Musical Birthdays & Deaths by Month
Jerry Garcia 1942 (d.1995) – musician who was best known for his lead guitar work, singing and songwriting with the band the Grateful Dead. One of its founders, Garcia performed with the Grateful Dead for their entire thirty-year career (1965–1995). Garcia also founded and participated in a variety of side projects, including the Saunders-Garcia Band (with longtime friend Merl Saunders), Jerry Garcia Band, Old and in the Way, the Garcia/Grisman acoustic duo, Legion of Mary, and the New Riders of the Purple Sage (which Garcia co-founded with John Dawson and David Nelson). He also released several solo albums, and contributed to a number of albums by other artists over the years as a session musician. He composed such songs as “Dark Star”, “Franklin’s Tower”, and “Scarlet Begonias”, among many others. Robert Hunter, an ardent collaborator with the band, wrote the lyrics to all but a few of Garcia’s songs. Garcia was well-noted for his “soulful extended guitar improvisations”,which would frequently feature interplay between him and his fellow band members. His fame, as well as the band’s, arguably rested on their ability to never play a song the same way twice. Garcia and the band toured almost constantly from their formation in 1965 until Garcia’s death in 1995, a stint which gave credit to the name “endless tour”. Periodically, there were breaks due to exhaustion or health problems, often due to unstable health and/or Garcia’s drug use. During their three decade span, the Grateful Dead played 2,314 shows.
Boz Burrell 1946 (d.2006) – was an English musician who was originally a vocalist, Burrell is best known for his bass playing and work with the rock bands King Crimson and Bad Company. In the mid 1960’s Burrell featured as a singer in “The Boz People”, which had originally been called “The Tea Time Four”. During this period he also replaced Roger Daltrey in The Who, for a short period. In the early 1970’s, he joined King Crimson as a vocalist and bass guitar player, and according to at least one source, he was taught how to play the instrument by guitarist Robert Fripp. In 1973 Burrell formed Snape with members of King Crimson and Alexis Korner and then became a founder member and bass player for the rock band Bad Company, in the same year he co-wrote songs performed by Bad Company such as, “Rhythm Machine” with Simon Kirke and “Gone Gone Gone” from Desolation Angels (1979), “Nuthin’ on the TV” and “Ballad of the Band” from Rough Diamonds (1982). He remained with the band until 1999.
Jim Carroll 1949 (d.2009) – was an American author, poet, autobiographer, and punk musician. Carroll was best known for his 1978 autobiographical work The Basketball Diaries, which was made into the 1995 film of the same name, starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Carroll. In 1978, Carroll formed The Jim Carroll Band, a New Wave/punk rock group, with encouragement from Patti Smith, with whom he once shared an apartment in New York City, along with Robert Mapplethorpe. The musicians were Steve Linsley (bass), Wayne Woods (drums), Brian Linsley and Terrell Winn (guitars). They released a single “People Who Died”, from their 1980 debut album, Catholic Boy. The album featured contributions from Allen Lanier and Bobby Keys. In 1982 the song appeared in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, from which Carroll received royalties until his death in 2009. Carroll also collaborated with musicians Lou Reed, Blue Öyster Cult, Boz Scaggs, Ray Manzarek of The Doors, Pearl Jam, Electric Light Orchestra and Rancid.
Tommy Bolin 1951 (d.1976) – was a guitarist who played with Zephyr (from 1969 to 1971), The James Gang (from 1973 through 1974), and Deep Purple (from 1975 to 1976); in addition to maintaining a notable solo career. In the start of 1975, Bolin contributed some studio guitar assistance to Canadian band Moxy during the recording of their debut album. Later in 1975 saw the release of Bolin’s first solo record, Teaser, on the Nemperor label. After Ritchie Blackmore left Deep Purple, the band had a meeting and discussed whether to disband or try and find a replacement, and chose the second option. David Coverdale had been listening to the Billy Cobham LP Spectrum. He decided he wanted Tommy in Deep Purple, and invited him over for a jam. He plugged in to 4 Marshall amps and jammed with the band for 4 hours and the job was his. The band then relocated to Munich, Germany, to begin work on Come Taste the Band. Bolin wrote or co-wrote seven of the record’s nine tracks, including the instrumental “Owed to G,” which was a tribute to George Gershwin.
Tim Bachman 1951 – is a Canadian guitarist and vocalist best known for his work with rock bands Brave Belt and Bachman–Turner Overdrive (BTO). Bachman was one of the four founding members of BTO, a group that have sold more than 20 million albums worldwide and also featured his brothers Randy (guitar/vocals) and Robbie (drums), as well as Fred Turner (bass/vocals). He wrote or co-wrote several songs during his tenure with Brave Belt and BTO, including “Put It In a Song” (with Turner) for the Brave Belt II album, “Down and Out Man” (with R. B. Charles) for the first BTO album, and “Blown” (with Randy) and “I Don’t Have To Hide” for Bachman–Turner Overdrive II. Bachman left BTO in 1974, shortly after the release of Bachman–Turner Overdrive II, to spend more time with his family and to work on concert promotion. He rejoined BTO (along with Randy Bachman, Fred Turner and Garry Peterson) for a 1984 reunion album and supporting tours, including a high profile world tour opening for Van Halen. He then led touring versions of the band in 1987 and 1988.
Robert Cray 1953 – Blues guitarist and singer. A five-time Grammy Award winner, he has led his own band, as well as an acclaimed solo career. In the 1978 film National Lampoon’s Animal House, Cray was the uncredited bassist in the house party band Otis Day and the Knights. After several years of regional success, Cray was signed to Mercury Records in 1982. Two albums on HighTone Records in the mid-80’s, Bad Influence and False Accusations, were moderately successful in the United States and in Europe, where he was building a reputation as a live artist. His fourth album release, Strong Persuader, produced by Dennis Walker, received a Grammy Award, while the crossover single “Smokin’ Gun” gave him wider appeal and name recognition.
Joe Elliott 1959 – is an English singer-songwriter, and musician, best known as the lead vocalist and occasional rhythm guitarist of the British rock band Def Leppard. He has also been the lead singer of David Bowie tribute band, the Cybernauts and the Mott the Hoople cover band, Down ‘n’ Outz. He is one of the two original members of Def Leppard and one of the three to perform on every Def Leppard album. Elliott has worked with several side projects through his career such as participating in numerous tributes to other artists like Freddie Mercury, Alice Cooper, Mick Ronson, Ian Hunter and David Bowie. He had the honour of appearing alongside Queen guitarist Brian May and guitarist Slash along with the other members of Def Leppard at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert in 1992 to perform “Tie Your Mother Down”.
Dhani Harrison 1978 – is an English musician and the son of the Beatles lead guitarist George Harrison and Olivia Harrison. Harrison debuted as a professional musician assisting in recording his father’s final album, Brainwashed, and completing it with the assistance of Jeff Lynne after his father’s death in November 2001. Harrison formed his own band, thenewno2, in 2006. His first name is pronounced similarly to the name Danny but with an aspirated ‘d’. He is named after the 6th and 7th notes of the Indian music scale, ‘dha’ and ‘ni’. ‘Dhani’ is also a raga in north Indian classical music.
Garth Hudson 1937 – organist, keyboardist and saxophonist for Canadian-American rock group The Band, he was a principal architect of the group’s unique sound. Hudson has been called “the most brilliant organist in the rock world” by Time magazine and “the first true rock keyboard virtuoso”by Keyboard magazine. In 1968 the group recorded its debut album, Music from Big Pink which includes Hudson’s organ showcase, “Chest Fever”, a song that in The Band’s live shows would be vastly expanded by a solo organ introduction entitled “The Genetic Method”, an improvisational work that would be played differently each performance. An example can be heard on the live album Rock of Ages. Garth is also adept at the accordion which he played on some of the group’s folk recordings like “Rockin Chair” from “The Band”, the traditional “Ain’t No More Cane” from “The Basement Tapes”, Dylan’s “When I Paint My Masterpiece”, and Bobby Charles’ “Down South in New Orleans” during The Last Waltz. His saxophone solo work can be heard on such songs as “Tears of Rage” (from Big Pink) and “Unfaithful Servant” (from The Band). Garth is credited for playing all of the brass and woodwinds of the studio version of “Ophelia” on the 1975 album Northern Lights – Southern Cross as well. On November 16, 2010, Hudson released Garth Hudson Presents: A Canadian Celebration of The Band. The album features Canadian artists covering songs that were recorded by The Band. Hudson plays on every track and co-produces the album with Peter J. Moore. Acts that appear on the album include Neil Young, Bruce Cockburn, Blue Rodeo, Cowboy Junkies, The Trews, Great Big Sea, Hawksley Workman, Mary Margaret O’Hara, Chantal Kreviazuk, Raine Maida and Ian Thornley.
Jim Capaldi 1944 (d.2005) – was an English musician and songwriter. His musical career lasted more than four decades. He co-founded Traffic in Birmingham with Steve Winwood, and the band’s psychedelic rock was influential in Britain and the US. Capaldi and Winwood wrote many of Traffic’s major hits and most of the tracks on the band’s ten albums. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a part of Traffic’s original lineup. He also performed with several famous musicians, including Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Alvin Lee, and Mylon LeFevre. He has also written lyrics to songs for other artists, such as “Love Will Keep Us Alive” and “This is Reggae Music”. As a solo artist he scored more than a half dozen chart hits in various countries, the most well-known being “That’s Love”, “Shoe Shine”, and his cover of “Love Hurts”.
Andy Fairweather Low 1948 – is a Welsh guitarist, songwriter, producer and vocalist. He was a founding member of 1960’s British pop band Amen Corner who had a #1hit “(If Paradise Is) Half as Nice” in 1969. He has in recent years toured extensively with Roger Waters, Eric Clapton and Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings. In the late 1970’s and 1980’s he worked for numerous artists, as a session musician, performing as a backing vocalist and guitarist on albums by Roy Wood, Leo Sayer, Albion Band, Gerry Rafferty, Helen Watson and Richard and Linda Thompson.
Ted Turner 1950 – is a guitarist and vocalist best known for his work with the 1970’s rock band Wishbone Ash, in which he was famed for his twin lead guitar instrumental arrangements with Andy Powell. Turner also contributed lap steel guitar to a variety of Wishbone Ash recordings. In 1971 Turner was invited to play on John Lennon’s Imagine, on “Crippled Inside”. Turner accepted the chance to record with John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr.
Steve Hillage 1951 – is an English musician, best known as a guitarist. He is associated with the Canterbury scene and has worked in experimental domains since the late 1960’s. Besides his solo recordings he has been a member of Gong, Khan and System 7. During the 1980’s, Hillage worked as a record producer, working for artists such as It Bites, Simple Minds, Murray Head, Nash The Slash, Real Life, Cock Robin, Tony Banks and Robyn Hitchcock. He returned to producing in the 1990s, working on The Charlatans 1994 album, Up to Our Hips.
Joe Lynn Turner 1951 – Singer who is known for his works with hard rock band Rainbow. During his career, Turner fronted pop rock band Fandango, had the short-lived collaboration as the vocalist for Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force and Deep Purple. From the late 1990’s, he continued to perform in a large number of solo albums and other studio projects, where he has sung for Mother’s Army, Brazen Abbot, Hughes Turner Project, Sunstorm, and The Jan Holberg Project. Turner recorded three studio albums with Rainbow: Difficult to Cure, Straight Between the Eyes, and Bent Out of Shape, which featured the single “Street of Dreams”.
Brian Cole 1972 (b.1942) – was the bass guitar player and one of the founding members of the 1960s folk rock band The Association. During the 1960’s, they had numerous hits at or near the top of the Billboard charts and were the lead-off band at 1967’s Monterey Pop Festival. Their national break would come with the song “Along Comes Mary”, written by Tandyn Almer which went to No. 7 on the Billboard charts, and led to the group’s first album, And Then… Along Comes the Association, produced by Curt Boettcher. A song from the album, “Cherish”, written by Kirkman, would become the Association’s first No. 1 in September 1966 and two of the Association’s biggest hit singles were, “Windy” and “Never My Love”.
James Jamerson 1983 (b.1936) – was the uncredited bassist on most of the Motown Records hits in the 1960’s and early 1970’s (Motown did not list session musician credits on their releases until 1971) and he is now regarded as one of the most influential bass players in modern music history. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000. He performed on 30 number-one hits, more than any person or group in music history, and on more than 70 number-one R&B hits, also the most ever. His work includes Motown hits such as, among hundreds of others, “Shotgun” by Jr. Walker & the All Stars, “For Once in My Life”, “I Was Made To Love Her” by Stevie Wonder (sometimes noted as being claimed by Carol Kaye, Ms Kaye actually claims the track on the late 60s Beach Boys version of the same song: in fact she wasn’t on that one either), “Going to a Go-Go” by The Miracles, “My Girl” by The Temptations, “Dancing in the Street” by Martha and the Vandellas, “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” by Gladys Knight and the Pips, and later by Marvin Gaye, and most of the album What’s Going On by Marvin Gaye, “Reach Out I’ll Be There” and “Bernadette” by the Four Tops, and “You Can’t Hurry Love” by The Supremes.
Louis Armstrong 1901 (d.1971) – was a jazz trumpeter and singer from New Orleans, Louisiana who was also known as Satchmo or Pops. With his instantly-recognizable gravelly voice, Armstrong was also an influential singer, demonstrating great dexterity as an improviser, bending the lyrics and melody of a song for expressive purposes. He was also skilled at scat singing (vocalizing using sounds and syllables instead of actual lyrics). He began recording under his own name for Okeh with his famous Hot Five and Hot Seven groups, producing hits such as “Potato Head Blues”, “Muggles”, (a reference to marijuana, for which Armstrong had a lifelong fondness), and “West End Blues”, the music of which set the standard and the agenda for jazz for many years to come. Armstrong had many hit records including “Stardust”, “What a Wonderful World”, “When The Saints Go Marching In”, “Dream a Little Dream of Me”, “Ain’t Misbehavin’”, “You Rascal You,”and “Stompin’ at the Savoy.” “We Have All the Time in the World” was featured on the soundtrack of the James Bond film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and enjoyed renewed popularity in the UK in 1994 when it featured on a Guinness advert. During his long career he played and sang with some of the most important instrumentalists and vocalists of the time; among them were Bing Crosby, Duke Ellington, Fletcher Henderson, Earl Hines, the singing brakeman Jimmie Rodgers, Bessie Smith and perhaps most famously Ella Fitzgerald.
