This Week’s Birthdays (March 12 – 18)

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Al Jarreau celebrates after the 1982 Grammys in Los Angeles. Jarreau won honors that year for best pop male vocalist and best jazz male vocalis

Happy Birthday this week to:

March 12
1910 ● Arthur Todd → With his wife in one hit wonder pop singing duo Art & Dotty Todd, “Chanson D’Amour” (“Love Song”) (#6, 1958), continued to perform on radio and in Las Vegas cabarets until retiring in 1980, died from congestive heart failure on 10/10/2007, age 97
1917 ● Leonard Chess / (Lejzor Szmuel Czyż) → Polish-born radio and music entrepreneur, Chess Records co-founder with brother Philip, influential figure in the development of rock ‘n’ roll, electric blues and blues-rock, signed John Lee Hooker, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Muddy Waters and others, died of a heart attack a few months after selling Chess to General Recorded Tape (GRT) on 10/16/1969, age 52.
1921 ● Gordon MacRae → Pop music recording artist, stage and film actor, and TV and radio personality best known for starring in the film versions of Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals Oklahoma! (1955) and Carousel (1956) and for a string of 28 straight Top 40 hits from 1947 to 1954, including a duet with Jo Stafford, “My Darling, My Darling” (#1, 1948), died from pneumonia on 1/24/1986
1930 ● Wardell Quezergue / (Wardell Joseph Quezergue) → Unheralded but influential New Orleans R&B bandleader, producer and music arranger known as the “Creole Beethoven,” worked with multiple artists, including The Dixie Cups (“Chapel Of Love,” #1, 1964), Robert Parker (“Barefootin’,” #7, R&B #2, 1966), King Floyd (“Groove Me,” #6, R&B #1, 1970), Jean Knight (“Mr. Big Stuff,” #2, R&B #1, 1971), Paul Simon (There Goes Rhymin’ Simon, #2, 1973) and Dr. John (Grammy-winning Goin’ Back To New Orleans, Jazz #1, 1992), died from congestive heart failure on 9/6/2011, age 81
1932 ● Don Drummond → Jamaican ska trombonist, singer and songwriter, played in local jazz ensembles in the 50s before co-founding 60s ska legends The Skatalites (“Guns Of Navarone,” UK #6, 1967) and writing many of their local hits, convicted of murdering his girlfriend in 1965, died from disputed causes while serving a life sentence on 5/6/1969, age 37
1938 ● Ronnie Tutt / (Ronald Ellis Tutt) → Versatile rock music drummer who played in local Dallas bands before being hired in 1969 to Elvis Presley‘s backing group, the TCB (Taking Care of Business) band, supported Elvis‘s career-reviving return to the Las Vegas stage and pop relevance after an eight-year hiatus, stayed with the band through Elvis‘s 1977 death and later tribute reunions, as well as backing Grateful Dead‘s Jerry Garcia on solo tours and as a member of the Jerry Garcia Band, doing session work for the “other” Elvis (Costello), the Carpenters and Billy Joel, and performing with Neil Diamond as permanent drummer and backing vocalist on stage and in studio from 1981 through 2018, died from heart failure on 10/16/2021, age 83.
1940 ● Al Jarreau → Seven-time, three-category (jazz, pop and R&B), four-decade Grammy-winning singer, “We’re In This Love Together” (#15, R&B #6, 1981), cancelled a tour schedule due to exhaustion and died shortly afterwards on 2/12/2017, age 76
1942 ● Larry Kassman → Lead vocals for Brooklyn-based white R&B/doo wop quartet The Quotations, “Imagination” (Top 40, 1961), performed occasionally in various reunion lineups of the group through the 00s
1942 ● Brian O’Hara → Guitar and vocals for Merseybeat pop-rock The Fourmost, “A Little Loving” (UK #6, 1964), committed suicide by hanging himself on 6/27/1999, age 57
1946 ● Liza Minnelli / (Liza May Minnelli) → Award-winning stage, film and TV actress with dozens of credits, cabaret-style and jazz pop singer with a deep discography, best known for her non-charting soundtrack single “Cabaret” (1972), daughter of actress Judy Garland and film director Vincente Minnelli
1948 ● James Taylor → Quintessential “sensitive” folk-pop/light rock singer/songwriter, “You’ve Got A Friend” (#1, 1971)
1948 ● Les Holyrod → Bassist for Brit prog-folk-rock Barclay James Harvest, album Octoberon (#174, 1977)
1949 ● Bill Payne → Keyboardist and songwriter for Southern-fired blues-boogie rock Little Feat, “Dixie Chicken” (1973) and “Hate To Lose Your Lovin'” (Mainstream Rock #1, 1988), session work with Jimmy Buffett, Jackson Browne, Rod Stewart and others, released debut solo album in 2005
1949 ● Michael Gibbins → Drummer with Brit power pop Badfinger, “Come And Get It” (#7, 1970), left in 1974 for session work, started solo career in 1998, died of natural causes on 10/4/2005, age 56
1951 ● Jack Green → Guitarist for raunchy R&B/blues-rock British Invasion band The Pretty Things, “Don’t Bring Me Down” (UK #10, 1964)
1957 ● Marlon Jackson → Vocals for R&B/pop-soul brother group The Jackson 5, “I Want You Back” (#1, 1970), pursued a largely unsuccessful, one hit solo career, “Don’t Go” (R&B #2, 1987), now sells real estate in Southern California and produces for the Black Family Channel on TV, twin brother Brandon died 24 hours after their premature birth
1957 ● Steve Harris → Founder, principal songwriter, backing vocalist and bassist for Brit heavy metal Iron Maiden, “Flight Of Icarus” (Mainstream Rock #8, 1983), for which he and guitarist Dave Murray are the only two bandmembers to have played on all of the group’s albums
1965 ● Coleen Nolan → Vocals for Irish girl group all-sibling pop group The Nolan Sisters, “I’m In The Mood For Dancing” (UK #3, 1980), TV host and author
1969 ● Graham Coxon → Guitarist for alt rock then Brit pop Blur, “Girls & Boys” (Alt Rock #4, 1994), solo
1975 ● Kelle Bryan → Brit R&B/dance-pop singer for girl-group Eternal, “Stay” (#19, UK #3, 1993)
1977 ● Ben Kenney → Bassist for alt-metal Incubus, “Drive” (#9, 2001), session work and Ghetto Crush Industries record executive
1978 ● Claudio Sanchez → Lead singer and guitarist for alt prog rock Coheed And Cambria, “A Favor House Atlantic” (Modern Rock #13, 2004), creator of comic book series The Amory Wars, author
1979 ● Pete Doherty → Co-founder and vocals for indie/punk revival The Libertines, “Can’t Stand Me Now” (UK #2, 2004), now fronting indie psych-rock Babyshambles, former paramour of model Kate Moss
1986 ● Danny Jones → Guitar and vocals for Brit pop-rock boy band McFly, “All About You” (UK #1, 2005)

March 13
1913 ● Lightnin’ Slim / (Otis V. Hicks) → Important Louisiana electric blues guitarist and singer, bridged country, blues and mainstream pop, “Rooster Blues” (R&B #23, 1959), stopped recording in the 1960s and worked in a Detroit foundry, rediscovered and resumed touring the U.S. and Europe in the early 70s before dying of stomach cancer on 7/27/1974, age 61.
