This Week’s Birthdays (February 12 – 18)

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The Doors (Ray Manzarek, far right)

Happy Birthday this week to:

February 12
1867 ● Len Spencer / (Leonard Garfield Spencer) → Early American phonograph recording star during the transition from cylinders to vinyl discs, two of his more popular songs were the vaudevillian “A Hot Time In The Old Town” (ca. 1897) and the comedy/satire “Arkansas Traveler” (1902), left the industry around 1910 to open a talent booking agency and died from a heart attack on 12/15/1914, age 47.
1904 ● Ted Mack / (William Edward Maguiness) → Host of the TV variety show Ted Mack And The Original Amateur Hour from 1948 to 1970, featured early-career performances by Gladys Knight, Ann-Margret, Pat Boone and others, influenced future musical talent-seeking shows including The Gong Show, American Idol and America’s Got Talent, died from cancer on 7/12/1976, age 72
1914 ● Tex Beneke / (Gordon Lee Beneke) → Big Band-era saxophonist, singer and bandleader who played and snag with the Glenn Miller Orchestra on their hits “In The Mood” (#1, 1940) and “Chattanooga Choo Choo” (#1, 1941), took over leadership of the band in 1946 after Miller‘s death during World War II and later formed his own bands during a forty-year second career that lasted until his death from reparatory failure on 5/30/2000, age 86
1915 ● Lorne Greene / (Lyon Himan Green) → Canadian-born CBC radio newscaster, stage, film and TV actor, and country-pop singer with several albums and a lone hit, the spoken-word ballad “Ringo” (#1, 1964), the second Canadian to have a US #1 single in the U.S., best known for starring in the NBC TV western Bonanza (1959-73), died from prostate cancer on 9/11/1987, age 72
1920 ● Bill Pitman / (William Keith Pitman) → Guitarist, session musician and member of the acclaimed and elite group of L.A.-based session players known as The Wrecking Crew, played on hundreds of the biggest hits and top albums of the 60s, including The Beach Boys‘ “Good Vibrations (#1, 1966) and the ukulele part on “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head” (#1, 1969), recorded the soundtracks to over 200 feature films, from MAS*H (1970) to Dirty Dancing (1987), and on dozens of TV theme songs, joined the MGM Hotel house band in Las Vegas in the late 70s and played there until retiring in 1989, suffered a fractured spine in a fall and died four weeks later on August 11, 2022, age 102.
1935 ● Gene McDaniels → R&B singer during the late 50s and early 60s development of classic soul music, “Tower of Strength” (#5, 1961) and five other Top 40 hits, wrote “Feel Like Makin’ Love” for Roberta Flack (#1, 1974), died at home of natural causes on 7/29/2011, age 76
1939 ● Ray Manzarek → Keyboards and backing vocals for influential/controversial rock band The Doors, “Hello, I Love You” (#1, 1968), member of supergroup Nite City and collaborations with Doors bandmate Robby Krieger, died of cancer on 5/20/2013, age 74
1942 ● Rick Frank → Founding member and drummer for jazz-psych-rock Elephant’s Memory, “Mongoose” (Top 100, 1969), which became the backing band for John Lennon and Yoko Ono in the early 70s, worked with Lennon on his 1972 album Some Time In New York City
1946 ● Pete Gage / (Peter Gage) → Blues-rock guitarist, vocalist, keyboards and harmonica player, played in Jet Harris‘s backing band in the 60s and various soul-blues-rock bands in the 70s, formed his own Pete Gage Expression in the 80s, frontman for the 90s lineup of Brit pub-rock Dr. Feelgood, “Milk And Alcohol” (UK #9, 1979), continues to perform with various rock acts into the 10s
1946 ● Joe Schermie → Original bassist for pop-rock Three Dog Night, “Joy To The World” (#1, 1971), left in 1973 to start pop-rock S. S. Fools and session work, died following a heart attack on 3/25/2002, age 56
1947 ● Shelbra Bennett Deane → Original member in R&B/soul vocal quartet The Soul Children, “I’ll Be The Other Woman” (#36, R&B #3, 1973), the group did not meet the expectations of Isaac Hayes and other Stax Records executives who created the group to offset the loss of departed duo Sam & Dave, died on 5/31/2013, age 66
1949 ● Goober Grin / (Stanley Knight) → Guitarist for Southern raunch-rock Black Oak Arkansas, “Jim Dandy To The Rescue” (#25, 1974), died from cancer on 2/16/2013, age 64.
1950 ● Steve Hackett → Joined prog-rock Genesis, “Your Own Special Way” (#62, 1977) in 1971, left in 1977 for solo career and eventually prog rock supergroup GTR, “When The Heart Rules The Mind” (#14, 1986) with Steve Howe of Yes
1951 ● G.L. Moore / (Gilbert Moore) → Drummer and vocals for Canadian power rock trio Triumph (“All The Way,” Mainstream Rock #2, 1983), owner of Metalworks Studios, Canada’s largest facility
1951 ● Vincent James → Vocals for Philly-style Brit R&B/soul Sweet Sensation, “Sad Sweet Dreamer” (#14, UK #1, 1975).
