This Week’s Birthdays (March 20 – 26)

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Blues drummer Sam Lay

Happy Birthday this week to:

March 20
1906 ● Ozzie Nelson / (Oswald George Nelson) → Bandleader, radio host and TV actor, director and producer, fronted swing/easy listening The Ozzie Nelson Band in the 30s and 40s (“And Then Some,” #1, 1935) with his wife, Harriet on second vocal, developed and produced The Adventures of Ozzie And Harriet (with their sons, David and Ricky) on radio in 1944 and moved to TV in 1952, appeared on TV for a final time in 1973 and died from liver cancer on 6/3/1975, age 69
1917 ● Dame Vera Margaret Lynn / (Vera Margaret Welch) → Enormously popular World War II-era touring singer and actress whose career continued after the war with “Auf Wiederseh’n Sweetheart” (#1, UK #10, 1952) and 12 other charting singles in the 50s, scored a UK #1 album in 2009, We’ll Meet Again: The Very Best Of Vera Lynn, making her the oldest living artist with a top-ranked album ever, continued to record and perform sporadically until releasing a final single. the patriotic “Land Of Hope And Glory” (UK #17, 2020) just prior to her death from natural causes on 6/18/2020, age 103.
1922 ● Larry Elgart / (Lawrence Joseph Elgart) → 40s-50s swing, dance and jazz-pop bandleader, with his brother, Les, recorded the original version of “Bandstand Boogie,” the theme song long-running teen dance show American Bandstand, and later rode the disco wave with his own medley composition, “Hooked On Swing” (#31, AC #20, 1982), died from natural causes on 8/29/2017, age 95
1930 ● Rusty Warren / (Ilene Goldman) → Scandalous, bawdy singing comedian best known for her sex-themed songs including “Knockers Up!” and “Bounce Your Boobies,” mostly written from a female’s perspective and generally credited with helping advance the sexual revolution in American society in the late 50s and early 60s, performed in Las Vegas and other cities’ nightclubs through the 80s, moved to Hawaii and dropped from sight until releasing a DVD chronical of her life in 2008, died in her sleep on 5/25/2021, age 91.
1935 ● Sam Lay / (Samuel Julian Lay) → Virtuoso Chicago blues, jazz and rock drummer and vocalist, perfected the “double-groove shuffle” mimicking hand claps and tambourines heard in church as a youth, performed and recorded with many blues greats, including Little Walter, Willie Dixon and Muddy Waters, joined The Butterfield Blues Band in the mid-60s, recorded and toured with Bob Dylan and the Chess Records All-Stars and issued several albums of his own since 1969, his home movies of fellow blues performers in various Chicago venues in the 50s and 60s were featured in the PBS special History Of The Blues (2003), subject of the biographic film Sam Lay In Bluesland (2014), moonlighted in later years as a security guard and died in a nursing home from undisclosed causes on 1/29/2022. age 86.
1936 ● Lee “Scratch” Perry / (Rainford Hugh Perry) → Grammy-winning producer, songwriter and pioneer in the development of the “dub” subgenre of reggae music as well as hip hop and dance music, fronted the Upsetters on 17 albums from 1969 to 1978 before releasing dozens of solo albums, mentored and produced Bob Marley & The Wailers, Junior Murvin, The Heptones and others, worked with The Clash, Paul and Linda McCartney, the Beastie Boys, among many others, all while performing in a carefully cultivated image of a pot-smoking, alien-breeding madman with a four track tape recorder, became a national treasure in Jamaica and received an Order of Distinction award, appeared in several documentary films, performed and recorded until his death in a Jamaica hospital following an undisclosed illness on 8/29/2021, age 85.
1937 ● Joe Rivers → One half of the R&B vocal duo Johnnie & Joe, “Over The Mountain, Across The Sea” (#8, R&B #3, 1957) and two other R&B Top 20 hits in 1957, played the oldies circuit and recorded a 1982 album
1937 ● Jerry Reed / (Jerry Reed Hubbard) → The “Guitar Man,” Grammy-winning country singer and guitarist, “Amos Moses” (#8, 1971), sessionman, TV and screen actor (Smokey And The Bandit, 1977), died from emphysema on 9/1/2008, age 71
1940 ● Rod Lauren / (Rod Lawrence Strunk) → One hit wonder pop singer (“If I Had A Girl,” #31, 1960), nightclub entertainer, bit part TV actor and one role B-movie star (The Crawling Hand, 1963), husband and suspected murderer of Filipino TV actress Nida Blanca, left the Philippines in 2002 and fought extradition from the U.S., committed suicide by jumping from a second-story hotel balcony on 6/12/2007, age 67
1941 ● Vito Picone → Frontman, lead singer and one of two remaining original members of teenage doo wop quintet The Elegants (“Little Star,” #1, R&B #1, 1958), bit-part TV and film actor (Goodfellas, The Sopranos and others, most recently hosts a New York City weekly nostalgia and music variety radio program
1942 ● Robin Luke / (Robert Luke) → One hit wonder teen pop/rockabilly singer and songwriter, “Susie Darlin'” (#5, 1958), later earned a Ph.D. in business administration and headed the Marketing Department at Missouri State University
1950 ● Carl Palmer → Progressive rock drummer and percussionist, first with Atomic Rooster, “The Devil’s Answer” (, 1971), then supergroup Emerson Lake & Palmer, “From The Beginning” (#39, 1972), and later Asia, “Heat Of The Moment” (#4, 1982)
