This Week’s Birthdays (May 16 – 22)

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Nirvana (Chris Novoselic, right)

Happy Birthday this week to:

May 16
1919 ● Liberace / (Wladziu Valentino Liberace) → Campy, sequin-suited easy listening/pop pianist, Vegas showman and TV host (with a candelabra on his piano), died from complications of AIDS and emphysema on 2/4/1987, age 67
1932 ● Red Holt / (Isaac Holt) → Drummer in 50s and 60s jazz ensemble Ramsey Lewis Trio, then formed one hit wonder jazz-pop Young-Holt Unlimited, “Soulful Strut” (#3, 1969)
1936 ● Kripp Johnson / (Corinthian Johnson) → Vocals in R&B/doo wop The Del-Vikings, “Come Go With Me” (#4, 1957), died on 6/22/1990
1944 ● Billy Cobham → Jazz-rock fusion drummer for Miles Davis, founded Mahavishnu Orchestra, backed James Brown and Santana, played with Grateful Dead and offshoot Bobby & The Midnights, solo and bandleader as Spectrum
1945 ● Nicky Chinn / (Nicholas Barry Chinn) → Novello Award-winning songwriter and producer, co-wrote with Michael Chapman as the “Chinnichap” songwriting and production team over fifty Top 40 hits, worked with Sweet (“The Ballroom Blitz,” #5, UK #2, 1973), Suzi Quatro (“Devil Gate Drive,” UK #1, 1974) and Smokie (“Living Next Door Too Alice,” #25, UK #5, 1976), produced albums for Blondie and The Knack
1946 ● Robert Fripp → Avant-garde and experimental pop-rock composer, guitarist and bandleader, only constant member of prog/space-rock King Crimson, “The Court Of The Crimson King” (#80, 1970), solo albums and multiple side and collaboration projects
1946 ● Roger Earl → Drummer for blues-rock Savoy Brown, then co-founded blues-rock Foghat, “Slow Ride” (#20, 1975) and constant bandmember in the 40-plus year history of the band
1947 ● Barbara Lee Jones → Vocals for top-tier 60s New York girl group The Chiffons, “He’s So Fine” (#1, 1963), died from a heart attack on 5/15/1992, age 44
1947 ● Darrell Sweet → Co-founder and drummer for Scottish hard rock Nazareth, “Love Hurts” (#8, 1976), died from a fatal heart attack before a show in Indiana on 4/30/1999, age 52
1948 ● Alto Reed / (Thomas Neal Cartmell) → Rock saxophonist and 42-year member of Bob Seger‘s Silver Bullet Band, recognized for the intro to “Turn The Page” (non-charting, 1972) and the solo in “Old Time Rock And Roll” (#28, 1979), also performed and recorded with The Blues Brothers, Little Feat, Dave Mason, The Ventures and dozens of other top acts worldwide over a 50-year career, died from colon cancer on 12/30/2020, age 72.
1951 ● Jonathan Richman → Guitarist, singer and songwriter, founded and fronted proto-punk The Modern Lovers, “Roadrunner” (, 1977), solo and collaborations, appeared in the film There’s Something About Mary (1998)
1953 ● Richard Page → Bass guitarist and vocals for 80s atmospheric pop-rock quartet Mr. Mister, “Kyrie” (#1, 1985)
1955 ● Hazel O’Connor → Brit singer/songwriter and actress, starred in the film Breaking Glass (1980) which launched her pop singing career, “Will You” (UK #8, 1981),
1958 ● Glenn Gregory → Vocals for 80s synth-pop Heaven 17, “Temptation” (UK #2, 1983) and “Contenders” (Dance/Club #6, 1987)
1960 ● Lovebug Starski / (Kevin Smith) → Teenage gang member turned rapper, MC, record producer and self-styled creator of the term “hip-hop” for which he was widely-recognized as a key player in the development of hip-hop music in the South Bronx in the mid-70s, issued a single album and a dozen singles in the 80s, was attempting a career reboot in Las Vegas but died following a heart attack on 2/8/2018, age 57
1964 ● Boyd Tinsley → Violinist for pop-funk-rock jam band Dave Matthews Band, “Don’t Drink The Water” (Modern Rock #4, 1998)
1965 ● Chris Novoselic / (Krist Anthony Novoselic) → Croatian-American bass guitarist and co-founder of premier grunge rock Nirvana, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (#6, 1992), played in variety of bands since Nirvana broke up in 1994, music columnist and founder of JAMPAC
1966 ● Janet Jackson → Youngest of the ten Jackson children, R&B/soul-pop superstar, “Miss You Much” (#1, 1989), TV and film actress
1968 ● Ralph Tresvant → Vocals for R&B/teen pop then hip hop/new jack swing vocal quartet New Edition, “If It Isn’t Love” (#7, 1988)
1971 ● Simon Katz → Percussion in Grammy-winning Brit acid jazz-funk-pop Jamiroquai, “Canned Heat” (Dance #1, 1999)