1952 ● Michael McDonald → Blue-eyed soul/pop backing singer with Steely Dan, lead vocals for California pop-rock The Doobie Brothers, “Listen To The Music” (#11, 1972), then Grammy-winning solo career, “Sweet Freedom” (#7, 1986)
1958 ● Grant McLennan → Bass, vocals and songwriter for Aussie alt pop-rock The Go-Betweens, “Was There Anything I Could Do?” (Modern Rock #16, 1988), then solo, died in his sleep at home in Brisbane, Australia on 5/6/2006, age 48
1959 ● Neil Conti → Percussion for Brit indie pop-rock Prefab Sprout, “If You Don’t Love Me” (Dance/Club #3, 1992)
1959 ● Omar Hakim → Session and touring drummer for Carly Simon, then joined jazz-rock fusion Weather Report, then sessions for Sting, Dire Straits, Madonna, Miles Davis and others, plus two solo albums
1966 ● Gary Whelan → Drummer for Manchester electro-dance club Happy Mondays, “Stinkin Thinkin” (Dance/Club #1, 1992)
1966 ● Paul Crook → Session and tour guitarist, now with Meat Loaf, formerly with Anthrax and Sebastian Bach
1968 ● Chynna Phillips → Vocals for pop-rock all-girl offspring trio Wilson Phillips, “Release Me” (#1, 1990), daughter of John and Michelle Phillips of The Mamas And The Papas
1970 ● Jim Creeggan / (James Raymond Creeggan) → Bassist for Canadian alt-rock Barenaked Ladies, “One Week” (#1, 1998)
1971 ● Kei Lewis → Keyboards and guitar for new jack swing R&B/soul-pop sextet Mint Condition, “What Kind Of Man Would I Be?” (#17, 1996)
1978 ● Brian Chase → Drummer in New York indie rock/punk revival trio Yeah Yeah Yeahs (“Maps,” #87, Alt. Rock #9, 2004)
1979 ● Jade Jones → Lead singer for Brit R&B/dance-pop boy band Damage, “Wonderful Tonight” (UK #3, 1997)
1981 ● Lisa Hannigan / (Lisa Margaret Hannigan) → Irish vocalist with folk-rock the Damien Rice Band, “Cannonball” (UK #32, 2002), then singer/songwriter solo career, “Lille” (2008)
1987 ● O’Ryan / (O’Ryan Omir Browner) → Urban teen R&B/dance-pop singer, “Take It Slow” (R&B #122, 2004), younger brother of Omarion

February 13
1919 ● Tennessee Ernie Ford / (Ernest Jennings Ford) → Country-pop singer and TV host who recorded over 100 albums from traditional country to gospel to early rock ‘n’ roll, “Sixteen Tons” (#1, 1955), died from alcoholic liver failure on 10/17/1991, age 72.
1920 ● Boudleaux Bryant → Prolific country and pop songwriter, with his wife Felice wrote “Rocky Top,” “Love Hurts,” “Bye Bye Love” (#2, 1957) and “All I Have To Do Is Dream” (#1, 1958) for The Everly Brothers, as well as “Raining In My Heart” for Buddy Holly, died on 6/25/1987, age 67
1923 ● Gene Ames / (Gene Ames (Urick)) → Vocals for sibling quartet Ames Brothers, “Rag Mop” (#1, 1950), starred in The Ames Brothers Show on TV, died of cancer on 4/4/1997, age 74
1928 ● Dottie McGuire / (Dorothy McGuire) → Middle of the immensely popular sibling close-harmony trio the McGuire Sisters, their 50s wholesome act produced nineteen Top 40 singles, including “Sincerely” (#1, 1955) and “Sugartime” (#1, 1958) during the early rock ‘n’ roll years, appeared on “Your Hit Parade” and other national TV variety programs, retired in 1968 to raise a family, reunited with her sisters in 1986 and performed on Las Vegas, New York and Atlantic City stages for two more decades, died from complications of Parkinson’s disease on 9/7/2012, age 84.
1942 ● Peter Tork / (Peter Halsten Thorkelson) → Struggling Greenwich Village folkie who found nearly instant fame after answering a casting call seeking actor/musicians for a new TV sitcom modeled on The Beatles‘ “A Hard Day’s Night ” and “Help!” movies, the show begat 60s bad-rap, pre-fab pop-rock The Monkees and six Top 10 hits, including “Last Train To Clarksville” (#1, 1966), continued to perform and record as a solo artist and bandleader for Shoe Suede Blues, as well as in Monkees reunion tours, until his death from cancer on 2/21/2019, age 77.
1943 ● Bill Szymczyk → Technical engineer and rock and blues music producer, worked with J. Geils Band, James Gang, The Outlaws, Bob Seger, The Who and Edgar Winter Group among many others, including a long association with the Eagles, for whom he produced the album Long Road Out Of Eden in 2007
1944 ● Bettye Swann / (Betty Jean Champion) → One hit wonder R&B/Southern soul singer, “Make Me Yours” (#21, R&B #1, 1967), now a retired teacher
1944 ● Stockard Channing / (Susan Antonia Williams Stockard) → Stage, film and TV actress who portrayed Betty Rizzo in the film adaptation of the Broadway show Grease (1977) and sang lead vocals on “Look At Me I’m Sandra Dee” on the film’s soundtrack album, the highest selling movie soundtrack of all time.
1944 ● Reebop / (Anthony Kwaku Baah) → Ghanaian percussionist and singer with Traffic, Can and Zahara, plus sessions for Steve Winwood and The Rolling Stones, and four solo LPs mixing traditional African sounds with dance-pop contemporary music, died from a cerebral hemorrhage on 1/12/1983, age 38
1945 ● Roy Dyke → Drummer in 60s Brit pop-rock The Remo Four, then art rock Ashton, Gardner & Dyke, “Resurrection Shuffle” (#40, UK #3, 1971)
1945 ● King Floyd / (King Floyd III) → New Orleans R&B/soul singer and songwriter with several minor chart singles and one big hit, “Groove Me” (#6 R&B #1, UK $#41, 1970), died from complications of a stroke on 3/6/2006 , age 61
1949 ● Judy Dyble / (Judith Aileen Dyble) → British singer-songwriter and founding member of influential progressive folk-rock ensemble Fairport Convention, left the band following release of their eponymous first album and before a subsequent charting single “Si Tu Dos Partir” (UK #21, 1969), joined a short-lived precursor to prog rock King Crimson but left to raise a family and perform in various folk-rock groups and Fairport reunions over the next 40 years, died from apparent lung cancer on 7/12/2020, age 71.