1951 ● Jimmie Vaughan → Blues-rock guitarist and singer, founded Fabulous Thunderbirds, “Tuff Enuff” (#10, 1986), solo, brother of the late Stevie Ray Vaughan, with whom he played occasionally and released one “duo album,” Family Style (1990), released just after Stevie Ray’s death on 8/27/1990
1956 ● Phonso Martin / (Alphonso Martin) → Percussion and vocals for roots reggae Steel Pulse, “Prodigal Son” (UK #35, 1978), left in 1991 to pursue interests outside of music
1959 ● Owen If / (Ian Frederick Rossiter) → Drummer for Brit electronic dance/rap Stereo MC’s, “Connected” (#20, Modern Rock #5, 1992)
1959 ● Richard Drummie → Guitar and vocals for New Wave synth-pop duo Go West, “King Of Wishful Thinking” (#8, 1990)
1961 ● Slim Jim Phantom / (James McDonnell) → Drummer with rockabilly revival Stray Cats, “Stray Cat Strut” (#3, 1983)
1967 ● Shutty Shuttleworth / (David Shuttleworth) → Drummer for hard rock/heavy metal Spoilt Bratz and Terrorvision, “Tequila” (UK #2, 1999)
1968 ● Fredrik Schönfeldt → Guitars and vocals for Swedish alt rock The Wannadies, “You And Me Song” (UK #18, 1996)
1972 ● Alexander Kapranos → Vocals for Scottish art-pop-rock Franz Ferdinand, “Take Me Out” (Alt Rock #3, 2004)
1972 ● Shelly Poole / (Michelle Lena Poole) → Vocals for Brit pop sister duo Alisha’s Attic, “Indestructible” (UK #12, 1997), daughter of 60s pop-rocker Brian Poole
1976 ● Chester Bennington → Vocals for alt rock/rap-rock/space-rock Linkin Park, “In The End” (Alt Rock #1, 2001), found dead in his home from a suspected suicide on 7/20/2017, age 41
1982 ● Nick Wheeler → Lead guitar for alt rock/power pop The All-American Rejects, “Swing, Swing” (Modern Rock #8, 2003)

March 21
1902 ● Son House / (Eddie James House, Jr.) → Innovative and influential Delta blues and gospel slide guitarist and vocalist, recorded first in the 30s and for the Library of Congress in 1941 but drifted into obscurity until being “rediscovered” in 1964 during the folk-blues revival, toured and recorded thereafter extensively, influenced Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson, Bonnie Raitt, Alan Wilson (Canned Heat) and others, died from complications of Alzheimer’s disease on 10/19/1988, age 86.
1923 ● Mort Lindsey / (Morton Lippman) → Orchestra leader, TV and film soundtrack composer, pianist and musical director for Judy Garland‘s four-time Grammy-winning concert album Judy At Carnegie Hall (#1, 1961) and Barbra Streisand‘s 1967 TV concert A Happening In Central Park, won two Emmy’s as the 25-year musical director for The Merv Griffin Show (1962-1986), died following a long illness on 5/4/2012, age 89
1930 ● Otis Spann → Chicago blues keyboardist and guitarist, member of Muddy Waters‘ band from 1952 to 1968 while concurrently working as a session musician for Chess Records and on solo albums, worked with B. B. King, Eric Clapton, James Cotton and others, died from liver cancer on 4/24/1970, age 40
1940 ● Solomon Burke → The “King of Rock & Soul,” early and influential Grammy-winning R&B/classic soul singer, “Got To Get You Off My Mind” (#22, R&B #1, 1965) and 14 other R&B Top 20 hits but never achieved the recognition afforded peers James Brown, Wilson Pickett and Otis Redding, died from a suspected pulmonary embolism onboard a commercial airliner while flying from Washington, DC to a sold-out show in The Netherlands on 10/10/2010, age 70
1941 ● John Boylan → Songwriter and producer for Rick Nelson, The Association, The Dillards and others, managed Linda Ronstadt and handpicked her backing band in 1971, the session musicians who later became the Eagles
1943 ● Vivian Stanshall / (Victor Anthony Stanshall) → Eccentric 60s UK underground rock figure and founder of the comedy/satirical art rock outfit Bonzo Dog Do-Dah Band, “I’m The Urban Spaceman” (UK #5, 1968), died in a fire at his home on 3/5/1995, age 52
1944 ● David Lindley → Top-rated and sought-after session musician, co-founded 60s American eclectic folk-rock cult band Kaleidoscope, recorded with Warren Zevon, Curtis Mayfield, Dolly Parton, Ry Cooder, Linda Ronstadt, Rod Stewart and others, key member of Jackson Browne‘s recording and touring band from 1971 to 1981, solo, “Mercury Blues” (Mainstream Rock #34, 1981)
1945 ● Sister Rose (aka Rosie Stone) Stewart / (Rosemary Stewart) → Platinum-wigged lead vocalist and keyboardist with her two brothers Sly and Freddie in funk-rock Sly & The Family Stone, “Family Affair” (#1, 1971), solo and sessions for Michael Jackson, Ringo Starr and others
1946 ● Ray Dorset → Founder, guitarist, vocals and chief songwriter for novelty pop-rock one hit wonder Mungo Jerry, “In The Summertime” (#3, 1970), solo
1949 ● Eddie Money / (Edward Joseph Mahoney) → NYPD police trainee turned 70-80s “working class” rocker and songwriter with two Top 20 albums and eleven Top 40 hits, including “Baby Hold On” (#11, 1978), “Take Me Home Tonight” (#4, 1986) and “Walk On Water” (#9, 1988), toured and recorded through the 00s and appeared on several TV sitcoms and variety shows, his 12th studio album, Brand New Day, was scheduled for release at the time of his death from esophageal cancer on 9/13/2019, age 70.