Larry Knechtel 1940 (d.2009) – was an American keyboard player and bassist, best known as a member of The Wrecking Crew, a collection of Los Angeles-based session musicians who worked with such renowned artists as Simon & Garfunkel, Duane Eddy, The Beach Boys, The Mamas & the Papas, The Monkees, The Partridge Family, The Doors and Elvis Presley, and as a member of the 1970’s band Bread. In 1970 Knechtel won a Grammy Award for his piano work on “Bridge over Troubled Water” by Simon and Garfunkel. He also played the piano on Johnny Rivers’ 1972 hit “Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu”. Knechtel was proficient in other instruments, notably the harmonica and the electric bass guitar, which can be heard on “Mr. Tambourine Man” by The Byrds, “Stoney End” by Barbra Streisand, “If I Can Dream” by Elvis Presley and on tracks by The Doors (who did not have their own bass guitarist). In 1971, he joined the band Bread, where his contributions include the guitar solo on the hit single “The Guitar Man”. He also played on sessions for Nancy Sinatra.
Max Middleton 1946 – started on his professional music career by playing keyboards for Jeff Beck and is best known for his work on Beck’s Blow by Blow (1975) and Wired (1976). By this time Middleton had become a sought after session musician, playing on albums such as the soundtrack to the film Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1978) and Nazareth’s most successful album, Hair of the Dog (1975). Middleton is credited as co writer of “The Loner” from Gary Moore’s Wild Frontier (1987). He released the smooth jazz album Land of Secrets (2003) and became a member of Snowy White & The White Flames in 2005. In 2009 and 2010 he played with Mick Taylor band.
Klaus Schulze 1947 – is a German electronic music composer and musician. He also used the alias Richard Wahnfried. He was briefly a member of the electronic bands Tangerine Dream and Ash Ra Tempel before launching a solo career consisting of more than 60 albums released across five decades.
Robin Crosby 1959 (d.2002) – was an American guitarist who was a member of glam metal band Ratt, earning several platinum albums in the U.S. in the mid-to-late 1980’s. He would end up co-writing many of Ratt’s songs including “Round and Round”, “Wanted Man” and “Lay it Down”. The album Out of the Cellar went to triple platinum based on Crosby’s co-penned “Round and Round”.
John Locke 2006 (b.1943) – was an American rock keyboardist and a member of the rock group Spirit. Locke was also a member of the band Nazareth in the early 1980’s.
Lee Hazlewood 2007 (b.1929) – was an American country and pop singer, songwriter, and record producer, most widely known for his work with guitarist Duane Eddy during the late 1950’s and singer Nancy Sinatra in the 1960’s. His first hit as a producer and songwriter was “The Fool”, recorded by rockabilly artist Sanford Clark in 1956. Hazlewood partnered with pioneering rock guitarist Duane Eddy, producing and cowriting an unprecedented string of hit instrumental records, including “Peter Gunn”, “Boss Guitar”, “40 Miles Of Bad Road”, “Shazam!”, “Rebel Rouser” and “[Dance With The] Guitar Man”. Hazlewood is perhaps best known for having written and produced the 1966 Nancy Sinatra U.S./UK No. 1 hit, “These Boots Are Made for Walkin'” and “Summer Wine”. He also wrote “How Does That Grab Ya, Darlin'”, “Friday’s Child”, “So Long, Babe, “Sugar Town” and many others for Sinatra. Among his most well-known vocal performances is “Some Velvet Morning”, a 1967 duet with Nancy Sinatra. Hazlewood performed that song along with “Jackson” on her 1967 television special Movin’ With Nancy. He also wrote “Houston”, a 1965 US hit recorded by Dean Martin. Hazlewood also wrote “This Town”, a song that was recorded by Frank Sinatra that appeared on his 1969 album Greatest Hits and is the basis for Paul Shaffer’s “Small Town News” segment theme on the Late Show with David Letterman.
Johnnie Bassett 2012 (b.1935) – was a Detroit-based American electric blues guitarist, singer, and songwriter. Working for decades primarily as a session musician, by the 1990’s Bassett had his own backing band and released six albums. He cited Billy Butler, Tiny Grimes, Albert King, B.B. King and especially T-Bone Walker as major influences. In concerts while in Detroit, Bassett played on stage alongside John Lee Hooker, Alberta Adams, Lowell Fulson and Dinah Washington and also backing Tina Turner and Little Willie John. The Detroit Blues Society recognized Bassett’s contribution to the blues with a lifetime achievement award in 1994. He released the album I Gave My Life to the Blues on the Dutch label Black Magic in 1996, before recording and touring in North America and Europe with his own backing band, the Blues Insurgents.Their 1998 album Cadillac Blues was nominated for five W.C. Handy Awards.
Rick Huxley 1940 (d.2013) – was an English musician who was the bassist for the Dave Clark Five, a group that was part of the British Invasion. He joined the group in 1958, and played on all of the band’s hits including “Glad All Over” and “Bits and Pieces”. After the group disbanded in 1970, Huxley pursued a career in property as well as continuing to be involved in the music business. He was in attendance and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March 2008 as part of the DC5, also in attendance were Lenny Davidson and Dave Clark.
Rick Derringer 1947 – guitarist, vocalist, and entertainer who first came to prominence in the 1960’s as a member of The McCoys, who had a number one hit single with “Hang on Sloopy.” Derringer then turned to blues rock, scoring a 1973 hit with “Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo”. He has also worked extensively with brothers Edgar and Johnny Winter, and with the group Steely Dan. He was only seventeen years old, his band The McCoys recorded “Hang on Sloopy” in the summer of 1965, which became the number one song in America before “Yesterday” by The Beatles knocked it out of the top spot. Derringer also recorded and played with a version of Johnny Winter’s band called “Johnny Winter And …” and both Edgar Winter’s White Trash and The Edgar Winter Group. Derringer also had a successful solo career, and his solo version of “Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo” was a hit single. He also recorded extensively with Steely Dan, playing slide guitar on songs such as “Show Biz Kids” and “Chain Lightning”. He also appeared on Alice Cooper’s Killer album in 1971, playing the solo on “Under My Wheels.” Derringer opened for Led Zeppelin on their last American tour in 1977. Derringer was also a featured guitarist on several Todd Rundgren albums in the 1970s, including Something/Anything? (1972), A Wizard, a True Star (1973), Initiation (1975) and the live album Back to the Bars (1978).
Eddie Ojeda 1955 – is one of the two guitarists of the American heavy metal band Twisted Sister. In early 1970’s he recorded a couple of singles with a band called SPX. He joined Twisted Sister in 1975. He also recorded a solo album named Axes To Axes in 2005 featuring Dee Snider, Ronnie James Dio and Rudy Sarzo among others. In a 2006 interview with rock & roll comic C.C. Banana, Eddie revealed if Twisted Sister ever retired that it would still be possible for the band to continue performing under their alternate name Bent Brother.
Jeff Porcaro 1992 (b.1954) – was an American session drummer and a founding member of the Grammy Award winning band Toto. Porcaro was one of the most recorded drummers in history, working on hundreds of albums and thousands of sessions. While already an established studio player in the 1970’s, he shot to prominence in the US as the drummer on the Steely Dan album Katy Lied. When he was seventeen, Porcaro got his first professional gig playing in Sonny and Cher’s touring band. During his 20s, he played on hundreds of albums, including several for Steely Dan. He toured with Boz Scaggs, before co-founding Toto with his brother Steve and childhood friends Steve Lukather and David Paich. Besides his work with Toto, he also performed as a session musician with artists such as Paul McCartney, Dire Straits, Willy DeVille, Jackson Browne, Donald Fagen, Steely Dan, Rickie Lee Jones, Michael Jackson, Go West, Nik Kershaw, Love and Money, Paul Simon, Don Henley, Madonna, Airplay, Al Jarreau, George Benson, the Manhattan Transfer, America, Peter Frampton, the Bee Gees, Tom Scott, Michael McDonald, Amy Holland, Joe Cocker, Stan Getz, Sérgio Mendes, Lee Ritenour, Christopher Cross, James Newton-Howard, Timothy B. Schmit, Joe Walsh, Jim Messina, Poco, Exile, the Four Tops, Barbra Streisand, Diana Ross, Natalie Cole, Les Dudek, Gerry Sack, Warren Zevon, Bonnie Raitt, David Gilmour, Roger Waters, Pink Floyd, Roger Hodgson, Paul Anka, Eric Carmen, Eric Clapton, Miles Davis, Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, Tommy Bolin, Larry Carlton, Mari Iijima and Seals & Crofts.
Luther Perkins 1968 (b.1928) – was an American country music guitarist and a member of the Tennessee Three, the backup band for singer Johnny Cash. Perkins was an iconic figure in what would become known as rockabilly music. His creatively simple, sparsely-embellished, rhythmic use of Fender Esquire, Jazzmaster and Jaguar guitars is credited for creating Cash’s signature “boom-chicka-boom” style. Perkins, as a member of the Tennessee Two (later, the Tennessee Three, with the addition of drummer W.S. “Fluke” Holland), toured with Cash and appeared on most of his recordings. He was well known for his laconic, focused demeanor on stage. He was often the target of jokes by Cash, who would make comments such as “Luther’s been dead for years, but he just doesn’t know it”.
Randy Jo Hobbs 1993 (b.1948) – was an American musician who played bass for The McCoys during the 1965-1969 period and in the bands of the brothers Edgar Winter and Johnny Winter during 1970-1976. He played bass with Jimi Hendrix on some 1968 live sessions which were later released unofficially as Woke Up This Morning and Found Myself Dead (1980) and New York Sessions (1998), and officially as Bleeding Heart (1994). He also played bass with a later version of Montrose, appearing on the Jump on It album, released in 1976. That same year, he also played bass on Rick Derringer’s album with Dick Glass, Glass Derringer.
Allan Holdsworth 1946 – guitarist and composer who has released twelve studio albums as a solo artist and played a variety of musical styles spanning a period of more than four decades, but is best known for his work in jazz fusion. During the middle part of the 1970’s, Holdsworth went on to work with various well-known progressive rock and jazz fusion artists. These included Soft Machine (Bundles), The New Tony Williams Lifetime (Believe It and Million Dollar Legs), Pierre Moerlen’s Gong (Gazeuse! and Expresso II) and Jean-Luc Ponty (Enigmatic Ocean). As the 1970’s wore on, Holdsworth was recruited by drummer and Yes founder Bill Bruford to play on his 1978 debut album, Feels Good to Me. Shortly afterwards, Bruford formed the progressive rock supergroup U.K. with keyboardist/violinist Eddie Jobson and bassist John Wetton; Holdsworth was brought in on the recommendation of Bruford. Holdsworth has been cited as an influence by such renowned rock and instrumental guitarists as Eddie Van Halen, Joe Satriani, Greg Howe, Shawn Lane, Richie Kotzen, John Petrucci and Alex Lifeson. Frank Zappa once lauded him as “one of the most interesting guys on guitar on the planet”.
Vinnie Vincent 1952 – guitarist and songwriter who is a former member of the band Kiss, as well as the leader of his own band, Vinnie Vincent Invasion. At a show in Quebec City during their “Lick It Up” Tour, as the band prepared to close out their set, Vincent broke into an impromptu solo, leaving the other band members standing onstage with nothing to do. After the “Lick It Up” tour ended in March 1984, Vincent was terminated from the band, and replaced by Mark St. John (birth name Mark Norton). Despite parting on bad terms, Vincent was later utilized by Kiss as a songwriter on the 1992 album Revenge, contributing to the songs “Unholy”, “Heart Of Chrome” and “I Just Wanna”. Vincent again fell out of favor with Simmons and Stanley, as they claimed that Vincent again began “making all kinds of crazy demands and pulling the same kind of crazy stuff all over again”.
Rick James 2004 (b.1948) – was an American singer, songwriter, musician and record producer, best known for being the major popularizer of funk music in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s thanks to million-selling hits such as “You and I” (1978), “Give It to Me Baby” (1981) and “Super Freak” (1981), the latter song crossing him over to pop audiences and selling over three million copies. It later contributed to the success of rapper MC Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This” (1990), for which James sued him, in order to be credited. James won a Grammy Award for Best R&B Song with Hammer for the song, his only Grammy win.
Willy DeVille 2009 (b.1950) – was an American singer and songwriter. During his thirty-five-year career, first with his band Mink DeVille (1974–1986) and later on his own, Deville created original songs rooted in traditional American musical styles. He worked with collaborators from across the spectrum of contemporary music, including Jack Nitzsche, Doc Pomus, Dr. John, Mark Knopfler, Allen Toussaint, and Eddie Bo. Latin rhythms, blues riffs, doo-wop, Cajun music, strains of French cabaret, and echoes of early-1960s uptown soul can be heard in DeVille’s work. Mink DeVille was a house band at CBGB, the historic New York City nightclub where punk rock was born in the mid-1970’s. DeVille helped redefine the Brill Building sound. In 1987 his song “Storybook Love” was nominated for an Academy Award. After his move to New Orleans in 1988, he helped spark the roots revival of classic New Orleans R&B.
Carlo Little 2005 (1938) – was a rock and roll drummer, based in the London nightclub scene in the 1960’s. He played in an early version of The Rolling Stones. Little was also with Cyril Davies’ All Stars and was the founding member of Screaming Lord Sutch’s Savages. He played a few gigs with the young Rolling Stones and was asked by Brian Jones to join permanently before they hired Charlie Watts as their official drummer in January 1963. Carlo Little is credited with giving Keith Moon his sound and style. Little was the loudest drummer many had ever seen or heard, one of the first to ever hammer the bass drum. After a Savages show Keith begged Little to give him lessons. Initially Carlo said no but reconsidered after thinking he could use the extra money and told Keith “I can only teach you what I know”. Little continued to work as a session drummer throughout the 1960’s, having further success with The Flower Pot Men as drummer on their hit single, “Let’s Go To San Francisco”.
Pete Way 1951 – is the former, and best-known, bassist of UFO, Waysted and also Fastway and Ozzy Osbourne. He played in bands with friends from high school and later created a band with friends Phil Mogg, Andy Parker and Mick Bolton. This became the original UFO lineup. After two studio albums with their original guitarist, the band then recruited the guitar wunderkind Michael Schenker from Scorpions. Disliking the more commercially accessible direction UFO were taking in the early eighties, Pete jumped ship to form Fastway with former Motorhead guitarist “Fast” Eddie Clarke. Pete was unable to extricate himself from a contract he signed with Chrysalis and stepped down to play bass for Ozzy Osbourne during the Diary of a Madman tour. In 1992 he joined Phil Mogg in the reformed UFO and released the High Stakes & Dangerous Men album. Pete remains in the band to this day. However he was not able to take part in the 2009 tours for UFO’s album The Visitor due to a medical condition which affects his liver. Pete has unfortunately not played with UFO since, although he has made guest appearances with Michael Schenker.