1973 ● Will White → DJ, vocals and mixmaster for techno-dance Propellerheads, “History Repeating” (Dance/Club #10, 1998), remixed 808 State, Luscious Jackson

May 17
1921 ● Bob Merrill / (Henry Merrill Levan) → Pop and Broadway songwriter, wrote multiple hits, including “(How Much Is) That Doggie In The Window” for Patti Page (#1, 1953) and “People” for Barbra Streisand (Adult Contemporary #1, 1964), died after a long illness on 2/17/1998, age 76
1934 ● Sonny Knight / (Joseph Coleman Smith) → R&B singer (“Confidential,” #17, R&B #8, 1956) and author of the novel The Day The Music Died (1981) about racism in the music industry, suffered a massive stroke in 1996 and died two years later on 9/5/1998, age 64
1938 ● Pervis Jackson → Original member and bass vocals for Grammy-winning Motown and later Atlantic R&B/soul The Spinners, “Then Came You” (#1, 1974) plus eleven other Top 20 hits in the 70s, continued touring with the group until his death from cancer on 8/18/2008, age 70
1941 ● Malcolm Hale → Guitar, horns and vocals for sunny folk-pop Spanky & Our Gang, “Sunday Will Never Be The Same” (#9, 1967), died from carbon monoxide poisoning due to a faulty home furnace on 10/30/1968, age 27
1942 ● Taj Mahal / (Henry St. Clair Fredericks) → Prominent multi-instrumentalist acoustic and electric folk-blues-country-reggae guitarist and songwriter, founded roots folk-rock Rising Sons with Ry Cooder, prolific solo career with over 30 studio and live albums, composer of film soundtracks, Grammy-winning best contemporary blues album Señor Blues (1997)
1944 ● Richard Schwartz → Vocals for white R&B/doo wop quartet The Quotations, “Imagination” (Top 40, 1961)
1944 ● Jesse Winchester / (James Ridout Winchester) → Draft-dodging American folk-pop singer/songwriter, “Say What” (#2, 1981), moved to Canada in 1967 and received citizenship in 1973, continued to record and perform until his death from bladder cancer on 4/11/2014, age 69
1949 ● Bill Bruford → Inimitable rock drummer, composer, bandleader, producer and record company executive, founding member of prog/art rock Yes, briefly with prog rock Genesis in early 70s, then prog/space-rock King Crimson, “Heartbeat” (Mainstream Rock #57, 1982) for 25 years, solo albums and side projects including UK, ABWH and Earthworks
1950 ● Howard Ashman → With songwriting team partner/composer Alan Menken, Academy Award-winning lyricist and producer for stage and screen, co-wrote “Under The Sea” from Disney‘s The Little Mermaid (1989), the title song to Beauty And The Beast (1991) and “Friend Like Me” from Aladdin (1992), died of AIDS on 3/14/1991, age 40
1952 ● Roy Adams → Drummer for Brit blues-rock Climax Blues Band, “Couldn’t Get It Right” (#3, 1977)
1953 ● Lightnin’ Licks Johnson / (George Johnson) → Vocals and guitar for R&B/soul-disco-funk sibling group The Brothers Johnson, “Stomp!” (#7, R&B #1, 1980), solo
1955 ● David Townsend → EMI staff songwriter turned smooth soul singer and guitarist in the “quiet storm” trio Surface, “The First Time” (#1, R&B #1, 1990), found dead in his home on 10/26/2005, age 50
1958 ● Alan Rankine → Guitarist for post-punk New Romantic art-glam-dance-pop The Associates, “Party Fears Two” (UK #9, 1982), now college music lecturer
1959 ● Paul Di’Anno / (Paul Andrews) → Vocalist for Brit heavy metal Iron Maiden, “Flight Of Icarus” (Mainstream Rock #8, 1983), was fired in 1981 and pursued a moderately successful solo career and as a member of several hard rock project groups, including Gogmagog, Battlezone, Praying Mantis and Killers
1960 ● Simon Fuller → Record and TV producer, manager for the Spice Girls, Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Chris Daughtry, Fantasia, Will Young, Emma Bunton and others, creator of the Idol TV variety/contest series, first in the U.K. as Pop Idol and now with over 50 other versions including American Idol, Canadian Idol, and World Idol
1961 ● Enya / (Eithne Ni Bhraonain) → Vocals for Celtic folk-pop sibling group Clannad, then solo new age dreamy synth-pop, “Orinoco Flow” (#24, 1989) and “Only Time” (#10, 2001)
1962 ● Tracey Bryn → With sister Melissa Belland, frontgal and vocals 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
1963 ● Page McConnell → Keyboards, vocals and songwriting for improv-rock jam band Phish, “Free” (Mainstream Rock #11, 1996) plus solo and side projects
1965 ● Homer O’Dell → Guitarist for new jack swing R&B/soul-pop sextet Mint Condition, “What Kind Of Man Would I Be?” (#17, 1996)