1950 ● Roger Hodgson → Founding member, frontman, keyboards, vocals and chief hit songwriter for Brit prog-art-pop-rock Supertramp, “The Logical Song” (#6, 1979), solo
1951 ● Conrad Lozano → Bassist for Tex-Mex roots/blues/country-rock Los Lobos, “La Bamba” (#1, 1987)
1951 ● Russell Thompkins, Jr. → Vocals for R&B/Philly soul The Stylistics, “You Make Me Feel Brand New” (#2, 1974) plus 15 R&B Top 40 singles
1953 ● Robert Johnson → Drummer for R&B/soul-funk-disco KC & The Sunshine Band, “That’s The Way (I Like It)” (#1, 1975) and five other #1 hits
1956 ● Guy Chadwick → Guitar and vocals for Brit indie psych-rock The House Of Love, “Shine On” (, 1990)
1956 ● Richard H. Kirk / (Richard Harold Kirk) → Pioneering experimental/electronic musician and founding member of post-punk industrial music trio Cabaret Voltaire, the group recorded with a tape recorder and crude instruments in the 70s, then gradually added dance-pop elements and stronger instrumenation in the 80s, scoring six UK Indie Top 10 hits and ten UK pop minor hits, including “Here To Go” (Dance #16, UK #88, 1987), following dissolution in 1994 pursued a solo career using an array of aliases and collaborted with multiple electonic musicians over 25 years, revived Cabaret Voltaire as a solo venture in 2009 and released three albums over six months in 2020-2021 before dying from undisclosed causes on 9/21/2021, age 65.
1957 ● John Reddington → Guitarist for rockabilly revival (“psychobilly”) King Kurt, “Destination Zululand” (UK #38, 1983)
1957 ● Sean Dickson → Founding member, vocals and lead guitar for Scottish alt rock/indie dance-pop The Soup Dragons, “I’m Free” (#79, Modern Rock #2, UK #5, 1990), after 1995 disbandment formed alt rock The High Fidelity
1958 ● Butch Norton / (Jonathan Norton) → Drums and vocals for L.A. indie rock Eels, “Novocaine For The Soul” (Modern Rock #1, 1997), then sessions and/or touring bands for Fiona Apple, Tracy Chapman, Lisa Germano, Aimee Mann, Michael Penn, Rufus Wainwright and Lucinda Williams
1963 ● Share Ross / (Sharon Pedersen Ross) → Bassist for critically-panned but huge selling 80s all-female glam metal quartet Vixen, “Cryin'” (#22, 1989)
1963 ● Shawn Lane → Jazz-rock guitar virtuoso, joined Southern raunch-rock Black Oak Arkansas as a teenager, left for a solo career, sessions and collaborations including with outlaw country The Highwaymen, died from respiratory failure on 9/26/2003, age 40
1966 ● DJ Premier / (Christopher Martin) → East Coast rap DJ and record producer, one half the hip hop duo Gang Starr, “Take It Personal” (Rap #1, 1992), recorded with The Notorious B.I.G., Jay-Z and others, founder and chief of Year Round Records
1967 ● Joker Berggren / (Jonas Berggren) → Guitar and keyboards for Swedish pop-rockers Ace Of Base, “All That She Wants” (#2, 1993)
1967 ● Maxim / (Keith Palmer) → MC and vocals for “big beat” electronic dance/rap The Prodigy, “Firestarter” (#30, 1996)
1968 ● Andrew Copeland → Guitar and vocals for Southern folk-rock Sister Hazel, “All For You” (#11, 1997)
1977 ● Mark Hamilton → Founding member, bass, synthesizer and backing vocals for Irish neo-punk/pop-rock Ash, “Goldfinger” (UK #5, 1996)
1978 ● Kevin Federline → Dancer, fashion model, tabloid fodder ex-husband of Britney Spears and pop-rap singer, “Lose Control” (2006)
1980 ● Bizzy D Whibley / (Deryck Whibley) → Guitar and vocals for Canadian indie punk-pop Sum 41, “We’re All To Blame” (Mainstream Rock #36, 2004)
1989 ● Rochelle Humes / (Rochelle Wiseman Humes) → Singer, actress and TV host, member of pre-fab teen dance-pop S Club 8, “Fool No More” (UK #4, 2003), left in 2007 to join electro-pop girl-group The Saturdays, “Missing You” (UK #3, 2010)

March 22
1916 ● George Wyle / (Bernard Weissman) → Orchestra leader and composer, wrote or co-wrote hundreds of pop songs, including the standard “It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” (1963) and the theme song to the 60s TV sitcom Gilligan’s Island, musical director for 70s TV variety program The Flip Wilson Show, served on the Board of Directors of the American Society of Music Arrangers and Composers from 1979-2003, died of leukemia on 5/2/2003, age 87.
1930 ● Steven Sondheim / (Steven Joshua Sondheim) → The most important composer-lyricist in musical theater in the second half of the 20th century, eight Tony and eight Grammy award-winnier best known for writing A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum (1962), A Little Night Music (1973), Sweeney Todd (1979) and 16 other major music theater shows, wrote the lyrics to West Side Story (1957), Gypsy (1962) and other films, wrote multiple hit songs, including “Sooner Or Later (I Always Get My Man)” for Madonna (from the folm Dick Tracy, Academy Award for Best Original Song, 1991), mentored young artists in his later years and consulted on various theater projects, including Hamilton (2015), suffered from cardiovascular disease and died suddenly the day after celebrating Thanksgiving with friends, 11/26/2021, age 91.
1932 ● Juke Boy Bonner / (Weldon Bonner) → Texas blues guitarist, harmonica player, singer and poet who recorded numerous singles and several albums of mostly original material, including his best material on Arhoolie Records in the 60s, but never broke through to commercial success, died from cirrhosis of the liver on 6/29/1978, age 46
1936 ● Roger Whittaker → Internationally-acclaimed baritone pop singer and songwriter, “The Last Farewell” (#19, 1975), TV actor
1937 ● Johnny Ferguson → 50s Nashville disc jockey turned transatlantic one hit wonder country-pop singer with a cover version of John D. Loudermilk‘s “Angela Jones” (Top 30, 1960).