Andy Fraser 1952 – songwriter and bass guitarist whose career has lasted over forty years and includes a notable period as one of the founding members, in 1968, at age 15, of the rock band Free. Fraser produced and co-wrote the song “All Right Now” with Paul Rodgers, a #1 hit in over 20 territories and recognised by ASCAP in 1990 for garnering over 1,000,000 radio plays in the United States by late 1989. After leaving Free, Fraser formed Sharks with vocalist Snips (later Baker Gurvitz Army), guitarist Chris Spedding plus drummer, Marty Simon. Despite being well received by the critics, especially for Spedding’s tasteful guitar work Fraser left after their debut album, First Water (1973). He then formed the Andy Fraser Band, a trio with Kim Turner on drums and Nick Judd on keyboards. They released two albums, Andy Fraser Band and In Your Eyes, both in 1975, before that too folded. Attempts to form a band with Frankie Miller came to nothing, and Fraser re-located to California, to concentrate on songwriting. He crafted hits for Robert Palmer, Joe Cocker, Chaka Khan, Rod Stewart and Paul Young.
Bruce Dickinson 1958 – is an English musician, airline pilot and broadcaster best known as the lead vocalist of the heavy metal band Iron Maiden. He joined Iron Maiden in 1981, replacing Paul Di’Anno, and debuted on their 1982 album The Number of the Beast. During his first tenure in the band, they issued a series of US and UK platinum and gold albums in the 1980’s, resulting in Dickinson gaining worldwide fame, and becoming one of the most acclaimed heavy metal vocalists of all time. Dickinson quit Iron Maiden in 1993, being replaced by Blaze Bayley, in order to pursue his solo career which saw him experiment with a wide variety of heavy metal and rock styles. Dickinson rejoined the band in 1999 along with guitarist Adrian Smith, with whom he released four subsequent studio albums. Since his return to Iron Maiden, Dickinson issued one further solo record in 2005, Tyranny of Souls.
Marshall Grant 2011 (b.1928) – Upright and electric bassist of singer Johnny Cash’s original backing duo, the Tennessee Two, in which Grant and electric guitarist Luther Perkins played. The group became known as The Tennessee Three in 1960, with the addition of drummer W. S. Holland. Grant also served as road manager for Cash and his touring show company.
Webb Pierce 1921 (d.1991) – was one of the most popular American honky tonk vocalists of the 1950’s, charting more number one hits than any other country artist during the decade. His biggest hit was “In the Jailhouse Now,” which charted for 37 weeks in 1955, 21 of them at number one. Pierce also charted number one for several weeks’ each with his recordings of “Slowly” (1954), “Love, Love, Love” (1955), “I Don’t Care” (1955), “There Stands the Glass” (1953), “More and More” (1954), “I Ain’t Never” (1959), and his first number one “Wondering,” which stayed at the top spot for four of its 27 weeks’ charting in 1952. Other hits included “Back Street Affair”, “Why Baby Why”, “Oh, So Many Years”, and “Finally”; the latter two being duets with Kitty Wells. His 1954 recording of “Slowly” was one of the first country songs to include a pedal steel guitar.
Liberty DeVitto 1950 – is best known as the drummer for Billy Joel, but has also played with the NYC Hit Squad and has been a session drummer on recordings of other artists. After working with Billy Joel for 30 years, DeVitto was discharged from drumming duties for the 2006 Billy Joel tour for an unknown reason. Up to that point, he had the longest running tenure in Joel’s band, starting with the recording of 1976’s Turnstiles. He taught himself to play the drums after seeing The Beatles on their appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show in February 1964.
Anton Fig 1952 – known as “The Thunder from Down Under” is a session drummer, noted for his work in David Letterman’s house band, the CBS Orchestra. Letterman often refers to Fig as “Anton Zip” or “Buddy Rich Jr.” Fig was a member of the band Spider and played on both their releases in 1980 and 1981 and played with Shanghai on their 1982 release. Fig was also a member of ex-Kiss lead guitarist Ace Frehley’s solo project Frehley’s Comet from 1984 to 1987, as well as the drummer on Frehley’s 1978 solo album. Other artists with whom he has worked include Bob Dylan, Warren Zevon, B. B. King, Peter Frampton, Joan Armatrading, Cyndi Lauper, Link Wray, Robert Gordon, Joe Bonamassa, Beth Hart and Kix. Fig also played drums on all but one song on Kiss’s 1979 album Dynasty and every song on their 1980 album Unmasked.
David Howell Evans 1961 – more widely known by his stage name The Edge (or just Edge), is a musician best known as the guitarist, backing vocalist, and keyboardist of the Irish rock band U2. A member of the group since its inception, he has recorded 12 studio albums with the band and has released one solo record. In addition to his regular role within U2, The Edge has also recorded with such artists as Johnny Cash, B. B. King, Tina Turner, Ronnie Wood, Jay-Z, and Rihanna. The Edge connected with Brian Eno and Lanois collaborator Michael Brook (the creator of the infinite guitar, which he regularly uses), working with him on the score to the film Captive (1986). From this soundtrack the song “Heroine”, the vocal of which was sung by a young Sinéad O’Connor was released as a single. He also created the theme song for season one and two of The Batman. He and fellow U2 member, Bono, wrote the theme of the 1995 James Bond film GoldenEye. The Edge, along with bandmate Bono, recently composed a musical adaptation of Spider-Man. On 25 May 2011, a single titled “Rise Above 1” by Reeve Carney featuring Bono and The Edge was released digitally. The music video was released on 28 July 2011.
Rinus Gerritsen 1946 – is a Dutch bassist. Best known for being founding member of Dutch group Golden Earring, he is also a producer of artists like Herman Brood. Steve Harris of Iron Maiden counts Gerritsen as an important influence.
Whitney Houston 1963 (d.2012) – was an American recording artist, singer, actress, producer, model. In 2009, the Guinness World Records cited her as the most awarded female act of all time. She was one of the world’s best-selling music artists, having sold over 200 million records worldwide. She released six studio albums, one holiday album and three movie soundtrack albums, all of which have diamond, multi-platinum, platinum or gold certification. Houston is the only artist to chart seven consecutive No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hits. She is the second artist behind Elton John and the only female artist to have two number-one Billboard 200 Album awards (formerly “Top Pop Album”) on the Billboard magazine year-end charts. Houston’s 1985 debut album Whitney Houston became the best-selling debut album by a female act at the time of its release. Houston’s first acting role was as the star of the feature film The Bodyguard (1992). The film’s original soundtrack won the 1994 Grammy Award for Album of the Year. Its lead single “I Will Always Love You”, became the best-selling single by a female artist in music history. With the album, Houston became the first act (solo or group, male or female) to sell more than a million copies of an album within a single week period under Nielsen SoundScan system. The album makes her the top female act in the top 10 list of the best-selling albums of all time, at number four. Houston continued to star in movies and contribute to their soundtracks, including the films Waiting to Exhale (1995) and The Preacher’s Wife (1996). The Preacher’s Wife soundtrack became the best-selling gospel album in history.
Jerry Garcia 1995 (b.1942) – musician who was best known for his lead guitar work, singing and songwriting with the band the Grateful Dead. One of its founders, Garcia performed with the Grateful Dead for their entire thirty-year career (1965–1995). Garcia also founded and participated in a variety of side projects, including the Saunders-Garcia Band (with longtime friend Merl Saunders), Jerry Garcia Band, Old and in the Way, the Garcia/Grisman acoustic duo, Legion of Mary, and the New Riders of the Purple Sage (which Garcia co-founded with John Dawson and David Nelson). He also released several solo albums, and contributed to a number of albums by other artists over the years as a session musician. He composed such songs as “Dark Star”, “Franklin’s Tower”, and “Scarlet Begonias”, among many others. Robert Hunter, an ardent collaborator with the band, wrote the lyrics to all but a few of Garcia’s songs. Garcia was well-noted for his “soulful extended guitar improvisations”,which would frequently feature interplay between him and his fellow band members. His fame, as well as the band’s, arguably rested on their ability to never play a song the same way twice. Garcia and the band toured almost constantly from their formation in 1965 until Garcia’s death in 1995, a stint which gave credit to the name “endless tour”. Periodically, there were breaks due to exhaustion or health problems, often due to unstable health and/or Garcia’s drug use. During their three decade span, the Grateful Dead played 2,314 shows.
Clarence Leonidas ‘Leo’ Fender 1909 (d.1991) – was an American inventor who founded Fender Electric Instrument Manufacturing Company, or “Fender” for short. In January 1965, he sold the company to CBS and later founded two other musical instrument companies, Music Man and G&L Musical Instruments. The guitars, bass guitars, and amplifiers he designed from the 1940’s on are still relevant: the Fender Telecaster (1950) was the first mass-produced solid body electric guitar; the Fender Stratocaster (1954) is among the world’s most iconic electric guitars; the Fender Precision Bass (1951) set the standard for electric bass guitars, and the Fender Bassman amplifier, popular enough in its own right, became the basis for later amplifiers (notably by Marshall and Mesa Boogie) that dominated rock and roll music. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992.
Bobby Hatfield 1940 (d.2003) – was an American singer, best known as one half of the Righteous Brothers along with Bill Medley. Their first charted single as the Righteous Brothers was “Little Latin Lupe Lu” and their first #1 was “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’,” produced by Phil Spector in 1964. Follow-up hits included the #1 “(You’re My) Soul and Inspiration” and “Unchained Melody”, the latter of which was actually a Hatfield solo performance that he recorded again after the success of the film Ghost, remarking to friends that he had not lost any of the high notes in his tenor range since the original recording, but had actually gained one note. The duo broke up in 1968, but returned with another hit in 1974, the #3 “Rock and Roll Heaven.” The duo were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March 2003 by Billy Joel.
Ronnie Spector 1943 – rock and roll and popular music vocalist who was lead singer of the 1960’s hit-making girl group, the Ronettes. She has been called the original “bad girl of rock and roll”. The Ronettes were produced by Phil Spector and managed by Val Irving of (GAC) General Artists Corporation in Manhattan. In the early 1960s, they had huge hits with “Be My Baby”, “Baby, I Love You”, “The Best Part of Breakin’ Up, “Do I Love You?” and “Walking in the Rain”. The group had two top 100 hits in 1965: “Born to Be Together” and “Is This What I Get for Loving You.” In 1986, Ronnie enjoyed a resurgence to popular radio airplay as the featured vocalist on Eddie Money’s Top 5 hit “Take Me Home Tonight”, (where she is introduced by Money singing “just like Ronnie sang (Money)… OH, OH, OH, OH-OH (Ronnie Spector)”). The video to the hit recording was one of the top videos of the year and in power rotation on MTV. During this period, she also recorded the song “Tonight You’re Mine, Baby” (from the film Just One of the Guys).
Jimmy Griffin 1943 (d.2005) – was a singer, guitarist, and songwriter, best known for his work with the 1970’s rock band Bread. He won an Academy Award for Best Song in 1970 as co-writer of “For All We Know”. They had a number one Billboard Hot 100 hit, with the song “Make It With You”. Other hits by Bread included “Baby I’m-a Want You”, “If” and “Everything I Own.” Although Griffin was a significant contributor to Bread’s albums as a writer and singer, every one of the group’s thirteen songs that made the Billboard Hot 100 chart was written and sung by David Gates, a situation that created friction between the two.
Ian Anderson 1947 – singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, best known for his work as the lead vocalist, flautist and acoustic guitarist of British rock band Jethro Tull. Anderson plays several other musical instruments, including bass guitar, bouzouki, balalaika, saxophone, harmonica, and a variety of whistles. His tendency to stand on one leg while playing the flute came about by accident, as he had been inclined to stand on one leg while playing the harmonica, holding the microphone stand for balance. During a long stint at the Marquee Club, a journalist described him, wrongly, as standing on one leg to play the flute. He decided to live up to the reputation, albeit with some difficulty. His early attempts are visible in The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus (1968) film appearance of Jethro Tull.
Isaac Hayes 2008 (b.1942) – was an American songwriter, musician, singer, actor, and voice actor. Hayes was one of the creative influences behind the southern soul music label Stax Records, where he served both as an in-house songwriter and as a record producer, teaming with his partner David Porter during the mid-1960’s. Hayes, Porter, Bill Withers, the Sherman Brothers, Steve Cropper, and John Fogerty were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2005 in recognition of writing scores of notable songs for themselves, the duo Sam & Dave, Carla Thomas, and others. The hit song “Soul Man”, written by Hayes and Porter and first performed by Sam & Dave, has been recognized as one of the most influential songs of the past 50 years by the Grammy Hall of Fame. It was also honored by The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, by Rolling Stone magazine, and by the RIAA as one of the Songs of the Century. He is well known for his musical score for the film Shaft (1971). For the “Theme from Shaft“, he was awarded the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1972. He became the third African-American, after Sidney Poitier and Hattie McDaniel, to win an Academy Award in any competitive field covered by Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He also won two Grammy Awards for that same year. Later, he was given his third Grammy for his music album Black Moses.
Denis Payton 1943 (d.2006) – was an English saxophonist. He was a member of the Dave Clark Five, where he played both tenor and baritone saxophone. Apart from saxophone, Payton occasionally played guitar and harmonica (he played the harmonica solo on the group’s hit single “Catch Us If You Can”) and sang the background vocals. Payton also co-wrote over two dozen songs with Dave Clark for the group, two of which he sang lead vocals: “I Miss You” and “Man in the Pin Striped Suit”. Apart from “Catch Us If You Can” other million sellers were “Glad All Over”, “Bits and Pieces” and “Over and Over” as well as others. Payton enjoyed his finest hour when the great American jazz saxophonist Stan Getz, one of Payton’s musical idols, asked him for an autograph after attending a Dave Clark Five concert.
Erik Brann 1950 (d.2003) – was an American guitarist with the 1960′s acid rock band Iron Butterfly. He is featured on the band’s greatest hit, the 17-minute In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (1968), recorded when he was just 17. The first album, In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, sold over 30 million copies, was awarded the first platinum award and stayed on the Billboard magazine charts for nearly three years. With arrangement assistance from Dorman, Brann wrote the song “Termination,” which was featured on the album.
Bryan Bassett 1954 – is an American guitarist who has played with several notable bands but is probably best known as a member of Wild Cherry in the 1970s who had a huge hit with “Play That Funky Music.” In 1989 Bassett formed a friendship with Foghat’s “Lonesome” Dave Peverett. He joined his band which was billed as Lonesome Dave’s Foghat and served as an alternate version of Foghat, touring separately from Foghat which was led by drummer Roger Earl. He played with Lonesome Dave’s Foghat until 1993 when Foghat’s original lineup reformed. It was at this time that Bryan joined Molly Hatchet and toured with them until 1999. This version of Molly Hatchet had original vocalist Danny Joe Brown with it until 1996 but he left and they toured with no original members.
