grammy-winning Brit folk-rock Mumford & Sons, “I Will Wait” (#12, Alt Rock #1, 2012).

December 08
1922 ● Jean Ritchie → The “Mother of Folk,” singer, songwriter, dulcimer player, author and Appalachian music heritage stewardess whose influence on the commercial “folk revival” boom of the 60s was immeasurable, recorded nearly three dozen albums and wrote hundreds of original songs based on the traditions of Appalachia, explored the links between American and British folk music, toured extensively until her death from natural causes on 6/1/2015, age 92
1925 ● Sammy Davis, Jr. → Versatile TV and film actor, impersonator, dancer, “Rat Pack” contemporary pop singer and “member” with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, solo artist, “Candy Man” (#1, 1972), died of lung cancer on 5/16/1990, age 64
1925 ● Jimmy Smith → Jazz organist, Hammond B-3 electronic organ innovator and recognized virtuoso, National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) jazz master, bandleader and composer, “Walk On The Wild Side” (#4, 1962), found dead in his home on 2/8/2005, age 79.
1939 ● James Galway → The “Man with the Golden Flute,” Irish virtuoso flutist, “Annie’s Song” (UK #33, 1978), played with Pink Floyd at the Berlin Wall in 1990
1939 ● Jerry Butler → The “Ice Man,” vocals in Chicago soul/doo wop The Impressions, “It’s All Right” (#4, 1963), then solo, “Only The Strong Survive” (#4, R&B #1, 1969) and 15 other Top 40 hits, now a member of the Chicago/Cook County Board of Commissioners since 1986
1942 ● Bobby Elliot → Drummer in British Invasion pop-rock The Hollies, “Bus Stop” (#5, 1966)
1942 ● Toots Hibbert / (Frederick Nathaniel Hibbert) → Six-decade performing artist, frontman for The Maytals and one of a select few who brought reggae music to a global stage, defining the fundamental blend of American jazz and soul with traditional Jamaican folk/mento music and socially-conscious lyrics over upbeat tempos, often labelled the “Father of Reggae” and first to use the term in a record on “Do The Reggay” (1968) but never achieved the recognition afforded to Bob Marley and other peers, continued to record and tour extensively until 2013 when a fan tossed a bottle on stage that caused a concussion, died from complications of the COVID-19 virus on 9/11/2020, age 77.
1943 ● Jim Morrison / (James Douglas Morrison) → Vocals and frontman for influential and controversial rock band The Doors, “Hello, I Love You” (#1, 1968), died from a drug overdose in Paris, France on 7/3/1971, age 27
1944 ● George Baker / (Johannes Bouwens) → Dutch singer and frontman for light pop-rock quintet George Baker Selection and two international hits, “Little Green Bag” (#21, 1969) and “Una Paloma Blanca” (#26, AC #1, Country #33, 1975), continued with a mildly successful solo career after disbanding the group in the late 70s
1944 ● Mike Botts / (Michael Gene Botts) → Drummer for soft MOR pop-rock Bread, “Make It With You” (#1, 1970) and session musician, died from colon cancer on 12/9/2005, age 61
1946 ● John Knight / (John Graham Knight) → Founding member and bassist for Scottish pop-rock The Marmalade, “Reflections Of My Life” (#10, 1970)
1947 ● Geoff Daking → Drummer for early psychedelic rock quintet Blues Magoos, “(We Ain’t Got) Nothin’ Yet” (#5, 1967)
1947 ● Gregg Allman / (Gregory LeNoir Allman) → The “Greatest White Blues Singer,” co-founder, lead vocalist, keyboards and songwriter for Southern blues-rock The Allman Brothers Band (“Ramblin’ Man,” #2, 1973) plus nine solo albums and 15 singles (“I’m No Angel,” Mainstream Rock #1, 1987) and a duet album with then-wife Cher (Two The Hard Way, 1977), died from liver failure on 5/27/2017, age 69.