1937 ● Jon Hassell → Classical-trained trumpeter, composer and creator of “Fourth World” music, the self-described “unified primitive/futurist sound” of modern electronics merged with ancient instruments from various ethnic cultures, its earliest articulation was the 1980 collaborative LP with Brian Eno, Fourth World, Vol. 1: Possible Musics, which led to appearances with Talking Heads (“Houses In Motion” from Remain In Light, 1980), Peter Gabriel on the soundtrack album Birdy (1985), k.d. lang (“Hain’t It Funny” on Drag, 1997), and on multiple collaborations with Ry Cooder and many others, also issued 20 albums as a solo artist or leader of an ensemble, died from undisclosed causes on 6/26/2021, age 84.
1941 ● Jeremy Clyde → One half of strings-backed British Invasion light folk-pop duo Chad & Jeremy, “A Summer Song” (#7, 1964), TV actor
1943 ● George Benson → Grammy-winning jazz and R&B/pop guitarist and scat singer, “Give Me The Night” (R&B #1, 1980)
1943 ● Keith Relf → Guitars and vocals for hard rock Yardbirds, “For Your Love” (#6, 1965), then prog rock Renaissance and hard rock Medicine Head, died from electrocution while playing his electric guitar in his basement on 5/14/1976, age 33.
1944 ● Christopher Stainton → Session keyboardist and songwriter, started with Joe Cocker, later worked with Eric Clapton, The Who, Bryan Ferry, Roger Waters and others
1947 ● Harry Vanda → Dutch-born lead guitarist for pop-rock The Easybeats, “Friday On My Mind” (#16, 1967), later with pop-rock Flash And The Pan
1947 ● Patrick Olive → Percussionist and bassist for R&B/soul-disco Hot Chocolate, “You Sexy Thing” (#3, 1976) and 27 other UK Top 40 hits, including one in every year from 1970 to 1984
1948 ● Andrew Lloyd Webber → Highly successful Grammy-winning songwriter, producer and composer of musicals, often as collaborator with Tim Rice, Jesus Christ Superstar (1970), Evita (1976) and Phantom Of The Opera (1986)
1948 ● Randy Jo Hobbs → Bassist for pop-rock The McCoys, “Hang On Sloopy” (#1, 1965), then with blues-rock Johnny Winter band, died from heart failure caused by years of drug abuse on 8/5/1993, age 45
1953 ● Robin Le Mesurier / (Robin Mark Le Mesurier Halliley) → British guitarist and member of mid-70s TV spin-off novelty-pop band The Wombles (“Banana Rock,” UK #9, 1974), toured with soft rock Air Supply in 1977 as the opening act for Rod Stewart, eventually joining Stewart‘s band in the studio for five albums and on tour through the early 90s, played on French singer Johnny Hallyday‘s first English-language album Rough Town (1994) and served as Hallyday‘s music director for 20 years through 2016, backed former Faces members Stewart, Ronnie Wood and Kenney Jones in a 40th anniversary reunion tour in 2015, died of cancer on 12/22/2021, age 68.
1957 ● Stephanie Mills → Broadway star (The Wiz, 1975) turned Grammy-winning R&B/pop-disco diva, “Never Knew Love Like This Before” (#6, 1980)
1958 ● Peter Wylie → Singer and frontman for post-punk alt rock Wah!, “Story Of The Blues” (UK #3, 1982)
1963 ● Susanne Sulley → Vocals for synth-pop pioneers The Human League, “Don’t You Want Me” (#1, 1981)
1968 ● Mickey Dale → Keyboards and backing vocals for Brit pop-rock Embrace, “Gravity” (Mainstream Rock #36, UK #7, 2004)
1970 ● Andreas Johnson → Swedish pop-rock musician and songwriter, “Glorious” (UK #4, 1999)
1971 ● Steve Howell → Drummer for 90s Brit guitar-pop The Boo Radleys, “Barney (…And Me)” (Alt Rock #30, 1994), now with Placebo
1979 ● Aaron Wright North → Guitarist for industrial rock Nine Inch Nails, “The Day The World Went Away” (#17, 1999)
1980 ● Shannon Rae Bex → Singer for MTV Making the Band program winner and pre-fab, all-girl dance-pop quintet Danity Kane, “Show Stopper” (#8, 2006), solo
1981 ● Shawn Mims → Jamaican-descent rapper, “This Is Why I’m Hot” (#1, 2007)
1986 ● Amy Studt → Brit contemporary pop singer, first hit at age 15 with “Just A Little Girl” (UK #14, 2002) and “Misfit” (UK #6, 2003)

March 23
1917 ● Stick McGhee / (Granville Henry McGhee) → Jump blues guitarist, singer and songwriter, best known for the oft-covered blues and proto-typical rock ‘n’ roll song “Drinkin’ Wine, Spo-Dee-O-Dee” (R&B #3, 1949), younger brother of electric blues guitarist Brownie McGhee, died of lung cancer on 8/15/1961, age 44.
1925 ● Herb Hardesty / (Herbert Hardesty) → New Orleans R&B and early rock ‘n’ roll tenor saxophonist noted for his work with Fats Domino and solos on nearly every hit song, including “I’m Walking” (#4, R&B #1, 1957), also recorded or toured with Lloyd Price, Tony Bennett, Tom Waits and others over 50 years, performed with Dr. John in various New Orleans festivals until just a few years before his death from cancer on 12/3/2016, age 91
1932 ● Louisiana Red / (Iverson Minter) → Flamboyant Southern blues guitarist, vocalist and harmonica player, recorded over 50 albums plus guest appearances and collaborations, best known for “Sweet Blood Call” (1975), died following a stroke on 2/25/2012, age 79
1934 ● Joey Ambrose / (Joseph D’Ambrosio) → Saxophonist and original member of rock ‘n’ roll pioneers Bill Haley & His Comets, played on two big hits, “Shake, Rattle and Roll” (#7, 1954) and “Rock Around the Clock” (#1, UK #1, 1955) before leaving in a salary dispute with other bandmates to form late-50s, mildly-successful pop-rock quartet The Jodimars, later worked as a Las Vegas casino pit boss and appeared on the oldies circuit with Comets revival groups, inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012 and died from unstated causes on 8/9/2021, age 87.
