Musical Birthdays & Deaths by Month
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Bobby Day 1928 (d.1990) – Singer/songwriter/keyboardist/producer who formed his own band in 1957 called the “Satellites” following which he recorded three songs that are seen today as rock and roll classics. Day’s best known songwriting efforts were “Over and Over” made popular by the Dave Clark Five in 1965, and “Little Bitty Pretty One” popularized by Thurston Harris in 1957, Clyde McPhatter in 1962 and the Jackson Five in 1972. However, Day is most remembered for his 1958 solo recording of the Billboard Hot 100 No. 2 hit, “Rockin’ Robin”, written by Leon Rene under the pseudonym Jimmie Thomas. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold record. “Rockin’ Robin” was a song covered by Bob Luman at Town Hall Party on October 28, 1958, The Hollies in 1964, Gene Vincent in 1969, Michael Jackson in 1972, and by McFly in 2006.
Delaney Bramlett 1939 (d.2008) – Singer/songwriter/musician, and producer. Bramlett’s five-decade career reached peaks in creativity, performance, and notoriety in partnership with his then-wife Bonnie Bramlett in a revolving troupe of professional musicians and rock superstars dubbed Delaney & Bonnie & Friends, whose members at different times included Eric Clapton, Bobby Whitlock, Duane Allman, Gregg Allman, George Harrison, Leon Russell, Dave Mason, Rita Coolidge, and King Curtis. Delaney produced and co-wrote songs for Clapton’s debut solo album, Eric Clapton and he co-wrote the Eric Clapton hit, “Let It Rain”. Clapton still credits Delaney for pushing him to sing and teaching him the art of rock vocals.Bramlett produced King Curtis’ last LP, which had two hit singles: “Teasin'” and “Lonesome Long Way from Home”. Bramlett taught then Beatle George Harrison to play slide guitar, which led into a gospel jam that resulted in Harrison’s hit “My Sweet Lord”. In 2006 Bramlett was one of the duet artists on the Jerry Lee Lewis album Last Man Standing, singing and playing guitar on “Lost Highway”. In 2008, the year of his death, Bramlett released his first CD in six years, A New Kind of Blues.
Jeff Wayne 1943 – is a musician best known for Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of the Worlds, his musical adaptation of H. G. Wells’ science-fiction novel The War of the Worlds. Wayne wrote approximately 3,000 advertising jingles in the 1970’s which appeared on television in the UK, notably a Gordon’s Gin commercial which was covered by The Human League. The War of the Worlds was released in 1978, achieving international success and was the 40th best selling album of all time in the UK by 2009. It included worldwide hit singles “The Eve of the War” and “Forever Autumn”, with vocals performed by Justin Hayward in both.
Debbie Harry 1945 – Singer/songwriter and actress best known for being the lead singer of the punk rock and new wave band Blondie. She has also had success as a solo artist, and in the mid-1990’s she recorded and performed with The Jazz Passengers. Her acting career spans over 30 film roles and numerous television appearances. In 1976 and 1977, Blondie released their first two albums. The second experienced some marginal success outside the United States. However, 1978’s Parallel Lines (UK No.1, US No.6) shot the group to international success and included the global smash hit single “Heart of Glass.” The follow-up single “One Way Or Another” reached No.24. The release of the platinum-selling Eat to the Beat album (UK No.1, US No.17) in 1979 and Autoamerican (UK No.3, US No.7) in 1980 continued the band’s run of hits, including “Dreaming”, “Atomic” and three more US No.1 singles: “The Tide Is High”, “Rapture” and “Call Me” from the soundtrack to the film American Gigolo, which became Billboard’s No.1 song of 1980.
John Ford 1948 – Singer/songwriter and musician whose music career has spanned from the mid-1960’s to the 21st century. He has toured and played with musicians such as Santana, Jimi Hendrix, Ritchie Blackmore, The Eagles, Frank Zappa, Marc Bolan/T. Rex, Blue Öyster Cult, ZZ Top, RUSH, REO Speedwagon, Steppenwolf, King Crimson, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Billy Preston, Cat Stevens, Roy Harper and Dave Mason. After playing in various bands, Ford’s unusual percussive style of bass playing caught the eye of Strawbs’ leader Dave Cousins during a performance at Cousins’ folk club in Hounslow. He joined Strawbs in May 1970, and Ford’s influence on the band, primarily known as a folk rock group, shifted them into a new direction in the progressive / art rock scene. Ford penned songs such as, “Heavy Disguise” and “Part of the Union”, Strawbs biggest chart hit, whilst working with David Bowie/T. Rex producer, Tony Visconti on A&M.
Fred Schneider 1951 – is a vocalist, best known as the frontman of the rock band The B-52’s, of which he is a founding member. Schneider is well known for his sprechgesang, which he developed from reciting poetry over guitars. The B-52’s are known for their songs, “Rock Lobster”, “Planet Claire”, “Private Idaho”, “Love Shack”, “Roam” and “Dance This Mess Around”.
Leon Chancler 1952 – is a jazz funk drummer, percussionist, studio musician, composer and producer. Chancler often works as a studio percussionist. His playing can be heard on many hit records, ranging from jazz to blues to pop, including Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean”. Chancler has also worked with Stanley Clarke, Jean-Luc Ponty, Donna Summer, George Duke, Patrice Rushen, Carlos Santana, Hubert Laws, The Crusaders, Frank Sinatra, Weather Report, Lionel Richie, Kenny Rogers, Thelonious Monk, Herbie Hancock and John Lee Hooker.
Dan Aykroyd 1952 – is a Canadian comedian, singer, actor and screenwriter. He was an original cast member of Saturday Night Live, an originator of The Blues Brothers (with John Belushi) and Ghostbusters, and has had a long career as a film actor and screenwriter. Aykroyd educated John Belushi on the finer points of blues music and, with a little encouragement from then-SNL music director Paul Shaffer, it led to the creation of their Blues Brothers characters. Backed by such experienced professional R&B sidemen as lead guitarist Steve Cropper, sax man Lou Marini, trumpeter Alan Rubin and bass guitarist Donald “Duck” Dunn, the Blues Brothers proved more than an SNL novelty. Taking off with the public as a legitimate musical act, they performed live gigs and released the hit album Briefcase Full of Blues in 1978, and were further popularized in a 1980 film. The Blues Brothers Band continues to tour today, featuring original members Cropper and Marini, along with vocalist Eddie Floyd. In 1992, Aykroyd, along with many other notable music and Hollywood personalities, founded the House of Blues. Its mission is to promote African-American cultural contributions of blues music and folk art. From 2004 until its sale to Live Nation in 2007, it was the second-largest live music promoter in the world, with seven venues and 22 amphitheaters in the United States and Canada. Aykroyd also contributes his voice to the weekly House of Blues Radio Hour, which he hosts in the character of Elwood Delaney aka Elwood Blues.
Rushton Moreve 1981 (b.1948) – Bass guitarist best known for his work with the rock band Steppenwolf from 1967–68 and again in 1978. According to singer John Kay, Moreve was an intuitive bassist with a melodic style that brought a non-commercial sound to Steppenwolf, a technique exemplified on the hit he co-wrote with Kay, “Magic Carpet Ride”. His early influence was essential in creating the unique musical style for which Steppenwolf became famous. Moreve joined the band in 1967 and performed on their debut album, Steppenwolf, which was composed of covers and songs written by Kay. Moreve’s influence was heavier on the follow-up, The Second, his final album with Steppenwolf. He split with the band in late 1968 when he refused to fly back to California, fearing it would sink into the Pacific Ocean.
Robert Weston Smith 1995 (b.1938) – was a gravelly voiced American disc jockey, famous in the 1960’s and 1970’s and was better known as Wolfman Jack. He released two albums on the Wooden Nickel label: Wolfman Jack (1972) and Through the Ages (1973). His 1972 single “I Ain’t Never Seen a White Man” hit #106 on the Billboard Singles Charts. In 1973, he appeared in director George Lucas’ second feature film, American Graffiti, as himself. His broadcasts tie the film together, and Richard Dreyfuss’s character catches a glimpse of the mysterious Wolfman in a pivotal scene. In gratitude for Wolfman Jack’s participation, Lucas gave him a fraction of a “point” — the division of the profits from a film — and the extreme financial success of American Graffiti provided him with a regular income for life. He also appeared in the film’s 1979 sequel, More American Graffiti, though only through voice-overs. He also furnished his voice in The Guess Who’s 1974 tribute, the top 40 hit single, “Clap for the Wolfman”. A few years earlier, Todd Rundgren recorded a similar tribute, “Wolfman Jack”, on the album Something/Anything?. (The single version of the track includes a shouted talk-over intro by the Wolfman but on the album version Rundgren performs that part himself.) Canadian band The Stampeders also released a cover of “Hit the Road Jack” in 1975 featuring Wolfman Jack; the storyline of the song involved a man named “Cornelius” calling Jack on the phone, telling him the story of how his girlfriend had thrown him out of the house, and trying to persuade Jack to let him come and stay with him (at this point, Jack ended the call). His voice is also featured in the songs, “Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You” by Sugarloaf (Billboard HOT 100 peak #9 in March 1975) and “Did You Boogie (With Your Baby)” by Flash Cadillac & the Continental Kids (Billboard HOT 100 peak #29 in October 1976). Also in September 1975, Wolfman Jack appeared on stage with the Stampeders (singing “Hit the Road Jack”) as a warm-up act for the Beach Boys at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto, Canada.
Luther Vandross 2005 (b.1951) – Singer/songwriter and record producer who sold over twenty-five million albums and won eight Grammy Awards including Best Male R&B Vocal Performance four times. He won four Grammy Awards in 2004 including the Grammy Award for Song of the Year for the track “Dance with My Father”, co-written with Richard Marx. He was a member of a theater workshop, “Listen My Brother” who released the singles “Only Love Can Make a Better World” and “Listen My Brother”, and appeared on the second and fifth episodes of Sesame Street in November 1969. His next hit credit was on an album by Roberta Flack in 1972. He was the founder of the first-ever Patti LaBelle fan club. Luther also sang on Delores Hall’s Hall-Mark album from 1973. He sang with her on the song “Who’s Gonna Make It Easier for Me”, which he wrote. He also contributed another song, “In This Lonely Hour.” Having co-written “Fascination” for David Bowie’s Young Americans, he went on to tour with him as a back-up vocalist in September 1974. Vandross wrote “Everybody Rejoice” for the 1975 Broadway musical The Wiz and appeared as a choir member in the movie. Vandross also sang backing vocals for artists including Diana Ross, Roberta Flack, Carly Simon, Chaka Khan, Todd Rundgren’s Utopia, Donna Summer, Bette Midler, Chic, and Barbra Streisand.
Mel Galley 2008 (b.1948) – was an English guitarist and a former member of the Hard rock bands Whitesnake, Trapeze, Finders Keepers and Phenomena. While a member of Whitesnake, he badly injured his arm in an accident at a fairground in Germany and had to leave the band, as he was unable to play guitar because of a nerve damage as result of incompetent surgery.Later he became known for playing with “The Claw”, a specially developed spring and wire device fitted to his hand which enabled him to play guitar again.
Tom Springfield 1934 – is the brother of Dusty Springfield and an important figure in the 1960’s folk and pop music scene. He formed a vocal trio, The Springfields in 1960, with his sister Dusty and a friend, Tim Feild. The group broke up in 1963 and he became a record producer and songwriter for The Seekers. He wrote many of their major hits, including “I’ll Never Find Another You”, “A World of Our Own”, the million-selling “The Carnival is Over” (the melody was based on a Russian folk song, while Tom Springfield wrote the remaining music and lyrics for the song) and “Walk with Me”, and co-wrote “Georgy Girl” with Jim Dale. His other hit compositions include “Adios Amour (Goodbye My Love)”, which was recorded by José Feliciano and The Casuals.
Paul Williams 1939 (d.1973) – was a baritone singer and choreographer. Williams was noted for being one of the founding members and original lead singer of the Motown group The Temptations. Along with David Ruffin, Otis Williams, and fellow Alabamians Eddie Kendricks and Melvin Franklin, Williams was a member of The Temptations during the “Classic Five” period. They had a Top 20 hit in 1964 with “The Way You Do the Things You Do.” More hits quickly followed, including “My Girl”, “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg” and “(I Know) I’m Losing You.” His early lead vocals include, “Your Wonderful Love” (1961), “Slow Down Heart” (1962), “I Want a Love I Can See” (1963), and “Oh, Mother of Mine” (1961) (the group’s first single) and “Farewell My Love” (1963) both shared with Eddie Kendricks. Considered the Temptations’ best dancer, Williams served as the group’s original choreographer, devising routines for his group and The Supremes (most notably their trademark “Stop! In the Name of Love” routine), before Cholly Atkins took over that role for all of Motown’s acts. Williams’ later leads on Temptations songs include, “Just Another Lonely Night” (1965), “No More Water in the Well” (1967), a cover version of “Hey Girl” (1969), and his signature song “Don’t Look Back” (1965).