1965 ● Trent Reznor → Founder, leader and songwriter for industrial rock Nine Inch Nails, “The Day The World Went Away” (#17, 1999)
1966 ● Jan Kincaid → Founding member, drums and keyboards for acid-jazz/funk The Brand New Heavies, “Sometimes” (UK #11, 1997)
1967 ● Simon Friend → Guitarist for alt folk-Celtic rock The Levellers, “Just The One” (UK #12, 1995)
1968 ● Dave Abbruzzese → Drummer (1991-94) for post-grunge/alt rock kings Pearl Jam, “Even Flow” (Mainstream Rock #3, 1992), solo
1970 ● Darnell Van Rensalier → Vocals for R&B/urban contemporary soul quartet Shai, “If I Ever Fall In Love” (#2, 1992)
1970 ● Jordan Knight → Singer in early 90s teen-pop boy band New Kids On The Block, “Step By Step” (#1, 1990)
1971 ● Vernie Bennett / (Vernette Bennett) → Vocals for Brit R&B/dance-pop singer for girl-group Eternal, “Stay” (#19, UK #3, 1993)
1973 ● Joshua Homme → Founding member, vocalist, guitarist and primary songwriter for stoner metal Queens Of The Stone Age, “No One Knows” (#51, Mainstream Rock #5, 2002), later with supergroup Them Crooked Vultures, “New Fang” (Alt Rock #10, 2009)
1974 ● Andrea Corr → With two sisters and brother, lead vocals in Irish folk-pop-rock sibling act The Corrs, “Breathless” (Adult Top 40 #7, 2000), solo and actress
1976 ● Kandi Burruss → Vocals for female R&B/dance-pop quartet Xscape, “Understanding” (#8, 1993)

May 18
1911 ● Big Joe Turner / (Joseph Vernon Turner) → Premier blues “shouter” and boogie-woogie, jump blues and early rock ‘n’ roll vocalist, “Shake, Rattle And Roll” (#22, R&B #1, 1954), died from a kidney failure on 11/24/1985, age 74
1912 ● Perry Como / (Pierino Ronald Como) → Small town barber turned pre-rock ‘n’ roll crooner, then Grammy-winning smooth easy listening/pop singer, “Catch A Falling Star” (#1, 1958) and 19 other Pop Top 25 singles plus nine Adult Contemporary Top 10 hits, died in his sleep on 5/12/2001, age 88
1922 ● Kai Winding / (Kai Chresten Winding) → Danish-American jazz trombonist who played with every major jazz and be bop artist in small and large groups over a 40-year career, from Benny Goodman and Stan Kenton in the 40s to Quincy Jones and Chuck Mangione in the 70s, founded several of his own groups and collaborated with J. J. Johnson in the 50s, was the first to record “Time Is On My Side,” which later became the first US Top 10 hit for The Rolling Stones (#6, 1964), died following a heart attack during surgery for a brain tumor on 5/6/1983, age 60.
1933 ● Fred Smith / (Fred Sledge Smith) → R&B songwriter and record producer, co-wrote several 50-60s hits for doo wop The Olympics, including novelty song “Western Movies” (#8, R&B #7, 1958) and dance-craze “(Baby) Hully Bully” (#72, 1960), produced hits for Bob & Earl (“Harlem Shuffle,” #44, 1964) and Jackie Lee (“The Duck,” #14, 1965), formed his own label, MoSoul, in 1967 and produced two albums for Bill Cosby, worked briefly for Stax Records until it closed in 1975, left the music industry thereafter and died from undisclosed causes on 7/29/2005, age 72
1939 ● Gary Paxton / (Larry Wayne Stevens) → Grammy-winning, eccentric gospel musician whose career opened as a teenage pop singer with Clyde “Skip” Battin (later in The Byrds) in the duo Skip & Flip (“It Was I,” #11, 1959), later recorded with the Hollywood Argyles (“Alley-Oop,” #1, 1960) and produced “Monster Mash” (#1, 1962) for Bobby “Boris” Pickett, converted to Christianity in the 70s, won Best Inspirational Album award in 1975, survived an assassination attempt by hitmen in 1980, retired in 1999 and died at home on 7/16/2016, age 77
1942 ● Rodney Dillard → Progressive and influential bluegrass guitar and dobro player with brother Doug in duo country-rock The Dillards
1944 ● Albert Hammond → Brit-Gibraltarian pop singer/songwriter and guitarist, “It Never Rains In Southern California” (#5, 1973)
1945 ● Scar Lopez / (Richard Lopez) → Founding member and vocals for pioneering “East Side Sound” of L.A., Mexican-American one hit wonder, brown-eyed-soul/garage rock quartet Cannibal And The Headhunters (“Land Of A Thousand Dances,” #30, 1965), died from lung cancer on 7/30/2010, age 65
1946 ● Bruce Gilbert → Guitarist for long-lived post-punk Wire, “Eardrum Buzz” (Modern Rock #2, 1989)
1946 ● George Alexander → Bassist for eclectic rock ‘n’ roll/proto-punk cult band The Flamin’ Groovies, album Shake Some Action reached #142 on the Billboard 200 chart