1929 ● Jan Howard / (Lula Grace Johnson) → Twice-divorced mother of three who met and married country music songwriter Harlan Howard in 1957 and began a singing career by recording demo tapes for other artists, eventually becoming one of the pioneering women in country music in the 1960s, released 17 studio albums with 22 charting singles (“Evil On Your Mind,” Country #5, 1966) over a four-decade career, plus four Country Top 10 duets with Bill Anderson (“For Loving You,” Country #1, 1967), largely retired from recording in the 1980s, wrote her autobiography and continued to appear as a cast member at the Grand Old Opry in Nashville into her 80s, died from pneumonia on 3/28/2020, age 91.
1933 ● Mike Stoller / (Michael Stoller) → Pianist, producer, record label owner, composer and one-half of the legendary Leiber & Stoller songwriting duo, co-wrote dozens of R&B, pop and rock classics, including “Hound Dog” (Elvis Presley, #1, 1956) “Yakety Yak” (The Coasters, #1, 1958) and “Love Potion #9” (The Searchers, #3, 1965), the pair’s collective output, and his upbeat piano melodies in basic blues songs, were immensely influential in the development of soul, pop and rock music of the 60s and 70s.
1939 ● Neil Sedaka → Pop singer, pianist and songwriter, “Calendar Girl” (#4, 1961), plus over 30 other Top 40 hits, co-wrote the film theme song “Where The Boys Are” for Connie Francis (#4, 1961)
1940 ● Daniel Bennie → Second tenor for blue-eyed soul/doo wop The Reflections (“(Just Like) Romeo And Juliet,” #6, 1964)
1942 ● Marshall Chess → Music industry entrepreneur, son of Chess Records founder Leonard Chess and CEO following his father’s death in 1969, became founding CEO of Rolling Stones Records in the 70s and worked closely with the band and other artists, produced blues and rock documentary films, founded several independent labels and hosted satellite radio programs into the 10s
1942 ● Scatman John / (John Larkin) → Stuttering jazz and R&B/dance-pop singer and pianist who combined scat singing with dance rhythms and turned his affliction into the international Top 10 hit “Scatman (Ski-Ba-Bop-Ba-Dop-Bop)” (#60, Dance/Club #10, 1995), died from lung cancer on 12/3/1999, age 57
1944 ● Bobby Patterson → Dallas-based record producer and label executive, music promoter, radio DJ, songwriter and journeyman R&B/soul-blues singer, following a mildly successful 60s-70s solo career with several regional hits, produced records for Fontella Bass, Chuck Jackson, Little Johnny Taylor and others, wrote songs recorded by Albert King, The Fabulous Thunderbirds and others, issued a comeback album in 2014 (I Got More Soul!)
1947 ● Gregg Philbin → Early bassist, backing vocalist and occasional songwriter in prog-rock/hard rock REO Speedwagon, replaced the original bassist in 1968 and played in the band from the eponymous debut album in 1971 through their breakout album, the platinum-selling Live: You Get What You Play For (#72, 1977), left over musical and financial differences with his bandmates as REO Speedwagon began to drift away from the progressive leaning of his bass playing and toward more polished and structured arena rock, spent many years investing in Florida real estate, suffered from declining health for many years and died from undisclosed causes on 10/23/2022, age 75.
