Musical Birthdays & Deaths by Month
Glenn Miller 1904 (d.1944) – Big band musician, arranger, composer, and bandleader in the swing era. Some of Miller’s recordings include “In the Mood”, “Moonlight Serenade”, “Pennsylvania 6-5000”, “Chattanooga Choo Choo”, “A String of Pearls”, “At Last”.
Harry Belafonte 1927 – Singer, songwriter, actor, and social activist. One of the most successful Caribbean American pop stars in history, he was dubbed the “King of Calypso”. Best known for singing “The Banana Boat Song”, with its signature lyric “Day-O”.
Jerry Fisher 1942 – Known internationally for being the lead vocal with Blood, Sweat & Tears from 1972 to 1974, and known to Dallas music fans for his R&B gigs from 1964 to 1972.
Roger Daltrey 1944 – Singer and actor who came to prominence in the mid 1960’s as the founder and lead singer of the English rock band The Who as well as a solo career.
Mike d’Abo 1944 – Singer and songwriter, best known as the former lead vocalist of Manfred Mann and as the composer of the popular song “Handbags and Gladrags”.
Tony Ashton 1946 – Rock pianist, keyboardist, singer, composer, producer and artist. In 1976, when Deep Purple split, Jon Lord and Ian Paice joined with Tony to form Paice Ashton Lord, a band rooted in funk, jazz and rock.
Lou Reed 1942 (d.2013) – Musician, singer, and songwriter. He was the guitarist, vocalist, and principal songwriter of the Velvet Underground, and his solo career spanned five decades.
Tony Meehan 1943 (d.2005) – Drummer and founding member of The Shadows with Jet Harris, Hank Marvin and Bruce Welch. He played drums on early Cliff Richard and The Shadows hits and on early Shadows instrumentals.
Larry Carlton 1948 – Jazz, blues, pop, and rock guitarist. He has divided his recording time between solo recordings and session appearances with various well-known bands. Over his career, Carlton has won four Grammy Awards for his performances including performing on the theme song for the television series Hill Street Blues (1981)
Rory Gallagher 1948 (d.1995) – Blues and rock multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and bandleader who recorded solo albums throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s, after forming the band Taste during the late 1960’s. He was a talented guitarist known for his charismatic performances and dedication to his craft.
Karen Carpenter 1950 (d.1983) – Singer and drummer who, with her brother, Richard Carpenter, formed the 1970’s duo Carpenters. Although her skills as a drummer earned admiration from drumming luminaries and peers, she is best known for her vocal performances. She had a contralto vocal range.
Dale Bozzio 1955 – Rock and pop vocalist who is best known as co-founder and lead singer of the ’80’s new wave rock band Missing Persons and also known for her work with Frank Zappa. While with Zappa, she performed significant roles in two of his major works, Joe’s Garage and Thing-Fish. In her current solo career, Bozzio has released four albums and one EP so far.
Mark Evans 1956 – Bass guitarist who was an early member of hard rock band AC/DC from March 1975 to June 1977. His playing featured on their albums T.N.T, High Voltage, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, Let There Be Rock and ’74 Jailbreak.
John Cowsill 1956 – best known for his work as a singer and drummer with his siblings’ band, The Cowsills. He is currently a drummer and vocalist for the The Beach Boys touring band, which features original Beach Boy Mike Love and long time member Bruce Johnston.
Steve “Lips” Kudlow 1956 – Lead vocalist and guitarist of the metal band Anvil, which he co-founded with drummer Robb Reiner in 1978, having played together since 1973.
Jon Bon Jovi 1962 – Singer-songwriter, record producer, philanthropist, and actor, best known as the founder and frontman of rock band Bon Jovi, which was formed in 1983.
Chris Martin 1977 – Musician, singer, and songwriter known as the lead vocalist and co-founder of the band Coldplay.
Dusty Springfield 1999 (b.1939) – English pop singer and record producer whose career extended from the late 1950’s to the 1990’s. With her distinctive sensual mezzo soprano sound, she had six top 20 singles on the United States Billboard Hot 100 and sixteen on the United Kingdom Singles Chart from 1963 to 1989.