1950 ● Peter Gabriel → Founding member and leader of prog rock Genesis, left in 1976 to start art rock then successful mainstream pop solo career, “Sledgehammer” (#1, 1986)
1950 ● Roger Christian → Keyboards and vocals for blue-eyed soul sibling trio The Christians, “When Fingers Point” (Dance/Club #29, 1988), left in 1987, died from a brain tumor on 3/8/1998, age 48
1951 ● David Naughton → Actor and singer, starred in the TV sitcom Makin’ It and became a one hit wonder pop singer with the release of the show’s theme song, “Makin’ It” (#5, 1979), later starred in the film American Werewolf In London (1981) and appeared in several 80s and 90s TV sitcoms
1951 ● Rod Dees → Bassist for Brit rock ‘n’ roll revival Showaddywaddy, “Under The Moon Of Love” (UK #1, 1976) and over 20 other UK Top 40 singles
1952 ● Paul Jeffreys → Bassist for glam-rock Cockney Rebel and later Be-Bop Deluxe, died with his new wife on the way to their honeymoon in the bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland on 12/21/1988, age 36
1952 ● Ed Gagliardi / (Edward John Gagliardi) → Original bassist for arena rock Foreigner, “Double Vision” (#2, 1978), left to form The Spys with Foreigner keyboardist Al Greenwood in 1978, died from cancer on 5/11/2014, age 62
1955 ● Scott Smith / (Donald Scott Smith) → Founding member and bassist for Canadian hard pop-rock Loverboy, “Turn Me Loose” (#35, Main #6, AUS #3, CAN #7, 1981) and eight other Top 40 hits, presumed drowned at sea when swept overboard from his 11-metre sailboat near the Golden Gate Bridge while from Vancouver to Baja California on 10/30/2000, age 45
1956 ● Peter Hook → Bassist for post-punk Joy Division, then New Wave synth-dance-pop New Order, “Blue Monday” (Dance #5, 1983)
1957 ● Tony Butler / (Anthony Earle Peter Butler) → Bassist for Scottish art-folk-rock Big Country, “In A Big Country” (Mainstream Rock #3, 1983), sessions for The Pretenders, Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend and others
1958 ● Marc Fox → Percussion and vocals for New Wave funk-pop Haircut 100, “Love Plus One” (#37, 1982)
1961 ● cEvin Key / (Kevin William Crompton) → Multi-instrumentalist and founding member of Canadian avant-industrial rock Skinny Puppy, “Testure” (Dance/Club #19, 1989), after disbandment in 1995 founded industrial noise group Download and issued several solo albums
1961 ● Henry Rollins / (Henry Lawrence Garfield) → Singer, songwriter, MTV host, record producer and frontman for hardcore L.A. punk Black Flag and the Rollins Band
1961 ● Les Warner → Former drummer with hard rock/metal revival The Cult, “Fire Woman” (Mainstream Rock #4, 1989), now with a Vegas hotel house band
1962 ● Rob Ellis → Producer, arranger and drummer for singer/songwriter P. J. Harvey, “50 ft Queenie” (UK #27, 1993) including her alt rock/punk-revival trio PJ Harvey
1966 ● Freedom Williams / (Frederick Brandon Williams) → Lead vocals for dance-pop C+C Music Factory, “Gonna Make You Sweat” (#1, 1991), left for an unsuccessful solo career
1971 ● Sonia / (Sonia Evans) → Brit pop singer, “You’ll Never Stop Me Loving You” (UK #1, 1989) and “Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy” (Adult Contemporary #13, 1992)
1972 ● Todd Harrell → Bassist for post-grunge alt rock 3 Doors Down, “Kryptonite” (#3, 2000)
1973 ● David Draiman → Lead vocals/songwriter for Chicago-based heavy metal Disturbed, “Another Way To Die” (Mainstream Rock #1, 2010)
1974 ● Robbie Williams → Vocals for Brit teen dance-pop boy-band Take That, “Back For Good” (#7, 1995), then solo, “Millennium” (Adult Top 40 #22, 1999)
1976 ● Leslie Feist → Award-winning Canadian singer, songwriter and guitarist with Broken Social Scene, “1 2 3 4” (UK #4, 2007), solo
1988 ● Aston Merrygold → Vocals for Brit teen pop boy-band JLS (Jack The Lad Swing), “Everybody In Love” (Mainstream Top 40 #38, 2010)

February 14
1922 ● Murray The K / (Murray Kaufman) → Legendary rock ‘n’ roll impresario and radio DJ (WINS-am, WOR-FM, New York), self-appointed “Fifth Beatle” in the mid 60s, died of cancer on 2/21/1982, age 60
1926 ● Al Brodax / (Albert Philip Brodax) → TV producer with King Features Syndicate in the 60s, produced hundreds of “Popeye” cartoons and created the ABC-TV cartoon series The Beatles (1965-1969), then (over the Beatles‘ objections) convinced band manager Brian Epstein to back the now-classic, psychedelic “head trip” animated motion picture Yellow Submarine (1968), died from natural causes on 10/24/2016, age 90
1931 ● Phyllis McGuire / (Phyllis Jean McGuire) → Youngest and last surviving of the immensely popular sibling close-harmony trio the McGuire Sisters, their 50s wholesome act produced nineteen Top 40 singles, including “Sincerely” (#1, 1955) and “Sugartime” (#1, 1958) during the early rock ‘n’ roll years, appeared on “Your Hit Parade” and other national TV variety programs, disbanded in 1968 when the group was reportedly blacklisted for her romantic ties to mobster Sam Giancana, reunited with her sisters in 1986 and performed on Las Vegas, New York and Atlantic City stages for two more decades, lived in a lavish Las Vegas mansion until her death from natural causes on 12/29/2020, age 89.
1934 ● Merl Saunders → Multi-genre keyboardist, early bandmate with Johnny Mathis, collaborated with Jerry Garcia, the Grateful Dead, Mike Bloomfield, David Grisman and many other San Francisco artists in various bands, tours and recording projects, fronted his own bands and issued several albums of rock, blues-rock and New Age music, directed his own music label and worked with environmental charities, died from complications of a stroke on 10/24/2008, age 78.
1934 ● Florence Henderson → Actress and singer with a six-decade career on stage, film and TV, appeared in multiple Broadway shows and as the lead in the musical Fanny (1954-1956), hosted her own variety and cooking TV programs and guested on game shows, issued two albums of Broadway songs, appeared on Dancing With The Stars at age 76, best known as the upbeat mom Carol Brady on the hit sitcom The Brady Brunch (1969-1974), died of sudden heart failure on 11/24/2016, age 82.