Roy Bittan 1949 – is a keyboardist, best known as a member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, which he joined on August 23, 1974. Bittan, nicknamed The Professor, plays the piano, organ, accordion and synthesizers. Bittan provided background vocals for most of the songs on Born to Run, along with Steven Van Zandt. His voice is also featured slightly on the vocal weaving in “Out in the Street”. Bittan also played on Meat Loaf’s 1977 hit album Bat out of Hell, Dire Straits album Making Movies, 1978 second solo album from Peter Gabriel, on two David Bowie albums, Station to Station (1976) and Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) (1980) amongst a few others.
Johnny Colla 1952 – Guitarist/saxophone and songwriter. He is a founding member of the American rock band Huey Lewis and the News. He has been heavily involved in the San Francisco Bay Area music scene for more than 25 years, having been in several other bands, including Sly and the Family Stone, Clover, Sound Hole, and Johnny Colla & The Lucky Devils. In the late 1970’s Sound Hole and Clover merged to form a new group, the American Express, which later became known as Huey Lewis and the News. For the News, Colla became saxophonist, rhythm guitarist, backing singer and songwriter. Colla co-wrote hit songs such as “The Heart of Rock & Roll”, “If This Is It”, “The Power of Love”, and “Back in Time”. Lewis and Colla co-produced the band’s 2001 album Plan B.
Pete Briquette 1954 – is an Irish bassist, record producer and composer. He was a member of the Boomtown Rats and currently plays in Bob Geldof’s band. His bass lines are evident on such Boomtown Rats songs as “Rat Trap”, “Banana Republic” and “Like Clockwork”, the last two of which he co-wrote with Bob Geldof. Briquette is the only Rats member that still frequently collaborates with Geldof, playing on some of his biggest hits such as “Great Song of Indifference” and “Love or Something”.
Tommy Tedesco 1930 (d.1997) – was a master session musician and renowned jazz and bebop guitarist whose credits include the iconic brand-burning accompaniment theme from television’s Bonanza, The Twilight Zone, Vic Mizzy’s iconic theme from Green Acres, M*A*S*H, Batman, and Elvis Presley’s ’68 Comeback Special. He also performed for film soundtracks such as The French Connection, The Godfather, Jaws, The Deer Hunter, Field of Dreams, plus several Elvis Presley films. He was also the guitarist for the Original Roxy cast of The Rocky Horror Show. Additionally, he performed the opening guitar solo for the Howard Hawkes and John Wayne film Rio Lobo. He was one of the very few sidemen credited for work on animated cartoons for the The Ant and the Aardvark cartoons (1968–1971). Tedesco was described by Guitar Player magazine as the most recorded guitarist in history,having played on thousands of recordings, many of which were top-20 hits. He recorded with most of the top musicians working in the Los Angeles area including The Beach Boys, The Mamas & the Papas, The Everly Brothers, The Association, Barbra Streisand, Jan and Dean, The 5th Dimension, Elvis Presley, Sam Cooke, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Zappa, Ricky Nelson, Cher, and Nancy and Frank Sinatra as well as on Richard Harris’s classic “MacArthur Park”. His playing can be found on Jack Nitzsche’s “The Lonely Surfer”, on Wayne Newton’s version of “Danke Schoen”, B. Bumble and the Stingers’s “Nut Rocker”, The Rip Chords’ “Hey Little Cobra”, The Ronettes’ “Be My Baby”, The Sandpipers’ “Guantanamera”, The T-Bones’ “No Matter What Shape'” and Nino Tempo & April Stevens’ version of “Deep Purple”.
Paul Barrere 1948 – is a current member of the band Little Feat, founded in 1969 by Lowell George and Bill Payne, having joined the band in 1972. Barrere has also recorded and performed with many notable musicians including Chicken Legs, Blues Busters, (featuring Catfish Hodge), Valerie Carter, Helen Watson, Chico Hamilton, Bonnie Raitt, Robert Palmer, Eikichi Yazawa, and Carly Simon. Some of Barrere’s best known contributions to Little Feat as a songwriter include “Skin It Back”, and “Feats Don’t Fail Me Now” from the album Feats Don’t Fail Me Now, “All That You Dream” from The Last Record Album, “Time Loves a Hero” from Time Loves a Hero, and “Down on the Farm” from Down on the Farm.
Andy Fraser 1952 – is an English 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’s most famous compositions remain “All Right Now”, with “Every Kinda People”, which Robert Palmer recorded in 1978 for his Double Fun album. 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 (Crawdaddy Lead Review, Bruce Malamut Vol. 27, 1973) 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.
Stephen Pearcy 1959 – is the lead singer of the 80’s metal band Ratt. He has also been in the bands Mickey Ratt Arcade, Vicious Delite, Vertex, Nitronic, and Band From Hell. He has also recorded as a solo artist. Playing clubs like The Roxy and The Whisky, Ratt amassed a large local following. After releasing an eponymous six song EP in 1983, Ratt released their breakthrough album Out of the Cellar on Atlantic Records in 1984, and it went multi-platinum. After releasing one gold and four platinum albums, Pearcy left the band in February 1992. Pearcy and former Cinderella drummer Fred Coury formed the band Arcade in 1992.
Kevin Hearn 1969 – is a Canadian musician who is currently the keyboardist of Barenaked Ladies and his own group, Kevin Hearn and Thin Buckle. He is also a former member of Rheostatics. His first music video with the BNL was “Shoe Box”, followed by the video for “The Old Apartment”, although he had not played on the recording of either song. The band recorded their fourth studio album, Stunt. This was Hearn’s first album with the band. While Andy Creeggan was mostly focused on acoustic keyboards (mainly piano), Hearn was experienced with electronic keyboards, synthesizers and samplers. This contribution to the band’s sound is evident on Stunt. Hearn also contributed some lead electric guitar to the album, having a noticeably different style than Ed Robertson or Steven Page. On August 27, 2011, Hearn played piano and sang backing vocals for Steven Page’s performance of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” at Jack Layton’s state funeral.
Brian Jones 1969 (b.1942) – was an English musician and a bandleader of the Rolling Stones. Although he was originally the leader of the group, Jones’s fellow band members Mick Jagger and Keith Richards soon overshadowed him, especially after they became a successful songwriting team. He developed a serious drug problem over the years and his role in the band steadily diminished. He was asked to leave the Rolling Stones in June 1969 and guitarist Mick Taylor took his place in the group. Examples of Jones’s contributions are his slide guitar on “I Wanna Be Your Man” (1963), “I’m a King Bee” (1964, on the Rolling Stones), “Little Red Rooster” (1964), “I Can’t Be Satisfied” (1965, on Rolling Stones No. 2), “I’m Movin’ On” (1965, on the EP Got Live If You Want It!), “Doncha Bother Me” (1966, on Aftermath) and “No Expectations” (1968, on Beggars Banquet). Jones can also be heard playing Bo Diddley-style rhythm guitar on “I Need You Baby (Mona)”, the guitar riff in “The Last Time”; sitar on “Street Fighting Man”, “Paint It, Black”, “Gomper”, and “Cool, Calm, Collected”; organ on “Let’s Spend the Night Together”, “Complicated”, and “2000 Man”; marimba on “Under My Thumb”, “Out Of Time” and “Yesterday’s Papers”; recorder on “Ruby Tuesday” and “All Sold Out”; trumpet on “Child of the Moon”; Appalachian dulcimer on “I Am Waiting” and “Lady Jane” and harpsichord on “Lady Jane”; saxophone and oboe on “Dandelion”; mellotron on “She’s a Rainbow”, “We Love You”;, “Stray Cat Blues” and “2000 Light Years from Home”. In the early years, Jones often served as a backing vocalist. Notable examples are “Come On”, “I Wanna Be Your Man”, “I Just Wanna Make Love to You”, “Walking the Dog”, “Money (That’s What I Want)”, “I’m Alright”, “You Better Move On” and “It’s All Over Now” just to name a few. He contributed backing vocals as late as 1968 on “Sympathy For The Devil”. He is also responsible for the whistling on “Walking the Dog.”
Jim Morrison 1971 (b.1943) – was an American singer-songwriter and poet, best remembered as the lead singer of Los Angeles rock band The Doors. He was well known for often improvising spoken word poetry passages while the band played live. Due to his wild personality and performances, he is regarded by critics and fans as one of the most iconic, charismatic, and pioneering frontmen in rock music history. Although Morrison was known as the lyricist of the group, Krieger also made significant lyrical contributions, writing or co-writing some of the group’s biggest hits, including “Light My Fire”, “Love Me Two Times”, “Love Her Madly”, and “Touch Me”. The band also performed a number of extended concept works, including the songs “The End”, “When the Music’s Over”, and “Celebration of the Lizard”.
Bill Withers 1938 – Singer/songwriter and musician who performed and recorded from 1970 until 1985. He recorded a number of hits such as “Lean on Me”, “Ain’t No Sunshine”, “Use Me”, “Just the Two of Us”, “Lovely Day”, and “Grandma’s Hands”. His life was the subject of the 2009 documentary film Still Bill.
Dave Rowberry 1940 (d.2003) – was an English piano and organ player, most known for being a member of the rock and R&B group The Animals in the 1960’s. Rowberry played many of the group’s big hits, including “We Gotta Get Out of This Place”, “It’s My Life”, “Don’t Bring Me Down”, “Inside-Looking Out”, and “See See Rider”. For a number of songs, including the last of these, Rowberry was credited as the arranger. He was also prominent on Animalisms/Animalization, often considered one of the most consistent albums of the group’s recording career.
Alan “Blind Owl” Wilson 1943 (d.1970) – was the leader, singer, and primary composer in the blues band Canned Heat. He played guitar and harmonica, and wrote several songs for the band. With Canned Heat, Wilson performed at two prominent concerts of the 1960’s era, the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 and Woodstock in 1969. Canned Heat appeared in the film Woodstock, and the band’s “Going Up the Country,” which Wilson sang, has been referred to as the festival’s unofficial theme song. Wilson also wrote “On the Road Again,” arguably Canned Heat’s second-most familiar song. Stephen Stills’ song “Blues Man” from the album Manassas is dedicated to Wilson, along with Jimi Hendrix and Duane Allman.
Jeremy Spencer 1948 – best known as one of the guitarists in the original line-up of Fleetwood Mac. He joined Fleetwood Mac in July 1967 and remained with the band until his abrupt departure in February 1971, when he joined a religious group called the “Children of God”, now known as “The Family International”, of which he is still a follower. After a pair of solo albums in the 1970’s, he continued to tour as a musician, but did not release another album until 2006.
Ralph Johnson 1951 – Musician who serves as the percussionist and vocalist for the R&B band, Earth, Wind & Fire, which he joined in 1971.
Kirk Pengilly 1958 – is an Australian musician, best known as a member of the Australian rock group INXS. Kirk plays saxophone, guitar and also performs as a backing vocalist. As principal backing vocalist, saxophonist and guitarist, he contributes to a great deal of the music that INXS release. He has written, produced and performed numerous b-sides. Pengilly was also the creator of the rare Happy Christmas record sent to early 1980’s fanclub members in Australia and the United States.
Matt Malley 1963 – was the bass guitarist and backup vocals from 1992-2005 with the California rock band Counting Crows who gained popularity following the release of its debut album, August and Everything After (1993), which featured the hit single “Mr. Jones”. They have sold more than 20 million albums worldwide and received a 2004 Academy Award nomination for their song “Accidentally in Love”, which was included in the film Shrek 2.
Andy Creeggan 1971 – is the former piano player, percussionist and occasional guitarist for the Canadian pop band, Barenaked Ladies, from 1990–95. He is also a member of the trio The Brothers Creeggan, and a solo artist having released three albums.
Barry White 2003 (b.1944) – Singer/songwriter who was best known for his distinctive bass voice and romantic image, White’s greatest success came in the 1970s as a solo singer and with the Love Unlimited Orchestra, crafting many enduring soul, funk, and disco songs such as his two biggest hits, “You’re the First, the Last, My Everything” and “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe.” Along with Isaac Hayes, White is considered a pioneer of disco music in the early 1970’s. Other chart hits by White included “Never, Never Gonna Give Ya Up”, “What Am I Gonna Do with You”, “Let the Music Play”, “It’s Ecstasy When You Lay Down Next to Me” and “Your Sweetness is My Weakness”
Drake Levin 2009 (b.1946) – was best known as the guitarist for Paul Revere & the Raiders who he joined when he was 16 years old, which helped earn him the nickname “The Kid” from Paul Revere. They had hits such as “Kicks” (1966; ranked number 400 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time), “Hungry” (1966), “Him Or Me – What’s It Gonna Be?” (1967) and the 1971 No. 1 single “Indian Reservation (The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian)”. Levin’s performances included synchronized dance steps, playing on his knees, standing on his amplifier and playing his guitar behind his head. After one particular performance at Seattle’s Spanish Castle Ballroom, a young man who had stood at the front of the stage watching Levin intently all evening finally came up to Drake. He said that Drake’s playing had inspired him and said he was a really good showman. As Drake thanked him and they shook hands, Drake asked the young man his name and he replied, “Jimi Hendrix.”