1938 ● Irwin Jesse Levine → Pop-rock songwriter, co-wrote “This Diamond Ring” (#1, 1965) for Gary Lewis & The Playboys plus “Knock Three Times” (#1, 1971) and “Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Old Oak Tree” (#1, 1973) for Tony Orlando & Dawn and other top hits, died from renal failure on 1/21/1997, age 58
1940 ● Janis Martin → The “Female Elvis,” early and pioneering country/rock ‘n’ roll singer and guitarist with the teenaged hit on Sun Records, “Will You Willyum” (#38, 1956) with the B-side, “Drugstore Rock And Roll” becoming a rockabilly classic, left the industry in the late 50s to raise her son and manage a country club until the rockabilly revival of the 80s, died from lung cancer on 9/3/2007, age 67
1942 ● Jimmy Miller → Record producer and occasional session drummer on albums and songs he produced for The Spencer Davis Group, Traffic, the lone Blind Faith album, the Plasmatics, Primal Scream and others, including key albums by The Rolling Stones: Beggars Banquet (1968), Let It Bleed (1969), Sticky Fingers (1971), Exile on Main St. (1972) and Goats Head Soup (1973), died from liver failure on 10/22/1994, age 52
1944 ● Michael Nyman → Composer, pianist, bandleader and librettist, wrote the soundtrack album to the Oscar-winning film The Piano (1993)
1944 ● Tony McPhee → Lead guitar and vocals for blues-rock power trio The Groundhogs, which had three UK Top 10 albums in the early 70s, including Split (1971)
1944 ● Ric Ocasek / (Richard Theodore Otcasek) → Co-founder, rhythm guitarist and chief songwriter for New Wave synth-pop/hard rock The Cars, his songs and lyrics skillfully blended 60s pop with 70s punk rock and created thirteen Top 40 hits for the band, including “Just What I Needed” (#27, 1978) and “Drive” (#3, 1984), started a solo career during the band’s last years together and issued seven solo albums and six charting singles over 20 years, including “Emotion In Motion” (#15, 1986), appeared on screen in cameo roles and published books of his poetry and lyrics before dying while recovering from an unspecified surgery on 9/15/2019, age 75.
1947 ● Ray Phiri / (Raymond Chikapa Enock Phiri) → South African jazz, fusion and mbaqanga guitarist and vocalist best known for his collaborations with Paul Simon on the Graceland (#3, 1986) and The Rhythm Of The Saints (#4, 1990) albums and on worldwide tours that included The Concert In Central Park (1991) and an appearance on Saturday Night Live, died from lung cancer on 7/12/2017, age 70
1948 ● Cindy Scott / (Sundray Kay Tucker) → Performed and recorded under both her stage (Scott) and birth (Tucker) names, early member of 60s doo wop girl group The Ordettes, released “What Are You Doin’ To Me” as Cindy Scott & The Cousins, sang backing vocals for Stevie Wonder, recorded as a solo artist on various indie labels through the 00s, sister of Lynda Laurence (of The Supremes) and cousin of Tammi Terrell and Bunny Sigler
1950 ● Phil Lanzon → Keyboardist for hard/prog rock Spice, renamed Uriah Heep, “Easy Livin'” (#39, 1972), sessions and sideman for numerous rock acts
1952 ● David Bartram → Vocals for Brit rock ‘n’ roll revival Showaddywaddy, “Under The Moon Of Love” (UK #1, 1976) and over 20 other UK Top 40 singles
1953 ● Chaka Khan / (Yvette Marie Stevens) → Vocals for R&B/funk-dance Rufus, “Tell Me Something Good” (#3, 1974), then solo, “I Feel For You” (#3, 1984)
1953 ● Phil Keaggy → Grammy-nominated contemporary Christian music guitarist and vocalist, co-founded psych-rock power trio Glass Harp in the 60s, converted to Christianity in the 70s and released over 50 albums of CCM and mainstream pop-rock music, continues to perform with Glass Harp in Ohio and the Northeast into the 10s
1958 ● El Duce Hoke / (Eldon Hoke) → Drummer and lead singer for pioneer 80s “shock-” and “rape rock” metal band The Mentors, known for their chauvinistic, filthy lyrics and crude production, died from coroner-termed “misadventure” (hit by a freight train) on 4/19/1997, age 39
1966 ● Marti Pellow / (Mark McLachlan) → Frontman and lead singer for Scottish pop-rock Wet Wet Wet, “Love Is All Around” (#41, UK #1, 1994), solo
1967 ● John Strohm → Drummer turned guitarist for indie rock/power pop Blake Babies, then for several other groups, including teen-pop Lemonheads, “Into Your Arms” (Modern Rock #1, 1993) plus solo albums, now a lawyer
1968 ● Damon Albarn → Singer, songwriter and producer, first as frontman for alt rock then Britpop Blur, “Girls & Boys” (Alt Rock #4, 1994), then in virtual pop-rock dub band Gorillaz, “Feel Good Inc.” (#14, 2005)
1971 ● Abe Laboriel / (Abraham Laboriel, Jr.) → Berklee College of Music graduate and session and tour drummer for Steve Vai, Seal, k.d. lang, Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton and others, son of renowned bassist Abraham Laboriel, Sr.
1972 ● Beverly Knight → Brit R&B/soul singer, songwriter and producer, “Woulda Shoulda Coulda” (UK #10, 2002)

March 24
1912 ● Nervous Norvus / (Jimmy Drake) → Two hit wonder pop singer/songwriter whose song “Transfusion” (#6, 1956) about blood loss following car crashes is perhaps the strangest Top 40 hit of all time, fell back into obscurity after his second hit “Ape Call” (#24, 1956) and died from cirrhosis of the liver on 7/24/1968, age 56.