1949 ● Ray Shulman → Bass, violin and guitar in pop/rock Simon Dupree & The Big Sound, “Kites” (UK #9, 1967), then founding member of innovative prog rock Gentle Giant
1950 ● Dan Hartman / (Daniel Earl Hartman) → Multi-instrumentalist member of the Edgar Winter Group, wrote “Free Ride” (#14, 1972), session musician, producer for multiple artists, solo R&B/soul-pop singer and songwriter, “I Can Dream About You” (#6, 1984), died from an AIDS-related brain tumor on 3/22/1994, age 43
1950 ● Wah Wah Watson / (Melvin Ragin) → Widely-admired R&B, soul and funk guitarist known for his mastery of the “wah-wah” pedal, the tone-altering filter on electric guitars, parlayed a connection at Motown Records into a position on house-band the Funk Brothers, with whom he played on dozens of hit songs and albums by Michael Jackson, the The Four Tops, Marvin Gaye and others, later issued a solo album and did session work for Herbie Hancock, Barbra Streisand and Blondie, caught on with neo-solo and hip hop acts in the 90s and 00s and recorded with Alicia Keys, Maxwell and Me’shell Ndegeocello, among others, died from complications of a stroke on 10/24/2018, age 67
1953 ● Colin Gibb / (Colin Routh) → Bass and backing vocals for Brit pop/rock novelty-party quartet Black Lace, “Avado” (UK #2, 1984), continues with incarnations of the band in the 00s
1956 ● Warren Cuccurullo → Guitarist in New Wave pop-rock Duran Duran, “Hungry Like The Wolf” (#3, 1982) and Missing Persons, “Walking In L.A.” (Mainstream Rock #12, 1983)
1957 ● Phil Collen → Lead guitar for hard rock/Brit New Wave of Heavy Metal (“NWOBHM”) band Def Leppard, “Love Bites” (#1, 1988)
1959 ● Paul Rutherford → Backing vocals, keyboards and dancer for Brit New Wave pop/rock Frankie Goes To Hollywood, “Relax” (#10, 1984)
1962 ● Marty Friedman → Lead guitarist for trash metal Megadeth, “Trust” (Mainstream Rock #5, 1997)
1966 ● Bushwick Bill / (Richard Shaw) → Rapper and vocals for gangsta/horror-rap Geto Boys, “Mind Playing Tricks On Me” (#23, 1991)
1966 ● Sinead O’Connor → Irish-born controversial folk-pop singer and songwriter, “Nothing Compares 2 U” (#1, 1990)
1972 ● Ryan Newell → Backing vocals, lead and slide guitar for Southern folk-rock Sister Hazel, “All For You” (#11, 1997)
1973 ● 8 / (Corey Todd Taylor) → Guitarist and singer for Grammy-winning alt metal/rap-metal Slipknot, “Duality” (Mainstream Rock #5, 2004) and Stone Sour, “Bother” (Mainstream Rock #2, 2002)
1973 ● Judith Pronk / (Judith Anna Pronk) → Dutch-born lead vocalist for euro-pop-dance Alice Deejay, “Better Off Alone” (Dance/Club #3, 1999)
1974 ● Nick Zinner → Guitarist for New York alt/art-rock trio Yeah Yeah Yeahs, “Gold Lion” (Alt Rock #14, 2006)
1982 ● Chrisette Michele / (Chrisette Michele Payne) → Contemporary R&B/soul singer and songwriter, “Epiphany” (R&B #14, 2009)
1984 ● Sam Hunt → Country-pop crossover singer and songwriter, co-wrote Kenny Chesney‘s “Come Over” (#23, Country #1, 2012) and followed with his debut album Montevallo (#3, Country #1, 2014) and four Top 40 hits, including “Take Your Time” (#20, Country #1, 2014()

December 09