Allen Klein 2009 (b.1931) – was an American businessman, talent agent and record label executive. Working for Sam Cooke, he created the new role of ‘business manager’, negotiating with the record companies in his client’s interest. As manager of The Rolling Stones, he controversially acquired sole rights to all their early work, provoking a 17-year lawsuit. Following the death of The Beatles’ manager, Brian Epstein, he managed Apple Corps until the group broke up in 1970.
Robbie Robertson 1943 – is a Canadian singer-songwriter and guitarist. He is best known for his work as lead guitarist and primary lyricist within The Band. As a songwriter, Robertson is credited for such classics as “The Weight”, “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”, “Up On Cripple Creek”, “Broken Arrow” and “Somewhere Down the Crazy River”, and has been inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. From 1987 onwards, Robertson has released five solo albums. The first was self titled followed by Storyville, Music for the Native Americans and Contact from the Underworld of Redboy.In 1990, he contributed to Japanese musician Ryuichi Sakamoto’s album Beauty. Robertson’s song “Broken Arrow”, off the Robbie Robertson album, was covered by Rod Stewart on his album Vagabond Heart and became a hit single. “Broken Arrow” was also a part of the Grateful Dead’s rotation of live songs 1993–95 (sung by bassist Phil Lesh), and later with Phil Lesh and Friends. The song “Somewhere Down the Crazy River”, became Robertson’s biggest solo hit.
Hugh Anthony Cregg III 1950 – Singer/songwriter/musician and actor who we all know better as Huey Lewis. He sings lead and plays harmonica for his band, Huey Lewis and the News, in addition to writing or co-writing many of the band’s songs. The band is perhaps best known for their third album, Sports, and their contribution to the soundtrack of the 1985 feature film Back to the Future with the song “The Power of Love” and the song “Back in Time”. Lewis previously played with the band Clover from 1972 to 1979. Sports slowly became a number-one hit in 1984 and multi-platinum success in 1985, thanks to the band’s frequent touring and a series of videos that received heavy MTV airplay. Four singles from the album reached the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100: “Heart and Soul” reached No. 8, while “I Want a New Drug,” “The Heart of Rock & Roll,” and “If This Is It” all reached No. 6. Huey Lewis and the News released their fourth studio album, Fore! in 1986. Fore! followed the success of Sports and spawned the number-one singles, “Stuck with You” and “Jacob’s Ladder” as well as the mainstream rock hit “Hip to Be Square”.
Michael Monarch 1950 – Guitarist who is best known for his work with the band Steppenwolf. As the original lead guitarist with Steppenwolf (until 1969) he played on all their hits, including “Born to Be Wild”, “Magic Carpet Ride”, and “Rock Me” while still in high school. He also played on Janis Joplin’s album “I Got Dem Ol’ Kozmic Blues Again Mama!”. He later went on to record for the SwanSong/Atlantic recording group Detective.
Marc Cohn 1959 – Folk rock singer/songwriter and musician, best known for his song “Walking In Memphis” (often misattributed to Bruce Springsteen or Michael Bolton) from his self-titled 1991 album “Marc Cohn”. In May 1993, Marc released his second studio album “The Rainy Season”, which included notable guest appearances by David Crosby, Graham Nash, and Bonnie Raitt.
Paul Hackman 1992 (b.1952) – was a Canadian guitarist who performed with the rock band Helix from 1976 until his death in a road accident. Among the hits which contain his playing are the #32 Canadian single “Rock You” and the #20 mainstream Canadian rock single “Deep Cuts the Knife”, which he co-wrote with Bob Halligan, Jr.. After Hackman’s death, Helix’s lead singer Brian Vollmer released the solo album he was working on as the next Helix album, It’s a Business Doing Pleasure, in 1993. He included the song “That Day Is Gonna Come” as a tribute to Hackman, with the song’s video featuring unique Super 8 and video footage shot by Vollmer on the road over the years. Hackman’s most enduring song, “Heavy Metal Love”, was resurrected for the Trailer Park Boys movie The Big Dirty. The then-current version of Helix later re-recorded the song and included it on their 2006 EP Get Up!.
Bill Haley 1925 (d.1981) – Singer/songwriter/musician who was one of the first American rock and roll musicians. He is credited by many with first popularizing this form of music in the early 1950s with his group Bill Haley & His Comets (inspired by Halley’s Comet) and million selling hits such as, Rock Around the Clock, See You Later, Alligator, Shake, Rattle and Roll, Skinny Minnie, and Razzle Dazzle. He has sold over 25 million records worldwide.
Gene Chandler 1937 – also known as “The Duke of Earl” or simply “The Duke”, is an American R&B and soul singer-songwriter, producer and record executive. He is one of the leading exponents of the 1960’s Chicago soul scene. He is best known for his million-selling hits “Duke Of Earl” and “Groovy Situation,” and his associations with the Dukays, the Impressions and Curtis Mayfield. Other hits included “What Now”, “Rainbow”, “I Fooled You This Time”, “Think Nothing About It”‘, “A Man’s Temptation”, “To Be A Lover”, “Rainbow ’65” (recorded live at Chicago’s Regal Theater), “Bless Our Love”, and “You Can’t Hurt Me No More.” These songs enabled Gene to successfully shed his “Duke Of Earl” typecasting, and go on to become a major R&B star.
Jet Harris 1939 (d.2011) – was the bass guitarist of The Shadows until April 1962, and had subsequent success as a soloist and as a duo with the drummer Tony Meehan. Harris also contributed vocally, adding backup harmonies and occasional lead vocals. He had a trademark scream used in the Shadows’ “Feeling Fine” and Cliff Richard’s “Do You Wanna Dance?”
Dave Rowberry 1940 (d.2003) – Songwriter/piano player most known for being a member of the rock and R&B group The Animals in the 1960′s. He played many of the group’s big hits, including “We Gotta Get Out of This Place”, “It’s My Life”, “Don’t Bring Me Down”, “Inside-Looking Out”, and “See See Rider”. He also sang backing vocals and did some occasional songwriting for the group.
Rik Elswit 1945 – Guitarist for Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show from 1972-85. They enjoyed considerable commercial success in the 1970s with hit singles including “Sylvia’s Mother”, “The Cover of the Rolling Stone”, “A Little Bit More” and “When You’re in Love with a Beautiful Woman”. In addition to their own material, Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show performed songs written by the poet Shel Silverstein.
Michael Shrieve 1949 – is a drummer, percussionist, and later, an electronic music composer. He is best known as the drummer in Santana, playing on their first eight albums from 1969 through 1974.His performance at the 1969 Woodstock festival, when he was just 20 years old, made him one of the youngest musicians to perform at the festival. Shrieve’s drum solo during an extended version of “Soul Sacrifice” in the Woodstock film has been described as “electrifying”. He has also collaborated with David Beal, Andy Summers, Steve Roach, Jonas Hellborg, Buckethead, Douglas September, and others. He has served as a session player on albums by Todd Rundgren and Jill Sobule.
Graham Oliver 1952 – guitarist who is most notable for having been a guitarist in the heavy metal band Saxon who he played with from 1977-94. After leaving the band, he initially reformed his old band Son of a Bitch with former Saxon bassist Steve Dawson and drummer Pete Gill. Son of a Bitch released the album Victim You with Thunderhead singer, Ted Bullet.
Louis Armstrong 1971 (b.1901) – 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.
Van McCoy 1971 (b.1940) – was an accomplished musician, record producer, arranger, songwriter, and orchestra conductor. He is known best for his 1975 internationally successful song “The Hustle”. He has approximately 700 song copyrights to his credit, and is also noted for producing songs for such recording artists as Gladys Knight and the Pips, The Stylistics, Aretha Franklin, Brenda & The Tabulations, David Ruffin, Peaches & Herb, and Stacy Lattisaw. He penned “Giving Up” for Gladys Knight & The Pips, (later a hit for Donny Hathaway), “The Sweetest Thing This Side of Heaven” for Chris Bartley, “When You’re Young and in Love” for Ruby and the Romantics, “Right on the Tip of My Tongue” for Brenda & The Tabulations, “Baby I’m Yours” for Barbara Lewis, “Getting Mighty Crowded” for Betty Everett, “Abracadabra” for Erma Franklin, “You’re Gonna Make Me Love You” for Sandi Sheldon and “I Get the Sweetest Feeling” for Jackie Wilson.
Skip Battin 2003 (b.1934) – Singer/songwriter, performer and recording artist who is best remembered as a member of The Byrds, the New Riders of the Purple Sage, and the Flying Burrito Brothers. While considered to be a great bass player, songwriter and vocalist, he generally joined bands after their most successful periods. As a musician, Battin is probably best known for his position as bass guitarist and songwriter with The Byrds from 1970 to 1973. He was—by eight years—the oldest member of The Byrds, with whom he recorded three albums and toured extensively. Many of his songwriting contributions were co-written with longtime collaborator and songwriter Kim Fowley.
Syreeta Wright 2004 (b.1946) – who recorded professionally under the single name Syreeta, was a Grammy-nominated American singer-songwriter most notably known for her work with ex-husband Stevie Wonder and Billy Preston. She sang background on records by the Supremes and by Martha and the Vandellas, notably singing the chorus to the group’s modest hit single, “I Can’t Dance to That Music You’re Playing”. Wright also began singing background for Stevie Wonder, most notably on the hit “Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours)”, which she co-wrote with Wonder.
Pinetop Perkins 1913 (d.2011) – was an American blues pianist who played with some of the most influential blues and rock and roll performers in history and received numerous honors during his lifetime, including a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and induction into the Blues Hall of Fame. When Otis Spann left the Muddy Waters band in 1969, Perkins was chosen to replace him. He stayed for more than a decade, then left with several other musicians to form The Legendary Blues Band with Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, recording through the late 1970’s, 1980’s and early 1990’s. Perkins played a brief musical cameo on the street outside Aretha’s Soul Food Cafe in the 1980 movie The Blues Brothers, having an argument with John Lee Hooker over who wrote “Boom Boom.”
Mary Ford 1924 (d.1977) – was a vocalist and guitarist, comprising half of the husband-and-wife musical team Les Paul and Mary Ford. Between 1950 and 1954, the couple had 16 top-ten hits, including “How High the Moon” and Vaya con Dios”, which were number one hits on the Billboard charts. In 1951 alone they sold six million records.
Ringo Starr 1940 – Musician, singer and actor who gained worldwide fame as the drummer for the Beatles. He sang lead vocals on several of their songs, including “With a Little Help from My Friends”, “Yellow Submarine” and their version of “Act Naturally”. He is also credited as a co-writer of “What Goes On”, “Flying” and “Dig It”, and as the sole author of “Don’t Pass Me By” and “Octopus’s Garden”.
Jim Rodford 1941 – is a musician who played with The Kinks, The Swinging Blue Jeans and was a founding member of Argent. Rodford played in The Animals II for two years, leaving to join the reformation of The Zombies in 2001; he also works with a group of former Kinks members, in The Kast Off Kinks.
Larry Reinhardt 1948 (d.2012) – was a rock guitarist who played with Iron Butterfly and Captain Beyond. At one time Reinhardt was known by the nicknames “El Rhino” and “Ryno”. Reinhardt and Iron Butterfly bassist Lee Dorman formed Captain Beyond in 1971, recruiting former Johnny Winter/Rick Derringer drummer Bobby Caldwell, along with former Deep Purple vocalist Rod Evans. Captain Beyond released its debut album, Captain Beyond, on Capricorn Records a year later. The band recorded a live album in 1973, Far Beyond A Distant Sun – Live Arlington, Texas, which was not released until 2002.
Syd Barrett 2006 (b.1946) – was an English singer, songwriter, guitarist, and painter, best remembered as a founder member of the band Pink Floyd. He was the lead vocalist, guitarist, and primary songwriter during the band’s psychedelic years, providing major musical and stylistic direction in their early work; he is also credited with naming the band. He was active musically for ten years, recording with Pink Floyd four singles, the debut album (and contributing to the second one), plus several unreleased songs. In 1969, Barrett started off a solo career with the release of the single, “Octopus”, which foreshadowed his first solo album, The Madcap Laughs (1970), which was recorded over the course of one year (1968–1969) with four different producers (Peter Jenner, Malcolm Jones, David Gilmour, and Roger Waters). Nearly two months after Madcap was released, Barrett began working on his second – and last – album, Barrett (produced by Gilmour, and featuring contributions from Richard Wright), which was released in late 1970, before going into self-imposed seclusion lasting until his death in 2006.
Johnnie Johnson 1924 (d.2005) – was an American pianist and blues musician. His work with Chuck Berry led to his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He recorded his first solo album, Blue Hand Johnnie, in 1987. He later performed with Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, John Lee Hooker, Bo Diddley and George Thorogood on Thorogood’s 1995 live album Live: Let’s Work Together. In 1996 and 1997, Johnson toured with Bob Weir’s band, Ratdog, playing 67 shows. In 1987, Johnson, Raymond Cantrell, and Stevie Lee Dodge made up the St.Charles Blues Trio.