1922 ● Dave Appell / (David Appell) → Pioneer music business executive, session band frontman, producer, publisher and arranger, worked with Cameo/Parkway records in the 50s and early 60s as a writer and frontman for the label’s house band, The Applejacks (“Mexican Hat Rock,” #16, 1958), co-wrote “Let’s Twist Again” (#8, 1961) for Chubby Checker and “Bristol Stomp” (#2, 1961) for The Dovells, among other hits, co-produced “Knock Three Times” (#1, 1971) and “Tie A Yellow Ribbon” (#1, 1973) for Tony Orlando And Dawn, died from natural causes on 11/18/2014, age 92.
1935 ● Carol Kaye / (Carol Kaye Smith) → Hugely prolific session bassist, played in over 10,000 recording sessions for Sam Cooke, Ritchie Valens, Simon & Garfunkel, Quincy Jones, Phil Spector, The Beach Boys and many others, performed on TV theme songs for Kojak, MAS*H, Mannix, Hawaii Five-O, Bonanza and others, music instruction author and teacher
1936 ● Don Covay / (Donald James Randolph) → R&B, rock and soul singer and songwriter, scored a Top 10 R&B hit with “See Saw” (#44, R&B #5, 1965) and charted twelve other minor hits but is best known for penning “Chain Of Fools” (#2, R&B #1, 1968) for Aretha Franklin, plus dozens of other songs for Gene Vincent, Connie Francis, Steppenwolf, Bobbie Womack, Wilson Pickett, The Rolling Stones and others, died from a stoke on 1/31/2015, age 78.
1937 ● Billy Stewart → Scat-style R&B/jazz singer, “Summertime” (#10, R&B #7, 1966), died along with three bandmembers when his car went off a bridge in North Carolina on 1/17/1970, age 32
1938 ● Holger Czukay / (Holger Schüring) → German musician and co-founder of early krautrock/avant-garde pop-rock Can, “Spoon” (GER #6, 1971) and “I Want More” (UK #26, 1976), noted for pioneering ambient and “world music” genres and developing sampling as a recording technique, recorded and performed for decades until his death from undisclosed causes on 9/5/23017, age 79.
1941 ● Michel Masser / (Michael William Masser) → Stockbroker-turned-composer, songwriter and producer of pop music, wrote or co-wrote dozens of hits for Diana Ross (“Touch Me In The Morning,” #1, 1973), Whitney Houston (“Greatest Love Of All,” #1, 1986), Natalie Cole (“Miss You Like Crazy,” #7, 1989) and others, inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2007, died three years following a major stroke on 7/9/2015, age 74
1946 ● Colin Petersen → Australian drummer, record producer and erstwhile child actor, grade school classmate of Barry Gibb and acquaintance of Maurice Gibb, joined pop-rock The Bee Gees (“I Started A Joke,” #6, 1968) in 1967 as drummer and first non-Gibb family bandmember, fired in August 1969 over partnership dispute and lost his rights to royalties in a court case, produced several albums for various artists in the 70s and disappeared from the music industry
1947 ● Mike Kellie → Drummer for hard rock/blues rock Spooky Tooth, later The Only Ones and Peter Frampton, sessions
1948 ● Lee Oskar → Danish harmonica player for R&B cover band The Creators, which became funk-blues-jazz-rock War, “Cisco Kid” (#2, 1973), solo, heads a high-end harmonica manufacturing concern
1948 ● David Olney / (David Charles Olney) → Folk and roots-rock songwriter, fronted the band The X-Rays in Nashville in the 70s and 80s as a vehicle for his songs, after dissolution in 1985 released nearly 35 LPs as a solo singer and guitarist, his songs were covered by Linda Ronstadt, Emmy Lou Harris, Steve Earle and many others, died onstage from a heart attack while performing at a Florida festival on 1/18/2020, age 71.
1949 ● Nick Lowe → Songwriter, guitarist, producer, solo artist (“Cruel To Be Kind,” #12, 1979) with 14 albums, bandleader for pub rock/proto-punk Brinsley Schwarz and trad rock ‘n’ roll Rockpile (“Teacher Teacher,” #51, 1981), produced albums for Johnny Cash, Elvis Costello, The Pretenders and others
1951 ● Dougie Thomson / (Douglas Campbell Thomson) → Bassist for Brit prog-art-pop-rock Supertramp, “The Logical Song” (#6, 1979)
1960 ● Nena / (Gabriele Susanne Kerner) → One hit wonder (in the US) German singer and actress, “99 Luftballons” (#2, 1984) and seven Top 10 hits in Germany, now a school principal
1964 ● Zetro / (Steve Souza) → Vocalist for thrash metal bands Exodus (LP Fabulous Disaster, #39, 1989), Dublin Death Patrol, Tenet and, more recently, Hatriot with his two sons
1970 ● Pasemaster Mase / (Vincent Mason, Jr.) → MC and vocals for jazz rap and alt hip hop trio De La Soul, “Me Myself And I” (R&B #1, 1989)
1970 ● Sharon Corr → With two sisters and brother, violinist in Irish folk-pop-rock sibling act The Corrs, “Breathless” (Adult Top 40 #7, 2000)
1974 ● Chad Butler / (Chad Matthew Butler) → Co-founding member and drummer for alt rock/CCM Switchfoot (“Dare you To Move,” #17, 2004).