Richie Ramone 1957 – drummer best known for being the drummer for the iconic punk band the Ramones and the only Ramones drummer to be the sole composer and writer of Ramones songs. He played on the Ramones’ albums, Too Tough to Die, Animal Boy and Halfway To Sanity and appears on Ramones compilation albums, Greatest Hits, Loud, Fast Ramones: Their Toughest Hits, Weird Tales of the Ramones, and the Ramones live DVD It’s Alive 1974-1996. He penned the Ramones’ hit song “Somebody Put Something in My Drink” which is included on the album Ramones Mania, the only Ramones album to go gold, as well as “Smash You”, “Humankind”, ” I’m Not Jesus”, “I Know Better Now” and “(You) Can’t Say Anything Nice”. Richie’s songs “I’m Not Jesus” and “Somebody Put Something on my Drink” have been covered by new generations of bands worldwide, particularly metal bands like Children of Bodom and Behemoth.
Charlie Sexton 1968 – guitarist, singer and songwriter best known for the 1985 hit “Beat’s So Lonely” and as the guitarist for Bob Dylan’s backing band from 1999 to 2002 and from 2009 to 2012. His style of playing has varied and he has been associated with artists in the blues, folk, rock and punk genres. In 1987 Sexton was an occasional opening act for David Bowie on his Glass Spider Tour. Sexton appears on the Glass Spider home video playing guitar on Iggy Pop’s “I Wanna Be Your Dog” and the Velvet Underground’s White Light/White Heat. While he was still in his late teens, Sexton’s skills as a guitar player were in great demand, and he became a popular session player, recording with artists such as Ronnie Wood, Keith Richards, Don Henley, Jimmy Barnes and Bob Dylan. He eventually followed up his debut with the self-titled album Charlie Sexton, recorded at the age of twenty. In 1992 Sexton, along with Doyle Bramhall II (son of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s writing partner Doyle Bramhall), Tommy Shannon, and Chris “Whipper” Layton (both from Double Trouble, Stevie Ray Vaughan’s famed rhythm section) formed the Arc Angels. The blues/rock band recorded and released a self-titled album on Geffen Records that same year. The Steven Van Zandt-produced disc was well received by fans and critics alike. However, due to internal strife, including lack of communication (all members involved) and drug abuse (Bramhall), the band broke up in less than three years.
Mel Taylor 1996 (b.1933) – was the longtime drummer for The Ventures from 1962 to 1996. He was the older brother of Canned Heat bassist Larry Taylor. After drumming with Boris Pickett and Herb Alpert, Taylor joined the Ventures in 1962 to fill in for Howie Johnson, who had been severely injured in a motorcycle accident. Boris Pickett was asked about this before his death, and he denied that it was Mel that played drums on “Monster Mash”. Taylor’s distinct, harder-edged rock style so impressed the members of the band, that they asked him to become a permanent member of the group. Taylor mentioned in many interviews that Gene Krupa, Buddy Rich, and Louie Bellson were some of his biggest influences while he was growing up, and that he got the double bass idea from Louie Bellson.
Porter Wagoner 1927 (d.2007) – was a popular American country music singer known for his flashy Nudie and Manuel suits and blond pompadour. In 1967, he introduced then-obscure singer Dolly Parton on his long-running television show, and they were a well-known vocal duo throughout the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. Known as Mr. Grand Ole Opry, Wagoner charted 81 singles from 1954–1983. He was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame. Wagoner’s 81 charted records include “A Satisfied Mind” (No. 1, 1955), “Misery Loves Company” (No. 1, 1962), “I’ve Enjoyed as Much of This as I Can Stand” (No. 7, 1962–1963), “Sorrow on the Rocks” (No. 5, 1964), “Green, Green Grass of Home” (No. 4, 1965), “Skid Row Joe” (No. 3, 1965–1966), “The Cold Hard Facts of Life” (No. 2, 1967), and “The Carroll County Accident” (No. 2, 1968–1969). Among his hit duets with Dolly Parton were a cover of Tom Paxton’s “The Last Thing on My Mind” (1967), “We’ll Get Ahead Someday” (1968), “Just Someone I Used to Know” (1969), “Better Move it on Home” (1971), “The Right Combination” (1972), “Please Don’t Stop Loving Me” (No. 1, 1974) and “Making Plans” (No. 2, 1980).
Buck Owens 1929 (d.2006) – was an American musician, singer and songwriter who had 21 No. 1 hits on the Billboard country music charts with his band the Buckaroos. They pioneered what came to be called the Bakersfield sound, a reference to Bakersfield, California, the city Owens called home and from which he drew inspiration for what he preferred to call American music. Beginning in 1969, Owens co-hosted the TV series Hee Haw with Roy Clark. He left the cast in 1986. The accidental death of Don Rich, his best friend, in 1974 devastated him for years and abruptly halted his career until he performed with Dwight Yoakam in 1988. n early 1963, the Johnny Russell song “Act Naturally” was pitched to Owens, who initially didn’t like it, but his guitarist and long time collaborator, Don Rich, enjoyed it, and convinced Owens to record it, which he did with the Buckaroos, on February 12, 1963. It was released on March 11 and entered the charts of April 13. By June 15 the single began its first of four non-consecutive weeks at the No. 1 position. It was Owens’ first No. 1 hit. The Beatles later recorded a cover of it in 1965, with Ringo Starr as lead singer. Ringo Starr later re-recorded the song as a duet with Owens in 1988.
Mark Knopfler 1949 – musician, vocalist, songwriter, record producer and film score composer. He is best known as the lead guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter for the British rock band Dire Straits, which he co-founded with his brother, David Knopfler in 1977. After Dire Straits disbanded in 1995, Knopfler went on to record and produce seven solo albums, and, as during his previous tenure, produced many hit songs. He has composed and produced film scores for eight films, including Local Hero (1983), Cal (1984), The Princess Bride (1987), and Wag the Dog (1997). In addition to his work with Dire Straits and as a solo artist and composer, Knopfler has recorded and performed with many prominent musicians, including Chet Atkins, The Chieftains, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Bryan Ferry, Emmylou Harris, Jools Holland, Sonny Landreth, Van Morrison, Steely Dan, Sting, and James Taylor, sometimes working as a session musician. He has produced albums for Tina Turner, Bob Dylan, and Randy Newman. Knopfler is a finger-style guitarist and was ranked 27th on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. Knopfler and Dire Straits have sold in excess of 120 million albums to date.
Lou Martin 1949 (d.2012) – was a piano and organ player from Belfast, who was most famous for his work with the London-based band Killing Floor, and with fellow Irish musician Rory Gallagher. Martin later left Killing Floor to play alongside Gallagher, and is featured on several of Gallagher’s albums, including Blueprint, Irish Tour ’74, Tattoo, Against the Grain, Calling Card, Defender and Fresh Evidence. He also played rhythm guitar on one track, “Race the Breeze” from Blueprint. After leaving Gallagher’s band, Martin and drummer Rod de’Ath formed Ramrod, after which Martin played with Downliners Sect and Screaming Lord Sutch, and also toured with Chuck Berry and Albert Collins.
Pat Metheny 1954 – is a jazz guitarist and composer who is the leader of the Pat Metheny Group and is also involved in duets, solo works and other side projects. His style incorporates elements of progressive and contemporary jazz, post-bop, latin jazz and jazz fusion. Pat Metheny has three gold albums and 20 Grammy Awards. He is the brother of jazz flugelhornist and journalist Mike Metheny. Pat Metheny also has released notable solo, trio, quartet and duet recordings with musicians such as Jim Hall, Dave Holland, Roy Haynes, Toninho Horta, Gary Burton, Chick Corea, Pedro Aznar, Jaco Pastorius, Charlie Haden, John Scofield, Jack DeJohnette, Herbie Hancock, Bill Stewart, Ornette Coleman, Brad Mehldau, Joni Mitchell and many others.
Luther Allison 1997 (b.1939) – was an American blues guitarist who taught himself guitar and began listening to blues extensively. Three years later he began hanging outside blues nightclubs with the hopes of being invited to perform. He played with Howlin’ Wolf’s band and backed James Cotton. His big break came in 1957 when Howlin’ Wolf invited Allison to the stage. Freddie King took him under his wing and after King got his big record deal, Allison took over King’s house-band gig on Chicago’s west side. He worked the club circuit throughout the late 1950’s and early 1960’s and recorded his first single in 1965. He was signed to the Delmark Records label in 1967 and released his debut album, Love Me Mama, the following year. Allison was known for his powerful concert performances, lengthy soulful guitar solos and crowd walking with his Gibson Les Paul. He was posthumously inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1998. In 2000, the Chicago Sun-Times called him “The Bruce Springsteen of the blues”.
Richie Hayward 2010 (b.1946) – was a drummer best known as a founding member and drummer in the band Little Feat. He performed with several bands and worked as a session player. Hayward also joined with friends in some small acting roles on television, which included an episode of F Troop. In addition to his work with Little Feat, Hayward recorded and performed with many other artists including: Joan Armatrading, Delaney Bramlett, Kim Carnes, Eric Clapton, Ry Cooder, James Cotton, The Doobie Brothers, Bob Dylan, Peter Frampton, Buddy Guy, Arlo Guthrie, Al Kooper, Jonny Lang, Eric Lynn, Nils Lofgren, Taj Mahal, Coco Montoya, Robert Palmer, Van Dyke Parks, Robert Plant, Paul Rodgers, Bob Seger, Carly Simon, Nancy Sinatra, Stephen Stills, Tom Waits, John Cale, Warren Zevon, Warren Haynes, Jimmy Herring, Wildsteed and Helen Watson.
Dan Fogelberg 1951 (d.2007) – was an American singer-songwriter, composer, and multi-instrumentalist whose music was inspired by sources as diverse as folk, pop, rock, classical, jazz, and bluegrass. He is best known for his early 1980 hit “Longer” and his late 1981 hit “Leader of the Band.” The Innocent Age, released in October 1981, was Fogelberg’s critical and commercial peak. The double album included four of his biggest hits: “Leader of the Band,” “Hard to Say,” “Run for the Roses,” and “Same Old Lang Syne.” He drew inspiration for The Innocent Age from Thomas Wolfe’s novel Of Time and the River. A 1982 greatest hits album contained two new songs, both of which were released as singles: “Missing You” and “Make Love Stay.” In 1984, he released the album Windows and Walls, containing the singles “The Language of Love” and “Believe in Me.”
Ric Parnell 1951 – rock drummer who is known for his work in the band Atomic Rooster, he probably best known for his role as the ill-fated drummer Mick Shrimpton in the film This is Spinal Tap. In 1970 he was a member of the short-lived hard rock band Horse, who recorded one album before breaking up. Shortly after, he briefly joined the progressive rock band Atomic Rooster, leaving after just two months with the band. In April 1971 he formed his own progressive rock group, Matchstick Men, whose sole single was much more pop-oriented than the band’s genre of choice. By the end of the year he had been invited to rejoin Atomic Rooster, this time staying long enough to play on the band’s last two albums. He continued to play for various other bands and artists throughout the 1970s and 1980s including Nova and Italian-based Ibis, as well as providing the drums for the Toni Basil hit “Mickey” among other contributions. At one time, Steve Perry offered him a spot in Journey but Parnell declined as he was preoccupied with his studio band at the time Zoo Drive, a decision he later regretted.
Feargal Sharkey 1958 – is a singer from Northern Ireland who first found fame as the lead vocalist of pop punk band The Undertones. Since moving away from performing in the early 1990s, he has performed various roles supporting the UK’s commercial music industry, winning several awards and honors for his work in that area. The Undertones had several UK hits with songs such as “Teenage Kicks”, “Here Comes The Summer”, “My Perfect Cousin”, “Wednesday Week” and “It’s Going To Happen”. The band split in 1983 citing musical differences, with Sharkey pursuing a solo career and other members of the band forming That Petrol Emotion the following year.
King Curtis 1971 (b.1934) – was an American saxophone virtuoso known for rhythm and blues, rock and roll, soul, blues, funk and soul jazz. Variously a bandleader, band member, and session musician, he was also a musical director and record producer. Adept at tenor, alto, and soprano saxophone, he was best known for his distinctive riffs and solos such as on “Yakety Yak”, which later became the inspiration for Boots Randolph’s “Yakety Sax” and his own “Memphis Soul Stew”. From the 1950’s until the mid-1960’s, he worked as a session player, recording under his own name and with others such as the Coasters, with whom he recorded “Yakety Yak.” Buddy Holly hired him for session work, during which they recorded “Reminiscing.” Holly wrote this song, but gave Curtis the songwriting credit for flying down to the session. His best-known singles from this period are “Soul Twist” and “Soul Serenade.” In 1965, he moved to Atlantic Records and recorded his most successful singles, “Memphis Soul Stew” and “Ode to Billie Joe” (1967). He worked with The Coasters, led Aretha Franklin’s backing band The Kingpins. The Kingpins opened for The Beatles during their 1965 performance at Shea Stadium. Curtis produced records, often working with Jerry Wexler and recorded for Groove Records during this period, including the Joe South song “Games People Play” with guitarist Duane Allman. In 1970, he appeared with Aretha Franklin and The Kingpins on Aretha Live at Fillmore West, and another record, Live at Fillmore West. In July 1971, Curtis recorded saxophone solos on “It’s So Hard” and “I Don’t Wanna Be a Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die” from John Lennon’s Imagine. Along with The Rimshots, he recorded the original theme song for the 1971 hit television show, Soul Train, titled “Hot Potatoes.” Curtis was killed on August 13, 1971 when he was stabbed during an argument with a pair of drug dealers he discovered on the steps outside his New York apartment.
Les Paul 2009 (b.1915) – Guitarist/songwriter/inventor was one of the pioneers of the solid-body electric guitar, which made the sound of rock and roll possible. He is credited with many recording innovations. Although he was not the first to use the technique, his early experiments with overdubbing (also known as sound on sound), delay effects such as tape delay, phasing effects and multitrack recording were among the first to attract widespread attention. In 1949 he married Mary Ford and some of their hits included “How High the Moon”, “Bye Bye Blues”, “Song in Blue”, “Don’cha Hear Them Bells”, “The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise”, and “Vaya con Dios”. These songs featured Ford harmonizing with herself.
Darrell ‘Dash’ Crofts 1940 – was one half of the duo along with Jim Seals in Seals & Crofts who are best known for their Hot 100 No. 6 hits “Summer Breeze”, “Diamond Girl”, and “Get Closer”. With Seals on guitar, saxophone and violin, and Crofts on guitar and mandolin. They signed a contract with the record division of Talent Associates (TA) in 1969 and released two LPs, of which, only the second reached the Billboard 200 chart, peaking at No. 122 in October 1970. The duo played at the California Jam festival in Ontario, California on April 6, 1974. Attracting over 200,000 fans, the concert put them alongside ’70s acts such as Black Sabbath, Eagles, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Deep Purple, Earth, Wind & Fire, Black Oak Arkansas, and Rare Earth.