1937 ● Magic Sam / (Samuel Gene Maghett) → Chicago blues guitarist and singer, “Feelin’ Good (We’re Gonna Boogie)” (1963), died from a heart attack on 12/1/1969, age 32
1939 ● Blowfly / (Clarence Reid) → Mildly successful R&B/soul singer (“Nobody But You Babe,” #40, R&B #7, 1969) and songwriter for himself and others, but best known for his alternate stage persona, the X-rated, proto-rapper Blowfly, under which he continued to perform and record until dying from liver cancer on 1/17/2016, age 76
1940 ● Lillie Bryant → One half of the pop vocal duo Billy & Lillie, “La Dee Dah” (#9, 1958) and two other Top 100 hits in the late 50s
1943 ● Eric Andersen → Greenwich Village folk singer/songwriter, “Thirsty Boots” (1966), continues to tour and release occasional albums
1943 ● Maceo Parker → R&B/soul, funk and jazz saxophonist, played with James Brown in the 60s and George Clinton‘s Parliament/Funkadelic bands in the 70s, started a solo career in the 90s and issued eleven albums of soul/funk music, handled session work for Prince, Jane’s Addiction and others
1944 ● Nick Mason → Drummer and only constant member of space rock Pink Floyd since it formed in 1965, “Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2)” (#1, 1979), auto racing driver
1944 ● Alan Parker / (Sir Alan William Parker) → Highly-decorated British filmmaker and producer known for directing some of the the most successful musical films of the late 20th Century, including Fame (1980), Pink Floyd – The Wall (1982), The Commitments (1991) and the Madonna vehicle Evita (1996), plus other films with more controversial subjects, Midnight Express (1978), Mississippi Burning (1988), The Life of David Gale (2003) among them, died following a lengthy but undisclosed illness on 7/31/2020, age 75.
1945 ● Vic Briggs → Lead guitar for British Invasion hard/blues-rock The Animals, “House Of The Rising Sun” (#1, 1964)
1946 ● Doug Simril → Piano and guitar for blues-rock then psych-rock then pop-rock Steve Miller Band, “The Joker” (#1, 1974) and Boz Scaggs‘ backing band
1947 ● Tim Buckley / (Timothy Charles Buckley III) → Innovative, genre-blurring folk-psych-prog-rock singer and songwriter with little commercial success but plenty of influences, including his folk-rock and blues singer/songwriter son Jeff Buckley, died from a drug overdose on 6/29/1975, age 28
1950 ● Roger Fisher → Guitarist and founding member of hard rock Heart, “Magic Man” (#9, 1976), left in 1980 and in 1988 co-founded Canadian power ballad rock Alias, “More Than Words Can Say” (#2, 1990)
1951 ● Kenny Hyslop → Scottish journeyman drummer with glam-rock Slik, punk rock The Skids, synth-pop Simple Minds, “Don’t You, Forget About Me” (#1, 1985) and others
1951 ● Sylvain Sylvain / (Sylvain Sylvain Mizrahi) → Egypt-born, Syrian-descent Jewish guitarist and co-founder of early and short-lived, but highly influential proto-punk New York Dolls (“Personality Crisis,” 1973), one of the earliest bands in the nascent New York punk scene who mostly invented the loud, brash, campy-glam sound perfected by others in coming years, including The Ramones, Television and the Sex Pistols, after the Dolls dissolved in 1977 fronted his own groups before joining former bandmate David Johansen for Dolls reunion tours, three albums and a documentary film between 2004 and 2011, continued to perform until contracting cancer in 2019, died from the disease on 1/13/2021, age 69.
1963 ● D’wayne Wiggins → R&B and blues guitarist, producer, composer and community activist, with his brother, Raphael Saadiq and cousin, Timothy Christian, founded R&B/dance Tony! Toni! Toné! (“Feels Good,” #9, R&B #1, 1990), developed and signed Destiny’s Child – the most successful girl group of all time – to his Grass Roots Entertainment label, worked with Alicia Keys, India Arie, Jamie Foxx and others, continues to tour with a reformed Tony! Toni! Toné!
1967 ● Jason Rainey → Co-founder and rhythm guitarist for heavy metal Sacred Reich, one of the leading bands in the second wave of thrash metal music during the late 80s, played and toured as a key member of the group from 1985 to their 2000 break-up, rejoined in 2006 but replaced for medical reasons before their 2019 comeback album Awakening was recorded, died from a heart attack on 3/16/2020, age 53.
1972 ● Rob Thomas → Lead singer and principal songwriter for post-grunge alt rock Matchbox Twenty, “Bent” (#1, 2000), solo, vocals for Santana on pop-rock “Smooth” (#1, 1999)
1975 ● Scott Owen → Stand-up bassist, singer and occasional songwriter for Aussie rockabilly The Living End, “Prisoner Of Society” (Modern Rock #23, 1997)
1977 ● Sean Watkins → Guitarist for Grammy-winning contemporary folk/progressive bluegrass trio Nickel Creek, “This Side” (Country #56, 2002), duo Fiction Family, supergroup Works Progress Administration and solo
1978 ● Ryan Griffiths → Lead guitarist for Aussie garage rock revival The Vines, “Get Free” (Mainstream Rock #27, 2002)
1980 ● Regina Spektor → Russian-American anti-folk/alt-rock singer, songwriter and pianist, “Fidelity” (#51, 2006) and the #3 album Far (2006)

February 15
1888 ● Lawrence Wright → Brit record shop owner and music publisher who founded Melody Maker magazine in 1926 and wrote or co-wrote over 600 songs between World War I and the early 60s, including “Among My Souvenirs” for Paul Whiteman (#1, 1928) and Connie Francis (#7, 1959), Melody Maker failed to report his death on 5/19/1964, age 76.
1905 ● Harold Arlen → Composer and songsmith with over 500 song credits, co-wrote the Oscar-winning “Over The Rainbow” and other songs in the movie The Wizard Of Oz (1939), other credits include “That Old Black Magic” (Glenn Miller, #1, 1942) and “Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate The Positive” (The Pied Pipers, #2, 1945) and several other songs now included in the Great American Songbook, died from cancer on 4/23/1986, age 81.