Joe B. Mauldin 1940 – is ranked among the top rock bassists and became a recording engineer at Gold Star Studios, the Los Angeles studio that became the hit factory for Phil Spector, Brian Wilson and other major 1960’s rock performers. Mauldin became the bassist in the group The Crickets, which included Buddy Holly and drummer Jerry Allison and guitarist Niki Sullivan. In 2012, Mauldin was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Crickets by a special committee, aimed at correcting the mistake of not including the Crickets with Buddy Holly when he was first inducted in 1986.
Jai Johanny Johanson 1944 – frequently known by the stage name Jaimoe, is an American drummer and percussionist. He is best known as one of the founding members of The Allman Brothers Band. After joining up with Duane Allman in February 1969, he quickly became the first recruit into Allman’s new group, soon joined by bassist Berry Oakley, fellow drummer Butch Trucks, guitarist Dickey Betts and lastly Allman’s younger brother, singer, organist and pianist Gregg Allman.
Toby Keith 1961 – is a country music singer-songwriter, record producer and actor. Keith released his first four studio albums—1993’s Toby Keith, 1994’s Boomtown, 1996’s Blue Moon and 1997’s Dream Walkin’, plus a Greatest Hits package for various divisions of Mercury Records before leaving Mercury in 1998. He has also charted more than forty singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, including nineteen Number One hits and sixteen additional Top Ten hits. His longest-lasting Number One hits are “Beer for My Horses” (a 2003 duet with Willie Nelson) and “As Good as I Once Was” (2005), at six weeks each.
Bon Scott 1946 (d.1980) – was a Scottish-born Australian rock musician, best known for being the lead singer and lyricist of Australian hard rock band AC/DC from 1974 until his death in 1980. Scott formed his first band, The Spektors, in 1964 and became the band’s drummer and occasional lead vocalist. He performed in several other bands including The Valentines and Fraternity before replacing Dave Evans as the lead singer of AC/DC in 1974. AC/DC released High Voltage, their first LP in Australia in 1974, their second album T.N.T., which was released in December 1975. The first AC/DC album to gain international distribution however was a compilation of tracks from the first two albums, also entitled High Voltage, which was released in May 1976. Another studio album, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap was released in the same year, but only in Australia. In the following years, AC/DC gained further success with their albums Let There Be Rock and Powerage in 1978. Only one single was released for Powerage – “Rock ‘n’ Roll Damnation” – and gave AC/DC their highest chart position at the time, reaching #24. An appearance at the Apollo Theatre in Glasgow during the Powerage tour was recorded and released as If You Want Blood You’ve Got It. The band’s sixth album, Highway To Hell, was produced by Robert “Mutt” Lange and was released in 1979. It became AC/DC’s first LP to break the U.S. top 100, eventually reaching #17, and it propelled AC/DC into the top ranks of hard rock acts.
Mitch Mitchell 1947 (d.2008) – was an English drummer, best known for his work in The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Mitchell auditioned for Hendrix’s band in October 1966, beating out drummers including Aynsley Dunbar, who was their other final choice. Mitchell won the job on the flip of a coin. He was praised for his work with the Jimi Hendrix Experience on the songs “Manic Depression”, “Stepping Stone”, “Little Miss Strange”, “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)”, “Fire” and “Third Stone from the Sun”. Mitchell came from a jazz background and like many of his contemporaries was influenced by Elvin Jones, Max Roach, and Joe Morello. Mitchell played in Hendrix’s Experience trio from October 1966 to mid-1969, in his Woodstock band of August 1969, and also with the later incarnation of the Experience in 1970 with Billy Cox on bass, known posthumously as the “Cry of Love” band. Hendrix would often record with Mitchell only in the studio. On stage, the two fed off each other to exciting effect. In December 1968, Mitchell played with The Dirty Mac, an all-star band assembled for The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus. Others included John Lennon as vocalist and rhythm guitarist “Winston Leg-Thigh”; Yoko Ono providing improvised primal screams; Eric Clapton as guitarist, and Keith Richards as bassist. The group recorded a cover of “Yer Blues” as well as a jam called “Whole Lotta Yoko”.
Milan B. Williams 2006 (b.1948) – was an American keyboardist and a founding member of the Commodores band. Williams also wrote the Commodores first hit record the instrumental track, “Machine Gun”. Other Commodores songs penned by him are; “The Bump”, “Rapid Fire”, “I’m Ready”, “Better Never Than Forever”, “Mary Mary”, “Quick Draw”, “Patch It Up”, “X-Rated Movie”, “Wonderland”, “Old-Fashion Love”, “Only You” (a track Williams also produced, taken from the Commodores first LP without Lionel Richie, Commodores 13), “You Don’t Know That I Know”, “Let’s Get Started” and “Brick House”.
Michael Burston 2011 (b.1949) – commonly known by the stage name Würzel, was an English musician and formerly a guitarist in the British heavy metal band, Motörhead. Joining another relatively unknown guitarist, Phil Campbell at a Motörhead audition, both were hired. The new four-piece line-up made its debut recording a backing track for The Young Ones on February 14, 1984.
Mavis Staples 1939 – is a rhythm and blues and gospel singer, actress and civil rights activist who recorded with The Staple Singers, her family’s band. Initially singing locally at churches and appearing on a weekly radio show, the Staples scored a hit in 1956 with “Uncloudy Day”. They covered contemporary pop hits with positive messages, including Bob Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall” and a version of Stephen Stills’ “For What It’s Worth.” The Staple Singers hit the Top 40 eight times between 1971 and 1975, including two No. 1 singles, “I’ll Take You There” and “Let’s Do It Again,” and a No. 2 single “Who Took the Merry Out of Christmas?” Mavis Staples has recorded with a wide variety of musicians, from her friend Bob Dylan to The Band, Ray Charles, Nona Hendryx, George Jones, Natalie Merchant, Ann Peebles, and Delbert McClinton. She has provided vocals on current albums by Los Lobos and Dr. John, and she appears on tribute albums to such artists as Johnny Paycheck, Stephen Foster and Bob Dylan.
Ronnie James Dio 1942 (d.2010) – was a rock and heavy metal vocalist and songwriter who performed with, among others, Elf, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Heaven & Hell, and his own band Dio. He was widely hailed as one of the most powerful singers in heavy metal, renowned for his consistently powerful voice. He is credited with popularizing the “metal horns” hand gesture in metal culture. Before his death, he was collaborating on a project with former Black Sabbath bandmates Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, and Vinny Appice, under the moniker Heaven & Hell, whose only studio album, The Devil You Know, was released on April 28, 2009. One of the last songs he recorded was titled “Metal Will Never Die”. Ronnie James Dio has sold over 47 million copies of albums with all of the bands he has worked with.
Arlo Guthrie 1947 – is an American folk singer who like his late father Woody Guthrie, Arlo is known for singing songs of protest against social injustice. Guthrie’s best-known work is “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree”, a satirical talking blues song that is 18 minutes and 34 seconds in length. Guthrie has pointed out that this was also the exact length of one of the famous gaps in Richard Nixon’s Watergate tapes. He has been known to spin the story out to forty-five minutes in concert. The Alice in the song is Alice Brock, who had been librarian at Arlo’s boarding school in town before opening her restaurant, and who now owns an art studio in Provincetown, Massachusetts. His song Massachusetts was named the official folk song of the state where he has lived most of his adult life.
Greg Kihn 1949 – is an American rock musician, radio personality, and novelist. He earned his first bona fide hit with the Top 20 single, “The Breakup Song (They Don’t Write ‘Em),” from the Rockihnroll album. Kihn continued in a more commercial vein through the ’80s with a series of pun-titled albums: Kihntinued (1982), Kihnspiracy (1983), Kihntageous (1984), and Citizen Kihn (1985). He scored his biggest hit with 1983’s “Jeopardy” (number two) from the Kihnspiracy album. “Jeopardy” was spoofed by “Weird Al” Yankovic as “I Lost on Jeopardy” on Yankovic’s album “Weird Al” Yankovic in 3-D; Greg Kihn made a cameo appearance in the music video for that song.
Rik Emmett 1953 – is a vocalist, guitarist, and founding member of the Canadian rock band Triumph. Emmett left Triumph in 1988 to pursue a solo career. His first solo album, Absolutely, was released in 1990 and became a moderate hit across North America thanks to the hits “When a Heart Breaks” and “Saved by Love”. He is also a writer for Guitar Player magazine and teaches songwriting and music business at Humber College in Toronto. Among his peers, Rik Emmett is widely considered to be one of the most proficient and versatile guitarists.Although he is best known as a premier rock guitarist, his playing style incorporates rock, blues, jazz, classical, bluegrass and flamenco techniques.
Sandy West 1959 (d.2006) – was an American musician, singer, songwriter, and drummer. She was one of the founding members of The Runaways, the first teenage, all-girl hard rock band to record and achieve widespread commercial success in the 1970’s. At 15, she met Joan Jett and producer Kim Fowley and formed The Runaways. The girls subsequently played for Fowley, who agreed to help them find other female musicians to round out the band, most notably Lita Ford and Cherie Currie.
Jelly Roll Morton 1941 (b.1890) – was an American ragtime and early jazz pianist, bandleader and composer who started his career in New Orleans, Louisiana. Widely recognized as a pivotal figure in early jazz, Morton is perhaps most notable as jazz’s first arranger, proving that a genre rooted in improvisation could retain its essential spirit and characteristics when notated. His composition “Jelly Roll Blues” was the first published jazz composition, in 1915. Morton is also notable for naming and popularizing the “Spanish tinge” (habanera rhythm and tresillo), and for writing such standards as “Wolverine Blues”, “Black Bottom Stomp”, and “I Thought I Heard Buddy Bolden Say”, the latter a tribute to New Orleans personalities from the turn of the 19th century to 20th century.
Tommy Bruce 2006 (b.1937) – was an English rock and roll singer who had most of his success in the early 1960’s. His cover version of “Ain’t Misbehavin'” was a Top Ten hit in the UK Singles Chart in 1960. However his subsequent record releases were less successful, only “Broken Doll” and “Babette” making the Top 50. Although he recorded further songs for a number of labels between 1965 and 1969, he largely made a living in cabaret, much of it in Spain and Malta, and also made appearances on the 1960s nostalgia circuit.
Bonnie Pointer 1950 – R&B and disco singer, most notable for being the next-to-youngest member of the 1970s and 1980s family music group, The Pointer Sisters. She scored several moderate solo hits after leaving the Pointers in 1977, including a disco cover of The Elgins’ “Heaven Must Have Sent You” which became a U.S. top 20 pop hit on September 1, 1979.
Peter Murphy 1957 – is an English rock vocalist. He was the vocalist of the rock group Bauhaus, and later went on to release a number of solo albums, such as Deep and Love Hysteria. Thin, with prominent cheekbones, a baritone voice, and a penchant for gloomy poetics, Murphy is often called the “Godfather of Goth.” The pinnacle of Murphy’s solo popularity in the US came with the release of Deep. For this album Murphy sported hair dyed platinum blonde and returned to the more aggressive alt-rock sound that was a trademark of early Bauhaus. The single “Cuts You Up” from Deep held on to the top spot on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart for longer than any previously released single, displacing “So Alive” by his former Bauhaus-bandmates Love and Rockets.
Richie Sambora 1959 – is a rock guitarist, producer, musician, singer, and songwriter who is the longtime lead guitarist of the rock band Bon Jovi. He and frontman Jon Bon Jovi form the primary songwriting unit of the band. He has also released three solo albums: Stranger in This Town in 1991, Undiscovered Soul in 1998, and his third, Aftermath of the Lowdown was released in September 2012. Sambora has occasionally taken over as lead vocalist on some Bon Jovi songs, most notably “I’ll Be There for You” and “These Days” when played live on the Bounce, Have a Nice Day and Lost Highway tours, while on The Circle Tour he performed “Lay Your Hands on Me” and “Homebound Train”. He has also performed his solo hit, “Stranger in This Town” during live performances.
Suzanne Vega 1959 – is a songwriter and singer known for her eclectic folk-inspired music. Two of Vega’s songs (both from her second album Solitude Standing, 1987) reached the top 10 of various international chart listings: “Luka” and “Tom’s Diner”. The latter was originally an a cappella version on Vega’s album, which was then remade in 1990 as a dance track produced by the British dance production team DNA.
George Gershwin 1937 (b.1898) – was an American composer and pianist.Gershwin’s compositions spanned both popular and classical genres, and his most popular melodies are widely known. Among his best known works are the orchestral compositions Rhapsody in Blue (1924) and An American in Paris (1928), as well as the opera Porgy and Bess (1935). Initially a commercial failure, Porgy and Bess is now considered one of the most important American operas of the twentieth century. His first published song was “When You Want ‘Em, You Can’t Get ‘Em, When You’ve Got ‘Em, You Don’t Want ‘Em.” It was published in 1916 when Gershwin was only 17 years old and earned him $5. His 1917 novelty rag, “Rialto Ripples,” was a commercial success, and in 1919 he scored his first big national hit with his song, “Swanee,” with words by Irving Caesar. Al Jolson, a famous Broadway singer of the day, heard Gershwin perform “Swanee” at a party and decided to sing it in one of his shows. In 1924, George and Ira Gershwin collaborated on a stage musical comedy Lady Be Good, which included such future standards as “Fascinating Rhythm” and “Oh, Lady Be Good!”. They followed this with Oh, Kay! (1926); Funny Face (1927); Strike Up the Band (1927 and 1930). Gershwin gave the song, with a modified title, to UCLA to be used as a football fight song, “Strike Up The Band for UCLA”. He and his brother created Show Girl (1929); Girl Crazy (1930), which introduced the standard “I Got Rhythm”; and Of Thee I Sing (1931), the first musical comedy to win a Pulitzer Prize (for Drama).