David Crosby 1941 – guitarist, singer, and songwriter. In addition to his solo career, he was a founding member of three bands: The Byrds; Crosby, Stills & Nash (who are sometimes joined by Neil Young); and CPR. Crosby has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice: once for his work in The Byrds and once for his work with CSN. His early Byrds efforts included the classic 1966 hit “Eight Miles High” (to which he contributed one line, while Clark and McGuinn wrote the rest), and its flip side “Why”, co-written with McGuinn, which showed Crosby at his hard-edged best. Crosby is widely credited with popularizing the song “Hey Joe”, after he picked it up from Dino Valente. He taught the song to Bryan MacLean and Arthur Lee of Love, who then taught it to members of The Leaves. Since he felt responsible for having popularized the song, Crosby convinced the other members of The Byrds to cover it on Fifth Dimension. By Younger Than Yesterday, The Byrds’ album of 1967, Crosby clearly began to find his trademark style. Around the time of Crosby’s departure from the Byrds, he met a recently unemployed Stephen Stills at a party at the home of Cass Elliot (of The Mamas and the Papas) in California in March 1968, and the two started meeting informally together and jamming. They were soon joined by Graham Nash, who left his commercially successful group The Hollies to play with Crosby and Stills. Their appearance at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair in August 1969 constituted their second live performance ever. The songs he wrote while with CSN include “Guinnevere”, “Almost Cut My Hair,” “Long Time Gone,” and “Delta”. He also co-wrote “Wooden Ships” with Paul Kantner of Jefferson Airplane and Stephen Stills.
Larry Graham 1946 – bass guitar player, both with the popular and influential psychedelic soul/funk band Sly and the Family Stone, and as the founder and frontman of Graham Central Station. He is credited with the invention of the slapping technique, which radically expanded the tonal palette of the bass, although he himself refers to the technique as “Thumpin’ and Pluckin’.” This “slap” bass style was later used by such artists as Les Claypool (of Primus), Bootsy Collins, Louis Johnson, Mark King, Flea, Tim Commerford, Peter Hook, Mike Mills, Victor Wooten, Jonas Hellborg, Kim Clarke of Defunkt, Marcus Miller, Stanley Clarke, John Norwood Fisher, P-Nut, Danny McCormack, Matt Noveskey, Dirk Lance, and Pino Palladino. After Sly and the Family Stone, Graham formed his own band, Graham Central Station. The name is a pun on Grand Central Station, the train station located in Manhattan, New York City. Graham Central Station had several hits in the 1970’s, including “Hair”.
Roy Buchanan 1988 (b.1939) – was an American guitarist and blues musician. A pioneer of the Telecaster sound, Buchanan was a sideman and solo artist, with two gold albums early in his career, and two later solo albums that made it on to the Billboard chart. Despite never having achieved stardom, he is still considered a highly influential guitar player. In 1958, Buchanan made his recording debut with Dale Hawkins, including playing the solo on “My Babe” for Chicago’s Chess Records. Two years later, during a tour through Toronto, Buchanan left Dale Hawkins to play for his cousin Ronnie Hawkins and tutor Ronnie’s guitar player, Robbie Robertson. Buchanan plays bass on the Ronnie Hawkins single, “Who Do You Love?” Buchanan soon returned to the U.S. and Ronnie Hawkins’ group later gained fame as The Band. Buchanan’s life changed in 1971, when he gained national notice as the result of an hour-long PBS television documentary. Entitled Introducing Roy Buchanan, and sometimes mistakenly called The Best Unknown Guitarist in the World, it earned a record deal with Polydor Records and praise from John Lennon and Merle Haggard, besides an invitation to join the Rolling Stones (which he turned down).
Allan Lanier 2013 (b.1946) – was an original member of Blue Öyster Cult. Lanier played keyboards and rhythm guitar. Lanier wrote several songs for Blue Öyster Cult albums, including “True Confessions”, “Tenderloin”, “Searchin’ for Celine”, “In Thee” and “Lonely Teardrops”. In addition to his work with Blue Oyster Cult, he also contributed to music by Patti Smith, Jim Carroll, The Dictators and The Clash, among others. He dated Patti Smith for several years during the 1970’s. Lanier first performed with the band (then known as Soft White Underbelly) in 1967. He left the group in 1985, and was replaced by Tommy Zvoncheck (of Clarence Clemons and Public Image Ltd fame). He returned in 1987. He retired from performing with them after the autumn of 2006.
Oscar Peterson 1925 (d.2007) – was a Canadian jazz pianist and composer. He was called the “Maharaja of the keyboard” by Duke Ellington, “O.P.” by his friends. He released over 200 recordings, won eight Grammy Awards, and received other numerous awards and honours over the course of his career. He is considered to have been one of the greatest jazz pianists of all time, having played thousands of live concerts to audiences worldwide in a career lasting more than 60 years. Through Norman Granz’s Jazz at the Philharmonic Project he was able to play with the major jazz artists of the time. Some of his musical associates included Ray Brown, Coleman Hawkins, Roy Eldridge, Ben Webster, Milt Jackson, Herb Ellis, Barney Kessel, Ed Thigpen, Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, Louis Armstrong, Stéphane Grappelli, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Clark Terry, Joe Pass, Anita O’Day, Fred Astaire, Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie, and Stan Getz. According to pianist/educator Mark Eisenman, some of Peterson’s best playing was as an understated accompanist to singer Ella Fitzgerald and trumpeter Roy Eldridge.
Pete York 1942 – is a rock drummer who has been performing since the 1960’s. He was one of the original members of the Spencer Davis Group, along with Spencer Davis and the brothers, Steve and Muff Winwood. York stayed with the band until 1969. Eric Clapton’s Powerhouse was a short lived blues band in 1967. It starred Eric Clapton (guitar), and featured Paul Jones (harmonica) and Jack Bruce (bass), Steve Winwood (vocals) with York (drums), and Ben Palmer (piano). In the 80s he fronted an all-star band called Olympic Rock & Blues Circus featuring a rotating line-up of the likes of Jon Lord, Miller Anderson, Tony Ashton, Brian Auger, Zoot Money, Colin Hodgkinson, Chris Farlowe and many others. Olympic Rock & Blues Circus was touring primarily in Germany in 1981/82 and 1989.
Tom Johnston 1948 – is a guitarist and vocalist, and co-founded The Doobie Brothers with drummer John Hartman, guitarist Patrick Simmons and bassist Dave Shogren. Johnston wrote and sang many of the Doobie Brothers’ early hits, including “Listen to the Music,” “Rockin’ Down the Highway,” “China Grove,” and “Long Train Runnin’.” He also sang the hit song “Take Me in Your Arms” (written by Holland-Dozier-Holland). He became ill and was hospitalized on the eve of a major tour in 1975 to promote Stampede. Johnston’s illness led to the emergency hiring of Michael McDonald, who became the lead singer of the band.
Tommy Aldridge 1950 – is a veteran heavy metal and hard rock drummer. Aldridge is noted for his work with numerous bands and artists since the 1970’s, such as Black Oak Arkansas, Pat Travers Band, Ozzy Osbourne, Gary Moore, Whitesnake, Ted Nugent and Thin Lizzy. During the 1990’s Aldridge worked with numerous acts ranging from Motörhead to Ted Nugent. On January 25th, 2013, it was announced that Tommy will be rejoining his former band Whitesnake.
Bob Birch 2012 (b.1956) – was an American musician. He was primarily a bassist and session musician/sideman to a variety of notable artists such as Elton John. Since Elton teamed up with Billy Joel for multiple tours which Birch was a part of, it give him the chance to hook up with Billy’s saxophone player Mark Rivera. Mark and Bob quickly became good friends, and Bob was grateful for Mark asking him to be the primary bassist at one of the first Rock & Roll Fantasy Camps. The Camp allowed Birch the opportunity to perform with Leslie West, Rick Derringer, Nils Lofgren, Mike Love, Lou Gramm, and as the third member of the ‘Detroit Royalty’ Grand Funk Railroad with Mark Farner and Don Brewer. Another memorable moment for Bob was when Rick Latham, drummer and friend of Bob’s, gave him the chance to play with Edgar Winter and the White Trash featuring Rick Derringer reunion at the Montreaux Jazz Festival in 1999.He also performed live and recorded with Keith Emerson, Steve Porcaro, Glenn Hughes, and Ronnie Montrose.
Kevin Ayers 1944 (d.2013) – was an English singer-songwriter and a major influential force in the English psychedelic movement. Ayers was a founding member of the pioneering psychedelic band Soft Machine in the late 1960s, and was closely associated with the Canterbury scene. He recorded a series of albums as a solo artist and over the years worked with Brian Eno, Syd Barrett, John Cale, Elton John, Robert Wyatt, Andy Summers, Mike Oldfield, Nico and Ollie Halsall, among others. His last album was The Unfairground, which was recorded in New York City, Tucson, and London in 2006.
Barry Hay 1948 – is an Indian-born Dutch musician best known as the leading vocalist and frontman for Dutch rock band Golden Earring. In the summer of 1967, he joined the Golden Earrings, as they were then called, replacing Frans Krassenburg. Hay created the cover art for some of Golden Earring’s albums. He has also made two solo albums, Only Parrots Frogs and Angels (1972) and Victory of Bad Taste (1987), but both met with little success. In 1994, he sang lead vocals and played alto flute on the Ayreon song “Sail Away to Avalon,” the single from the latter’s debut album, The Final Experiment. He voices Rock Zilla, in the Dutch version of Gene Simmons’ cartoon series My Dad The Rock Star and appears in a commercial for prescription sunglasses. Hay now lives on Curaçao where he hosts a radio-show.
Scott Asheton 1949 – best known as the drummer for the rock band The Stooges. Other than Iggy Pop, Asheton is the only consistent member of the Stooges since the death of his brother, guitarist Ron Asheton, in 2009. He co-formed the Stooges in 1967 along with his older brother Ron, Pop, and Dave Alexander. The original incarnation released two LPs on Elektra Records before moving through several lineup changes, releasing a third LP on Columbia Records in 1973 and disbanding the following year. He has also recorded extensively with Sonny Vincent, playing drums on four full studio albums along with Captain Sensible on bass as well as special guest appearances on other S.V. releases. In addition to recording with Sonny, Asheton has toured the U.S. and Europe with Sonny and Steve Baise (on bass) of the Devil Dogs. The Stooges reformed in 2003, and have remained active ever since, releasing a fourth album in 2007. Following the death of Ron Asheton, the group has been working with later guitarist James Williamson.
Madonna 1958 – singer-songwriter, actress, author, director, entrepreneur and philanthropist. In 1982, Madonna signed with Sire Records (an affiliate of Warner Bros. Records) and released her self-titled debut album the following year. She has since released a series of successful albums, including the Grammy Award winners Ray of Light (1998) and Confessions on a Dance Floor (2005). Many of her songs peaked atop record charts, including “Like a Virgin”, “Into the Groove”, “Papa Don’t Preach”, “Like a Prayer”, “Vogue”, “Frozen”, “Music”, “Hung Up”, and “4 Minutes”. has sold more than 300 million records worldwide and is recognized as the best-selling female recording artist of all time by Guinness World Records. Time considered her to be one of the “25 Most Powerful Women of the Past Century” for being an influential figure in contemporary music. Madonna is the best-selling female rock artist of the 20th century and the second best selling female artist in the United States, with 64.5 million certified albums. Considered by Forbes and other publications as a cultural icon, she is often referred by the international press as the “Queen of Pop”. In 2008, Billboard ranked her at number two, behind only The Beatles, on the Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Artists, making her the most successful solo artist in the history of the chart.
Robert Johnson 1938 (b.1911) – was an American blues singer and musician. His landmark recordings from 1936–37 display a combination of singing, guitar skills, and songwriting talent that has influenced later generations of musicians. Johnson’s shadowy, poorly documented life and death at age 27 have given rise to much legend, including the Faustian myth that he sold his soul at a crossroads to achieve success. Johnson’s records sold poorly during his lifetime. It was only after the reissue of his recordings in 1961 on the LP King of the Delta Blues Singers that his work reached a wider audience. Johnson is now recognized as a master of the blues, particularly of the Mississippi Delta blues style. He is credited by many rock musicians as an important influence; Eric Clapton has called Johnson “the most important blues singer that ever lived.” In Jackson, Mississippi, around 1936, Johnson sought out H. C. Speir, who ran a general store and doubled as a talent scout. Speir put Johnson in touch with Ernie Oertle, who offered to record the young musician in San Antonio, Texas. The recording session was held on November 23, 1936 in room 414 of the Gunter Hotel in San Antonio, which Brunswick Records had set up to be a temporary recording studio. Among the songs Johnson recorded in San Antonio were “Come On In My Kitchen”, “Kind Hearted Woman Blues”, “I Believe I’ll Dust My Broom” and “Cross Road Blues”. The first songs to appear were “Terraplane Blues” and “Last Fair Deal Gone Down”, probably the only recordings of his that he would live to hear. “Terraplane Blues” became a moderate regional hit, selling 5,000 copies. Johnson later recorded almost half of the 29 songs that make up his entire discography at the 508 Park Ave Building in Dallas, Texas which is where the Brunswick Record Corporation was located.
Elvis Presley 1977 (b.1935) – singer, musician and actor who was one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century, he is often referred to as “the King of Rock and Roll”, or simply, “the King”. In August 1953, Presley walked into the offices of Sun Records. He aimed to pay for a few minutes of studio time to record a two-sided acetate disc: “My Happiness” and “That’s When Your Heartaches Begin”. He would later claim that he intended the record as a gift for his mother, or that he was merely interested in what he “sounded like”, although there was a much cheaper, amateur record-making service at a nearby general store. He cut a second acetate in January 1954—”I’ll Never Stand In Your Way” and “It Wouldn’t Be the Same Without You”—but again nothing came of it.
Alan Caddy 2000 (b.1940) – was a guitarist, arranger, record producer and session musician. He was lead guitarist in the first, seven-man line-up of Johnny Kidd & The Pirates, and was the only member to remain with Kidd when the singer re-invented the “stage look” of the act, alongside bassist Brian Gregg and drummer Clem Catinni. This line-up contributed to, and recorded “Shakin’ All Over”. Although a versatile and accomplished lead guitarist, Caddy didn’t mind playing rhythm on both tracks for the resulting single, the band bringing in their friend, Scottish guitarist Joe Moretti. Moretti played the classic lead riffs and solo. “Shakin’ All Over” was originally the B-side to a revival of “Yes Sir, That’s My Baby”, but the record company flipped the 45 and the new topside went all the way to number 1 in the UK charts. Caddy also played on sessions and worked on arrangements for Tony Blackburn, Elkie Brooks, the Spencer Davis Group, Kiki Dee, Pretty Things and Dusty Springfield.