1918 ● Hank Locklin / (Lawrence Hankins Locklin) → Country-pop crossover singer and songwriter with 70 chart singles, including six Country #1’s and the crossover hit “Please Help Me, I’m Falling” (#8, Country #1, 1960), died from unreported causes on 3/8/2009, age 91
1939 ● Alvin Cash / (Alvin Welch) → St. Louis high schoolmate of Luther Ingram and Tina Turner, then fronted song-and-dance troupe The Crawlers with two brothers, their chanting, funky R&B/dance “Twine Time” (#14, R&B #4, 1965) was one of five hits he recorded with the group or as a solo act, died from ulcer problems on 11/21/1999, age 60
1940 ● Les Brown,, Jr. / (Lester Raymond Brown, Jr.) → TV actor in the 60s, Music of Your Life and Sirius XM radio program host, musician, and son of Big Band frontman Les Brown, took over The Band of Renown after his father’s death in 2001 and continued to perform on international stages and on a regular basis in Branson, Missouri, produced albums and promoted concerts in Branson for Loretta Lynn, Merle Haggard and many others over the years, died from lung cancer on 1/9/2023, age 82.
1941 ● Brian HollandMotown musical arranger and producer with the Holland-Dozier-Holland songwriting team, co-wrote dozens of hits for The Supremes, The Four Tops, Martha & The Vandellas, The Isley Brothers and others, issued solo albums.
1942 ● Glyn Johns → Recording engineer and producer, mixed The Who‘s Who’s Next album, worked with Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, The BeatlesLet It Be sessions, Joan Armatrading, Steve Miller, Eagles, The Faces and Led Zeppelin
1944 ● Denny Zager → Vocals in folk-pop-rock one hit wonder duo Zager & Evans, “In The Year 2525” (#1, 1969)
1944 ● John Parry → Session musician and early member of Brit comedy-rock Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, “I’m The Urban Spaceman” (UK #5, 1968)
1944 ● Mick Avory / (Michael Charles Avory) → Drummer for Brit folk-pop-rock The Kinks, “You Really Got Me” (#7, 1964) from 1964 to 1984, played in various 60s revival and Kinks spin-off bands through the 00s
1945 ● John Helliwell → Saxophonist for Brit prog-art-pop-rock Supertramp, “The Logical Song” (#6, 1979)
1947 ● David Brown → Bassist for Latin-rock Santana, “Black Magic Woman” (#4, 1970) and the Boz Scaggs band, died from liver and kidney failure on 9/4/2000, age 53
1951 ● Melissa Manchester → Folk-pop/adult contemporary singer and songwriter, “Midnight Blue” (#6, 1975), TV, film and stage actress
1951 ● Alan Rogan → Freelance guitar technician with dozens of superstar and guitar-god clients, including Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, Tom Petty and Jackson Browne, but closest and longest relationship with The Who and Pete Townshend, for whom he repaired scores of guitars smashed onstage as part of his act, played bass and fronted his own band, BluesClub, died of cancer on 7/3/2019, age 68.
1953 ● John Goodsall → British-American jazz/rock fusion and progressive rock guitarist with a number of groups as a teen in the 60s, briefly played with funk rock Atomic Rooster in the early 70 using the stage name Johnny Mandala, left and co-founded jazz fusion Brand X (along with Phil Collins on drums) and played on every album released by the group over forty years (except two live albums in the 10s), worked as an L.A. sessions musician in the studio band Zoo Drive in the 80s, fronted prog rock The Fire Merchants in the 90s, died from undisclosed causes on 11/11/2021, age 68.
1954 ● David Ricketts → Vocals, guitar and keyboards for New Wave synth-pop duo David & David, “Welcome To The Boomtown”(Top Rock #8, 1986), collaborated with Sheryl Crow
1959 ● Ali Campbell / (Alistair Ian Campbell) → Vocals for multiracial reggae-pop UB40, “Red Red Wine” (#1, 1988) and over 30 other Top 40 hits
1960 ● Mikey Craig / (Michael Emile Craig) → Bassist for new romantic synth-pop Culture Club, “Karma Chameleon” (#12, 1984)
1962 ● David Milner → With twin brother Mike, vocals in Brit R&B/neo-soul-funk The Pasadenas, “Tribute (Right On)” (Dance/Club #27, UK #5, 1988)
1962 ● Mike Milner / (Michael Milner) → With twin brother David, vocals in Brit R&B/neo-soul-funk The Pasadenas, “Tribute (Right On)” (Dance/Club #27, UK #5, 1988)
1974 ● Mr. Lordi / (Tomi Petteri Putaansuu) → Founder and lead vocalist for Finnish heavy metal monster-masked Lordi, winners if 2006 Eurovision Song Contest with “Hard Rock Hallelujah”
1974 ● Stuart Richardson → Bassist for Welsh alt hard rock Lostprophets, “Last Train Home” (Mainstream Rock #10, 2004)
1976 ● Brandon Boyd → Co-founder and lead vocals for alt-metal Incubus, “Drive” (#9, 2001), solo albums and author
1976 ● Ronnie Vannucci, Jr. → Drummer for pop-alt hard rock The Killers, “Mr. Brightside” (#10, 2005)
1977 ● Brooks Wackerman → Drummer for funk-metal Infectious Grooves, in 2001 joined hardcore punk Bad Religion, “Infected” (Mainstream Rock #33, 1995), plus numerous side projects and sessions
1980 ● Conor Oberst → Frontman, guitarist, lead vocals and songwriter for indie rock Bright Eyes, “Lua” (Hot Singles #1, 2004)
1981 ● Olivia Theresa Longott → R&B/hip hop soul singer, member of G-Unit Records house band, vocalist on 50 Cent‘s “Candy Shop” (#1, 2005) plus two solo albums
1984 ● Gary Clark, Jr. → Acclaimed Texas blues, blues-rock and R&B guitarist and actor whom Jambase.com called “the future of Texas Blues,” his 2012 major-label debut LP Blak And Blu reached #6 in the U.S., the Netherlands and New Zealand, recorded with Sheryl Crow, Alicia Keys and Foo Fighters, among others

February 16
1916 ● Bill Doggett → Piano jazz and organ-based R&B/honky tonk composer, arranger and performer of mostly instrumentals, his biggest and lasting hit being “Honky Tonk” (#2, R&B #1, 1956), died of a heart attack on 11/13/1996, age 80