Christine McVie 1943 – is an English rock singer, keyboardist, and songwriter. Her primary fame came as a member of the British/American rock band Fleetwood Mac, though she has also released three solo albums. As a member of Fleetwood Mac, she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. Their first album together, 1975’s Fleetwood Mac, had several hit songs, with Christine’s “Over My Head” and “Say You Love Me”, both reaching Billboard’s top-20 singles chart. It was “Over My Head” which first put Fleetwood Mac on American radio and into the national Top 20. In 1976 Christine began an on-the-road affair with the band’s lighting director, which inspired her to write “You Make Loving Fun”, a top-10 hit on the landmark smash Rumours, one of the best-selling albums of all-time. Her biggest hit was “Don’t Stop”, which climbed all the way to #3. The Rumours tour also included Christine’s “Songbird”, a ballad played as the encore of many Fleetwood Mac concerts.
Jeff Christie 1946 – Singer/songwriter and bassist who had had initially worked with several bands including The Outer Limits, who released “Just One More Chance” / “Help Me Please” (1967) and “Great Train Robbery” / “Sweet Freedom” (1968), and Acid Gallery, whose single “Dance Around The Maypole” (1969) was written by Roy Wood. He then formed his own band called “Christie” who are best remembered for their UK chart-topping hit single, “Yellow River” released in 1970. It was a worldwide hit and was number one in 26 countries with global sales of over 3 million. The follow-up single from October 1970, “San Bernadino” (misspelled if referring to, for example, San Bernardino, California), reached UK Number 7 and Number 1 in Germany, but only U.S. #100.
Walter Egan 1948 – Singer/songwriter/guitarist best known for his 1978 gold status hit single “Magnet and Steel” from his album Not Shy, produced by Lindsey Buckingham and Richard Dashut. Buckingham also co-produced Egan’s first album, Fundamental Roll, with Stevie Nicks. “Magnet and Steel”, inspired by Nicks, was featured in the 1997 film Boogie Nights, as well as in the 1998 film Overnight Delivery and the 1999 film Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo. Egan also wrote “Hearts on Fire”, which was covered by Gram Parsons on his album Grievous Angel, and “Hot Summer Nights”, which was the first hit for the band Night, which included such session musicians as Nicky Hopkins and Robbie McIntosh. Egan scored minor hits with his own version of “Hot Summer Nights”, as well as “Only the Lucky” and “Fool Moon Fire”.
John Wetton 1949 – is an English singer, bassist, and songwriter who initially rose to fame in progressive rock with bands such as Mogul Thrash, Family, King Crimson, Roxy Music/Bryan Ferry, Uriah Heep, UK, Jack-Knife, and Wishbone Ash. His biggest commercial success was as the frontman and principal songwriter of the supergroup Asia. Their self-titled debut album sold 8 million copies worldwide and was Billboard magazine’s #1 album of 1982. Wetton has done extensive work as a session musician with acts such as Brian Eno, Bryan Ferry and Phil Manzanera. More recently, he has worked on several projects with Billy Sherwood and been part of a UK reunion with Eddie Jobson.
Eric Carr 1950 (d.1991) – was an American musician, best known as drummer for the rock band Kiss. Caravello was selected as the new Kiss drummer after Peter Criss left in 1980, where he chose the stage name “Eric Carr” and took up the “Fox” persona. Carr’s first album with Kiss was 1981’s Music from “The Elder”, which marked a departure for the band toward a mystical art-rock direction. One of Carr’s contributions to the album, “Under the Rose”, is one of the few Kiss songs written in 6/8 time and featured a Gregorian chant-style chorus. Later, he would also have co-writer credits on “All Hell’s Breakin’ Loose”, “Under the Gun”, and “No, No, No”, amongst others.
Philip Taylor Kramer 1952 (1995) – was a bass guitar player for the rock group Iron Butterfly during the 1970s. After this he obtained a night school degree in aerospace engineering, he worked on the MX missile guidance system for a contractor of the US Department of Defense and later in the computer industry on fractal compression, facial recognition systems, and advanced communications. His disappearance on February 12, 1995 caused a mystery lasting for years.
Minnie Riperton 1979 (b.1947) – was an American singer-songwriter best known for her 1975 single “Lovin’ You”. She was married to songwriter and music producer Richard Rudolph from 1972 until her death in the summer of 1979. Riperton’s third album, Adventures in Paradise (1975) was a modest success. Despite the R&B hit “Inside My Love” (a number five U.S. R&B hit, later covered by Trina Broussard, Chanté Moore and Delilah (musician) ), the album did not match the success of Perfect Angel. Some radio stations refused to play “Inside My Love” due to the lyrics: “Will you come inside me?” Her fourth album for Epic Records entitled Stay in Love featured another collaboration with Stevie Wonder in the funky disco tune “Stick Together”. She also sang backup on Wonder’s songs “Creepin'” from 1974’s “Fullfillingness’ First Finale” and “Ordinary Pain” from 1976’s Songs in the Key of Life and was mentioned prominently in his song “Positivity” on A Time to Love.
Chris Wood 1983 (b.1944) – was a founding member of the English rock band Traffic, along with Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi, and Dave Mason. In Traffic, Wood primarily played flute and saxophone, occasionally contributing keyboards and vocals. Wood also co-wrote several of Traffic’s songs, particularly during the earlier period of the band’s recording career. His most notable contribution is as the co-writer (with Steve Winwood and Jim Capaldi), of “Dear Mr. Fantasy”. Wood played with Jimi Hendrix in 1968, appearing on Electric Ladyland. While Winwood temporarily joined supergroup Blind Faith in 1969, Wood, Mason and Capaldi joined Mick Weaver of Wynder K Frog, playing first as Mason, Capaldi, Wood and Frog, but soon as “Wooden Frog”. In 1969, Wood also appeared on the eponymous second album of Free and the Small Faces’ The Autumn Stone. In 1970, Wood and his wife, along with Steve Winwood, joined Ginger Baker’s Air Force, releasing one album before reforming Traffic. Wood remained with Traffic from the time of its 1970 reformation until its 1974 breakup. He played on John Martyn’s Inside Out (1973).
Roger McGuinn 1942 – Singer/songwriter/guitarist who is best known for being the lead singer and lead guitarist on many of the Byrds’ records. He is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his work with The Byrds. The band’s signature blend of clear harmony singing and McGuinn’s jangly twelve-string Rickenbacker guitar has continued to be influential on popular music up to the present day. Among the band’s most enduring songs are their cover versions of Bob Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man” and Pete Seeger’s “Turn! Turn! Turn! (to Everything There is a Season)”, along with the self-penned originals, “I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better”, “Eight Miles High”, “So You Want to Be a Rock ‘n’ Roll Star”, “Ballad of Easy Rider” and “Chestnut Mare”.
Stephen Jo Bladd 1942 – was the original percussionist, drums, vocals with the J.Geils Band from (1967–1985, 2006). The J. Geils Band first received FM radio airplay with the live single cover version of The Contours’ “First I Look at the Purse”. They then began to get AM radio airplay as well with a series of several hit singles in the 1970s, the most successful of which were a cover version of The Valentinos’ “Looking for a Love” (1971), a cover version of The Showstoppers’ “Ain’t Nothin’ But a Houseparty” (1973), “Give it to Me” (1973), and “Musta Got Lost” (1974). The group’s commercial fortunes improved even more in the early 1980’s, first with the humorous Love Stinks, then with their success with the Freeze Frame album which included “Centerfold” (#1 for six weeks on the Billboard Hot 100) and then the title cut (#4). “Centerfold” also became their only major hit single in the United Kingdom, where it reached #3 in February 1982.
Arthur Kane 2004 (b.1949) – was a musician best known as the bass guitarist for the pioneering glam rock band the New York Dolls. He stated in the 2005 documentary film New York Doll that his nickname, Arthur “Killer” Kane, was inspired by the first article written about the Dolls in which the journalist described Kane’s “killer bass playing”. The Dolls put out two studio albums, 1973’s New York Dolls and 1974’s Too Much Too Soon. The Dolls influenced several bands that came soon after with the emerging Punk scene such as the Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Damned, and Generation X; and were a precursor to 80’s Glam metal bands such as Mötley Crüe, Cinderella, and Poison.
Jerry Ragovoy 2011 (b.1930) – Songwriter/record producer and his best-known composition “Time Is on My Side” (written under the pseudonym of Norman Meade) was made famous by The Rolling Stones, although it had been recorded earlier by Kai Winding and Irma Thomas. Ragovoy also wrote “Stay With Me”, which was originally recorded by Lorraine Ellison, and was performed by Mary J. Blige at the 49th Grammy Awards. Ragovoy wrote or co-wrote several classic New York and Philadelphia soul records in the 1960’s, often distinguished by a conspicuous gospel feel. The best of these included Garnet Mimms’ “Cry Baby,” Erma Franklin’s “Piece of My Heart,” Howard Tate’s “Get It While You Can,” all later covered by Janis Joplin, plus “Time Is on My Side” and “Stay With Me.” Ragovoy also contributed to first-class soul records as a producer and arranger.
Screamin’ Jay Hawkins 1929 (d.2000) – Musician, singer, and actor who was known primarily for his powerful, operatic vocal delivery and wildly theatrical performances of songs such as “I Put a Spell on You” which selected as one of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. Hawkins sometimes used macabre props onstage, making him one of the few early shock rockers. According to the AllMusic Guide to the Blues, “Hawkins originally envisioned the tune as a refined ballad.” The entire band was intoxicated during a recording session where “Hawkins screamed, grunted, and gurgled his way through the tune with utter drunken abandon.” The performance was mesmerizing, although Hawkins himself blacked out and was unable to remember the session. Afterward he had to relearn the song from the recorded version. Hawkins’ later releases included “Constipation Blues”, “Orange Colored Sky”, and “Feast of the Mau Mau”. Nothing he released, however, had the monumental success of “I Put a Spell on You”. In fact, “Constipation Blues” has been described as “gross”. In Paris in 1999 and at the Taste of Chicago festival, he actually performed the song with a toilet onstage.
Ian Stewart 1938 (d.1985) – was a Scottish keyboardist, co-founder of the Rolling Stones and inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He was dismissed from the line-up in May 1963 but he remained as road manager and pianist. Stewart contributed piano, organ, marimbas and/or percussion to all Rolling Stones albums released between 1964 and 1986, except for Their Satanic Majesties Request and Beggars Banquet. Stewart was not the only keyboard player who worked extensively with the band: Jack Nitzsche, Nicky Hopkins, Billy Preston, and Ian McLagan all supplemented his work. Stewart played piano on numbers of his choosing throughout tours in 1969, 1975–76, 1978 and 1981–82.
Brian Auger 1939 – is a jazz and rock keyboardist, who has specialized in playing the Hammond organ. In 1965 Auger formed the group The Steampacket, along with Long John Baldry, Julie Driscoll, Vic Briggs and Rod Stewart. With Driscoll and the band, Trinity, he went on to record several hit singles, notably a cover version of David Ackles’ “Road to Cairo” and Bob Dylan’s “This Wheel’s on Fire”, which was featured on Dylan Covered. In 1970 he formed Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express, shortly after abandoning the abortive “Wassenaar Arrangement” jazz-fusion commune in a small suburb of The Hague. The Oblivion Express served to cultivate several musicians, including future The Average White Band drummers Robbie McIntosh and Steve Ferrone, as well as guitarist Jim Mullen. Auger has also played or toured with artists such as Rod Stewart, Tony Williams, Jimi Hendrix, Sonny Boy Williamson, Led Zeppelin, Eric Burdon and others.
Dion DiMucci 1939 – better known mononymously as Dion, is an American singer-songwriter whose work has incorporated elements of doo-wop, pop oldies music, rock and R&B styles—and, most recently, straight blues. He was one of the most popular American rock and roll performers of the pre-British Invasion era. He had more than a dozen Top 40 hits in the late 1950’s and early 60’s. He is best remembered for the 1961 singles, “Runaround Sue” and “The Wanderer”, written with Ernie Maresca.
Martha Reeves 1941 – is an American R&B and Pop singer and former politician, and was the lead singer of the Motown girl group Martha and the Vandellas. Among the singles released that became signature hits for the group are “Quicksand”, “In My Lonely Room”, “Live Wire”, “Nowhere to Run”, “A Love Like Yours (Don’t Come Knocking Everyday)”, “I’m Ready for Love”, “Jimmy Mack”, “Honey Chile” and the group’s most popular single and signature song, “Dancing in the Street”. Martha often cites her performance highlights as one being a performance with Vandellas worshiper, Brit soul singer Dusty Springfield, on the UK show, Ready, Steady, Go! and performing on The Ed Sullivan Show.