1949 ● Bill Wallace → Bassist for Canadian rockers The Guess Who, “American Woman” (#1, 1970), now college music instructor
1949 ● Rick Wakeman → Renowned keyboardist and composer, started as sessionman for Black Sabbath, David Bowie and others in the 60s, joined folk-prog-rock The Strawbs in 1970, moved to archetypal prog rock Yes, “Roundabout” (#13, 1971), successful solo career and film score composing
1950 ● Mark Mothersbaugh → Multi-instrumental musician, composer, singer and founding member of quirky 80s pop-rock Devo, “Whip It” (#14, 1980), also wrote musical scores for dozens of films and television shows in the 90s and 00s in music production company Mutato Muzika with his former Devo bandmates
1952 ● George Strait → The “King of Country,” traditionalist country, honky tonk and Western swing singer, songwriter and guitarist with more (57) Country #1 hits than any other artist, including “All My Ex’s Live In Texas” (Country #1, 1987)
1953 ● Butch Tavares / (Feliciano Tavares) → Vocals for five brother R&B/funk-disco Tavares, “Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel” (#15, 1976)
1954 ● Wreckless Eric / (Eric Goulden) → Singer, songwriter and Stiff Records artist, had the punk classic UK airplay hit “I’d Go The Whole Wide World” (1978)
1956 ● Jim Moginie / (James Moginie) → Australian singer and musician best known for founding politically-outspoken Aussie rock Midnight Oil (“Beds Are Burning,” #17, Mainstream Rock #6, 1988), the band’s album Diesel And Dust (1987) ranked #13 on Rolling Stone magazine’s 100 Best Albums of the 80s
1957 ● Michael Cretu → Romanian-born founder, frontman, composer and creative genius behind new age electronic/world music Enigma, “Return To Innocence” (#4, 1994)
1958 ● Toyah Ann Wilcox → Brit actress and singer, appeared in the punk film Jubilee (1977) and in The Who‘s mod film Quadrophenia (1979), fronted punk-rock Toyah, “It’s A Mystery” (1981)
1961 ● Hugh Whittaker → Drummer for Brit jangle-guitar pop-rock The Housemartins, “Caravan Of Love” (UK #1, 1986)
1961 ● Russell Senior → Guitar and violin for alt rock/Britpop Pulp, “Common People” (UK #2, 1995), left in 1997 to pursue other projects and sell antique glassware
1969 ● Martika / (Martika Marta Marrero) → Cuban-American teen-pop/bubblegum singer, “Toy Soldiers” (#1, 1989)
1970 ● Billy Howerdel → Guitar technician for alt rock Tool, “Schism” (Mainstream Rock #2, 2001), then founded alt-metal-fused-with-art rock A Perfect Circle, “Weak And Powerless” (Mainstream Rock #1, 2004)
1975 ● Jack Johnson → Hawaii born professional surfer turned acoustic soft beach rock singer, songwriter and guitarist, “Upside Down” (#38, Adult Top 40 #11, 2006)
1982 ● Eric West → 90s hip hop singer turned model and actor, returned to music with a 2010 solo album and the single “Gone” featuring Kanye West

May 19
1894 ● Moms Mabley / (Loretta Mary Aitken) → Hugely successful stand-up comedienne from the vaudeville era with 17 charting albums in the 60s and one hit, a cover of “Abraham, Martin And John” (#35, R&B #18, 1969), for a time making her the oldest living person to have a Billboard Top 40 hit, died from heart failure on 5/23/1975, age 82
1932 ● Alma Cogan / (Alma Cohen) → 50s and early 60s rising star Brit traditional pop female vocalist, “Dreamboat” (UK #1, 1955) plus 20 other UK Top 40 hits, died of stomach cancer on 10/26/1966, age 34
1940 ● Mickey Newbury / (Milton Sims Newbury, Jr.) → Prolific country music songwriter with dozens of hit songs performed by others, including Top 20 songs on four charts simultaneously, “Here Comes the Rain, Baby” (Eddy Arnold, Country #4, 1968), “Sweet Memories” (Andy Williams, Easy Listening #4, 1968), “Time Is A Thief” (Solomon Burke, R&B #15, 1968) and “Just Dropped In (to See What Condition My Condition Was In)” (Kenny Rogers & The First Edition, Pop #5, 1968), plus a solo hit single “An American Trilogy” (#26, 1972), died 9/29/2002, age 62
1945 ● Pete Townshend / (Peter Dennis Blandford Townshend) → Guitarist, songwriter, rock opera composer and vocalist for Brit rock ‘n’ roll The Who, “I Can See For Miles” (#9, 1967) and 14 other US Top 40 singles, rock opera albums Tommy (1969) and Quadrophenia (1973), Grammy-winning solo career, “Face The Face” (#26, Mainstream Rock #3, 1985)
1947 ● Jerry Hyman → Trombonist for jazz-rock/pop-rock horn band Blood, Sweat & Tears, “Spinning Wheel” (#2, 1969)