March 25
1923 ● Bonnie Guitar / (Bonnie Buckingham) → One of the earliest female country-pop crossover singers with “Dark Moon” (#6, Country #14, 1957) plus eight other Country Top 40 hits, co-founded Dolton Records to energize her own music but instead brought R&B/doo wop The Fleetwoods (“Come Softly To Me,” #1, 1959) and instrumental/surf-rock The Ventures (“Walk Don’t Run,” #2, 1960) to national prominence, as an audio engineer, record producer and label executive in the 60s was an extremely rare female in the top echelons of a vastly male-dominated music industry, largely retired in the 70s but performed occasionally until shortly before her death from natural causes on 1/12/2019, age 95
1934 ● Johnny Burnette / (John Joseph Burnette) → Rockabilly pioneer bandleader and singer, “You’re Sixteen” (#8, 1960), brother of Dorsey and father of Rocky, killed in a California lake boating accident on 8/14/1964, age 30
1935 ● Johnny Pacheco / (Juan Azarías Pacheco Knipping) → Dominican-born composer and bandleader known as the “godfather of salsa” for his work producing and promoting the uniquely American blend of Cuban mambo, Puerto Rican bomba, Caribbean merengue, jazz and funk, principally through his Fania Records label, which grew from humble beginnings in 1964 selling LP’s out of a car trunk in Spanish Harlem, New York City, over time hailed as the Latin Motown and home to salsa superstars Rubén Blades, Willie Colón and Celia Cruz, among others, the label folded amid legal trouble in the 80s but was revitalized in 2005 and continued to reissue energetic dance music into the 20s, died from complications of pneumonia on 2/15/2021, age 85.
1938 ● Hoyt Axton / (Hoyt Wayne Axton) → Country singer and songwriter, “Boney Fingers” (Country #8, 1974), wrote songs for Elvis Presley, Ringo Starr and others, including “The Pusher” for Steppenwolf (1968) and “Joy To The World” for Three Dog Night (#1, 1971), TV actor (Bionic Woman and McCloud), died of a heart attack on 10/26/1999, age 61
1942 ● Aretha Franklin / (Aretha Louise Franklin) → The undisputed “Queen of Soul,” Hall of Fame and Grammy-winning R&B/soul super-diva whose bold and influential style was rooted in gospel but blended jazz, rock, pop and later classical, charted more than 100 Billboard singles, 17 Top 10 pop hits and 20 R&B #1 hits, including her signature “Respect” (#1, R&B #1, 1967), which became an anthem for the civil rights, feminist and counterculture movements, performed for three presidential inaugural programs and topped Rolling Stones’ “100 Greatest Singers of All Time” (2010), died from pancreatic cancer on 8/16/2018, age 76
1946 ● Peter Daltrey / (Peter James Daltrey) → Co-founder, chief lyricist, lead vocals and keyboards for 60s Brit psych-rock cult band Kaleidoscope (“Flight From Ashiya,” 1967) and its successor band, Fairfield Parlour (“Bordeaux Rose,” 1970), following the band’s dissolution released several modest solo albums and collaborated with Ayreon, Clifford T. Ward and Damien Youth, contributed to Kaleidoscope archival releases and is currently working on a pictorial book and TV documentary of the Isle of Wight Festival 1970
1947 ● Brinsley Schwarz → Guitarist, frontman and namesake for early 70s pub-rock Brinsley Schwarz, briefly with roots rock Ducks Deluxe and later co-founded proto-punk The Rumour (which would become Graham Parker‘s backing band), continues to perform with Ducks Deluxe into the 10s
1947 ● Elton John / (Reginald Kenneth Dwight) → Grammy-winning pop-rock and rock ‘n’ roll mega-star with over 40 Top 25 hits, from “Crocodile Rock” (#1, 1973) to “Candle In The Wind 1997” (#1, 1997)
1947 ● Jack Hall → Bassist for soulful Southern rock Wet Willie, “Keep On Smilin'” (#10, 1974), brother of frontman and lead vocalist Jimmy Hall, died on 5/17/1989, age 42
1947 ● Duncan Browne → Pop-rock singer and songwriter, “Journey” (UK #23, 1972), died of cancer on 5/28/1993, age 46
1948 ● Michael Stanley / (Michael Stanley Gee) → Pop-rock singer and songwriter for 70s folk-rock Silk, then solo and frontman for the underrated heartland rock Michael Stanley Band (“He Can’t Love You, #33, 1981), his early mentors and collaborators included Joe Walsh and Todd Rundgren but those influences never led to a larger base outside of Ohio and the Midwest, died in his sleep while suffering from lung cancer on 3/5/2021, age 72.
1949 ● Neil Jones → Guitarist for Welsh prog rock septet Amen Corner, “(If Paradise Is) Half As Nice” (UK #1, 1969)
1951 ● Maizie Williams → West Indian vocalist for R&B/disco Euro-dance Boney M, “Rivers Of Babylon” (#30, UK #1, 1978), solo
1952 ● Jack Lee → Singer, songwriter, guitarist and frontman for L.A. power pop trio The Nerves, the band enjoyed cult status in their home state but limited commercial success elsewhere, best known for penning “Hanging On The Telephone” for punk-pop Blondie (UK #5, 1978) and “Come Back And Stay” (#22, UK #4,1983) for blue-eyed soul Paul Young, among others.