Lonnie Mack 1941 – is a rock, blues, and country guitarist and vocalist. In 1963 and early 1964 he recorded a succession of full-length electric guitar instrumentals that combined blues stylism with fast-picking techniques and a rock beat. The best-known of these are “Memphis”, “Wham!”, and “Chicken Pickin'”. These instrumentals are said to have established the standard of virtuosity for a generation of rock guitarists, forming the leading edge of the “blues rock” guitar genre. The pitch-bending tremolo arm found on some electric guitars reportedly became known as the “whammy bar” in recognition of Mack’s aggressive, rapid manipulation use of the device in 1963’s Wham!” Beyond his career as a solo artist, Mack recorded with The Doors, Stevie Ray Vaughan, James Brown, Freddie King, Joe Simon, Ronnie Hawkins, Albert Collins, Roy Buchanan, Dobie Gray and the sons of blues legend Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup, among others.
Cesar Zuiderwijk 1948 – best known as the drummer of the Dutch rock band, Golden Earring, a position he has held since 1970. He was asked to replace Golden Earring drummer Sieb Warner in 1970. Apart from two incidental`line-ups of five (with Robert Jan Stips and later Eelco Gelling), Golden Earring has consisted of the same four friends (Zuiderwijk, George Kooymans, Barry Hay and Rinus Gerritsen). Zuiderwijk is known to add a drum solo to each performance, which he concluded by launching himself over his drum kit. In September 1992, Zuiderwijk and his Golden Earring bandmates joined at least a thousand other drummers to play “Radar Love” on the Maasvlakte in Rotterdam.
Keith Levene 1957 – is an English songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. He was an early member of The Clash, and a founding member of Public Image Ltd (PiL), along with John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten). He was an early member of The Clash and The Flowers of Romance (most notable for also featuring a pre-Sex Pistols Sid Vicious). Although he never recorded with The Clash, he co-wrote “What’s My Name”, featured on their first album. Levene has often claimed that he co-wrote several songs on The Clash’s first album. In 2012, he reunited with fellow PiL member and bassist Jah Wobble for Metal Box In Dub and the album Yin & Yang. According to Simon Reynolds in his book Rip It Up and Start Again, Levene was an avid progressive rock fan who had served at age fifteen as a roadie for Yes on their Close to the Edge tour.
Jack Irons 1962 – best known as the founding drummer of American rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers, and the former drummer of both Pearl Jam and Eleven. Irons is currently a member of The Wallflowers, and has worked with Joe Strummer and The Latino Rockabilly War, Redd Kross, Raging Slab, Spinnerette and The Les Claypool Frog Brigade. In 2004, Irons released his first solo album, Attention Dimension, and released his second, No Heads Are Better Than One, in 2010.
Bobby Fuller 1966 (b.1942) – was an American rock singer, songwriter, and guitar player best known for his singles “I Fought the Law” and “Love’s Made a Fool of You,” recorded with his mid-1960s group, the Bobby Fuller Four. At a time when the British Invasion and folk rock were the dominant genres in rock, Fuller stuck to Buddy Holly’s style of classic rock and roll with Tex Mex flourishes. His recordings, both covers and originals, also reveal the influences of Eddie Cochran, The Beatles, Elvis Presley, Little Richard, and the Everly Brothers, as well as surf guitar. Less well known was Fuller’s ability to emulate the reverb-laden surf guitar of Dick Dale and The Ventures.
Nico (born Christa Päffgen) 1988 (b.1938) – was a German singer-songwriter, lyricist, composer, musician, fashion model, and actress, who initially rose to fame as a Warhol Superstar in the 1960’s. She is known for both her vocal collaboration on The Velvet Underground’s debut album, The Velvet Underground & Nico (Nico sang lead vocals on three songs (“Femme Fatale”, “All Tomorrow’s Parties“, “I’ll Be Your Mirror”) and backing vocal on “Sunday Morning”), and her work as a solo artist from the late 1960’s through the early 1980’s. In 1965 Nico met Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones and recorded her first single, “I’m Not Sayin'” with the b-side “The Last Mile”, produced by Jimmy Page for Andrew Loog Oldham’s Immediate label. Actor Ben Carruthers introduced her to Bob Dylan in Paris that summer. Dylan played the song “I’ll Keep It with Mine” for her shortly thereafter, which she recorded for her first album, Chelsea Girl, in 1967.
Brian May 1947 – is an English musician, singer, songwriter and astrophysicist who achieved international fame as the guitarist of Queen. As a guitarist he uses his home-built guitar, “Red Special”. Queen’s albums include numerous May compositions, including “Tie Your Mother Down”, “I Want It All”, “We Will Rock You”, “Fat Bottomed Girls” and “Who Wants to Live Forever”. In Queen’s three-part vocal harmonies, May’s was generally the lower-range backing vocal. On some of his songs he sings the lead vocal, most notably the first verse of “Who Wants to Live Forever”, the bridge on “I Want It All” and “Flash’s Theme”, and full lead vocals on “Some Day One Day”, “She Makes Me (Stormtrooper in Stilettoes)”, “’39”, “Good Company”, “Long Away”, “All Dead, All Dead”, “Sleeping on the Sidewalk”, “Leaving Home Ain’t Easy” and “Sail Away Sweet Sister”.
Bernie Leadon 1947 – is a musician and songwriter, best known as a founding member of the Eagles. Prior to the Eagles, he was a member of two pioneering and highly influential country rock bands, Dillard & Clark and the Flying Burrito Brothers. He is a multi-instrumentalist (guitar, banjo, mandolin, steel guitar, dobro) coming from a bluegrass background. Their earliest hit singles, “Take It Easy”, “Peaceful Easy Feeling” and “Witchy Woman” (co-written by Leadon and Henley), all of which highlighted Leadon’s multi-instrumental talent on electric guitar, B-Bender, banjo, and harmony vocals. Their follow-up, Desperado, was another strong country-rock venture highlighted by the classics “Tequila Sunrise” and the title track, but was met by surprisingly lukewarm reviews and lackluster sales. He was replaced in the band by former James Gang guitarist/singer, Joe Walsh.
Keith Godchaux 1948 (d.1980) – was a musician best known for his tenure in the rock group the Grateful Dead. During his tenure with the Dead his only written contribution and lead vocal was “Let Me Sing Your Blues Away,” from Wake of the Flood. It was only performed live six times, all in 1973. After Godchaux’s departure from the Grateful Dead, he cleaned up and formed The Heart of Gold Band with his wife; the ensemble included a young Steve Kimock on guitar. In 1994, he was inducted, posthumously, into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Grateful Dead.
Allen Collins 1952 (d.1990) – was one of the founding members and guitarists of Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, and co-wrote many of the band’s songs with late frontman Ronnie Van Zant. Collins and lead singer Ronnie Van Zant co-wrote many of the biggest Skynyrd hits, including “Free Bird”, “Gimme Three Steps”, and “That Smell”. On October 20, 1977, the Skynyrd plane crashed into a forest in Mississippi killing three band members, including Van Zant. Collins was seriously injured in the crash, suffering two broken vertebrae in his neck and severe damage to his right arm. During the early 1980s, Collins continued to perform on stage in The Rossington-Collins Band which enjoyed modest success, releasing two albums (Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere, and This Is the Way), and charting a few singles (notably “Don’t Misunderstand Me”).
John Lodge 1945 – is an English musician, best known as bass guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter of the longstanding rock group, The Moody Blues. He has also worked as a record producer. Lodge has collaborated both with his bandmates in the Moody Blues, and with other musicians outside the band, as well as a successful solo career. Lodge’s prolific songwriting for the Moody Blues has created such songs as “Peak Hour”, “(Evening) Time to Get Away”, “Gimme a Little Something”, “Ride My See-Saw”, “House of Four Doors”, “Eyes of a Child”, “Send Me No Wine”, “To Share Our Love”, “Candle of Life”, “Tortoise and the Hare”, “Minstrel’s Song”, “Emily’s Song”, “Isn’t Life Strange” (which earned Lodge an ASCAP songwriting award), “I’m Just a Singer (In a Rock and Roll Band)” (which also won him an ASCAP songwriting award), “Steppin’ in a Slide Zone”,”Survival”, “Talking Out of Turn”, “Nervous”, “Sitting at the Wheel”,”It May Be a Fire”, “Rock’N’Roll Over You”, “Love Is on the Run”, “Here Comes the Weekend”, “Lean on Me (Tonight)”, “Shadows on the Wall”, “Magic”,”Wherever You Are”, “Love Don’t Come Easy”, “Words You Say”, “Forever Now”, “On This Christmas Day”,”The Spirit of Christmas”, and “Gemini Dream” — the latter being a co-composition with Justin Hayward that won them jointly an ASCAP songwriting award. Bass Player magazine voted him amongst the most influential bass players.
Carlos Santana 1947 – is a Mexican and American musician who became famous in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s with his band, Santana, which pioneered a fusion of rock and Latin American music. The band’s sound featured his melodic, blues-based guitar lines set against Latin and African rhythms featuring percussion instruments such as timbales and congas not generally heard in rock music. Bill Graham had been a fan of the band from its inception, and arranged for them to appear at the Woodstock Music and Art Festival before their debut album was even released. They were one of the surprises of the festival; their set was legendary and later the exposure of their eleven-minute instrumental “Soul Sacrifice” in the Woodstock film and soundtrack album vastly increased their popularity. Graham also gave the band some key advice to record the Willie Bobo song “Evil Ways”, as he felt it would get them radio airplay. Their first album, Santana, was released in August and became a huge hit, reaching number four on the U.S. album charts, with the catchy single “Evil Ways” reaching number nine on the Billboard Hot 100.
Roy Hamilton 1969 (b.1929) – was an American singer, who achieved major success in the US R&B and pop charts in the 1950s. He is best known for his recordings of “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, “Unchained Melody” and “You Can Have Her”. Hamilton appeared in the film, Let’s Rock, in 1958. His last hit record, “You Can Have Her” (#6 R&B, #12 pop), came in 1961, and was followed by the album Mr. Rock And Soul (1962). His final recordings were made in Memphis, Tennessee, at record producer Chips Moman’s American Group Productions studio, at the same time that Elvis Presley recorded there in early 1969.Songs released from those sessions were versions of James Carr’s “The Dark End of the Street”, Conway Twitty’s “It’s Only Make Believe”, and “Angelica”, a Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil song that had been submitted to Presley, but which he then turned over to Hamilton. His style and sound directly influenced later artists such as Elvis Presley, Jackie Wilson, Jerry Lee Lewis, Charlie Rich and the Righteous Brothers, all of whom covered his music.
Cat Stevens 1948 – Singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, humanitarian, education philanthropist. His early 1970’s record albums Tea for the Tillerman (which features the Top 20 single “Wild World”, as well as “Peace Train”, “Morning Has Broken”, and “Moon Shadow”) and Teaser and the Firecat were both certified triple platinum. His 1972 album Catch Bull at Four sold half a million copies in the first two weeks of release alone and was Billboard’s number-one LP for three consecutive weeks. He has also earned two ASCAP songwriting awards in consecutive years for “The First Cut Is the Deepest”, which has been a hit single for four different artists.
Howie Epstein 1955 (d.2003) – was a musician best known for his work with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers as bassist. He made his live debut at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium on September 1, 1982 on a tour to promote the album Long After Dark. When Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers played the US Festival four days later in San Bernardino, California, alongside Fleetwood Mac, The Police and Talking Heads, he took it all in his stride. In addition to playing bass and singing back-up vocals, he played mandolin. His harmonies with Tom Petty were a Heartbreakers’ trademark. Epstein has also played bass on recordings by Eric Andersen, Bob Dylan, Carlene Carter, Johnny Cash, John Hiatt, Stevie Nicks, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins, John Prine, Linda Ronstadt, Del Shannon, The Textones, The Village People, and Warren Zevon.
Gus Dudgeon 2002 (b.1942) – was an English record producer, most notable for production of many of Elton John’s recordings. The first song which they worked together on was “Your Song”, on which Dudgeon elaborated on the simple piano tune and added an orchestral arrangement by Paul Buckmaster. The song reached the U.S. Top 10, becoming John’s first substantial hit. Dudgeon continued to work with John on his next few albums. Dudgeon and John parted company, although they re-united in the 1980s to produce three more albums together. Dudgeon worked with a variety of other acts, including Audience, Chris Rea, Ralph McTell, Lindisfarne, Joan Armatrading, Elkie Brooks, Fairport Convention, Sam Gopal Dream, The Sinceros, The Beach Boys, Mary Wilson, Voyager (band) and Steeleye Span. In the 1980s he built Sol Studios.