1947 ● Paul Brady → Irish folk-pop singer/songwriter and guitarist with The Johnstons and Planxty, then long solo career, “Nobody Knows” (1990)
1947 ● Gregory Herbert → Alto saxophone for jazz-rock/pop-rock fusion band Blood, Sweat & Tears, “Spinning Wheel” (#2, 1969), died of a drug overdose on 1/31/1978, age 30
1947 ● Steve Currie → Bassist for proto-glam-rock T. Rex, “Bang A Gong (Get It On)” (#10, 1971), sessions, died in a car crash on 4/28/1981, age 33
1948 ● Tom Scott → Grammy-winning jazz-pop-rock multi-reedist, composer, session musician and bandleader, co-founder of the Blues Brothers Band and jazz-rock The L. A. Express, which backed Joni Mitchell, Carole King, George Harrison and others, solo “Tom Cat” (R&B #93, 1975), composer of film soundtracks and TV shows, including the theme song for Starsky And Hutch
1948 ● Paul Williams / (Paul S. Williams) → Music journalist and writer, founder and editor of college-rag turned national publication Crawdaddy, the first journal entirely devoted to in-depth commentary about rock music and the career-starter for a generation of rock writers and critics, also wrote articles for Rolling Stone and other rock publications and some two dozen books on a variety of subjects, including three about Bob Dylan, suffered brain trauma in a 1995 bicycle accident and died from complications of resulting dementia on 3/27/2013, age 64.
1949 ● Dusty Hill / (Joe Michael Hill) → Bass, vocals and keyboards for venerable Texas blues/boogie rock trio ZZ Top, “Legs” (#8, 1984)
1949 ● Larry Wallis → English hard rock guitarist and songwriter with a long resume, including co-founder of late-60s pop-rock The Entire Sioux Nation and original member of heavy metal trio Motörhead during 1975, in between played with ex-T. Rex percussionist Steve Took‘s Shagrat, Blodwyn Pig, briefly with start-up UFO and the first incarnation of power pop/proto-punk Pink Fairies, after Motörhead wrote and recorded the punk classic “Police Car” in 1977 and became an in-house writer and producer for Stiff Records into the 80s, played in various collaborations before rejoining the Pink Fairies in 1987, released three albums with The Deviants and wrote for Dr. Feelgood in the 90s, continued working alongside other top names in British rock through to the 10s and in 2017 issued The Sound Of Speed, a collection of rare and unreleased tracks, died from undisclosed causes on 9/19/2019, age 70.
1950 ● Mike Wedgewood → Bassist for Brit prog/avant-garde rock Curved Air, “Back Street Luv” (UK #4, 1974)
1950 ● Romeo Challenger → Drummer for Brit rock ‘n’ roll revival Showaddywaddy, “Under The Moon Of Love” (UK #1, 1976) and over 20 other UK Top 40 singles
1951 ● Joey Ramone / (Jeffrey Hyman) → Cultural icon, lead vocals and songwriter for seminal punk rock band The Ramones, “Rockaway Beach” (#66, 1978), died from lymphatic cancer on 4/15/2001, age 49
1952 ● Barbara Joyce Lomas → Vocals for 70s R&B/soul-funk-disco B.T. Express, “Do It (‘Til Your Satisfied)” (#2, R&B #1, 1974)
1952 ● Grace Jones / (Grace Mendoza) → Severely androgynous “Queen of the Gay Discos” and R&B/dance-pop-disco diva, “Pull Up To The Bumper” (R&B #5, Dance/Club #2, 1981), actress
1954 ● Phil Rudd / (Phillip Rudd) → Drummer for Aussie power chord hard rockers AC/DC, “For Those About To Rock” (Mainstream Rock #4, 1982), left in 1983
1956 ● Teddy Bear Ware / (Martyn Ware) → Founding member of late-70s synth-pop pioneers The Human League, “Don’t You Want Me” (#1, 1981), left to form 80s synth-pop Heaven 17, “Temptation” (UK #2, 1983) and “Contenders” (Dance/Club #6, 1987)
1962 ● Iain Harvie → Founder, guitarist and songwriter for pop and country-rock Del Amitri, “Roll To Me” (#10, 1995)
1963 ● Yazz / (Yasmin Evans) → Brit dance-pop singer often credited as Yazz And The Plastic Population, “The Only Way Is Up” (#96, Dance/Club #2, 1988)
1965 ● Ben Volpeliere-Pierrot → Vocals for Brit teen-pop blue-eyed soul Curiosity Killed The Cat, “Down To Earth” (UK #3, 1986)
1968 ● Paul Hartnoll → With brother Phil, Brit electronic dance music duo Orbital, “The Box” (UK #11, 1996)
1970 ● Stuart Cable → Original drummer for Welsh alt rock/trad rock Stereophonics, “Have A Nice Day” (Modern Rock #26, UK #5, 2001), left in 2003 and hosted cable TV show in Wales and BBC Radio Wales, choked to death on 6/7/2010