Hank Ballard 2003 (b.1927) – Rhythm and blues singer and songwriter, the lead vocalist of Hank Ballard and The Midnighters and one of the first rock ‘n’ roll artists to emerge in the early 1950’s.
Jeff Healey 2008 (b.1966) – Was a blind jazz and blues-rock vocalist and guitarist who attained musical and personal popularity, particularly in the 1980’s and 1990’s. He hit Number 5 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart with “Angel Eyes” and reached the Top 10 in Canada with the songs “I Think I Love You Too Much” and “How Long Can a Man Be Strong.”
Mike Pender 1941 – An original founding member of Merseybeat group the Searchers. He is best known as the lead vocalist on many hit singles by the Searchers, including the song “Needles and Pins” and “What Have They Done To The Rain?”.
Jennifer Warnes 1947 – Singer, songwriter, arranger and record producer. Famous for her compositions, interpretations and her extensive repertoire as a vocalist on movie soundtracks, she is also a close friend and collaborator of Canadian singer-songwriter and poet Leonard Cohen.
Blue Weaver 1947 – Welsh keyboardist, session musician, songwriter and record producer. He was a founding member of Amen Corner and its successor Fair Weather, Weaver also replaced Rick Wakeman in Strawbs when Wakeman left to join Yes.
Snowy White 1948 – English guitarist, known for having played with Thin Lizzy (permanent member from 1980 to 1982) and with Pink Floyd (as a backing guitarist; he was first invited to tour with the band through Europe and the United States in 1977, and during The Wall shows in 1980) and, more recently, for Roger Waters’ band.
Richie Cannata 1949 – Music producer, multi-instrumentalist and studio owner. He is most notable for playing saxophone in Billy Joel’s band alongsideLiberty DeVitto, Russell Javors, and Doug Stegmeyer. After leaving the band in 1981, he opened Cove City Sound Studios in Glen Cove, New York. Artists including Celine Dion, Billy Joel, Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony have recorded in Cannata’s studio.
Norman “Hurricane” Smith 2008 (b.1923) – English musician, record producer and engineer. He was the engineer on all of the EMI studio recordings by the Beatles until 1965, when EMI promoted him from engineer to producer. The last Beatles album he recorded was Rubber Soul, and Smith engineered the sound for almost 100 Beatles songs in total.
Ronnie Montrose 2012 (b.1947) – Rock guitarist, who led the bands Montrose (1973-77 & 1987) and Gamma (1979-83 & 2000) and also performed and did session work with a variety of musicians, including Van Morrison, Herbie Hancock, Beaver & Krause, Boz Scaggs, Edgar Winter, Gary Wright, The Beau Brummels, Dan Hartman, Tony Williams, The Neville Brothers, Marc Bonilla, Sammy Hagar, and Johnny Winter.
Bobby Rogers 2013 (b.1940) – Musician and tenor singer, best known as a member of Motown vocal group the Miracles from 1956 until his death. He was inducted, in 2012, as a member of the Miracles to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Eric Allandale 1936 (d.2001) – Trombonist, songwriter, occasional singer and former bandleader, as well as being a member of various jazz groups in England. In 1967 he became a member of the multi-racial English soul group, The Foundations and played on their hits “Baby, Now That I’ve Found You”, “Back on My Feet Again”, “Build Me Up Buttercup” and “In The Bad Bad Old Days” and stayed with them until their break up in late 1970.
Bobby Womack 1944 (d.2014) – singer-songwriter and musician, and producer. Since the early 1960’s, when he started his career as the lead singer of his family musical group The Valentinos and as Sam Cooke’s backing guitarist, Womack’s career spanned more than 50 years, during which he played in the styles of R&B, soul, rock and roll, doo-wop, gospel, and country.
Chris Squire 1948 (d.2015) – English musician, singer and songwriter who was best known as the bassist and founding member of the progressive rock band Yes. He was the only member to appear on each of their 21 studio albums, released from 1969 to 2014.
Chris Rea 1951 – English singer-songwriter and guitarist, recognisable for his distinctive, husky voice and slide guitar playing. TheBritish Hit Singles & Albums stated that Rea was “one of the most popular UK singer-songwriters of the late 1980’s. He was already a major European star by the time he finally cracked the UK Top 10 with his 18th chart entry; The Road to Hell (Part 2)”.