Ginger Baker 1939 – is a drummer who played with Cream and Blind Faith. He is also known for his numerous associations with World music, mainly the use of African influences.He has also had other collaborations such as with Gary Moore, Hawkwind and Public Image Ltd. Although a firmly established rock drummer and praised as “Rock’s first superstar drummer”, he prefers being called a jazz drummer. Baker’s influence has extended to drummers of both genres, including Billy Cobham, Peter Criss, Bill Ward, Ian Paice, Nick Mason, and John Bonham. AllMusic has described him as “the most influential percussionist of the 1960s” and stated that “virtually every drummer of every heavy metal band that has followed since that time has sought to emulate some aspect of Baker’s playing.” In his early days as a drummer, he performed lengthy drum solos, the best known being the five-minute drum solo “Toad” from Cream’s debut album Fresh Cream (1966). He is also noted for using a variety of other percussion instruments and for his application of African rhythms. Baker gained fame as a member of the Graham Bond Organisation and then as a member of the rock band Cream from 1966 until they disbanded in 1968. He later joined the group Blind Faith. In 1970 Baker formed, toured and recorded with fusion rock group Ginger Baker’s Air Force. In 2012 the documentary film Beware Of Mr. Baker of Ginger Baker’s life by Jay Bulger had its world premiere at South By Southwest in Austin, Texas where it won the grand jury award for best documentary feature. The film was nominated for the Grierson Award at the 2012 British Film Institute Awards.
Johnny Nash 1940 – is an American pop singer-songwriter, best known in the US for his 1972 comeback hit, “I Can See Clearly Now”. He was also the first non-Jamaican to record reggae music in Kingston, Jamaica. Jamaican TV and radio host and novel writer Neville Willoughby introduced him to a local struggling vocal group, The Wailers. Members Bob Marley, Bunny Wailer and Peter Tosh introduced him to the local scene. Nash signed all three to an exclusive publishing and recording contract with his JAD label and financed some of their recordings, some with Byron Lee’s Dragonaires and some with other local musicians such as Jackie Jackson and Lynn Taitt. None of the Marley and Tosh songs he produced were successful. Only two singles were released at the time: “Bend Down Low” (JAD 1968) and “Reggae on Broadway” (Columbia, 1972), which was recorded in London in 1972 on the same sessions that produced “I Can See Clearly Now.”
Ray Cooper 1942 – is a session and road-tour percussionist, and occasional actor, who has worked with several musically diverse bands and artists including George Harrison, Billy Joel, Rick Wakeman, Eric Clapton, and Elton John. Cooper absorbed the influence of rock drummers from the 1960s and 1970s such as Ginger Baker, Carmine Appice, and John Bonham. Incorporation of unusual instruments (for rock drummers of the time) such as cowbells, glockenspiel, and tubular bells, along with several standard kit elements, helped create a highly varied setup. He is known for the 7 minute percussion and drum solos he performed during the years 1990-1991 for Eric Clapton and for the 7 minute percussion and drum solos during the year 1994 during all the Face to Face Tours with Billy Joel, and Elton John, and the tours with the Elton John band during the years of 1994-1995. Cooper had a short stint with The Rolling Stones playing percussion for their 1974 It’s Only Rock’n Roll album. Later in that decade he recorded with George Harrison, Wings and Art Garfunkel.
Billy J. Kramer 1943 – is a British Invasion/Merseybeat singer. In the 1960’s he was managed by Brian Epstein, who also managed the Beatles, and he recorded several original Lennon and McCartney compositions. With record producer George Martin, the song “Do You Want to Know a Secret?” was a number two UK Singles Chart hit in 1963, and was backed by another tune otherwise unreleased by the Beatles, “I’ll Be on My Way”. After this impressive breakthrough another Lennon–McCartney pairing, “Bad to Me” c/w “I Call Your Name”, reached number one. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. “I’ll Keep You Satisfied” ended the year with a respectable number four placing. Kramer was given a series of songs specially written for him by John Lennon and Paul McCartney which launched him into stardom. “I’ll Keep You Satisfied”, “From a Window”, “I Call Your Name” and “Bad to Me” earned him appearances on the television programmes, Shindig!, Hullabaloo and The Ed Sullivan Show.
Ian Gillan 1945 – vocalist and songwriter who originally found commercial success as the lead singer and lyricist for Deep Purple. One of Gillan’s first notable contributions to band during these rehearsals was the vocal melody and lyrics to “Child in Time”. In 1970, Gillan received a call from Tim Rice, asking him to perform the part of Jesus on the original 1970 album recording of Jesus Christ Superstar, having been impressed with his performance on “Child in Time”. After rehearsing a few times with Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, he recorded his entire vocal contributions in three hours. By December 1972, having recorded Machine Head, Made in Japan and the yet to be released Who Do We Think We Are with Deep Purple, Gillan finally decided the workload had driven him to exhaustion. Unlike some band members, he was unhappy about Made in Japan, and disliked live albums in general. He tended to go into the studio after the rest of the band had recorded and finished the backing tracks, particularly for Who Do We Think We Are, to lay down his vocals separately. He had been continually at loggerheads with Blackmore, disagreeing about music regularly, which culminated in Gillan writing “Smooth Dancer” about him. While on tour in Dayton, Ohio, he sat down and wrote a resignation letter to the band’s managers, stating he intended to leave the band, effective from 30 June 1973. He was replaced by David Coverdale.
Susan Jacks 1948 – is a Canadian singer–songwriter-producer. In 1966, 18-year old Susan Pesklevits asked Terry Jacks to accompany her on guitar for an upcoming appearance. After performing a small number of dates, Craig McCaw was added on lead guitar, Susan eventually stopped performing as a solo artist, left the “Eternal Triangle” and dedicated her time to the newly formed trio. The trio used the name “Powerline” for a number of months before settling on the name “The Poppy Family”. Susan and Terry married in 1967. The group began recording as “The Poppy Family featuring Susan Jacks” and had a number of hits from 1968 through the early 1970’s. “Which Way You Goin’ Billy?” sold over 3 million copies worldwide, hitting No. 1 in Canada and No. 2 in the United States. “That’s Where I Went Wrong” and “Where Evil Grows’ also charted well on Billboard. They consequently followed up with numerous hits in Canada.
John Deacon 1951 – is a retired English musician, best known as the bassist for the rock band Queen. Of the four members of the band, he was the last to join and also the youngest, being only 19 years old when he was recruited by the other members of the band. Deacon wrote a number of Queen’s hit singles, including “You’re My Best Friend”, “Spread Your Wings”, “Back Chat”, “I Want to Break Free”, and the band’s biggest selling single in the United States, “Another One Bites the Dust”, as well as a number of album tracks. He also played electric and acoustic guitars on several albums and, to a lesser extent, keyboards, synthesizers, programming and drums. He occasionally provided backing vocals during live shows. Following The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert in 1992, Deacon performed just twice with the remaining members of Queen, in a charity concert in 1993 and a one-off rendition of “The Show Must Go On” in 1997 with Mercury’s friend Elton John (who had sung the track with the band at Mercury’s tribute) at the opening of the Bejart ballet in Paris. He contributed to the final Queen song, “No-One but You (Only the Good Die Young)” – released that year on the Queen Rocks compilation – after which he retired from the music industry. He did not participate in the Queen + Paul Rodgers collaboration, in Queen’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001, or in Queen’s performance during the closing ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Joey Tempest 1963 – is the vocalist and main songwriter in the Swedish rock band Europe. During the years with Europe, Joey wrote numerous international big hits. “The Final Countdown” was the biggest; it topped the sales chart in 26 countries, sold 8 million copies, was played at the closing ceremony of the 1988 Summer Olympics, became the musical theme of the millennium celebrations and is now a ringtone in hundreds of thousands of mobile phones all over the world. After ‘Countdown’, Europe released two more albums, Out of this World (1989), and Prisoners in Paradise (1991), before their final concert in March 1992. Europe ended their final tour in Portsmouth and did not perform together again until New Year’s Eve 1999 to 2000.
Betty Everett 2001 (b.1939) – was an American soul singer and pianist, best known for her biggest hit single, the million-selling “The Shoop Shoop Song (It’s in His Kiss)”. Her other hits included “I Can’t Hear You” (covered by numerous artists, including Dusty Springfield, Helen Reddy, and others), “Getting Mighty Crowded” (covered by Elvis Costello in 1980), and several duets with Jerry Butler, including “Let It Be Me”, which made the US Top 5 in 1964 and was another Cashbox R&B number 1. After an unsuccessful year with ABC, a move to Uni brought another major success in 1969 with “There’ll Come A Time”, co-written by producer and lead singer of The Chi-Lites, Eugene Record. This rose to #2 in the Billboard R&B listing (#26 on the Hot 100) and topped the Cashbox chart. However, most of her later work would not match the success she had with Vee-Jay, although there were other R&B hits such as “It’s Been A Long Time” and “I Got To Tell Somebody”, which re-united her with Calvin Carter in 1970. The 1975 album Happy Endings had arrangements by Gene Page and includes a cover of “God Only Knows” by The Beach Boys.
LeRoi Moore 2008 (b.1961) – was an American saxophonist best known as a founding member of the Dave Matthews Band. Moore often arranged music for the songs written by frontman Dave Matthews. Moore also co-wrote many of the band’s songs, notably “Too Much” and “Stay (Wasting Time)”. In addition to performing with the Dave Matthews Band, Moore appeared on Code Magenta’s self-titled album and Soko’s album In November Sunlight. Moore also worked as a producer with artist Samantha Farrell on her second album, Luminous.
Jim Reeves 1923 (d.1964) – was an American country and popular music singer-songwriter. With records charting from the 1950s to the 1980s, he became well known as a practitioner of the Nashville Sound (a mixture of older country-style music with elements of popular music). Known as “Gentleman Jim”, his songs continued to chart for years after his death. Reeves’ first successful country music songs included “I Love You” (a duet with Ginny Wright), “Mexican Joe”, and “Bimbo” which reached Number 1 in 1954 on the U.S. Country Charts. During 1957, with the endorsement of his producer Chet Atkins, he used this style for his version of a demonstration song of lost love intended for a female singer. “Four Walls” not only scored No. 1 on the country music charts, but scored No. 11 on the popular music charts. Reeves had helped begin a new style of country music, using violins and lusher background arrangements soon known as the Nashville sound. Reeves became known as a crooner because of his rich light baritone voice. Songs such as “Adios Amigo”, “Welcome to My World”, and “Am I Losing You?” demonstrated this. His Christmas songs have been perennial favorites, including “C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S”, “Blue Christmas” and “An Old Christmas Card”. He is also responsible for popularizing many gospel songs, including “We Thank Thee”, “Take My Hand, Precious Lord”, “Across The Bridge”, “Where We’ll Never Grow Old” and many others.
Dave Brock 1941 – is a singer-songwriter and musician. He plays electric guitar, synthesizer, bass and oscillators. He is best known as being one of the founders and musical focus of the English space rock group Hawkwind. Brock is the only member of the group to have been a constant throughout the band’s history. Brock remained Hawkwind’s musical focus and primary songwriter throughout its existence. He has little interest in lyrics and much of the time has benefited from collaborating with lyricists such as Robert Calvert and Michael Moorcock. Although being the only ever-present member of band, there have been times, particularly in the early days when the line-up was fluid, when he would miss gigs such as the 1971 Glastonbury Festival. On stage, his preference is to remain at the back and let others take centre stage and be the focus of attention, to the point where he will often employ dancers, mime artists and fire eaters to fill that space. At other times (particularly in their early days), the entire band is totally obscured by their light show, a tactic also employed by Pink Floyd from their formation through 1969.
Isaac Hayes 1942 (d.2008) – was an American songwriter, musician, singer, actor, and voice actor. Hayes was one of the creative influences behind the southern soul music label Stax Records, where he served both as an in-house songwriter and as a record producer, teaming with his partner David Porter during the mid-1960′s. Hayes, Porter, Bill Withers, the Sherman Brothers, Steve Cropper, and John Fogerty were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2005 in recognition of writing scores of notable songs for themselves, the duo Sam & Dave, Carla Thomas, and others. The hit song “Soul Man”, written by Hayes and Porter and first performed by Sam & Dave, has been recognized as one of the most influential songs of the past 50 years by the Grammy Hall of Fame. It was also honored by The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, by Rolling Stone magazine, and by the RIAA as one of the Songs of the Century. He is well known for his musical score for the film Shaft (1971). For the “Theme from Shaft“, he was awarded the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1972. He became the third African-American, after Sidney Poitier and Hattie McDaniel, to win an Academy Award in any competitive field covered by Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He also won two Grammy Awards for that same year. Later, he was given his third Grammy for his music album Black Moses.
James Pankow 1947 – trombone player, songwriter and brass instrument arranger best known as a founding member of the rock band Chicago. Pankow met Walter Parazaider, who recruited him to join a band named The Big Thing, which would become Chicago Transit Authority. Soon after the first album’s release, the band’s name was shortened to Chicago, when the actual Chicago Transit Authority threatened legal action. Pankow has remained a member of Chicago since its inception. In addition to playing the trombone, Pankow has composed many songs for Chicago, including the hits “Make Me Smile” and “Colour My World” (both from his suite Ballet for a Girl in Buchannon), “Just You ‘N’ Me,” “(I’ve Been) Searchin’ So Long,” “Old Days,” “Alive Again,” and (with Peter Cetera) “Feelin’ Stronger Every Day.” He has also composed most of Chicago’s brass arrangements over the years. Although Pankow is not one of the band’s principal vocalists, he sang lead vocals for two Chicago songs: “You Are On My Mind” (from Chicago X, 1976) and “Till the End of Time” (Chicago XI, 1977).
Robert Plant 1948 – musician, singer and songwriter who is best known as the lead vocalist and lyricist of the rock band Led Zeppelin, he has also had a successful solo career. With a career spanning more than 40 years and possessing a powerful wide vocal range (particularly his trademark high-pitched screams), Plant is regarded as one of the greatest singers in the history of popular music, and has influenced contemporaries and later singers such as Freddie Mercury, Axl Rose and Chris Cornell. Initially dubbed the “New Yardbirds” in 1968, the band soon came to be known as Led Zeppelin. The band’s eponymous debut album hit the charts in 1969 and is widely credited as a catalyst for the heavy metal genre. Plant has commented that it is unfair for people to think of Zeppelin as heavy metal, as almost a third of their music was acoustic. Plant’s lyrics with Led Zeppelin were often mystical, philosophical and spiritual, alluding to events in classical and Norse mythology, such as “Immigrant Song”, which refers to Valhalla and Viking conquests. However, the song “No Quarter” is often misunderstood to refer to the god Thor; the song actually refers to Mount Thor (which is named after the god). Another example is “The Rain Song”. Plant was also influenced by J. R. R. Tolkien, whose book series inspired lyrics in some early Led Zeppelin songs. Most notably “The Battle of Evermore”, “Misty Mountain Hop”, “No Quarter”, “Ramble On” and “Over the Hills and Far Away” contain verses referencing Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Conversely, Plant sometimes used more straightforward blues-based lyrics dealing primarily with sexual innuendo, as in “The Lemon Song”, “Trampled Under Foot”, and “Black Dog”. Arguably one of Plant’s most significant achievements with Led Zeppelin was his contribution to the track “Stairway to Heaven”, an epic rock ballad featured on Led Zeppelin IV that drew influence from folk, blues, Celtic traditional music and hard rock among other genres. Most of the lyrics of the song were written spontaneously by Plant in 1970 at Headley Grange. While never released as a single, the song has topped charts as the greatest song of all time on various polls around the world. Plant is also recognised for his lyrical improvisation in Led Zeppelin’s live performances, often singing verses previously unheard on studio recordings. One of the most famous Led Zeppelin musical devices involves Plant’s vocal mimicking of band mate Jimmy Page’s guitar effects. This can be heard in the songs “How Many More Times”, “Dazed and Confused”, “The Lemon Song”, “You Shook Me”, “Nobody’s Fault but Mine” and “Sick Again”.