1972 ● Jenny Berggren → Singer and songwriter for Swedish pop-rockers Ace Of Base, “All That She Wants” (#2, 1993)
1992 ● Sam Smith / (Samuel Frederick Smith) → Four-time Grammy-winning R&B/pop singer with the 2014 Song of the Year, “Stay With Me” (#2, UK #1, 2014)

May 20
1901 ● Jimmy Blythe / (James Louis Blythe) → Chicago R&B/blues and boogie woogie piano player credited with over 200 piano roll tunes and for recording one of the first full-length boogie-woogie songs (“Chicago Stomp,” 1924), died from meningitis on 6/14/1931, age 30
1925 ● Vic Ames / (Victor Urick) → Chicago R&B/blues and boogie woogie piano player credited with over 200 piano roll tunes and for recording one of the first full-length boogie-woogie songs (“Chicago Stomp,” 1924), died from meningitis on 6/14/1931, age 30
1938 ● Astrid Kirchherr → German artist who befriended and photographed The Beatles in Hamburg in 1960 when they were a youthful bar band playing seedy nightclubs, widely credited for transforming them from the late-50s greaser look to the mod, iconic suits and “mop-top” hairstyle in their early years of superstardom, became engaged to “Fifth Beatle” Stu Sutcliffe until his death in 1962 and continued to shoot images of the band and other groups until the late 60s, her photos hung in art galleries internationally and sold at music conventions for decades, died from a brief bout with cancer on 5/16/2020, age 81.
1940 ● Shorty Long / (Frederick Earl Long) → Overlooked Motown R&B/pop singer, “Here Comes The Judge” (#8, R&B #4, 1968), producer and song craftsman, drowned in a Detroit River boating accident on 6/29/1969
1942 ● Jill Jackson → Vocals in pop duo Paul & Paula, “Hey Paula” (#1, 1963)
1944 ● Joe Cocker / (John Robert Cocker) → Gravelly-voiced, blue-eyed soul pub-rock/blues-pop-rock vocalist and hard partying rock star, “A Little Help From My Friends” (#68, UK #1, 1968), “The Letter” (#7, 1970) and duet with Jennifer Warnes, “Up Where We Belong” (#1, 1982), died from lung cancer on 12/22/14, age 70
1946 ● Cher / (Cherilyn Sarkisian LaPierre) → Singer and TV and film actress, first with husband Sonny Bono in pop-rock duo Sonny & Cher, “I Got You Babe” (#1, 1965) and later as a five-decade solo act with 33 charting singles (22 in the Top 4), including “Believe” (#1, 1999)
1950 ● Stephen Alex Broughton → Drummer for Brit blues-rock then prog rock Edgar Broughton Band, “Apache Dropout” (UK #33, 1970)
1950 ● Andy Johns → Brit sound engineer and record producer, worked on albums by Free (Highway, 1970), The Rolling Stones (Exile On Main Street, 1972), Television (Marquee Moon, 1977) and many others, died from complications of a stomach ulcer on 4/7/2013, age 62
1952 ● Warren Cann → Drummer for New Wave electro-synth-pop pioneers Ultravox, “Vienna” (UK #2, 1980) and 15 other UK Top 40 singles
1954 ● Guy Hoffman / (Guy Edward Hoffman) → Drummer for roots rock The BoDeans, “Closer To Free” (#16, 1993)
1954 ● Jimmy Henderson → Guitarist for Southern raunch-rock Black Oak Arkansas, “Jim Dandy To The Rescue” (Top 30, 1973)
1955 ● Steve George → Keyboardist for 80s atmospheric pop-rock quartet Mr. Mister, “Kyrie” (#1, 1985)
1958 ● Jane Wiedlin → Guitar, songwriting and vocals for top New Wave pop-rock all-girl group The Go-Go’s, “We Got The Beat (#2, 1982) and solo, “Rush Hour” (#9, 1988)
1959 ● Susan Cowsill → Sub-teen vocalist for family pop band The Cowsills, “The Rain, The Park And Other Things” (#2, 1967) and theme song from Broadway musical Hair, (#2, 1969), inspiration for the TV show The Partridge Family, backing vocalist for various artists in the 80s, then formed alt country-rock supergroup Continental Drifters in 1991, solo
1961 ● Dan Wilson → Guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter for post-grunge alt rock Semisonic, wrote “Closing Time” (Modern Rock #4, 1998), producer
1961 ● Nick Heyward → Guitar and vocals for New Wave funk-pop Haircut 100, “Love Plus One” (#37, 1982)
1962 ● Ralph Peterson, Jr. → Renowned jazz drummer and bandleader, starting as the second drummer for The Jazz Messengers in 1983 and continuing through a long list of collaborations with Stanley Clark, the Marsalis brothers (Wynton and Branford) and David Murray, among many others, issued 22 albums as a leader of various ensembles and taught new generations of musicians at Berklee College of Music in Boston and at Philadelphia’s University of the Arts, died from complications of cancer on 3/1/2021, age 58.