1918 ● Patty Andrews / (Patricia Marie Andrews) → Vocals in hugely popular pre-60s all-girl sibling pop vocal trio The Andrews Sisters, “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” (#6, 1941), died from natural causes on 1/30/2013, age 94
1924 ● Jo Walker-Meador / (Edith Jospehine Denning) → First paid employee of the start-up Country Music Association, rose from secretary to a three-decade tenure as executive director, oversaw the growth of the organization from 200 to over 7,000 members, opened the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, started the CMA Awards and CMA Fest, retired in 1991 and elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1995, died from natural causes on 8/15/2017, age 93
1932 ● Otis Blackwell → Prolific early rock ‘n’ roll songwriter and producer, wrote “All Shook Up”, “Return To Sender”, “Don’t Be Cruel”, “Great Balls Of Fire” and “Fever”, among many other hits recorded by a multitude of artists, died from a heart attack on 5/6/2002, age 70
1934 ● Hal Kalin / (Harold Kalin) → With twin brother Herbie, pop/rock ‘n’ roll one hit wonder duo The Kalin Twins, “When” (#5, 1958), the first twins to score a #1 hit, died from injuries in an auto accident on 8/24/2005, age 71
1934 ● Herbie Kalin / (Herbert Kalin) → With twin brother Hal, pop/rock ‘n’ roll one hit wonder duo The Kalin Twins, “When” (#5, 1958), the first twins to score a #1 hit, died from a heart attack on 7/21/2006, age 72
1935 ● Sonny Bono / (Salvatore Phillip Bono) → TV actor, musician, producer and singer with partner/wife in pop-rock Sonny & Cher, “I Got You Babe” (#1, 1965), elected mayor of Palm Springs, CA in 1988 and to the US Congress in 1994 (R-Cal.), died in a skiing accident on 1/5/1998, age 62
1940 ● Leon Ware → Jazz and R&B songwriter and producer, helped define the silky-smooth sound of “quiet storm” R&B, collaborated with The Isley Brothers, Quincy Jones, Minnie Riperton, Michael Jackson and others but is best known for co-writing and producing Marvin Gaye‘s 1976 album I Want You (#4, R&B #1, 1976), died from complications of prostate cancer on 2/23/2017, age 77
1944 ● Betty Thatcher / (Betty Mary Newsinger) → Chief lyricist for Brit folk/prog rock Renaissance (“Northern Lights,” UK #10, 1978) from the late 60s through the mid-80s then for various reformed variants, spinoffs and unrelated artists until her death from cancer on 8/15/2011, age 67
1946 ● Marvin Sease → Novelty R&B singer and songwriter known for his explicit lyrics and ladies’ man persona, his single “Ghetto Man” (1986) and the 10-minute “Candy Licker” (1987) became favorites in clubs and on jukeboxes across the Deep South and produced a cult following despite little radio airplay, his 15 studio albums had little commercial success except for Marvin Sease (#114, R&B #14, 1987), died from pneumonia on 2/8/2011, age 64
1949 ● Lyn Paul / (Lynda Susan Belcher) → Vocals for folk-sunshine pop The New Seekers, “I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing” (#7, 1972)
1953 ● Brad Bradbury / (John Bradbury) → Drummer in multiracial English ska revival band The Specials (“Ghost Town,” UK #1, 1981) and follow-on The Specials AKA, dropped out of music in the mid-80s but resurfaced for The Specials reunion in 2010, died from undisclosed causes on 1/28/2015, age 62
1956 ● James Ingram → Grammy-winning R&B/soul-pop singer, songwriter, musician and producer with eight Top 40 hits to his credit, including the duet with Patti Austin, “Baby, Come to Me” (#1, 1982), his solo “I Don’t Have The Heart” (#1, 1990) and a duet with Linda Ronstadt, “Somewhere Out There” (#2, 1987), collaborated with Quincy Jones on multiple projects: the all-star charity single “We Are the World” (worldwide #1, 1985); the soundtrack to the Steven Spielberg film The Color Purple (1985); singing on Jones’s 1989 album, Back On The Block; and co-writing Michael Jackson’s hit “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)” (#10, 1983), died from brain cancer on 1/29/2019, age 66.
1958 ● Ice-T / (Tracy Morrow) → Grammy-winning R&B/hip hop producer and rapper, “New Jack Hustler” (Hot Rap Singles #3, 1991), founded rap metal Body Count and wrote lyrics to controversial song “Cop Killer” (1992), TV actor and host
1961 ● Andy Taylor → Guitarist for New Wave pop-rock Duran Duran, “Hungry Like The Wolf” (#3, 1982), left in 1985 to form Power Station, “Some Like It Hot” (#6, 1985), later joined hard rock Thunder, “Dirty Love” (Mainstream Rock #10, 1991)
1962 ● Tony Kiley → Drummer for New Wave pop-rock Blow Monkeys, “Digging Your Scene” (#14, 1986)
1963 ● Chris Duarte → Texas blues-rock and jazz fusion singer, songwriter and guitarist, “Cleopatra” (Mainstream Rock #40, 1997)
1965 ● Dave Lombardo → Co-founder and drummer for “Big Four” thrash metal Slayer, “Hate Worldwide” (#2, 2009)
1967 ● Damon Reece → Drummer for gloomy post-punk Echo & The Bunnymen, then space rock/trance rock Spiritualized, “Lazer Guided Melodies” (UK #27, 1992)
1971 ● Steven Houghton → Brit stage and TV actor, singer and songwriter, “Wind Beneath My Wings” (UK #3, 1997)
1977 ● Brad Walst → Bassist for Canadian alt rock/punk metal band Three Days Grace, “Just Like You” (Mainstream Rock #1, 2004)
1990 ● The Weeknd / (Abel Testaye) → Juno-winning Canadian rapper whose career took off after he anonymously uploaded several tracks to YouTube under his stage name, later released multiple mixtapes, albums and single, including “Can’t Feel My Face” (#1, 2015),

February 17
1902 ● Hoppy Jones / (Orville Jones) → Founding member, bass, vocals and string instruments for pioneering black R&B/doo wop group The Ink Spots, “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore” (#2, R&B #1, 1943), de facto leader due to his seniority and ability to control egos of younger members, died from a cerebral hemorrhage at the height of the band’s popularity after collapsing on stage in New York City during a performance on 10/18/1944, age 42.