1932 ● Jessie Hill → New Orleans R&B and blues singer with the classic “Ooh Poo Pah Doo – Part II” (#28, R&B #3, 1960), sideman for Professor Longhair and Huey “Piano” Smith, frontman for his own band, The House Rockers, died from kidney and heart failure on 9/17/1996, age 63
1932 ● Donald Byrd → Influential jazz and R&B trumpeteer, early mentor to jazz fusion keyboardist Herbie Hancock and session musician known for pioneering soul and funk sounds within bebop jazz, later earned a PhD in music education and taught at Rutgers, Cornell and numerous other American colleges and universities, died on 2/4/2013, age 80
1934 ● Junior Wells / (Amos Wells Blakemore, Jr.) → Chicago blues harmonica player and singer, “Little By Little” (R&B #23, 1960), worked with Buddy Guy, toured in front of The Rolling Stones in the 70s, issued occasional albums in the 80s and 90s, appeared in the sequel movie Blues Brothers 2000 (1998), died from lymphoma on 1/15/1998, age 63
1935 ● David Houston → Country music star with 29 Country Top 20 hits, including the Grammy-winning crossover “Almost Persuaded” (#24, Country #1, 1966) which spent a record nine straight weeks at the top of Billboard‘s Country Singles chart, a feat unmatched until Taylor Swift‘s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” went to 10 weeks in early 2013, died following a brain aneurysm on 11/30/1993, age 57
1941 ● Sammy Strain → Vocals for doo wop/novelty The Chips, “Rubber Biscuit” (1956), then doo wop Little Anthony & The Imperials, “Tears On My Pillow” (#4, 1958) and R&B/Philly soul giants The O’Jays, “Love Train” (#1, 1973), continued to record and perform with all three until retiring in 2004
1941 ● Dan Hicks / (Daniel Ivan Hicks) → Roots- and folk-rock songwriter and guitarist, original drummer for early San Francisco psych-rock The Charlatans, then founder and frontman for eccentric, acoustic pop (self-defined “folk-swing”) Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks (“How Can I Miss You When You Won’t Go Away,” 1969), disbanded the group in the mid-70s, recorded several solo albums in the 90s and reformed The Hot Licks in 2001, died from liver cancer on 12/6/2016, age 74.
1943 ● Kenny Vance / (Kenneth Rosenberg) → Original member of AM pop-rock vocals for Jay & The Americans, “Cara Mia” (#4, 1965), music supervisor for several films including Animal House (1978) and Eddie And The Cruisers (1983), music director for Saturday Night Live, producer and bandleader
1944 ● Neil Innes / (Neil James Innes) → Multi-instrumentalist British comedian, songwriter and early member of 60s art/comedy-rock Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, wrote their lone hit “I’m The Urban Spaceman” (UK #5, 1968) and many other satirical and nutty songs over 40 years, including several well-known pieces – “Knight Of The Round Table” (1975) for one – for comedy troupe Monty Python, with whom he collaborated during the 70s, and co-founded The Beatles parody band The Rutles with Python-mate Eric Idle in 1978 and wrote most of their deadpan sendups, appeared in children’s TV programs in the 80s, contributed to Rutles and Monty Python reunions over the years, formed the Idiot Bastard Band in the 10s and died from an unexpected heart attack on 12/29/2019, age 75.