1949 ● Donald York → Vocals for “greaser” revival parody rock-and-doo-wop Sha Na Na (“(Just Like) Romeo And Juliet,” #55, 1975)
1959 ● Greg Norton → Bassist for post-punk alt rock trio Hüsker Dü, “Makes No Sense At All” (1985), solo
1959 ● Ronnie Rogers → Guitarist for New Wave pop-rock T’Pau, “Heart And Soul” (#4, 1987)
1960 ● Adam Clayton → Bassist for Irish mega-star rockers U2, “With Or Without You” (#1, 1987)
1972 ● Common / (Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr.) → Sophisticated underground jazz-rap artist, “Take It Ez” (Rap #5, 1992) and “One Nine Nine Nine” (Rap #4, 1999)
1974 ● Phil Burton → With brothers Andrew and Mike Tierney and another schoolmate, co-founder, guitar and vocals in Motown-inspired Aussie teen-pop boyband Human Nature (“Everytime You Cry,” AUS #3, 1997), currently in residence on the Las Vegas Strip performing in a Motown-themed show
1977 ● Ed Sloan → Lead guitar and vocals for hard rock/power metal trio Crossfade, wrote the band’s first hit, “Cold” (#81, Alt Rock #2, 2004) which spent 65 weeks on the rock chart
1979 ● Toni Lundow → Singer for teen dance-pop Liberty X, “Just A Little” (UK #1, 2002)

March 14
1912 ● Les Brown / (Lester Raymond Brown, Sr.) → Big Band musician, composer and bandleader, fronted Les Brown And His Band of Renown for 70 years, issued two dozens albums and appeared on stage, film and numerous TV variety programs, including USO gigs with Bob Hope and on Hope’s Christmas specials, the highest rated U.S. TV programs prior to the Super Bowl era, died from lung cancer on 1/4/2001, age 88.
1914 ● Lee Hays / (Lee Elhardt Hays) → Singer, social activist, founding member and bass vocals for left-leaning, influential and successful folk-pop The Weavers, co-wrote their staples “Kisses Sweeter Than Wine” (#19, 1951) and “If I Had a Hammer (The Hammer Song)” (covered by Peter, Paul & Mary, #10, 1962), collaborated on multiple albums and projects with Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie and other folk luminaries as well as mentoring younger folk musicians, his wish to have his ashes mixed into his backyard compost pile was fulfilled after his death from diabetic cardiovascular disease on 8/26/1981, age 67
1922 ● Les Baxter / (Leslie Thompson Baxter) → Pianist, easy listening/pop music composer, pioneer of “exotica” incorporating Polynesian and African sounds, “Poor People Of Paris” (#1, 1956), wrote the “Whistle” theme song to the TV show Lassie, died on 1/15/1996, age 73.
1931 ● Phil Phillips / (John Phillip Baptiste) → Louisiana R&B/blues and swamp pop one hit wonder singer, “Sea Of Love” (#2, 1959)
1933 ● Quincy Jones → Six decade music industry giant, bandleader, producer, songwriter, film score composer and record label executive, solo artist, “Stuff Like That” (#21, R&B #1, 1978), worked with Michael Jackson for Thriller and Off The Wall
1934 ● Shirley Scott → The “Queen of the Organ,” hard bop and soul-jazz organist with over 30 albums as a solo artist and bandleader, also collaborated with husband Stanley Turrentine and Eddie “Lockjaw” David on numerous albums and projects, successfully sued the manufacturer of diet drug fen-phen in 2000 but died from heart failure caused by the drug on 3/10/2002, age 67
1943 ● Jim Pons → Bassist for The Leaves, then pop-rock The Turtles, “Happy Together” (#1, 1967), then with Frank Zappa‘s Mothers Of Invention
1943 ● “Sugarfoot” Bonner / (Leroy Roosevelt Bonner) → Founding member, frontman and lead guitarist for influential R&B/funk The Ohio Players, “Love Rollercoaster” (#1, R&B #1, 1975) and six other Top 40 hits in the mid-70s, issued a lone solo album (Sugar Kiss, 1985), died from cancer on 1/26/2013, age 69
1945 ● Michael Martin Murphey → Grammy-winning Western swing. light country-rock, pop ballad and cowboy song singer and songwriter, “Wildfire” (#3, 1975) and “Carolina In The Pines” (Country #9, 1985), wrote the New Mexico state song, “The Land Of Enchantment,” concentrated on cowboy themes and Western music in the 90s and early 00s, shifted to bluegrass in the later 00s and continues to record and perform into the 10s
1945 ● Walter Parazaider → Saxophonist for pop-rock Chicago, “Saturday In The Park” (#3, 1972) and five #1 albums during the 1970s
1947 ● Jimmy O’Rourke → Guitarist and singer with blue-eyed soul one hit wonder John Fred & His Playboy Band, “Judy In Disguise (With Glasses)” (#1, 1968)
1947 ● Jona Lewie / (John Lewis) → Brit indie/pub rock keyboards, vocals and songwriter, Terry Dactyl & The Dinosaurs, “Seaside Shuffle” (UK #2, 1972), then solo, “Stop The Cavalry” (UK #3, 1980)
1947 ● Peter Skellern → Brit pianist and pop/easy listening singer and songwriter, “Your A Lady” (#50, UK #3, 1972)
1950 ● Rick Dees / (Rigdon Osmond Dees III) → Comedian, songwriter, musician, Los Angeles radio DJ (KIIS-FM) and host of the syndicated Weekly Top 40 Countdown, also known for the novelty-pop single “Disco Duck” (#1, 1976)
1956 ● Dee Pop / (Dimitri Constantin Papadopoulos) → Founding member and drummer for influential, female-fronted New York post-punk, no wave rock quartet Bush Tetras, best known for the typically funky, jagged “Too Many Creeps”(Club #55, 1980), the band enjoyed little mainstream success but were top-tier in the post-punk Manhattan club scene in the 80s and 90s with Sonic Youth, Television and other bands, left in 1983 but returned for two stints from 1995-1998 and 2005-2021, in between joining various pop, Americana and punk bands in New York and Los Angeles, gigging with free jazz artists and organizing avant garde music perforamnces at clubs around New York, died from heart failure on 10/9/2021, age 65.