1963 ● Nasher / (Brian Nash) → Backing vocals and guitarist for Brit New Wave pop/rock Frankie Goes To Hollywood, “Relax” (#10, 1984)
1964 ● Patti Russo / (Patricia Russo) → Singer/songwriter and actress best known as the female lead vocalist with Meat Loaf‘s touring band, Neverland Express from 1993 to 2013
1966 ● Tom Gorman → Guitarist for alt pop-rock Belly, “Feed The Tree” (#1, Modern Rock, 1993)
1967 ● Kit Clark → With brother Gary Clark, founding member and vocals for Scottish pop-rock Danny Wilson, “Mary’s Prayer” (#23, Adult Contemporary #6, 1987)
1972 ● Busta Rhymes / (Trevor Smith, Jr.) → Grammy-nominated, idiosyncratic speed rapper, first with Leaders Of The New School, “What’s Next” (Rap #1, 1993), then solo, “Woo-Hah!! Got You All In Check ” (#8, Rap #1, 1996)
1981 ● Sean Conlon → Vocals for Brit dance-pop boy band 5ive (aka Five), “When The Lights Go Out” (#10, 1998)
1984 ● Naturi Naughton → Vocals for R&B/dance-teen-pop 3LW (aka 3 Little Women), “No More (Baby I’ma Do Right)” (#23, 2001)

May 21
1904 ● Fats Waller / (Thomas Wright Waller) → Jazz and ragtime pianist, co-wrote “Ain’t Misbehavin'” (1929), the oft-covered classic now included in the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress, died 12/15/1943 from pneumonia, age 39
1926 ● Al Grossman / (Albert Bernard Grossman) → Chicago folk club owner and later promoter and manager for Bob Dylan (1962-70), Peter, Paul & Mary, The Band, Paul Butterfield, Janis Joplin and others, built Bearsville Studios near Woodstock, NY and founded Bearsville Records, died of a heart attack while flying to London on the Concorde to sign unknown British rock singer on 1/25/1986, age 59
1928 ● Tom Donahue → Rock Hall of Fame-inducted pioneering “free format” FM rock DJ on KSAN (San Francisco) and other stations, night club owner, concert producer/promoter, record label executive, died of a heart attack on 4/28/1975
1940 ● Tony Sheridan / (Anthony McGinnity) → Britbeat pop-rock bandleader, frontman for The Beat Brothers and collaborator with The Beatles in Hamburg in the early 60s, recorded several tracks with the Fab Four, including “My Bonnie” in June 1961, which reached #5 in West Germany, retired from the music business in the mid-70s, died following heart surgery on 2/16/2013, age 72
1941 ● Ronald Isley → Vocals for six-decade, multi-generation R&B/soul family group The Isley Brothers, “That Lady, Pts. 1-2” (#6, 1973)
1943 ● Hilton Valentine / (Hilton Stewart Paterson Valentine) → Guitarist for British Invasion hard/blues-rock The Animals, created the memorable opening riff on “House Of The Rising Sun” (#1, UK #1, 1964) and played guitar on a total of ten Top 20 hits in both the US and UK before the banded dissolved in 1966, left for California and produced his own solo albums in 1969 and 2004, participated in reunion tours with various incarnations of The Animals over the years and fronted his own Skiffledog band into the 10s, died from undisclosed causes on 1/29/2021, age 77.
1943 ● John Dalton → Bass guitarist for British Invasion pop-rock The Kinks, “Lola” (#9, 1970), replaced Pete Quaiffe in 1969, left the band in 1976 and periodically appears with the Kast Off Kinks
1943 ● Vincent Crane / (Vincent Cheesman) → Keyboards and songwriter for Brit psych-rock The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, “Fire” (#12, 1987), left with bandmate Carl Palmer to form prog/art rock Atomic Rooster, “The Devil’s Answer” (UK #4, 1971), died from an overdose of painkillers on 2/14/1989, age 45
1944 ● Marcie Blaine / (Marcia Blank) → One hit wonder pop singer, “Bobby’s Girl” (#3, 1962)
1947 ● Bill Champlin → Singer, songwriter, guitarist, keyboardist and frontman for psych-rock Sons Of Champlin, joined pop-rock/horn band Chicago, “You’re The Inspiration” (#3, 1984) in 1981 and has played and toured with the band since, also solo and side projects
1948 ● Leo Sayer / (Gerard Hugh Sayer) → Grammy-winning blue-eyed R&B/pop-disco singer, “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing” (#1, 1977)
1954 ● Marc Ribot → Multi-genre guitarist and composer, session work for dozens of artists from Norah Jones to Elvis Costello to Tom Waits, member of New York City avant-garde The Lounge Lizards
1955 ● Stan Lynch → Drummer for Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, “Free Fallin'” (#7, 1989)
1963 ● Kevin Shields → Founding member and guitarist for art-prog-rock, “shoe-gazing” pioneers My Bloody Valentine, “Only Shallow” (Modern Rock #27, 1992)
1963 ● Tim Lever → Keyboards for New Wave dance-pop Hi-NRG group Dead Or Alive, “You Spin Me ‘Round (Like A Record)” (#11, 1985)
1964 ● Martin Blunt → Bass for “Madchester” alt rock The Charlatans UK, “The Only One I Know” (Mainstream Rock #37, 1991)
1972 ● The Notorious B.I.G. / (Christopher George Latore Wallace) → Street hustling drug dealer turned East Coast hip hop superstar, “Mo Money Mo Problems” (#1, 1997), murdered in a drive-by shooting in L.A. on 3/9/1997, age 24.