1944 ● Shirley Brickley → Vocals in mixed gender R&B doo-wop quartet The Orlons, “The Wah-Watusi” (#2, R&B #5, 1962), shot to death by an intruder in her Philadelphia home on 10/13/1977, age 32
1946 ● Clyde Orange / (Walter Orange) → Drummer and backing vocals for Grammy-winning Motown R&B/soul-funk Commodores, “Three Times A Lady” (#1, 1978) and “Nightshift” (#3, 1985)
1946 ● Dennis Dunaway → Original bassist for hard/glam rock band Alice Cooper, co-wrote “I’m Eighteen” (#21, 1970) and “School’s Out” (#2, 1972), after disbandment in 1974 formed short-lived hard rock Billion Dollar Babies, continues to perform in various rock bands and Alice Cooper reunions into the 10s
1950 ● Joan Armatrading → St. Kitts-born Grammy-nominated soul-reggae-folk singer, songwriter and guitarist, “Drop The Pilot” (Mainstream Rock #33, 1983)
1954 ● Jack Sonni → Rhythm guitarist for Dire Straits in mid-80s, including “Money For Nothing” (#1, 1985)
1955 ● Randy Murray → Guitarist for latest line-up of Canadian pop-rockers Bachman-Turner Overdrive, “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet” (#1, 1974)
1957 ● Donny Osmond → Teenybopper lead vocals and center of sibling pop vocal group The Osmonds, “One Bad Apple” (#1, 1971), then solo, “Soldier Of Love” (#2, 1989), TV actor and host
1957 ● Steve Askew → Former guitarist for one hit wonder New Wave light synth-bubblegum-pop Kajagoogoo, “Too Shy” (#5, 1983), now a stained glass artist
1958 ● Nick Seymour → Bassist for Aussie New Wave pop-rock Crowded House, “Don’t Dream It’s Over” (#2, 1987)
1964 ● Paul H. Landers → Rhythm guitar for heavy metal/Kraut rock Rammstein, “Sehnsucht” (Mainstream Rock #20, 1998)
1966 ● Michael Foster → Drummer for pop-metal FireHouse, “When I Look Into Your Eyes” (#8, 1992) and on albums by FireHouse bandmate and guitarist Bill Leverty
1968 ● Brian Bell → Rhythm guitarist and songwriter for post-grunge alt pop-rock Weezer, “Beverly Hills” (#10, 2005)
1969 ● Jakob Dylan → Singer, songwriter and guitarist for roots rock The Wallflowers, “One Headlight” (Mainstream Rock #1, 1996), solo, son of folk-rock icon Bob Dylan
1970 ● Kara DioGuardi → Grammy-nominated dance-pop and pop-rock songwriter, music video producer, American Idol judge and record company A&R executive, wrote or co-wrote nearly 50 charting singles, including “Ooh Ooh Baby” for Britney Spears
1970 ● Zachary Foley → Original bassist for Brit dance-rock quintet EMF (“Epsom Mad Funkers“), “Unbelievable” (#1, 1990), died of drug overdose on 1/3/2002, age 31
1971 ● Geoff Barrow → Remix producer and co-founder of avant-garde electronica and trip-hop group Portishead, “Sour Times” (#53, 1995)
1972 ● Tre Cool / (Frank Edwin Wright III) → Drummer for post-grunge alt rock/punk revival Green Day, “Boulevard Of Broken Dreams” (#2, 2004)
1974 ● Canibus / (Germaine Williams) → Jamaican-born rapper and actor, half of the hip hop duo T.H.E.M. (The Heralds of Extreme Metaphors) with Atlanta rapper Webb, left in 1996 for a solo career, including the debut single “Second Round K.O.” (#28, Rap #3, 1998), 13 studio albums and multiple collaborations into the 10s
1978 ● Chris Wolstenholme → Bassist for prog-glam-electronic rock Muse, “Uprising” (#37, 2009)

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 in strings-backed British Invasion light folk-pop duo Chad & Jeremy, “A Summer Song” (#7, 1964)
1941 ● Ralph Tavares / (Ralph Vierra Tavares) → Vocals in five brother R&B/funk-disco Tavares, “It Only Takes A Minute” (#10, R&B #1, 1976) and nine other R&B Top 10 hits in the mid-70s, left the band to become a municipal court officer in 1984 and occasionally performs with the group into the 10s
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
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
1959 ● Drummie Zeb / (Angus Gaye) → Founding member, drummer and vocalist in long-lived roots reggae Aswad (Arabic for “black”), “Don’t Turn Around” (UK #1, 1988), one of the most popular and successful Brit reggae bands, continues to record and tour with the band for a fifth decade in the 10s
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
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
1941 ● Terry Kirkman → Founding member, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter for light pop-rock vocal group The Association, wrote “Cherish” (#1, 1966)
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.
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)

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