1957 ● Chris Redburn → Bassist for glam pop-rock Kenny, “The Bump” (UK #3, 1975)
1963 ● Mike Muir → Vocals for hardcore punk/thrash metal Suicidal Tendencies, “Institutionalized” (1994)
1963 ● Steve Lambert → Vocals for New Wave swing/pop Roman Holliday, “Don’t Try To Stop It” (#68, UK #14, 1983)
1969 ● Michael Bland → Session drummer for Prince (1989-96), Soul Asylum, Paul Westerberg, Nick Jonas & The Administration
1970 ● Kristian Bush / (Kristian Merrill Bush) → Vocals and guitars for country-pop duo Sugarland, “All I Want To Do” (#18, Country #1, 2008)
1979 ● Jacques Brautbar → Guitarist for power pop/indie rock Phantom Planet, “California” (Modern Rock #35, 2002), professional photographer and collaborator in various music projects
1983 ● Jordan Hanson / (Jordan Taylor Hanson) → Keyboards and vocals for teen pop-rock brother trio Hanson, “MMMBop” (Worldwide #1, 1997)
1988 ● Colby O’Donis / (Colby O’Donis Colón) → Grammy-winning R&B/hip hop singer and songwriter, “What You Got” (#14, 2008) and “Just Dance” with Lady GaGa (#1, 2009), actor

March 15
1912 ● Lightnin’ Hopkins / (Sam John Hopkins) → Texas country blues singer, songwriter and guitarist (Rolling Stone #71), “Mojo Hand” (1960), influenced many blues-rock guitarists including Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page, died of esophageal cancer on 1/30/1982, age 69
1919 ● George Avalian → Russian-American jazz critic, record producer and music executive, produced jazz and popular music albums for Columbia Records and other labels with Louis Armstrong, Dave Brubeck, Miles Davis and others, co-founded the National Academy of Arts and Sciences (presenters of the Grammy Awards)
1921 ● Les Cooper → Doo wop singer, band manager and frontman for one hit wonder The Soul Rockets and the pounding pop instrumental “Wiggle Wobble” (#12, 1962), died 8/3/2013, age 92
1922 ● Eddie Calvert / (Albert Edward Calvert) → British solo trumpeter and instrumental composer, his biggest hit was “Oh, Mein Papa” (UK #1, 1954), died of a heart attack on 8/7/1978, age 56
1931 ● D. J. Fontana / (Dominic Joseph Fontana) → Country and rock ‘n’ roll drummer who played in Elvis Presley‘s backing band on over 450 songs from 1954 through the Elvis “comeback” TV special in 1968, left when Presley‘s new direction required larger bands and Las Vegas stints, became an in-demand, Hall of Fame session musician in Nashville for three decades, broke his hip in a fall and died from complications several months later on 6/13/2018, age 87
1932 ● Arif MardinAtlantic Records producer and arranger, worked with Al Green, Aretha Franklin, The Doobie Brothers, Bette Midler, Average White Band, Barbra Streisand, Norah Jones and others, died on 6/25/2006, age 74
1936 ● Howard Greenfield → Lyricist and songwriter, worked in the Brill Building in the 1960s, co-wrote dozens of hits, including “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do” for Neil Sedaka (#1, 1962) and “Love Will Keep Us Together” for The Captain & Tennille, #1, 1970), co-wrote TV theme songs, including Bewitched, The Flying Nun and Hazel, died from complications due to AIDS on 3/4/1986, age 49
1940 ● Phil Lesh → Bassist and occasional lead vocals for rock’s longest, strangest trip Grateful Dead, “Sugar Magnolia” (#91, 1973) and “Touch Of Grey” (#9, 1987), the Dead spinoffs The Other Ones and Phil Lesh & Friends
1941 ● Mike Love → Lead vocals and, since 1961, the only consistent member of surf-pop-rock The Beach Boys, “Good Vibrations” (#1, 1966) and “Kokomo” (#1, 1988), lone solo album in 1981
1942 ● Hughie Flint → Drummer for John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, then blues-rock McGuinness Flint, “When I’m Dead And Gone” (#47, 1971)
1944 ● David Costell → Guitarist for pop-rock Gary Lewis & The Playboys, “This Diamond Ring” (#1, 1965) plus 11 other US Top 40 hits between 1965 and 1968
1944 ● Ron Stone → Music industry manager and artist advocate, handled career-development for Joni Mitchell, Eagles, Bob Dylan, America and others, currently represents the music industry in intellectual property and content rights litigation
1944 ● Sly Stone / (Sylvester Stewart) → Founder, frontman, vocals, guitar and keyboards for R&B/funk Sly & The Family Stone, “Everyday People” (#1, 1969)
1944 ● Ralph MacDonald / (Ralph Anthony MacDonald) → Trinbagonian-American percussionist, producer and songwriter, played with scores of acts including as charter member of Jimmy Buffett‘s Coral Reefer Band, best known for co-penning the Grammy winners “Where Is The Love” for Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway (#5, R&B #1, 1972), as well as “Just The Two Of Us” for Bill Withers and Grover Washington, Jr. (#2, 1981), among others, died from lung cancer on 12/18/2011, age 67
1946 ● Howard Scott → Co-founder and guitarist for R&B cover band The Creators, which became funk-blues-jazz-rock War, “Cisco Kid” (#2, 1973)
1947 ● Frank Lugo → Bassist for garage rock ? And The Mysterians, “96 Tears” (#1, 1966)
1947 ● Ry Cooder / (Ryland Peter “Ry” Cooder) → Country-folk-blues-rock session guitarist, member of supergroups Rising Sons and later Little Village, Grammy-winning solo artist
1948 ● Grizzly Nisbett / (Stephen Nisbett) → Drums for roots reggae Steel Pulse, “Prodigal Son” (UK #35, 1978), retired in 2001
1953 ● Preston Hubbard → Bassist for blues/swing revival Roomful Of Blues, then blues-rock Fabulous Thunderbirds, “Tuff Enuff” (#10, 1986)
1955 ● Dee Snider / (Daniel Snider) → Frontman and vocals for heavy metal Twisted Sister, “We’re Not Gonna Take It” (#21, 1983), solo, radio DJ, VH1 DJ, TV reality show star