Long John Baldry 2005 (b.1941) – was an English and Canadian blues singer and a voice actor. He sang with many British musicians, with Rod Stewart and Elton John appearing in bands led by Baldry in the 1960’s. He enjoyed pop success in the UK where Let the Heartaches Begin reached No. 1 in 1967 and in Australia where his duet with Kathi McDonald You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ reached number two in 1980. In 1963, Baldry joined the Cyril Davies R&B All Stars with Nicky Hopkins playing piano. He took over in 1964 after the death of Cyril Davies, and the group became Long John Baldry and his Hoochie Coochie Men featuring Rod Stewart on vocals and Geoff Bradford on guitar. In 1965, the Hoochie Coochie Men became Steampacket with Baldry and Stewart as male vocalists, Julie Driscoll as the female vocalist and Brian Auger on Hammond organ. After Steampacket broke up in 1966, Baldry formed Bluesology featuring Reg Dwight on keyboards and Elton Dean, later of Soft Machine, as well as Caleb Quaye on guitar. Dwight adopted the name Elton John, his first name from Dean and his surname from Baldry.
George Clinton 1941 – is an American singer, songwriter, bandleader, and music producer and the principal architect of P-Funk. He was the mastermind of the bands Parliament and Funkadelic during the 1970s and early 1980s, and launched a solo career in 1981. He has been cited as one of the foremost innovators of funk music, along with James Brown and Sly Stone. Clinton was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997 with fifteen other members of Parliament-Funkadelic.
Rick Davies 1944 – is an English musician, best known as the founder and keyboardist of progressive rock band Supertramp. Davies is the only member of Supertramp to have been with the group for their entire history, and has composed many of their most well-known songs, including “Goodbye Stranger”, “Bloody Well Right”, “My Kind of Lady”, and “Cannonball”. Starting with Indelibly Stamped in 1971, Davies shared lead vocals with Supertramp songwriting partner, Roger Hodgson until the latter’s departure in 1983, at which point he became the sole lead vocalist of the group.
Don Henley 1947 – Singer, songwriter and drummer, best known as a founding member of the Eagles before launching a successful solo career. Henley was the drummer and lead vocalist for the Eagles from 1971–1980, when the band broke up. Henley sings lead vocals on Eagles hits such as “Witchy Woman”, “Desperado”, “Best of My Love”, “One of These Nights”, “Hotel California”, “Life in the Fast Lane”, and “The Long Run”. After the Eagles broke up in 1980, Henley pursued a solo career and released his debut album in 1982. He has released four studio albums, two compilation albums, and one live DVD. His solo hits include “Dirty Laundry”, “The Boys of Summer”, “All She Wants to Do Is Dance”, “The Heart of the Matter”, “The Last Worthless Evening”, “Sunset Grill”, “Not Enough Love in the World”, “New York Minute” and “The End of the Innocence”.
Gar Samuelson 1999 (b.1958) – was a drummer best remembered for his work with the thrash metal band Megadeth from 1984 to 1987, contributing to their first two albums, Killing Is My Business… and Business Is Good!, and Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying?. Gar’s style was heavily influenced by years of jazz training. This is exemplified in the tracks “These Boots” and “Killing Is My Business… and Business Is Good!”. Samuelson’s work on Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying? was slightly simpler and more economical to the song structure, which had evolved rapidly from the debut album. He was considered a very unorthodox drummer among the other thrash metal bands of the 1980’s.
Tony Joe White 1943 – is a singer-songwriter and guitarist, best known for his 1969 hit “Polk Salad Annie”; “Rainy Night in Georgia”, which he wrote but was first made popular by Brook Benton in 1970; and “Steamy Windows”, a hit for Tina Turner in 1989. “Polk Salad Annie” was also recorded by Elvis Presley and Tom Jones. White toured with Steppenwolf, Sly & the Family Stone, Creedence Clearwater Revival and other major rock acts of the 1970s, playing in France, Germany, Belgium, Sweden and England. In late September 1973, White was recruited by record producer Huey Meaux to sit in on the legendary Memphis sessions that became Jerry Lee Lewis’s landmark Southern Roots album. By all accounts, these sessions were a three-day, around-the-clock party, which not only reunited the original MGs (Steve Cropper, Donald “Duck” Dunn and Al Jackson, Jr. of Booker T. and the MGs fame) for the first time in three years, but also featured Carl Perkins, Mark Lindsay (of Paul Revere & the Raiders), and Wayne Jackson plus The Memphis Horns.
Andy Mackay 1946 – is an English multi-instrumentalist, best known as a founding member (playing oboe and saxophone) of the art-rock group Roxy Music. In addition, he has taught music and provided scores for television, while his CV as a session musician encompasses some of the most noteworthy and recognisable names in the music business including Duran Duran, Mott the Hoople, John Cale, Pavlov’s Dog, Johnny Cougar, Mickey Jupp, Yukihiro Takahashi, Paul McCartney, Godley & Creme, Eddie and the Hot Rods, Arcadia and 801 to name a few. His songwriting credits for Roxy Music include the Top Five hits “Love is the Drug” (1975) and “Angel Eyes” (1979), plus “A Song for Europe”, “Three and Nine”, “Bitter-Sweet”, “Sentimental Fool”, “While My Heart is Still Beating” and “Tara”, together with the early experimental B-sides “The Numberer” and “The Pride and the Pain”. He also learned to play the violin while a member of Roxy Music.
David Essex 1947 – is an English musician, singer-songwriter and actor. Since the 1970’s, Essex has attained nineteen Top 40 singles in the UK (including two number ones), and sixteen Top 40 albums. His first notable acting role aside from small appearances in the films Assault and All Coppers Are… was the lead in the stage musical, Godspell in 1971 at the age of 23. Two years later, he starred in the film That’ll Be The Day (1973) and recorded his international hit single, the self penned “Rock On”, in the same year. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc by the R.I.A.A. in March 1974. His biggest hits during this decade included two UK Number One singles: “Gonna Make You a Star” (1974), and “Hold Me Close” (1975). He also appeared in Stardust, a 1974 sequel to That’ll Be The Day; the title song was another Top 10 hit. In 1976, Essex covered The Beatles song, “Yesterday”, for the musical documentary All This and World War II.
Blair Thornton 1950 – is a rock guitarist and songwriter most widely known for his work with the Canadian rock band Bachman-Turner Overdrive (BTO). He also played in the Vancouver-based band Crosstown Bus prior to joining BTO. Thornton replaced a founding member Tim Bachman, who left the group in January 1974. This occurred during the supporting tour for the Bachman-Turner Overdrive II album. Thornton made his live debut with BTO at a televised event for Don Kirshner’s In Concert program hosted by Don E. Branker. As a songwriter, Thornton contributed two compositions to the Not Fragile album: “Givin’ It All Away” and an instrumental called “Freewheelin'”, still one of the favourite anthems of Not Fragile that also wound up as the B-side of the #1 hit “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet”. He also co-wrote three songs for the follow-up 1975 album, Four Wheel Drive, including the title track (with Randy Bachman), and co-wrote the Top 40 hit “Take It Like a Man” (with Fred Turner) for the 1975 album Head On.
Martin Gore 1961 – is an English songwriter, singer, guitarist and keyboardist, and also producer, remixer and DJ. He is a founding member of Depeche Mode and has written the majority of their songs. His work now spans over three decades. Gore’s best known compositions include hits such as “Personal Jesus”, “Enjoy the Silence”, “I Feel You”, “People Are People”, “Everything Counts”, “Shake the Disease” and “Never Let Me Down Again”.
Saul Hudson 1965 – better known by his nickname Slash, is a British-American musician and songwriter. He is best known as the former lead guitarist of the American hard rock band Guns N’ Roses, with whom he achieved worldwide success in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. During his later years with Guns N’ Roses, Slash formed the side project Slash’s Snakepit. He then co-founded the supergroup Velvet Revolver, which re-established him as a mainstream performer in the mid to late 2000’s. Slash has since released two solo albums, Slash (2010), featuring an all-star roster of guest musicians, and Apocalyptic Love (2012), recorded with singer/guitarist Myles Kennedy, along with rhythm section Brent Fitz and Todd Kerns, known on the album as The Conspirators. GNR played nightclubs—such as the Whisky a Go Go, The Roxy, and The Troubadour—and opened for larger acts throughout 1985 and 1986. It was during this period that the band wrote most of its classic material, including “Welcome to the Jungle,” “Sweet Child o’ Mine,” and “Paradise City,” As a result of their rowdy and rebellious behavior, Guns N’ Roses quickly received the moniker “Most Dangerous Band in the World,” causing Slash to remark, “For some strange reason, Guns N’ Roses is like the catalyst for controversy, even before we had any kind of record deal.”
Amy Winehouse 2011 (b.1983) – was an English singer and songwriter known for her deep contralto vocals and her eclectic mix of musical genres including R&B, soul, jazz, ska and reggae.Winehouse’s 2003 debut album, Frank, was critically successful in the UK and was nominated for the Mercury Prize. Her 2006 follow-up album, Back to Black, led to six Grammy Award nominations and five wins, tying the then record for the most wins by a female artist in a single night, and made Winehouse the first British female to win five Grammys,including three of the “Big Four”: Best New Artist, Record of the Year and Song of the Year.
Keith Godchaux 1980 (b.1948) – was a musician best known for his tenure in the rock group the Grateful Dead. During his tenure with the Dead his only written contribution and lead vocal was “Let Me Sing Your Blues Away,” from Wake of the Flood. It was only performed live six times, all in 1973. After Godchaux’s departure from the Grateful Dead, he cleaned up and formed The Heart of Gold Band with his wife; the ensemble included a young Steve Kimock on guitar. In 1994, he was inducted, posthumously, into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Grateful Dead.
Heinz Burt 1942 (d.2000) – was a German-born bassist and singer, who performed under the stage name Heinz. He was influenced by the US singer Eddie Cochran and played in a skiffle band the Falcons in 1950’s. Heinz was a member of the Tornados famous for their multi-million selling hit “Telstar”. With Meek in love with Heinz, he struggled to launch him on a solo career. Due to the inadequacies of Heinz’ voice, his vocals were over-dubbed on his first single Dreams Do Come True by another singer (Meek artist, Mark Douglas a.k.a.Billy Gray, Real Name William Halsey), the single being a commercial failure. His next and biggest selling solo hit was “Just Like Eddie”, a tribute to Eddie Cochran. Its success coincided with the emergence of the Beatles and was the high point of commercial success for Heinz.
Jim Armstrong 1944 – is a guitarist from Northern Ireland whose musical career started while he was still a schoolboy, when he played in Belfast’s top showband, The Melotones, who were resident in the city’s Romano’s Ballroom. Armstrong played and recorded in the mid-’60’s with Van Morrison and Them, touring both Europe and America (where he lived – playing and recording – for 4 years). Of the 51 tracks recorded by Morrison and Them (1964–66), Armstrong played on over half, and while living in America met and played with Jim Morrison & The Doors, Captain Beefheart and Frank Zappa. During this time he was voted 3rd best guitarist in the world (after Jimi Hendrix & Frank Zappa).
Bobby Ramirez 1972 (b.1947) – was the drummer for Edgar Winter’s White Trash who was brutally beaten to death in a bar fight because some redneck didn’t like his long hair. Ramirez recorded two brilliant albums with Winter, the studio LP White Trash and the live Roadwork. Both recordings provide significant evidence of the drummer’s gifts. White Trash shows incredible discipline, taste, and rock-solid time, in different styles-high-energy rock and funk, slow 6/8 blues ballads, and big band. Check out Ramirez’s precise accompaniment of the horn figures on the gospel rave-up “Save The Planet.” Roadwork is a live drumming masterpiece. Among the numerous highlights is Ramirez’s amazing single-pedal work on “Turn On Your Love Light.”
Manny Charlton 1941 – is notable for being a founding member of and the lead guitarist for the Scottish hard rock band, Nazareth from 1968 to 1990. In 1968, the band changed their name from The Shadettes to Nazareth, inspired by the opening lyric from “The Weight”, a song by The Band. Charlton also became the band’s producer for many years, succeeding Deep Purple’s Roger Glover, after the band decided they wanted to move in a new direction for the Hair Of The Dog album. Hair Of The Dog attained platinum in the United States and has to date sold in excess of two million copies. It is the band’s most well known album, it contains their biggest ever hit “Love Hurts” which reached No. 8 in the U.S. After leaving Nazareth in 1990, Charlton played some solo shows on the Scottish club circuit, and released his first solo album Drool in 1997, on the Red Steel record label with Neil Miller on vocals. The following year, he relocated to Texas, where he formed the Manny Charlton Band (MCB). The new outfit released a pair of albums — Stonkin and Klone This — before disbanding in 2003.
Jim McCarty 1943 – is an English musician, best known as the drummer for The Yardbirds and Renaissance. McCarty played in the Yardbirds reunion band Box of Frogs in the 1980’s, and has been part of the Yardbirds’ reformation since 1992. McCarty has also been a member of The British Invasion All-Stars, and his own Jim McCarty Band.
José “Chepito” Areas 1946 – is a Nicaraguan percussionist who was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1988 as percussionist for the Latin rock group, Santana, from 1969-1980. In 1997, he performed on the album entitled Abraxas Pool with other former members of Santana. In addition to his work with Santana, he has released solo work including his 1974 self-titled Latin rock and soul album, Jose “Chepito” Areas, on Columbia/CBS Records.