1975 ● Lee Gaze → Lead guitarist for Welsh alt hard rock Lostprophets, “Last Train Home” (Mainstream Rock #10, 2004)
1978 ● Adam Wade Gontier → Lead singer and guitarist in Canadian punk/metal Three Days Grace, “Just Like You” (Mainstream Rock #1, 2004)
1985 ● Mutya Buena → Singer in Brit multi-racial pop girl group Sugababes, “Hole In The Head” (Dance/Club #1, 2004), quit the group in 2005 for solo, “Real Girl” (UK #2, 2006)

May 22
1924 ● Charles Aznavour / (Shahnour Aznavourian) → The “French Frank Sinatra”, world-known French-Armenian music hall singer, songwriter, actor and diplomat, “She” (UK #1, 1974)
1930 ● Jimmy Keyes → Founding member and first tenor vocals for one hit wonder R&B/doo wop The Chords, one of the earliest black groups to cross over to the pop charts with “Sh-Boom” (#9, R&B #3, 1954), died on 7/22/1995, age 65
1937 ● Kenny Ball → Brit traditional jazz trumpeter and bandleader, Kenny Ball & His Jazzman, “Midnight In Moscow” (#2, 1962)
1941 ● Bruce Rowlands → Drummer in Joe Cocker‘s backing group The Grease Band, then joined renowned Brit folk-rock Fairport Convention, “Si Tu Dos Partir” (UK #21, 1969)
1941 ● Jackie Jackson / (Jackie Landry Jackson) → Vocals for early R&B/pop girl group trio The Chantels, “Maybe” (#15, R&B #2, 1958), one of the definitive songs of the genre, became a stenographer in the Bronx (NY) court system following her music career, died from breast cancer on 12/23/1997, age 56
1942 ● Calvin Simon → Vocals for R&B/doo wop The Parliaments, “(I Wanna) Testify” (#20, R&B #3, 1967), then R&B/soul-funk (“P-Funk”) giants Parliament-Funkadelic, “One Nation Under A Groove” (#31, 1978)
1949 ● Chris Butler → Lead guitarist and chief songwriter for New Wave pop-rock The Waitresses, “I Know What Boys Like” (Mainstream Rock #23, 1982), solo and record producer/executive
1950 ● Bernie Taupin → Lyricist and renowned songwriting partner of Elton John with dozens of collaborative hits, also co-wrote Jefferson Starship‘s “We Built This City” (#1, 1985), Heart‘s “These Dreams” ( #1, 1986), and songs for Rod Stewart, Cher, The Motels, John Waite, Alice Cooper and multiple others
1954 ● Jerry Dammers → Founding member and keyboard play for ska revival/punk rock The Specials, “Ghost Town” (UK #1, 1981), producer and co-founder of 2 Tone Records
1955 ● Iva Davies → Welsh singer/songwriter, guitarist, producer and film score composer, frontman for Aussie New Wave synth-pop/pub rock Icehouse, “Electric Blue” (#7, 1987)
1955 ● Mary Black → Irish folk and contemporary pop-rock-blues singer and songwriter, “Columbus” (1989)
1959 ● Morrissey / (Steven Patrick Morrissey) → Vocalist and lyricist, frontman for definitive Brit indie rock The Smiths, “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now” (UK #10, 1984), solo, “Suedehead” (UK #5, 1988) and over 15 other UK Top 40 singles
1962 ● Jesse Valenzuela → Vocals and guitar for power-pop Gin Blossoms, “Found Out About You” (Modern Rock #1, 1994), solo
1966 ● Johnny Gill → R&B/hip hop “new jack swing” singer, “Super Love” (#29, 1983), joined New Edition, “If It Isn’t Love” (#7, 1988), returned to solo recording, “Rub You The Right Way” (#3, 1990)
1967 ● Dan Roberts → Bassist for Canadian alt pop-rock Crash Test Dummies, “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm” (#4, 1993)
1979 ● Russell Pritchard → Bass guitarist for Brit indie rock The Zutons, “Valerie” (UK #9, 2006)
1981 ● Su-Elise Nash → Vocals in “UK urban” R&B/dance-pop trio Mis-Teeq, “One Night Stand” (Dance/Club #4, 2004), now a performing arts school director

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