Phil Lynott 1949 (d.1986) – was an Irish singer and musician. His most commercially successful group was Thin Lizzy, in which he was the founding member, principal songwriter, lead vocalist and bassist. He later also found success as a solo artist. Growing up in Dublin in the 1960s, Lynott fronted several bands as a lead vocalist, most notably Skid Row alongside Gary Moore, before learning the bass guitar and forming Thin Lizzy in 1969. After initial success with Whiskey in the Jar, the band found strong commercial success in the mid-1970s with hits such as “The Boys are Back in Town”, “Jailbreak” and “Waiting for an Alibi”, and became a popular live attraction due to the combination of Lynott’s vocal and songwriting skills and the use of dual lead guitars. Towards the end of the 1970’s, Lynott also embarked upon a solo career, published two books of poetry, and after Thin Lizzy disbanded, he assembled and fronted the band Grand Slam, of which he was the leader until it folded in 1985. He subsequently had major UK success with Moore with the song “Out in the Fields”, followed by a minor hit “Nineteen”, before his death on 4 January 1986. He remains a popular figure in the rock world, and in 2005, a statue was erected in his memory. During the recording of Thin Lizzy’s second album, Shades of a Blue Orphanage, Lynott very nearly left Thin Lizzy to form a new band with Deep Purple’s Ritchie Blackmore and Ian Paice. He decided he would rather build up Lizzy’s career from the ground up than jump into another band that had big-name musicians in it. Due to being in dire financial straits, Lizzy did, however, soon afterwards record an album of Deep Purple covers anonymously under the name Funky Junction. Lynott did not sing on the album as he felt his voice was not in the same style as Ian Gillan.
Doug Fieger 1952 (d.2010) – was an American singer-songwriter-musician. He was the lead singer of the power pop band The Knack, and co-wrote “My Sharona”, the biggest hit song of 1979 in the USA, with lead guitarist, Berton Averre. “My Sharona” spent six straight weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 in 1979 and was the biggest hit of the year. Fifteen years later the track gained renewed interest when it was featured in the film Reality Bites. It was also featured regularly in a Saturday Night Live skit parodying Janet Reno. The follow-up hit to “My Sharona,” “Good Girls Don’t,” stopped one notch short of the Top 10, peaking at No. 11, while Get The Knack spent five straight weeks at No. 1 and eventually sold 3 million copies in the United States and 6 million worldwide. Additionally, Fieger provided lead vocals on two tracks on Was (Not Was)’s 1983 album Born to Laugh at Tornadoes. Shortly before his death, he provided lead vocals for the track “Dirty Girl”, from Bruce Kulick’s 2010 album BK3; “Dirty Girl” was named 29th song of 2010 by Classic Rock.
John Hiatt 1952 – is an American rock guitarist, pianist, singer, and songwriter. He has played a variety of musical styles on his albums, including New Wave, blues and country. Hiatt has been nominated for several Grammy Awards and has been awarded a variety of other distinctions in the music industry. He remains one of the most respected and influential American singer-songwriters. Hiatt was working as a songwriter for Tree International, a record label in Nashville, when his song “Sure As I’m Sittin’ Here” was covered by Three Dog Night. The song became a Top 40 hit, earning Hiatt a recording contract with Epic Records. Since then he has released twenty one studio albums, two compilation albums and one live album. His songs have been covered by a variety of artists in multiple genres, including Bob Dylan, The Searchers, Willy DeVille, Ry Cooder, Linda Ronstadt, Bonnie Raitt, Eric Clapton, B.B. King, Joe Bonamassa, Willie Nelson, Three Dog Night, Joan Baez, Paula Abdul, Buddy Guy, the Desert Rose Band, Jimmy Buffett, Mandy Moore, Iggy Pop, Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell, Dave Edmunds, Nick Lowe, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Rosanne Cash, Suzy Bogguss, Jewel, Aaron Neville, Jeff Healey, Keith Urban, Joe Cocker, Chaka Khan, Paulini and many others. The Dutch singer/songwriter Ilse DeLange recorded the album Dear John with nine of his songs. Hiatt finally came into success in 1987, when he released his first big hit, Bring the Family. For the album, Hiatt had a backing band consisting of Ry Cooder, Nick Lowe, and Jim Keltner.Most of the songs on the album have since been extensively covered, especially “Have a Little Faith in Me,” which has been covered by a number of artists, including Joe Cocker, Delbert McClinton, Jewel, Bill Frisell, Mandy Moore and Bon Jovi, and “Memphis in the Meantime”, which has been covered by Carl Perkins.
Dimebag Darrell Abbott 1966 (d.2004) – was an American musician best known for being the founding member of the bands Pantera and Damageplan alongside his brother, Vinnie Paul. Abbott also contributed to the record Rebel Meets Rebel, a collaboration between Pantera and David Allan Coe. Darrell is considered to be one of the driving forces behind groove metal. Abbott once said in a Guitar World interview that if there were no Ace Frehley, there would have been no “Dimebag” Darrell – he even had a tattoo of the KISS guitarist on his chest.Frehley signed the tattoo in pen ink upon meeting him, at Dimebag’s request, and the autograph was later tattooed over. His favorite bands were Anthrax, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, King’s X, KISS, Metallica, Slayer and Van Halen. Abbott was shot and killed by a mentally disturbed fan while on stage during a performance with Damageplan on December 8, 2004, at the Alrosa Villa in Columbus, Ohio. He ranked #92 in Rolling Stone magazine’s 100 Greatest Guitarists and #1 in the UK magazine Metal Hammer. Eddie Van Halen, whom Abbott had befriended, placed his original black with yellow stripes guitar (commonly called “bumblebee”) into the Kiss Kasket Abbott was buried in. Abbott had mentioned that those colors were his favorite combination, and Van Halen had agreed to craft a copy for Abbott only several months before his untimely death. However, upon hearing of the tragedy, he offered to place the original guitar in the casket. Vinnie Paul Abbott is cited to have said “If he had known he would be buried with this guitar, he would have said ‘shoot me now!'” Abbott was a fan of Van Halen and his band.
Larry Knechtel 2009 (b.1940) – was an American keyboard player and bassist, best known as a member of The Wrecking Crew, a collection of Los Angeles-based session musicians who worked with such renowned artists as Simon & Garfunkel, Duane Eddy, The Beach Boys, The Mamas & the Papas, The Monkees, The Partridge Family, The Doors and Elvis Presley, and as a member of the 1970′s band Bread. In 1970 Knechtel won a Grammy Award for his piano work on “Bridge over Troubled Water” by Simon and Garfunkel. He also played the piano on Johnny Rivers’ 1972 hit “Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu”. Knechtel was proficient in other instruments, notably the harmonica and the electric bass guitar, which can be heard on “Mr. Tambourine Man” by The Byrds, “Stoney End” by Barbra Streisand, “If I Can Dream” by Elvis Presley and on tracks by The Doors (who did not have their own bass guitarist). In 1971, he joined the band Bread, where his contributions include the guitar solo on the hit single “The Guitar Man”. He also played on sessions for Nancy Sinatra.
Kennt Rogers 1938 – singer-songwriter, photographer, record producer, actor, entrepreneur and author, and member of the Country Music Hall of Fame. Though he has been most successful with country audiences, he has charted more than 120 hit singles across various music genres, topped the country and pop album charts for more than 200 individual weeks in the United States alone and has sold over 130 million records worldwide, making him one of the highest-selling artists of all time. Two of his albums, The Gambler and Kenny, are featured in the About.com poll of “The 200 Most Influential Country Albums Ever”. A few of his hits include, “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town”, “Lucille”, “The Gambler”, and he had hits together with Dottie West including, “Every Time Two Fools Collide” (#1), “Anyone Who Isn’t Me Tonight” (#2), “What Are We Doin’ in Love” (#1), “All I Ever Need Is You” (#1) and “Till I Can Make It On My Own” (#3) all became Country standards.
James Burton 1939 – Guitarist and a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame since 2001 (his induction speech was given by longtime fan Keith Richards), Burton has also been recognized by the Rockabilly Hall of Fame and the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum. Critic Mark Demming writes that “Burton has a well-deserved reputation as one of the finest guitar pickers in either country or rock … Burton is one of the best guitar players to ever touch a fretboard.” Since the 1950’s, Burton has recorded and performed with an array of notable singers, including Bob Luman, Dale Hawkins, Ricky Nelson, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Glen Campbell, John Denver, Gram Parsons, Emmylou Harris, Judy Collins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Claude King, Elvis Costello, Joe Osborn, Roy Orbison, Joni Mitchell, Vince Gill, Suzi Quatro and Allen “Puddler” Harris.
Glenn Hughes 1951 – is an English rock bassist and vocalist, best known for playing bass and performing vocals for funk rock pioneers Trapeze and the Mk. III and IV line-ups of Deep Purple, as well as briefly fronting Black Sabbath in the mid-1980’s. In addition to being an active session musician, Hughes also maintains a notable solo career, and previously fronted the supergroup Black Country Communion. In 1982, he joined with ex-Pat Travers guitarist Pat Thrall to form Hughes/Thrall, and they released one self-titled album which went virtually unnoticed at the time. Part of the reason for the album’s obscurity was the inability to support it with a proper tour due to both parties suffering from drug addiction. In the mid-1980s, Hughes recorded several different albums with bands and artists including Phenomena (Phenomena, Phenomena II: Dream Runner), Gary Moore (Run For Cover), and Black Sabbath (Seventh Star; originally a solo album by Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi that was released as a Sabbath album due to record label pressure).
Joe Strummer 1952 (d.2002) – was a British musician who was the co-founder, lyricist, rhythm guitarist and lead vocalist of the British punk rock band The Clash, from London, a band that formed in 1976 as part of the original wave of British punk. Along with punk, their music incorporated elements of reggae, ska, dub, funk, rap, and rockabilly. The Clash were one of the most prominent of the emerging bands in the UK punk rock scene, their second album, Give ‘Em Enough Rope (1978) reaching number 2 on the UK charts. Soon after, they began achieving success in the US, starting with London Calling (1979), and peaking with 1982’s Combat Rock, reaching number 7 on the US charts and being certified 2x platinum there. The Clash’s politicised lyrics, musical experimentation, and rebellious attitude had a far-reaching influence on rock, alternative rock in particular.
Steve Smith 1954 – drummer who has worked with hundreds of artists in his career, but is mostly known for being the drummer of the rock band Journey during their peak years of success. Modern Drummer magazine readers voted him the #1 All-Around Drummer five years in a row. In 2001, Modern Drummer named Steve as one of the Top 25 Drummers of All Time, and in 2002 he was voted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame. He has also worked as a session musician for pop artists such as Mariah Carey, Andrea Bocelli, Elisa, Vasco Rossi, Zucchero, Savage Garden, Bryan Adams, as well as world musicians such as Zakir Hussain and Sandip Burman. Additionally, he has played with various jazz artists including Mike Mainieri’s Steps Ahead, Wadada Leo Smith, Tom Coster, Ahmad Jamal, Dave Liebman, Larry Coryell, Victor Wooten, Mike Stern, Randy Brecker, Scott Henderson, Frank Gambale, Stuart Hamm, Dweezil Zappa, Anthony Jackson, Aydın Esen, Torsten de Winkel, George Brooks, Michael Zilber, Steve Marcus, Andy Fusco, Kai Eckhardt, Lee Musiker, Howard Levy, Oteil Burbridge, Jerry Goodman, Tony MacAlpine and Bill Evans. Smith also leads his own jazz group, Vital Information.
Robert Moog 2005 (b.1934) – Pioneer of electronic music, best known as the inventor of the Moog synthesizer. Moog’s innovative electronic design is employed in numerous synthesizers including the Minimoog Model D, Minimoog Voyager, Little Phatty, Moog Taurus Bass Pedals, Moog Minitaur, and the Moogerfooger line of effects pedals. Through his involvement in electronic music, Moog developed close professional relationships with artists such as Don Buchla, Keith Emerson, Rick Wakeman, John Cage, Gershon Kingsley, Clara Rockmore, Jean Jacques Perrey, and Pamelia Kurstin. In a 2000 interview, Moog said, “I’m an engineer. I see myself as a toolmaker and the musicians are my customers. They use my tools.”
John Lee Hooker 1917 (d.2001) – was a highly influential American blues singer-songwriter and guitarist. He developed a ‘talking blues’ style that was his trademark. Though similar to the early Delta blues, his music was metrically free. John Lee Hooker could be said to embody his own unique genre of the blues, often incorporating the boogie-woogie piano style and a driving rhythm into his blues guitar playing and singing. His best known songs include “Boogie Chillen'” (1948), “I’m in the Mood” (1951) and “Boom Boom” (1962), the first two reaching #1 on the Billboard R&B chart. He appeared and sang in the 1980 movie The Blues Brothers. Due to Hooker’s improvisational style, his performance was filmed and sound-recorded live at the scene at Chicago’s Maxwell Street Market, in contrast to the usual “playback” technique used in most film musicals. Hooker was also a direct influence in the look of John Belushi’s character Jake Blues. In 1989, he joined with a number of musicians, including Carlos Santana and Bonnie Raitt to record the album The Healer, for which he and Santana won a Grammy Award. Hooker recorded several songs with Van Morrison, including “Never Get Out of These Blues Alive”, “The Healing Game” and “I Cover the Waterfront”. He also appeared on stage with Van Morrison several times, some of which was released on the live album A Night in San Francisco. The same year he appeared as the title character on Pete Townshend’s The Iron Man: A Musical.
Dale Hawkins 1936 (d.2010) – was a pioneer American rock singer, songwriter, and rhythm guitarist who was often called the architect of swamp rock boogie. Fellow rockabilly pioneer Ronnie Hawkins was his cousin. In 1957, Hawkins was playing at Shreveport, Louisiana clubs, and although his music was influenced by the new rock and roll style of Elvis Presley and the guitar sounds of Scotty Moore, Hawkins blended that with the uniquely heavy blues sound of black Louisiana artists for his recording of his swamp-rock classic, “Susie Q.” Fellow Louisiana guitarist and future Rock and Roll Hall of Famer James Burton provided the signature riff and solo. The song was chosen as one of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. Creedence Clearwater Revival’s version of the song on their 1968 debut album helped launch their career and today it is probably the best known version.