1960 ● Steve Norman → Guitar and saxophone for New Romantic pop-rock Spandau Ballet, “True” (#4, 1983)
1966 ● Jeff Healey → Blind Canadian blues-rock guitarist, singer, songwriter and bandleader, “Angel Eyes” (#5, 1989), lost his sight to a rare cancer when he was eight months old, died of cancer on 3/2/2008, age 41
1969 ● Cathy Dennis → R&B/dance-pop vocalist turned successful songwriter, “Touch Me All Night Long” (#2, 1991), co-wrote “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head” for Kylie Minogue (#7, 2002) and wrote other songs for Kelly Clarkson, Celine Dion, Janet Jackson, Britney Spears and others
1971 ● Michael McKeegan → Bassist for Irish grunge rock/alt metal Therapy?, “Screamager” (, 1993)
1974 ● Finley Quaye → Scottish reggae/hip hop singer, “Dice” (Dance #18, 2004), winner of the 1998 BRIT award winner for best male solo artist
1975 ● Juvenile / (Terius Gray) → New Orleans-based Southern/gangsta rapper, member of the hip hop group Hot Boys, “I Need A Hot Girl” (R&B #23, 1999), then solo, “Slow Motion” (#1, 2004) featuring Soulja Slim
1975 ● Melanie Blatt → Vocals for Brit dance-pop-rock All Saints, “Never Ever” (UK #1, 1998)
1988 ● Ryan Lewis → DJ, musician, producer and professional photographer/videographer, one half of the Grammy-winning duo Macklemore & Lewis, “Thrift Shop” (Best Rap Song Grammy, #1, R&B #1, 2012) and oft-partner with rapper Macklemore in other projects

March 26
1917 ● Rufus Thomas → Memphis R&B/funk-soul singer and comedian, “Do The Funky Chicken” (#28, R&B #5, 1970), father of R&B/soul singer Carla Thomas, died from heart failure on 12/15/2001, age 84
1921 ● Julie Harris → Oscar- and BAFTA-winning British costume designer whose work included James Bond films and The BeatlesA Hard Day’s Night and Help!, for which she later quipped “I must be one of the few people who can claim they have seen John, Paul, George and Ringo naked,” died following a brief illness on 5/30/2015, age 94
1928 ● Izzy Young / (Israel Goodman Young) → Mentor to young musicians, concert promoter and proprietor of the Folklore Center, the hub of the folk-revival scene in New York’s Greenwich Village in the early 60s, his customers included Joni Mitchell, Dave Van Ronk, John Sebastian and Bob Dylan, who later remembered the small book store, record emporium and folkie hang-out as the “citadel of Americana folk music,” relocated his life and store to Stockholm in 1973 and continued his calling in Sweden until his death from natural causes on 2/5/20919, age 90.
1934 ● Alan Arkin → American actor, director, musician and singer, scored a Top Ten hit as a member of folk-pop The Tarriers, “Cindy, Oh Cindy” (#9, 1956), starred in dozens of films and TV movies and series, including Catch 22 (1970) and Edward Scissorhands (1990)
1936 ● Fred Parris / (Frederick Lee Parris) → Founder, frontman and vocals for long-running R&B/doo wop The Five Satins, wrote the classic 50s ballad “In The Still Of The Night” (#24, R&B #3, 1956), the now-signature song of the doo wop era and #90 on Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, recorded into the 80s and had a final charting single with “Memories Of Days Gone By” (#71, 1982), a retro-medley of doo wop hits, thereafter appeared on the oldies circuit with various Five Satins lineups for the next three decades, died after a short illness on 1/13/2022, age 85.
1944 ● Diana Ross / (Diane Ernestine Earle Ross) → Motown R&B/soul-pop diva, lead vocals and eventual frontwoman for The Supremes, “Baby Love” (#1, 1964), then highly successful solo career, “Endless Love” (#1, 1981) and 22 other Top 40 hits
1946 ● Johnny Crawford / (John Ernest Crawford) → Child character actor, original Mouseketeer on TV’s Mickey Mouse Club, co-star of Western series The Rifleman, short-lived teen-pop singer with four Top 40 hits in 1962-63, including “Cindy’s Birthday” (#8, 1962), continued to act on TV through the 90s in various bit parts
1948 ● Ned Doheny → West Coast singer/songwriter, first artist signed to David Geffen‘s Asylum Records label, solo albums featured guests such as Glen Frey, Don Henley and Linda Ronstadtt, limited commercial success in the U.S. but significant popularity in Japan, wrote or co-wrote several minor chart hits plus songs covered by Chaka Khan, Average White Band and Dave Mason
1948 ● Richard Tandy → Keyboards for pop-rock Electric Light Orchestra, “Don’t Bring Me Down” (#4, 1979) and 26 other Top 40 hits
1948 ● Steven Tyler / (Steven Victor Tallarico) → Frontman and lead vocals for long-lived, Grammy-winning hard rockers Aerosmith, “Dream On” (#6, 1976), “Angel” (#3, 1988), “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” (#1, 1998), “Baby, Please Don’t Go” (Mainstream Rock #7, 2004)
1949 ● Fran Sheehan → Bassist for 70s-80s arena rock Boston, “More Than A Feeling” (#5, 1976)
1949 ● Vicki Lawrence / (Vicki Ann Axelrad) → Actress, comedienne, TV game show panelist and one hit wonder singer, “The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia” (#1, 1973)
1950 ● Teddy Pendergrass → Lead singer for R&B/Philly soul Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” (#3, 1972), then successful solo career, “Love T.K.O.” (R&B #2, 1980), died on 1/13/2010 after colon cancer surgery
1953 ● Billy Lyall / (William Lyall) → Scottish keyboardist, vocalist and early member of tartan-clad, teen-pop boy band Bay City Rollers, then co-founded pop-rock Pilot (“Magic,” #1, 1974) and worked with the Alan Parsons Project before dying from AIDS-related causes on 12/1/1989, age 36
1955 ● Martin Price → Record shop owner and founding member of electro-dance/acid house 808 State, “Bombadin” (Dance/Club #3, 1994)
1957 ● Paul Morley → Music journalist, former New Music Express writer, band manager, producer and founding member of avant-garde synth-pop Art Of Noise, “Kiss” featuring Tom Jones (#31, Dance/Club #18, UK #5, 1988)
1968 ● James Jonas Iha → Vocals and guitar for alt/prog rock/metal band Smashing Pumpkins, “1979” (#12, 1996)
1968 ● Kenny Chesney → Contemporary country star singer and songwriter, “Never Wanted Nothing More” (#22, Country #1, 2007), and 19 other Country #1 hits, married to Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001) and Chicago (2002) film actress Renée Zellweger
1971 ● John Hendy → Vocalist and rapper for Brit teen dance-pop/hip hop boy band East 17, “Stay Another Day” (UK #1, 1994), plus over 15 other UK Top 40 hits
1981 ● Jay Sean / (Kamaljit Singh Jhooti) → Anglo-Indian singer, songwriter, producer, rapper, beatboxer and Bhangra-R&B fusion pioneer with Rishi Rich Project, “Dance With You” (UK #12, 2003), then solo, “Down” (#1, 2009) with Lil’ Wayne

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