1962 ● Steve Coy → Drummer for New Wave dance-pop Hi-NRG group Dead Or Alive, “You Spin Me ‘Round (Like A Record)” (#11, 1985)
1962 ● Terence Trent D’Arby (Howard) → Pop-rock one hit wonder singer/songwriter, “Wishing Well” (#1, 1988)
1963 ● Brett Michaels → Frontman, songwriter and vocals for hair metal/power ballad Poison, “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn” (#1, 1988)
1964 ● Rockwell / (Kenneth Gordy) → One hit wonder R&B/pop singer, “Somebody’s Watching Me” (#2, 1984), son of Motown Records founder and executive Berry Gordy
1968 ● Jon Schaffer → Founder, guitarist and songwriter for heavy metal Iced Earth, “I Walk Among You” (Sales #3, 2008), nominated for “Riff Lord” at the 2008 Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards
1968 ● Mark McGrath → Lead singer for funk-pop-rock Sugar Ray, “Fly” (#1, 1997), TV host on tabloid show Extra and Don’t Forget the Lyrics
1972 ● Mark Hoppus → Bassist for pop-punk Blink-182, “All The Small Things” (#6, 2000)
1975 ● will.i.am / (William James Adams, Jr.) → Rapper, songwriter, lead vocals and producer for hip hop Black Eyed Peas, “Where Is The Love” (#1, 2003), producer for Michael Jackson, U2, Britney Spears and others
1977 ● Mr. Hahn / (Joseph Hahn) → Korean-American DJ and sampler for alt rock/rap-rock/space-rock Linkin Park, “In The End” (Alt Rock #1, 2001)

March 16
1936 ● Fred Neil → Important Greenwich Village folk scene singer and songwriter who achieved little critical acclaim but wrote several hits for others, including the Grammy-winning “Everybody’s Talkin'” for Harry Nilsson (#6, 1968), and influenced a young Bob Dylan, Stephen Stills, John Sebastian and many others, died from natural causes on 7/7/2001, age 65
1942 ● Jerry Jeff Walker / (Ronald Clyde Crosby) → Military dropout, 60s Greenwich Village busker and folk troubadour turned rough-and-tumble but highly influential and much-revered “outlaw country” senior statesman, relocated from New York to Texas after penning folk standard “Mr. Bojangles” in a drunk tank for himself (#77, 1968) and The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (#9, 1971), fronted the Lost Gonzo Band and released nearly 40 albums through 2018, including the classic Texas country-rock, barroom-recorded ¡Viva Terlingua! with its anthemic “Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother” and “London Homesick Blues,” later the theme song to the famous TV music program Austin City Limits, formed his own record label and publishing company in the 80s and retreated to Belize when not performing in Texas dancehalls or mentoring younger musicians, died from throat cancer on 10/23/2020, age 78.
1948 ● Michael Bruce → Guitarist for glam/hard rock Alice Cooper band, “School’s Out” (#7, 1972), solo
1952 ● “Jonny Z” Zazula / (Jonathan David Zazula) → With his wife Marsha, co-founder and co-partner of Megaforce Records, formed from a small New Jersey record shop at the outset of the 80s heavy metal boom and home to multiple metal bands in their early careers, launched Metallica (Kill ‘Em All, 1983) and worked with Raven (All For One, 1983) and Anthrax (Fistful Of Metal, 1984), along the way mentoring the bands and nurturing individual members, also released albums for rockers Ace Frehley, Warren Haynes, Johnny Winter and others, sold the label in 2001 and promoted occasional concerts until fully retiring in 2018, died from complications of a rare neuropathic disorder on 2/1/2022, age 69.
1954 ● Nancy Wilson → Co-frontwoman, songwriter, guitarist and vocalist for hard rock Heart, “These Dreams” (#1, 1986)
1959 ● Flavor Flav / (William Jonathan Drayton, Jr.) → Court jester and rap vocals for influential early hip hop group Public Enemy, “Fight The Power” (Rap #1, 1989)
1963 ● Stuart Kerr → Drummer for Scottish blues-rock Texas, “In My Heart” (Alt Rock #14, 1991)
1966 ● H. P. Baxxter / (Hans-Peter Geerdes) → Co-founder, frontman and vocals for German techno/dance/hardcore group Scooter, “Ramp! (The Logical Song)” (UK #2, 2001), the band is one of the most successful German pop-rock bands ever
1970 ● Alex Lee → Session guitarist and sideman in various alt rock, pop-rock and electronica groups, including Goldfrapp, Suede, Placebo and The Blues Aeroplanes, arranged music for Florence & The Machine, Marina & The Diamonds and the Royal Shakespeare Company, composed soundtracks for TV and film
1972 ● Andrew Dunlop → Guitarist for Scottish trad rock Travis, “Why Does It Always Rain On Me” (Adult Top 40 #36, 2000)
1976 ● Blu Cantrell / (Tiffany Cobb) → R&B/contemporary soul singer and songwriter, “Hit ‘Em Up Style (oops!)” (#2, 2001)
1979 ● Leena Peisa → Keyboards for Finnish heavy metal monster-masked Lordi, winners if 2006 Eurovision Song Contest with “Hard Rock Hallelujah”
1991 ● Wolfgang Van Halen → Son of Eddie Van Halen and actress Valerie Bertinelli and current bassist for hard rock Van Halen (replaced Mark Anthony in 2006)

March 17
1919 ● Nat King Cole / (Nathaniel Adams Coles) → Jazz pianist and bandleader turned pop singer, “Ramblin’ Rose” (#2, 1962) and 18 other Top 25 hits, TV host, father of soul-pop singer Natalie Cole and actress/producer Carole “Cookie” Cole, died from lung cancer on 2/15/1965, age 55
1935 ● Adam Wade / (Patrick Henry Wade) → Lab assistant for polio-researcher Dr. Jonas Salk, then early 60s R&B/pop vocalist with three Top 10 hits in 1961, including “Take Good Care Of Her” (#7, R&B #20, 1961), in 1975 became the first Black American to host a major TV program, the CBS-TV game show Musical Chairs (1975), had a variety of TV and movie roles and recorded sporadically until contracting Parkinson’s disease in the 10s, died from undisclosed causes on 7/7/2022, age 87.