Donna Jean Godchaux 1947 – is an American musician, best known for having been a member of the Grateful Dead from 1972 to 1979. Prior to 1970, she had worked as a session singerin Muscle Shoals, Alabama, appearing on songs by Elvis Presley and Cher. She met future fellow Grateful Dead member Keith Godchaux and they married in 1970. Donna Jean provided back-up and lead vocals in the group’s music. During their membership in the Grateful Dead, the couple also issued the mostly self-written Keith and Donna album in 1975 with Jerry Garcia as a Keith and Donna Band member. In turn, they performed as part of the Jerry Garcia Band.
David Marks 1948 – songwriter and musician. He is best known as being an original member of The Beach Boys from February 1962 to October 1963, and later versions of the band, including a reunited version that recorded the album That’s Why God Made the Radio and toured together in 2012. Marks was part of the Beach Boys line-up, at age 13, when they signed with Capitol Records on July 16, 1962. Marks performed on the band’s first four albums, playing rhythm guitar.
Ian Mitchell 1958 – is an Irish-born guitarist who is best known as a former member of the Scottish pop group Bay City Rollers. Mitchell joined the Rollers on April 1, 1976 at age 17 as a replacement for co-founder Alan Longmuir. Ian’s tenure in the group was brief; he remained in the band for just 7 months, leaving November 10, 1976. However, he did participate in the band’s reunions in the 1980s. His guitar and vocal work are heard on the Rollers’ hit 1976 album Dedication and the 1985 release Breakout.
Debbi Peterson 1961 – musician and the drummer of the all-girl group, The Bangles. She sang lead vocals on two of the band’s released singles, “Going Down to Liverpool” (1984) and “Be With You” (1989). She is the younger sister of Vicki Peterson. She had already established her first band in high school, and started a solo career after the separation of The Bangles in 1990. In 1992, she formed the short-lived duo Kindred Spirit with Siobhan Maher, formerly of River City People.
Layne Staley 1967 (d.2002) – musician who served as the lead singer and co-songwriter of the rock band Alice in Chains, which he co-founded along with guitarist Jerry Cantrell in Seattle, Washington in 1987. Alice in Chains rose to international fame as part of the grunge movement of the early 1990’s. The band became known for his distinct vocal style, as well as the harmonized vocals between him and Cantrell.
Bruce Gary 2006 (b.1951) – was best known as the drummer for the music group The Knack. He was nominated for two Grammy Awards as a stage performer, producer, and recording artist. In the 60’s and early 70’s he played and toured with bluesman Albert Collins. By the time he was twenty-four he was touring and recording with former Cream bassist Jack Bruce and guitarist Mick Taylor, who had just left the Rolling Stones. This lineup also included jazz pianists Carla Bley and Ronnie Leahy. Gary also worked with Dr. John in the 70’s. After the breakup of The Knack in the early 1980’s, Gary became an in-demand drummer for studio work and live performance with some of the premier musicians of the era including Jack Bruce, Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Stephen Stills, Rod Stewart, Sheryl Crow, Bette Midler, Harry Nilsson, and Doors guitarist Robby Krieger. He also worked with blues masters Albert King and John Lee Hooker.
Nick Ashford 2011 (b.1941) – with his wife Valerie Simpson were a husband and wife songwriting-production team and recording artists. After having recorded unsuccessfully as a duo, they joined an aspiring solo artist and former member of the Ikettes, Joshie Jo Armstead, at the Scepter/Wand label, where their compositions were recorded by Ronnie Milsap (“Never Had It So Good”), Maxine Brown (“One Step At A Time”), as well as the Shirelles and Chuck Jackson. Another of the trio’s songs, “Let’s Go Get Stoned”, gave Ray Charles a number one U.S. R&B hit in 1966. That same year, Ashford & Simpson joined Motown, where their best-known songs included “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”, “You’re All I Need To Get By”, “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing”, and “Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand)”. Ashford and Simpson wrote many other hit songs, including Chaka Khan’s “I’m Every Woman” (1978) and Teddy Pendergrass’s “Is It Still Good to You?”. As performers, Ashford & Simpson’s best-known duets are “Solid (As a Rock)” (1984 US and 1985 UK) and “Found a Cure” (1979). The duo was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2002.
Jerry Leiber 2011 (b.1933) – Songwriter/record producer with his partner Mike Stoller, their most famous songs include “Hound Dog”, “Jailhouse Rock”, “Don’t”, “Kansas City”, “Stand By Me”.
Jet Black 1938 – is an English drummer and founder member of punk rock / new wave band The Stranglers. He became a full-time professional musician in the mid-1970s and met Hugh Cornwell of band Johnny Sox after reading an advertisement in the Melody Maker magazine. Cornwell joined Black in The Stranglers in 1974. His style is usually simple and jazz-influenced, although “Duchess” and “Down in the Sewer” are examples of Stranglers songs that feature more frantic drumming. In the mid-1980’s, Black elected to cease playing acoustic drums in the recording studio and used a Simmons kit triggered by pick-ups, most notably on the Feline and Aural Sculpture albums. Black is still currently drumming for The Stranglers, despite his advancing years.
Nik Turner 1940 – is a British musician, best known as a former member of space rock pioneers Hawkwind. Turner plays saxophones, flute, sings and is a composer. While with Hawkwind, Turner was known for his experimental free jazz stylisations and outrageous stage presence, often donning full makeup and Ancient Egypt-inspired costumes. After leaving Hawkwind the first time, Turner holidayed in Egypt and while visiting the Great Pyramid of Giza he was given three hours inside the King’s Chamber to record some flute music. On returning to England, Steve Hillage cleaned up the tapes and assembled the Sphynx band featuring Hawkwind’s Alan Powell, Gong’s Mike Howlett and Tim Blake, and Harry Williamson to record music augmenting the original flute tracks while Turner adapted lyrics from the Egyptian Book of the Dead. The album was released as Xitintoday on Charisma records in 1978 and the band toured, played festivals including Deeply Vale Festivals (later released as a CD), Glastonbury Festival (part of which was broadcast BBC television) and his own themed Bohemian Love-In all day festival at the Roundhouse.
Chris Currtis 1941 (d.2005) – was an English drummer and singer with the 1960s pop band, The Searchers. He originated the concept behind Deep Purple and formed the band in its original incarnation of ‘Roundabout’. The Searchers briefly rivaled the Beatles for popularity, having international hits with “Needles and Pins”, “Sugar and Spice” and “Don’t Throw Your Love Away”. Curtis wrote most of the band’s songs that were not covers and was constantly seeking obscure songs for them to cover. Many of his finds were B-sides discovered in Brian Epstein’s NEMS record shop and upstairs in another record shop, near the furniture store where he worked.
Maureen “Moe” Tucker 1944 – is a musician best known for having been the drummer for the rock group The Velvet Underground. Apart from drumming, Tucker sang co-lead vocals on three Velvet Underground songs: the acoustic guitar number “After Hours” and the strange poem set to music “The Murder Mystery”, both from 1969’s The Velvet Underground album, as well as “I’m Sticking with You”, a song recorded in 1969 but left (officially) unreleased until it appeared on the 1985 outtakes compilation VU. Lou Reed has said of “After Hours” that it was “so innocent and pure” that he could not possibly sing it himself.
Ronnie White 1995 (b.1939) – musician, best known as the co-founder of The Miracles and its only consistent original member. White was also known to bring Stevie Wonder to the attention of Motown Records and was also a songwriter of several hit singles for the Miracles and other artists including The Temptations and Mary Wells. White helped Smokey Robinson compose several hit singles including The Miracles’ “My Girl Has Gone” and “A Fork in the Road” and is known as the co-writer and co-producer of The Temptations’ signature song, “My Girl” and also co-wrote the same group’s “Don’t Look Back”. He also co-wrote Mary Wells’ “You Beat Me to the Punch” and Marvin Gaye’s “Ain’t That Peculiar”. In 1987, Smokey Robinson was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist. Controversially, Ronnie White and the other original members of The Miracles, Bobby Rogers, Marv Tarplin, Pete Moore and Claudette Robinson, were not. However, The Miracles, including White, would later be retroactively inducted into the Hall of Fame by a special committee in 2012, alongside Smokey Robinson.
Allen Woody 2000 (b.1955) – was a bass guitarist best known for his tenure in the rock groups The Allman Brothers Band, Gov’t Mule, The Artimus Pyle Band, The Peter Criss Band, Blue Floyd, and Montage. Woody joined The Allman Brothers Band along with guitarist Warren Haynes upon the group’s reunion in 1989. Woody and Haynes formed side project Gov’t Mule in 1994 with former Dicky Betts drummer Matt Abts. Haynes and Woody decided to leave The Allman Brothers Band in 1997 to put a full-time effort into Gov’t Mule.
Daryl Dragon 1942 – is a keyboardist, known as The Captain in the successful 1970s pop musical duo Captain & Tennille, with his wife, Toni Tennille. They have five albums certified gold or platinum and scored numerous hits on the US singles charts during their highest period of popularity, the most enduring of which included “Love Will Keep Us Together,” “Do That to Me One More Time and “Muskrat Love.” They hosted their own television variety series on ABC in 1976–77. Dragon’s familiar image and stage name came from his time as a keyboard player with The Beach Boys in the early 1970s. Beach Boys lead singer Mike Love gave him the nickname “Captain,” and it stuck; Dragon began the tradition of wearing a nautical captain’s hat to go along with the name.
Tim Bogert 1944 – bass guitarist and vocalist he is best known for his bass solos and his work with Vanilla Fudge, Cactus and the power trio; Beck, Bogert & Appice. Vanilla Fudge was formed along with Mark Stein, Vince Martell, and Carmine Appice. They recorded five albums during the years 1967-69, before disbanding in 1970. In 1970 Bogert formed the rock band Cactus with drummer Carmine Appice, guitarist Jim McCarty and Rusty Day, and played with guitarist Jeff Beck, after the second Jeff Beck Group had disbanded in 1972 and eventually became a member of the power trio Beck, Bogert & Appice, late in 1972. As a member of the post second Jeff Beck Group, also known as Jeff Beck Group he toured Europe, Japan and US from January 1972 until January 1974. In late 1975, he played bass guitar on Bo Diddley’s The 20th Anniversary Of Rock ‘n’ Roll all-star album.
Neil Murray 1950 – is a Scottish bass player, best known for his work in Whitesnake, The Brian May Band and Black Sabbath. During 1973, Neil briefly played in Gilgamesh, a jazz-fusion band led by Alan Gowen. Murray’s next gig came again through a recommendation from Clive Chaman, touring with Cozy Powell’s Hammer in 1974 and 1975. The line-up included Don Airey and Bernie Marsden. After Cozy Powell decided to fold Hammer, Murray and Airey joined a revamped version of the British jazz rock band Colosseum, named Colosseum II. The band’s leader, drummer Jon Hiseman, had evolved the band’s sound by eliminating the saxophone in preference for a rockier sound courtesy of Gary Moore’s guitar. After playing with Bernie Marsden in Cozy Powell’s Hammer, Murray had played on a couple of tracks on Babe Ruth’s album Stealing Home, prior to Marsden joining two members of Deep Purple in Paice Ashton Lord.
Laurie Wisefield 1952 – is an English guitarist, known for his contributions to Wishbone Ash during the 1970’s and 1980’s. Prior to his stint in Wishbone Ash, Wisefield performed with the progressive rock band, Home. The group released three albums through Columbia Records between 1971 and 1974. Wisefield joined Wishbone Ash prior to their 1974 album There’s the Rub, eventually leaving in the mid 1980s following the release of Raw to the Bone. Following his departure from Wishbone Ash, Wisefield went on to perform with Tina Turner, Joe Cocker and Roger Chapman.
Alex Lifeson 1953 – is a Canadian musician, best known as the guitarist of the Canadian rock band Rush. In the summer of 1968, Lifeson co-founded the band that would become Rush. Other co-founders are friend and drummer John Rutsey, bassist and lead vocalist Jeff Jones, and Jones’s successor, current front man Geddy Lee a month later. Lifeson has been an integral member of the band ever since. or Rush, Lifeson plays electric and acoustic guitars as well as other stringed instruments such as mandola, mandolin, and bouzouki. He also performs backing vocals in live performances, and occasionally plays keyboards and bass pedal synthesizers. Like the other members of Rush, Lifeson performs real-time on-stage triggering of sampled instruments, concurrently with his guitar playing. Along with his bandmates Geddy Lee and Neil Peart, Lifeson was made an Officer of the Order of Canada on May 9, 1996. The trio was the first rock band to be so honoured, as a group.
Glen Matlock 1956 – is an English musician best known for being the bass guitarist in the original line-up of the punk rock band the Sex Pistols. Although Matlock is credited as a co-author on 10 of the 12 songs on Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols, his creative contribution to the band has been disputed. He also continues to make his own records and tour with various bands, including the Sex Pistols.
Brian Epstein 1967 (b.1934) – known as The Beatle-Making Prince of Pop was an English music entrepreneur, best known for having been the manager of the Beatles until his death in 1967. He had also served as band manager for Cilla Black, Gerry & the Pacemakers, Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas, the Remo Four, and the Cyrkle. After attending boarding schools, being in the army, and training to be an actor at RADA, he returned to Liverpool to join the Epstein family business, which later led to him naming his own company NEMS Enterprises; an acronym for North End Music Stores, which his family owned. The Beatles’ early success has been attributed to his management and sense of style. Paul McCartney said of him: “If anyone was the Fifth Beatle, it was Brian.”
Stevie Ray Vaughan 1990 (b.1954) – was an American guitarist, singer, songwriter and record producer. Often referred to by his initials SRV, Vaughan is best known as a founding member and leader of Double Trouble. With drummer Chris Layton and bassist Tommy Shannon, they ignited the blues revival of the 1980’s. With a career spanning seven years, Vaughan and Double Trouble consistently sold out concerts while their albums frequently went gold. In March 1983, veteran record producer John Hammond Sr. of Epic Records signed Vaughan and Double Trouble and released their debut album, Texas Flood in June of that year. While successfully touring, the group released the albums, Couldn’t Stand the Weather (1984) and Soul to Soul (1985), the latter of which featured keyboardist Reese Wynans. He was influenced by blues musicians including Albert King, Freddie King, Otis Rush, and Muddy Waters, as well as rock guitarists such as Jimi Hendrix and Lonnie Mack. His guitar playing, for which he has received wide critical recognition, reflected the pentatonic blues scales. He ranked number seven on Rolling Stone’s list of “100 Greatest Guitarists” and was posthumously inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2000, the same year a memorial statue in his honor was erected in Austin’s Auditorium Shores park. Vaughan is widely considered one of the greatest musicians to come from the state of Texas.