1922 ● Tommy Edwards / (Thomas J. Edwards) → One hit wonder R&B/soul singer, “It’s All In The Game” (#1, 1958), died after suffering a brain aneurysm on 10/22/1969, age 47
1935 ● Johnny Bush / (John Bush Shinn III) → Texas honky tonk and hardcore country singer and songwriter nicknamed the “Country Caruso” for his smooth, full-range vocals, played with Willie Nelson in Ray Price‘s early 60s backing band and in Nelson‘s band The Record Men, issued several solo albums in the 70s and charted four Country Top 20 hits including the classic he co-wrote, “Whiskey River” (Country #14, 1972, which later became Nelson‘s signature song and Country #12, 1978), suffered a rare neurological disorder in the mid-70s and lost most of his voice, recovered by 1986 and resumed his performing and recording careers, including appearances at Nelson’s annual 4th of July Picnic, died from pneumonia on 10/16/2020, age 85.
1939 ● John Leyton → Brit teen idol pop singer and actor, “Johnny Remember Me” (UK #1, 1961)
1940 ● Gene Pitney → Stalwart pop/rock singer, musician and sound engineer with multiple hits prior to and during the 60s British Invasion, including “(The Man Who Shot) Liberty Valance” (#4, 1962), also wrote hits for others, including “Rubber Ball”, “He’s A Rebel” and “Hello Mary Lou”, died in his sleep on 4/5/2006 while on tour in the UK
1947 ● Dodie Stevens / (Geraldine Ann Pasquale) → Girl-group era teenage pop one hit wonder singer, “Pink Shoe Laces” (#3, 1959)
1949 ● Doyle Bramhall → Austin, Texas blues-rock drummer, played with Jimmie Vaughan in several bands in the 60s, formed The Nightcrawlers with Texas rock legend Stevie Ray Vaughan and wrote or co-wrote several songs for SRV, played with both Vaughans on their 1990 album Family Style, died from a heat attack on 11/12/2011, age 62
1949 ● Harvey “Burley” Jett / (William Harvey Jett) → Original lead guitarist for early 70s Southern raunch-rock Black Oak Arkansas, played in the band’s vaunted twin-guitar attack alongside Stanley “Goober Grin” Knight through their first seven albums and lone hit, “Jim Dandy To The Rescue” (#25, 1974), left in 1974 for religious reasons and lived out of the limelight until his death from undisclosed on 12/21/2022, age 73.
1950 ● Rickey Medlocke → Founder and guitarist for Southern rock turned hard rock Blackfoot, “Highway Song” (#26, 1979), joined cross-town Jacksonville, FL rivals Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1996
1966 ● Melissa Brooke-Belland → With sister Tracey Bryn, frontgal, vocals and guitar in college rock/indie pop-rock Voice Of The Beehive, “Scary Kisses” (Mainstream Top 40 #32, 1996), daughter of Bruce Belland of 50s pop vocal quartet The Four Preps
1967 ● Chanté Moore → Award-winning adult contemporary R&B singer, “Chante’s Got a Man” (#10, 1999), occasional stage actress and TV host
1970 ● Tim Mahoney → Lead guitarist for hip hop/reggae/punk rock fusion band 311, “Love Song” (#59, Modern Rock #1, 200$)
1972 ● Billie Joe Armstrong → Guitars, vocals and songwriting for post-grunge alt rock punk revival Green Day, “Boulevard Of Broken Dreams” (#2, 2004)
1972 ● Taylor Hawkins / (Oliver Taylor Hawkins) → Spirited, surfer-good-looks drummer for Alanis Morissette‘s touring band, in 1997 joined Grammy-winning alt-rock Foo Fighters (“Learn To Fly,” Mainstream #2, 1999), drumming on nine studio albums through 2021 and earning a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with his bandmates, voted “Best Rock Drummer” in 2005 by the British drumming magazine Rhythm, released three albums as a side project called Taylor Hawkins And The Coattail Riders, including Get the Money (2019) featuring guest appearances by Joe Walsh (Eagles), Chrissie Hynde (The Pretenders), Nancy Wilson (Heart) and Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters), while on tour with the Foo Fighters was found unresponsive in a Bogotá, Colombia hotel and died from a suspected drug overdose on 3/25/2022, age 50.
1974 ● Bryan White → Country-pop crossover singer and songwriter with eight Country Top 10 and four Country #1 hits, seven of which crossed-over to the lower pop charts, including “I’m Not Supposed To Love You Anymore” (#101, Country #4, 1996), currently crowd-funding a new independent album through Kickstarter
1977 ● Chris Gentry → Guitarist for short-lived, super-hyped 90s Britpop Menswear, “Being Brave” (UK #10, 1996)
1978 ● Svein Berge → Norwegian electronic musician and one half of the duo Royksopp (“Do It Again,” Dance #1, 2014), worked on several remixes for Coldplay, Depeche Mode and others
1981 ● John Hassall → Bassist for indie/punk revival The Libertines, “Can’t Stand Me Now” (UK #2, 2004), now fronting indie psych-rock Yeti
1981 ● Paris Hilton → Socialite, heiress to a share of the Hilton Hotel fortune, reality TV actress, fashion model, tabloid fodder, Internet sex tape star and sometime dance-pop singer, “Stars Are Blind” (#18, Dance/Club #1, 2006)
1982 ● Lupe Fiasco / (Wasalu Muhammad Jaco) → Record producer, music entrepreneur, MC and Grammy-winning rapper, “Superstar” (#10, 2007), CEO of 1st and 15th Entertainment
1988 ● Arin Ilejay / (Richard Arin Ilejay) → Former drummer for metalcore Confide and heavy metal Avenged Sevenfold, “Bat Country” (#60, Mainstream Rock #2, 2005)
1989 ● Stacey McClean → Vocals in pre-fab teen pop S Club Juniors (a spin-off of S Club 7), “One Step Closer” (UK #2, 2002) and six other UK Top 15 hits in two years
1991 ● Ed Sheeran → Indie folk-pop and R&B singer, songwriter and guitarist, started with self-issued releases in 2005 before signing with Atlantic Records in 2011, since then has charted eight UK Top 10 singles, including “Thinking Out Loud” (#2, UK #1, 2014)

February 18