1937 ● Dean Mathis / (Louis Aldine Mathis) → Multi-instrumentalist and vocals for pop-rock trio The Newbeats, “Bread And Butter” (#2, 1964)
1937 ● Vincent Marcellino → Folk singer/songwriter and guitarist who scored a Top Ten hit fronting The Tarriers (“Cindy, Oh Cindy,” #9, 1956) with bandmate and future actor Alan Arkin, later sang with relatively unknown folksinger Fred Neil for an album of duets, Tear Down The Walls (1964) which launched Neil‘s career, issued several obscure solo albums, continues to perform and record
1938 ● Zola Mae Taylor / (Zoletta Lynn Taylor) → R&B, blues and soul singer and original female member of hugely successful doo wop quintet The Platters (“Smoke Gets In Your Eyes,” #1, 1958), left the band before legal infighting began in the mid-60s but became entangled in an 80s public soap opera as one of three women claiming to be 50s teen idol Frankie Lymon’s widow, died from pneumonia following several strokes on 4/30/2007, age 69
1939 ● Clarence Collins → Co-founder and baritone for long-lived R&B/doo wop Little Anthony & The Imperials, “Tears On My Pillow” (#4, 1958)
1941 ● Paul Kantner / (Paul Lorin Kantner) → Founding member, vocals and guitar for psych-rock Jefferson Airplane (“White Rabbit,” #8, 1967) and mainstream arena rock Jefferson Starship (“Miracles,” #3, 1975), which he fronted in various incarnations for 40 years, died from complications following a heart attack on 1/28/2016, age 74
1943 ● Jim Weatherly / (James Dexter Weatherly) → College football star quarterback who walked away from a promising pro career and into 50 years of writing country-pop songs, including “Midnight Train To Georgia” for Gladys Knight & The Pips ($1, R&B #1, 1973), a 1974 Grammy winner, #439 on Rolling Stone‘s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, and one of over a dozen written for Knight, along with songs recorded by such music giants as Garth Brooks, Glen Campbell, Kenny Rogers and many others, died from natural causes on 2/3/2021, age 77.
1944 ● Bob Johnson → Guitar and vocals for Brit folk-rock revival band Steeleye Span, “All Around My Hat’ (, 1975)
1944 ● John B. Sebastian → Frontman, guitarist and singer/songwriter for folk-rock The Lovin’ Spoonful, “Summer In The City” (#1, 1966), then solo, “Welcome Back” (#1, 1976)
1944 ● Pat McAuley → Drummer and keyboards for Irish garage-rock, proto-punk Them, “Gloria” (#71, 1966)
1944 ● Patty Boyd / (Patricia Anne Boyd) → Model, photographer and former wife of George Harrison (1966-77) and Eric Clapton (1979-89), possible inspiration for “I Need You” and “Layla,” among other Harrison and Eric Clapton love songs
1946 ● Harold Brown → Co-founder and drummer for R&B/funk-blues-jazz-rock War, “Cisco Kid” (#2, 1973), now Lowrider
1948 ● Fran Byrne → Drummer for Brit pub rock/blue-eyed soul Ace, “How Long” (#3, 1975)
1948 ● Patrick Lloyd → Bassist for Brit reggae-pop The Equals, “Baby Come Back” (#32, UK #1, 1968)
1951 ● Scott Gorham → Guitarist for underrated Irish hard rock Thin Lizzy, “The Boys Are Back In Town” (#12, 1976)
1953 ● Kenny Lyons / (Kenneth Leo Lyons) → Founding member and first bassist for Southern hard rock .38 Special (“Caught Up In You,” #10, 1982) on their debut album but left before its release and faded into relative obscurity, died from undisclosed causes in a North Carolina medical center on 5/20/2012, age 59
1959 ● Mike Lindup → Keyboards for jazz-funk-pop fusion Level 42, “Lessons In Love” (#12, 1987)
1962 ● Clare Grogan → Frontwoman and vocals for Scottish post-punk alt rock Altered Images, “Happy Birthday” (UK #2, 1981), TV and film actress (Gregory’s Girl), VH1 presenter
1962 ● Janet Gardner → Founding member, rhythm guitar and vocals for critically-panned but huge selling 80s all-female glam metal quartet Vixen, “Cryin'” (#22, 1989)
1962 ● Roxy Petrucci → Founding member and original drummer for critically-panned but huge selling 80s all-female glam metal quartet Vixen, “Cryin'” (#22, 1989)
1963 ● Michael Ivins → Bassist for neo-psych alt rock The Flaming Lips, “She Don’t Use Jelly” (#55, 1995)
1967 ● Billy Corgan → Frontman, songwriter, vocals and guitar for alt/prog rock/metal band Smashing Pumpkins, “1979” (#12, 1996), then Zwan and producer for Hole and others
1970 ● Gene Ween / (Aaron Freeman) → Founding member, vocals, guitar and songwriter for experimental alternative rock duo Ween, “Mutilated Lips” (1997)
1972 ● Melissa Auf der Maur → Second bassist for grunge rock Hole, “Celebrity Skin” (Mainstream Rock #4, 1998), toured with Smashing Pumpkins in 2000, solo and various collaborations