Mark Clarke 1950 – is a British musician, bass player and singer. He was asked by Jon Hiseman to join Colosseum in summer 1970 and played in the band until the split late 1971, and again for 17 years from 1994 to 2011, after the reunion of the band. After Colosseum split in 1971 he was briefly a member of Uriah Heep, performing (and co-writing) on one studio track, “The Wizard”, on the 1972 album Demons & Wizards. In the beginning of 1973 he became a member of Jon Hiseman’s Tempest and played bass on the two Tempest studio albums with Allan Holdsworth, Ollie Halsall and Paul Williams, and a live album issued later. He also played bass on Ken Hensley’s solo albums. He also played in Mountain, Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, and in 1980 started working with Billy Squier and recorded Don’t Say No, The Stroke, In the Dark and many other albums with him.
Verdine White 1951 – is the bassist for Earth, Wind & Fire and the younger brother of band founder Maurice White. White is known for his high energy and dancing while playing his bass guitar during Earth, Wind & Fire concerts. As Earth, Wind & Fire’s bassist since the band’s inception, White has won six Grammy Awards, has been Grammy nominated seventeen times and has also been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame to name a few honors. The band has also earned more than 50 gold and platinum albums and have sold over 90 million albums worldwide.
Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton 1984 (b.1926) – was an American rhythm and blues singer and songwriter. She was the first to record Leiber and Stoller’s “Hound Dog” in 1952,which became her biggest hit. It spent seven weeks at number one on the Billboard R&B charts in 1953 and sold almost two million copies. However, her success was overshadowed three years later, when Elvis Presley recorded his more popular rendition of “Hound Dog”. Similarly, Thornton’s “Ball ‘n’ Chain”, had a bigger impact when performed and recorded by Janis Joplin in the late 1960’s. During her career, she was nominated for the Blues Music Awards six times. In 1984, she was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame. In addition to “Ball ‘n’ Chain” and “They Call Me Big Mama,” Thornton wrote twenty other blues songs. Her “Ball ‘n’ Chain” is included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame list of the “500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll”.
Charlie Rich 1995 (b.1932) – was a Grammy Award-winning American country music singer and musician. His eclectic-style of music was often hard to classify in a single genre, encompassing in the rockabilly, jazz, blues, country, and gospel genres. In the latter part of his life, Rich acquired the nickname The Silver Fox. He is perhaps best remembered for a pair of 1973 hits, “Behind Closed Doors” and “The Most Beautiful Girl”. “The Most Beautiful Girl” topped the U.S. country singles charts, as well as the pop singles charts.
Erik Brann 2003 (b.1950) – 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.
Neal Doughty 1946 – is the keyboardist and the sole remaining founding member of REO Speedwagon currently in the band. He formed the band in the fall of 1967, with original drummer Alan Gratzer. Although he has never been one of REO Speedwagon’s primary songwriters, Doughty has written or co-written several of the band’s songs. Songs for which he is the sole composer include “Sky Blues” from 1973, “One Lonely Night” from 1984 and “Variety Tonight” from 1987. His most notable playing includes the Hammond Organ solo on “Roll With The Changes” and the honky-tonk piano work on “157 Riverside Avenue”. He notes the beginning to “Can’t Fight This Feeling” is the most difficult and rewarding to play. He was an early adopter of the Moog Synthesizer, which can be heard on the opening swoop of “Ridin’ The Storm Out.”
Geddy Lee 1953 – is a Canadian musician and songwriter, best known as the lead vocalist, bassist, and keyboardist for the Canadian rock group Rush. Lee joined what would become Rush in September 1968, at the request of his childhood friend Alex Lifeson, replacing original bassist and frontman Jeff Jones. In addition to his composing, arranging, and performing duties for Rush, Lee has produced for various other bands, including Rocket Science. Lee’s first solo effort, My Favourite Headache, was released in 2000. The bulk of Lee’s work in music has been with Rush (see Rush discography). However, Lee has also contributed to a body of work outside of his involvement with the band through guest appearances and album production. In 1981, Lee was the featured guest for the hit song “Take Off” and its included comedic commentary with Bob and Doug McKenzie (played by Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas, respectively) for the McKenzie Brothers’ comedy album Great White North.
Kate Bush 1958 – is an English singer-songwriter, musician and record producer. Her eclectic musical style and idiosyncratic vocal style have made her one of the United Kingdom’s most successful solo female performers of the past 35 years. In 1978, at the age of 19, Bush topped the UK Singles Chart for four weeks with her debut single “Wuthering Heights”, becoming the first woman to have a UK number one with a self-written song. She has since released ten albums, three of which topped the UK Albums Chart, and has had 25 UK Top 40 hit singles including the Top 10 hits “Wuthering Heights”, “Running Up that Hill”, “King of the Mountain”, “Babooshka”, “The Man with the Child in His Eyes”, and “Don’t Give Up”.
John Sykes 1959 – is an English rock guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter who has played with Streetfighter, Tygers of Pan Tang, John Sloman’s Badlands, Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake, and Blue Murder. Sykes co-wrote the majority of the songs on Whitesnake’s 1987 self-titled album with David Coverdale. Sykes is also a successful solo artist.
Cass Elliot 1974 (b.1941) – also known as Mama Cass, was an American singer and member of The Mamas & the Papas. After the group broke up, she released five solo albums. In 1998, Elliot, John Phillips, Denny Doherty, and Michelle Phillips were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for their work as The Mamas & the Papas. Her powerful, distinctive voice was a large factor in their success. She is best remembered for her vocals on the group’s hits “California Dreamin’,” “Monday Monday,” and “Words of Love,” and particularly for the solo “Dream a Little Dream of Me,” which the group recorded in 1968 after learning about the death of Fabian Andre, one of the men who co-wrote it, whom Michelle Phillips had met years earlier. At the height of her solo career in 1974, Elliot performed two weeks of sold-out concerts at the London Palladium. She telephoned Michelle Phillips after the final concert on July 28, elated that she had received standing ovations each night. She then retired for the evening, and died in her sleep at age 32. Sources state her death was due to a heart attack. Elliot died in a London flat, No. 12 at 9 Curzon Place, Shepherd Market, Mayfair, which was on loan from singer/songwriter Harry Nilsson. Four years later, The Who’s drummer Keith Moon died in the same flat at the same age.
Glen Goins 1978 (b.1954) – was a singer and guitarist for Parliament-Funkadelic in the mid-1970s. Goins is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, inducted in 1997 with fifteen other members of Parliament-Funkadelic. His first (known) recordings were as part of the group “The Bags”. They released a single in 1972 “It’s Heavy” b/w “Don’t Mess With My Baby”. He was particularly prominent on the Parliament albums Mothership Connection (1975), The Clones of Dr. Funkenstein (1976), and Funkentelechy vs. the Placebo Syndrome (1977), and played on the Funkadelic albums of this period as well.
Pete Drake 1988 (b.1932) – was a major Nashville-based record producer and pedal steel guitar player. He was one of the most sought-after backup musicians of the 1960s, Drake played on such hits as Lynn Anderson’s “Rose Garden”, Charlie Rich’s “Behind Closed Doors”‘ Bob Dylan’s “Lay Lady Lay”‘ and Tammy Wynette’s “Stand by Your Man”. (Drake’s work on this last tune is debatable, in that some sources claim Sonny Curtis to be the steel guitar player on that record. However, most of the evidence points to Drake being the steel player on Wynette’s huge hit.) Drake played on Bob Dylan’s three Nashville-recorded albums, including Nashville Skyline, and on Joan Baez’s David’s Album. He also worked with George Harrison on All Things Must Pass, and produced Ringo Starr on Beaucoups of Blues in 1970.
George “Buddy” Guy 1936 – is an American blues guitarist and singer. Critically acclaimed, he is a pioneer of the Chicago blues sound and has served as an influence to some of the most notable musicians of his generation, including Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan. In the 1960’s Guy was a member of Muddy Waters’ band and was a house guitarist at Chess Records where he was mainly used as a session guitarist to back Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson, Koko Taylor and others. He can be heard on Howlin’ Wolf’s “Killing Floor” and Koko Taylor’s “Wang Dang Doodle” as well as on his own Chess sides and the series of records he made with harmonica player Junior Wells. Guy is known for his showmanship on stage: playing his guitar with drumsticks or strolling into the audience while playing solos. His song “Stone Crazy” was ranked 78th in Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time.
Paul Anka 1941 – is a Canadian singer, songwriter and actor. Anka became famous in the late 1950s and 1960s with hit songs like “Diana”, “Lonely Boy”, and “Put Your Head on My Shoulder”. He went on to write such well-known music as the theme for The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and one of Tom Jones’ biggest hits, “She’s a Lady”, and the English lyrics for Frank Sinatra’s signature song, “My Way” (originally French song “Comme d’habitude”). In 1983, he co-wrote with Michael Jackson the song “I Never Heard”, which was retitled and released in 2009 under the name “This Is It”. An additional song that Jackson co-wrote with Anka from this 1983 session, “Love Never Felt So Good”, has since been discovered, and will be released in the future. The song was also released by Johnny Mathis in 1984. Anka became a naturalized US citizen in 1990.
David Sanborn 1945 – is an American alto saxophonist. Though Sanborn has worked in many genres, his solo recordings typically blend jazz with instrumental pop and R&B.He released his first solo album Taking Off in 1975, but has been playing the saxophone since before he was in high school. Sanborn has also worked extensively as a session musician, notably on David Bowie’s Young Americans (1975). He has been a highly regarded session player since the late 1960’s, playing with an array of well-known artists, such as James Brown, Bryan Ferry, Michael Stanley, Eric Clapton, Bobby Charles, Cat Stevens, Roger Daltrey, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Jaco Pastorius, the Brecker Brothers, Michael Franks, Kenny Loggins, Casiopea, Players Association, David Bowie, Todd Rundgren, Bruce Springsteen, Little Feat, Tommy Bolin, Bob James, James Taylor, Al Jarreau, Pure Prairie League, Kenny G, George Benson, Joe Beck, Donny Hathaway, Elton John, Gil Evans, Carly Simon, Guru, Linda Ronstadt, Billy Joel, Kenny Garrett, Roger Waters, Steely Dan, Ween, the Eagles, The Grateful Dead and others.
Jeffrey Hammond 1946 – is a musician and former bass guitar player for the progressive rock band Jethro Tull. Hammond played on the following albums: Aqualung (1971), Thick as a Brick (1972), Living in the Past (compilation, 1972), A Passion Play (1973), War Child (1974), Minstrel in the Gallery (1975). Before joining the band as a performer, Hammond appears to have spent much time with them in the background. Ian Anderson wrote songs about his friend’s idiosyncrasies, of which the best known are “A Song for Jeffrey” (off This Was), “Jeffrey Goes to Leicester Square” (off Stand Up) and “For Michael Collins, Jeffrey and Me” (off Benefit).
Andy Scott 1949 – is a British musician and songwriter. He is best known for being the lead guitarist and a vocalist in the band Sweet. Scott’s first single release in 1975 was a reworked version of the Desolation Boulevard track “Lady Starlight” backed by “Where D’Ya Go?”. Both songs, recorded during the Give Us A Wink sessions, were written and produced by Scott and Mick Tucker and featured Scott playing all instruments except the drums (Tucker). Scott made a promotional video for the track and also appeared on Mike Mansfield’s British TV Show “Supersonic”.
Don Myrick 1993 (b.1940) – played alto, tenor and soprano sax and was a member of Earth Wind & Fire’s original horn section, The Phenix Horns Esq. from 1975 through 1982. Earth, Wind & Fire’s single “Runnin'” earned him the 1977/78 Grammy Award for Best R&B Instrumental. Some of his most famous saxophone solos include Phil Collins’ “One More Night”, even featuring Myrick performing the sax solo in the official music video, filmed in a London pub. Another was the live recording of “Reasons” featured on the Earth Wind & Fire Gratitude album, and “After the Love Has Gone” from the album I Am. He performed with many prominent musicians including Grover Washington, Jr. and Carlos Santana. Myrick also appeared on albums by artists including Bobby “Blue” Bland, The Dells, Regina Belle, the Mighty Clouds of Joy, and Heaven 17.
Sam Phillips 2003 (b.1923) – was an American businessman, record executive, record producer and DJ who played an important role in the emergence of rock and roll as the major form of popular music in the 1950’s. He was a producer, label owner, and talent scout throughout the 1940’s and 1950’s. He most notably founded Sun Studios and Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee. Through Sun, Phillips discovered such recording talent as Howlin’ Wolf, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash. The height of his success culminated in his launching of Elvis Presley’s career in 1954. He is also associated with several other noteworthy rhythm and blues and rock and roll stars of the period. Phillips sold Sun in 1969. In 1986 Sam Phillips was part of the first group inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and his pioneering contribution to the genre has been recognized by the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. He was the first ever non-performer inducted. In 1987, he was inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame. He received a Grammy Trustees Award for his lifetime achievements in 1991. In 1998, he was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame, and in October 2001 he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.