1914 ● Pee Wee King / (Julius Frank Anthony Kuczynski) → Early country-pop crossover singer and songwriter known for co-writing the country music standard “The Tennessee Waltz” (Country #3, 1948) and for three crossover hits in the early 50s, including “Slow Poke” (#1, Country #1, 1951), died following a heart attack on 3/7/2000, age 86
1933 ● Yoko Ono → Artist, poet, singer, bandleader of The Plastic Ono Band, widowed wife of Beatle John Lennon and mother of Sean Ono Lennon
1934 ● Skip Battin / (Clyde Raybould Battin) → Bassist, backing vocalist and occasional songwriter for The Byrds, Flying Burrito Bros., New Riders Of The Purple Sage, plus session work for several other country-rock bands into the 90s, a solo album Topanga Skyline, recorded in 1973, was issued in 2012 after his death from complications of Alzheimer’s disease on 7/6/2003, age 69
1939 ● Bobby Hart / (Robert Luke Harshman) → In collaboration with Tommy Boyce, pop singer, “I Wonder What She’s Doing Tonight” (#8, 1968) and the prolific Boyce & Hart hit songwriting team, “Last Train To Clarksville” (The Monkees, #1, 1966) plus dozens more Top 40 hits and over 300 songs
1939 ● Bobby Taylor / (Robert Edward Taylor) → R&B/soul singer, songwriter and frontman for doo wop Little Daddy & The Bachelors and later Bobby Taylor & The Vancouvers, with whom he recorded a lone Top 30 hit, “Does Your Mama Know About Me? (#29, R&B #5, 1968), his Vancouver bandmate, Tommy Chong, went on to become a well-known comedian, also known as the producer who discovered and nurtured The Jackson 5 for Motown Records, died from cancer on 7/22/2017, age 78
1941 ● Herman Santiago → Original lead vocals for The Premiers, which became influential R&B/doo wop Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers, “Why Do Fools Fall In Love?” (R&B #1,1956), a song Santiago claimed to have written but lost his law suit (and millions of potential royalties)
1941 ● Irma Thomas / (Irma Lee) → The “Soul Queen of New Orleans,” acclaimed and Grammy-winning R&B/soul diva, “Wish Someone Would Care” (#17, 1964), never achieved the commercial success of her artistic peers, Aretha Franklin and Etta James, continues to record and perform into the 10s
1941 ● David Blue / ((David Stuart Cohen) → Greenwich Village folk revival singer, songwriter and record producer with seven solo albums in the 60s and 70s, participated in Bob Dylan‘s Rolling Thunder Revue in the mid-70s, and appeared in several movies and stage shows before dying from a heart attack while jogging in New York City on 12/2/1982, age 41
1945 ● Jimmy Jewell → Backing band bassist for folk/pop duo Gallagher & Lyle, “I Wanna Stay With You” (#49, UK #6, 1976)
1946 ● Buddy Cage → Longtime pedal steel guitarist for pioneering psychedelic country rock New Riders Of The Purple Sage (“Panama Red,” 1973), also toured and did session work for The Band, David Bromberg, Grateful Dead members Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir and many others, played on four Anne Murray and three Bob Dylan albums, including Blood On The Tracks (#1, 1975), founded hard-rock group The San Francisco All-Stars in 1978, continued to tour and record with NRPS until dying after an eight-year struggle with multiple myeloma (blood cancer) on 2/4/2020, age 73.
1947 ● Dennis De Young → Vocals and keyboards for prototypical arena rock band Styx, “Too Much Time On My Hands” (#9, 1981), solo
1948 ● Keith Knudsen → Drummer and vocals for California soul-pop-rock The Doobie Brothers, “What A Fool Believes” (#1, 1979), co-founded country-rock Southern Pacific in 1982, reunited with the Doobies in 1993, died from complications of pneumonia on 2/8/2005, age 56
1952 ● Juice Newton / (Judy Kay Newton) → Country-pop and roots-rock singer/songwriter, “Angel Of The Morning” (#4, 1981) and “Queen Of Hearts” (#2, 1981)
1952 ● Randy Crawford / (Veronica Crawford) → R&B/soul-jazz singer with jazz-funk-rock The Crusaders, “Street Life” (#35, R&B #17, 1979), plus solo “”Give Me The Night” (Dance/Club #21, 1996)
1953 ● Derek Pellicci → Drummer for Aussie pop/rockers Little River Band, “Lonesome Loser” (#6, 1979)
1953 ● Robbie Bachman / (Robin Peter Kendall Bachman) → With his brothers Randy and Tim, drummer for 70s Canadian blue-collar hard rockers Bachman-Turner Overdrive, co-wrote “Roll On Down The Highway” (#14, CAN #4, 1975, one of six US Top 40 hits and 11 in Canada) and played on all eight BTO studios albums through 1979, left and declined to rejoin for a 1984 reunion due to licensing disputes with Randy, relented in 1988 and played with BTO through 2004, sued Randy for misuse of the BTO name in 2009 but joined his bandmates at their 2014 induction into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, died from unspecified causes on 1/12/2023, age 69.
1954 ● John Travolta → Actor and singer, Saturday Night Fever (1977), Grease (1978), duet with Olivia Newton-John, “You’re The One That I Want” (#1, 1978)
1955 ● Brian James → Guitarist for first-wave punk rockers The Damned, “Eloise” (UK #3, 1986), then goth-punk Lords Of The New Church, “Open You Eyes” (Mainstream Rock #27, 1982) and Iggy Pop‘s touring band
1961 ● Jasper Stainthorpe → Bassist for New Wave synth-pop-soul Then Jerico, “The Motive” (UK #18, 1987)
1965 ● Dr. Dre / (Andre Romell Young) → Grammy-winning pioneer gangsta rap and G-funk hip hop artist, “Nuthin’ But A ‘G’ Thang” (#2, 1993), MTV rap show host
1966 ● Tommy Scott → Vocals for electronic/ambient house group Space, “Female Of The Species” (Modern Rock #15, 1996)
1970 ● Andy Williams → With twin brother Jez, drums and vocals for dance-pop/house music Sub Sub, “Ain’t No Love, (Ain’t No Use)” (UK #3, 1993), disbanded and reformed as alt rock Doves, “There Goes The Fear” (UK #3, 2002)
1970 ● Jez Williams → With twin brother Andy, guitar and vocals for dance-pop/house music Sub Sub, “Ain’t No Love, (Ain’t No Use)” (UK #3, 1993), disbanded and reformed as alt rock Doves, “There Goes The Fear” (UK #3, 2002)

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