1973 ● Caroline Corr → With two sisters and brother, drummer and vocals in Irish folk-pop-rock sibling act The Corrs, “Breathless” (Adult Top 40 #7, 2000)
1975 ● Justin Hawkins → Flamboyant frontman, vocals, guitars and keyboards for glam rock The Darkness, “I Believe In A Thing Called Love” (Top 40 #35, 2004)
1976 ● Stephen Gately → Vocals for Irish teen-pop boy band Boyzone, “No Matter What” (Adult Contemporary #12, 1999), died from a pulmonary edema resulting from an undiagnosed heart condition on 10/9/2009, age 33
1990 ● Hozier / (Andrew Hozier-Byrne) → Irish indie-rock, soul and blues singer/songwriter, wrote and performed Grammy Song Of The Year nominee “Take Me To Church” (#2, 2013)

March 18
1911 ● Smiley Burnette / (Smiley Burnette (Lester Alvin Burnett)) → Comedian, TV actor (Petticoat Junction, 1960s), singer, multi-instrumentalist, country-pop songwriter and movie soundtrack composer, wrote over 400 songs and performed many of them on stage and screen, often as sidekick to Gene Autry, including “Ridin’ Down the Canyon (To Watch the Sun Go Down),” died from leukemia on 2/16/1967, age 55
1929 ● George Scott → Blind from birth original member and vocals for spiritually-uplifting, five-time Grammy-winning gospel group Blind Boys Of Alabama, recorded more than 50 albums with the group over 70-plus years, retired from touring a year before his death from heart failure on 3/9/2005, age 76
1936 ● Robert Lee Smith → Vocals for R&B/soul The Tams, “What Kind Of Fool (Do You Think I Am)” (#9, 1963)
1938 ● Carl Gottlieb → Screen and TV scriptwriter with credits including Jaws (1977) and episodes of All In The Family (1971-79), sometime actor, Writers Guild of America board member and co-author of two David Crosby autobiographies, Long Time Gone (1989) and Since Then (2006)
1938 ● Charley Pride / (Charley Frank Pride) → Son of Mississippi sharecropper and semi-pro baseball player who became the most successful African-American country music star ever, releasing 36 number one hits among 65 charting singles, including the crossover “Kiss An Angel Good Mornin'” (#21, AC #7, Country #1, 1971), awarded a lifetime Grammy in 2017, died from complications of the COVID-19 virus on 12/12/2020, age 86.
1941 ● Wilson Pickett → Legendary R&B/soul and rock ‘n’ roll singer and songwriter, “In The Midnight Hour” (#21, 1968), died of a heart attack on 1/19/2006, age 64
1942 ● Helen Gathers → With four other teens from her Spanish Harlem housing complex, founding member and baritone vocals in rare 50s R&B girl group The Bobbettes (“Mr. Lee,” #6, R&B #1, 1957), the first all-girl group to have a Top 10 hit (and an R&B #1), left the group in the late 60s and disappeared from the music industry, died from cancer on 2/13/2011, age 68
1942 ● Mike Wilhelm / (Michael Ray Wilhelm) → Founding member, guitarist, singer and songwriter in seminal psychedelic rock band The Charlatans, the group had limited commercial success but is generally credited with starting the acid rock and hippie counter-culture scene in the Haight-Ashbury area of San Francisco in the mid-60s, after the band dissolved in 1969 founded folk-rock trio Loose Lips and later spent six years as lead guitarist for power pop/proto-punk The Flamin’ Groovies, issued six solo albums through 2007 and participated in several Charlatans reunions before dying from complications of cancer on 5/14/2019, age 77.
1943 ● Dennis Linde → Nashville-based country and pop music singer and songwriter with over 200 songs recorded by others, best known for penning Elvis Presley‘s hit “Burning Love” (#2, 1972) and Dixie Chicks’ “Goodbye Earl” (#19, Country #13, 2000), wrote or co-wrote songs for Tanya Tucker, Alan Jackson, Garth Brooks and many others, died from pulmonary fibrosis on 12/22/2006, age 63
1945 ● Eric Woolfson / (Eric Norman Woolfson) → Scottish songwriter, lyricist pianist, producer and co-creator of prog rock The Alan Parsons Project, “Games People Play” (#16, 1981), wrote musicals and released a solo album, died from kidney cancer on 12/2/2009
1945 ● Chuck E. Weiss / (Charles Edward Weiss) → Erstwhile Denver radio DJ and session musician, songwriter and late 70s Los Angeles-based inseparable friend of Tom Waits and Rickie Lee Jones, inspiration for RLJ’s hit “Chuck E.’s In Love” (#4, AC #20, 1979), toured regionally and recorded an eclectic mix of blues, beat poetry, and rock and roll over the years, died from cancer on 7/20/2021, age 76.
1947 ● B.J. Wilson / (Brian James Wilson) → Drummer in R&B/blues The Paramounts, then prog/psych rock Procol Harum, “A Whiter Shade Of Pale” (#5, 1967), fell into a coma following a car accident and died several months later on 10/8/1990, age 43
1948 ● Bobby Whitlock / (Robert Stanley Whitlock) → Session musician for Stax Records then R&B/blue-eyed soul singer, member of Delaney & Bonnie & Friends, Derek And The Dominos and George Harrison‘s backing band, session work on The Rolling StonesExile On Main Street album, retired to farm in Mississippi
1950 ● John Hartman → Co-founder and drummer for California soul-pop-rock The Doobie Brothers, played on all of the band’s 70s hits, including “Listen To The Music” (#11, 1972), “Black Water” (#1, 1974) and “What A Fool Believes” (#1, 1979), left in 1979 but returned for a 1987 reunion tour and two additional albums, left for good in 1992 for a new career in law enforcement but resurfaced when the band was inducted into the Rock and Rock Hall of Fame in 2020, died from undisclosed causes on 12/29,2021, age 71 (a fact not acknowledged by the band until an announcement appeared on the Hall of Fame website in September 2022.)
1952 ● Bernie Tormé / (Bernard Joseph Tormey) → Irish blues-rock guitarist, singer, record label and production studio owner, fronted his own bands in the 60s and 70s, then played with hard rock Gillan (“Trouble,” UK #14, 1980), briefly replaced Randy Rhoads in Ozzy Osbourne’s backing band, toured with Atomic Rooster and collaborated with numerous others, released nearly 20 studio and live albums of his own, including four after 2014, died from a virulent double pneumonia on 3/27/2019, age 66.
1959 ● Irene Cara / (Irene T. Escalera) → Actor, dancer and disco-pop diva whose personal flashdance at the top the charts lasted less than four years but led to five Top 10 hits in the US during the later disco era, including two movie title songs, “Fame” (#4, UK #1 1980) in which she played the starring role as Coco Hernandez, and the Grammy-winning “Flashdance…What A Feelin'” (#1, UK #2, 1983) for which she wrote the lyrics, issued three solo albums in the 80s, toured extensively in the 90s, formed all-female dance-pop Hot Caramel in the 00s, died from unspecified causes on 11/25/2022, age 63.
1960 ● James McMurtry → Texas rock, folk-rock and Americana singer, songwriter, occasional actor, guitarist and bandleader with twelve solo albums including Complicated Game (US Indie Rock #39, 2015) and a single hit, “Painting By Numbers” (Mainstream Rock #33, 1989), appeared in the film Daisy Miller (1974) and the TV miniseries Lonesome Dove (1989), member of country-rock supergroup Buzzin’ Cousins with John Mellencamp, John Prine, Joe Ely and Dwight Yoakam.
1960 ● Anita Lane / (Anita Louise Lane) → Australian singer-songwriter with a sporadic solo career of several albums and EPs, best known as the romantic and professional partner of Nick Cave in the late 70s and early 80s, co-wrote songs for Cave’s New Wave group Birthday Party and performed and recorded with successor band Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (“Where The Wild Roses Grow,” AUS #2, UK #11, 1995), left for collaborative work as a sultry, babydoll vocalist with many post-punk and alternative bands in Europe and Australia,
suffered from declining health and died from undisclosed causes on 4/27/2021, age 61.
1961 ● Grant Hart / (Grantzberg Vernon Hart) → Founding member, co-songwriter and drummer for early post-punk hardcore trio Hüsker Dü (“Makes No Sense At All,” UK Indie #2, 1985), after breakup formed hard rock Nova Mob in 1988 and released several solo al ums in the 90s and 00s, died from liver cancer on 9/13/2017, age 56
1963 ● Jeff LeBar → Guitarist for Philly glam-rock Cinderella (“Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone),” #12, 1988), worked on side projects, including Naked Beggars with bandmate Eric Brittingham, and released a 2014 debut solo album, One For The Road, on which he played all of the instruments except the drums, battled alcohol and drug addiction for years before dying from undisclosed causes on 7/14/2021, age 58.
1963 ● Vanessa L. Williams → Model and disgraced Miss America winner turned successful actress and R&B/pop vocalist, “Save The Best For Last” (#1, 1992)
1964 ● Courtney Pine → Multi-instrumentalist jazz musician and composer of TV and film music, “Children Of The Ghetto” (UK Top 10, 1986), also worked with Charlie Watts, Mica Paris, Trevor Jones and Jazz Warriors
1966 ● Jerry Cantrell → Guitars, vocals and songwriting for alterna-metal/hard rock Alice In Chains, “No Excuses” (Mainstream Rock #1, 1994), solo, “My Song” (Mainstream Rock #6, 1998)
1967 ● Miki Berenyi → Guitar and lead vocals for alt pop/shoegazing band Lush, “Sweetness & Light” (Modern Rock #4, 1990)
1967 ● Robert Harrison → Singer and guitarist for unheralded power pop Cotton Mather, “My Before And After” (1998), now fronts indie pop-rock Future Clouds & Radar
1970 ● Queen Latifah / (Dana Elaine Owens) → First bona fide female rap star (with first gold LP by a female MC), “U.N.I.T.Y.” (#23, Hot Rap #2, 1993), Emmy and Golden Globe-winning TV and film actress, talk show host, eponymous cosmetics product line
1974 ● Stuart Zender → Bassist in Grammy-winning Brit acid jazz-funk-pop Jamiroquai, “Canned Heat” (Dance #1, 1999)
1977 ● Devin Lima / (Harold Lima) → Vocals for pop/rap trio LFO (“Lyte Funkie Ones” or “Low Frequency Oscillator”), “Summer Girls” (#3, 1999), formed The Cadbury Diesel in 2007
1979 ● Adam Levine → Guitar and lead vocals for alt funk-rock Maroon 5, “She Will Be Loved” (#5, 2004)
1979 ● Shola Ama / (Mathurian Campbell) → Brit soul-pop singer, “You’re The One I Love” (UK #3, 1997)
1985 ● Marvin Humes → Vocals for Brit teen pop boy-band JLS (“Jack The Lad Swing”), “Everybody In Love” (Mainstream Top 40 #38, 2010)

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