Jason Newsted 1963 – Metal musician, known for playing bass guitar with the bands Metallica (in which he did occasional lead vocals), Voivod and Flotsam and Jetsam. Joining Metallica in 1986 after Cliff Burton’s death, Newsted remained a member until 2001, making him the band’s longest-serving bassist.
Mike Patto 1979 (b.1942) – English musician, who was primarily notable as lead singer for Spooky Tooth and Boxer.
Yip Harburg 1981 (b.1896) – popular song lyricist who worked with many well-known composers. He wrote the lyrics to the standards “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?,” “April in Paris,” and “It’s Only a Paper Moon,” as well as all of the songs in The Wizard of Oz, including “Over the Rainbow.”
Howard Greenfield 1986 (b.1936) – Lyricist and songwriter, who for several years in the 1960’s worked out of the famous Brill Building. He is best known for his successful songwriting collaborations, including one with Neil Sedaka from the late 1950’s to the mid-1970’s. Greenfield co-wrote four songs that reached #1 on the US Billboard charts: “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do”, as recorded by Neil Sedaka; “Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool” and “Breakin’ in a Brand New Broken Heart”, both as recorded by Connie Francis, and “Love Will Keep Us Together”, as recorded by Captain & Tennille, and many others.
Richard Manuel 1986 (b.1943) – Canadian composer, singer, and multi-instrumentalist, best known as the pianist, regular lead singer, and occasional drummer of the Band. He was a member of the original band from 1967 to 1976 and the re-formed band from 1983 until his death.
Johnny Preston 2011 (b.1939) – Pop singer, who was best known for his international number one hit in 1960, “Running Bear”. He formed a rock and roll band called the Shades, who were seen performing at a local club by J. P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson who offered Preston the chance to record a teenage tragedy song he had written, “Running Bear”, which they did in Houston, Texas, in 1958. The “Indian” sounds on the record were performed by Richardson and George Jones.
Paul Evans 1938 – Rock and roll singer and songwriter, who was most prominent in the 1950’s and 1960’s. As a performer, he had hits with the songs “Seven Little Girls Sitting in the Backseat” (his biggest hit, reaching #9 (1959) on the Billboard Hot 100), “Midnight Special” and “Happy-Go-Lucky Me”
Murray Head 1946 – English actor and singer, most recognised for his international hit songs “Superstar” (from the 1970 rock operaJesus Christ Superstar) and “One Night in Bangkok” (the 1985 single from the musical Chess, which topped the charts in various countries), and for his 1975 album Say It Ain’t So.
Eddy Grant 1948 – Guyanese British musician. He was a founding member of The Equals, one of Britain’s first racially integrated pop groups. He is also known for a successful solo career that includes the platinum single “Electric Avenue”.
Alan Clark 1952 – English musician who was the first and main keyboardist for the rock band Dire Straits. Throughout his time with Dire Straits, he was also Tina Turner’s musical director, and played on and arranged her hit Private Dancer album. Clark has also played and recorded with a host of illustrious artists including the Bee Gees, Gerry Rafferty, Bo Diddley, Buddy Guy, Billy Joel, Lou Reed, Dave Stewart, David Knopfler, Gallagher and Lyle, Prefab Sprout, Joan Armatrading, Robert Cray, Al Green, Van Morrison, Roger Daltrey, George Harrison, Elton John, Phil Collins and others.
Andy Gibb 1958 (d.1988) – English singer, songwriter, performer and teen idol. He was the younger brother of the group Bee Gees, Barry,Robin and Maurice Gibb. Andy came to international prominence in the late 1970’s with six singles that reached the Top 10 in the United States starting with “I Just Want to Be Your Everything” (1977), as well as three other top 20 singles.
Charlie and Craig Reid 1962 – Twin brothers who are in the Scottish band The Proclaimers. They are best known for the songs “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)”, “Sunshine on Leith”, “I’m On My Way” and “Letter from America”, and their distinctive singing style with a Scottish accent. They have released ten studio albums from 1987 until the present, as well as three compilation albums and a DVD.
John Frusciante 1970 – Guitarist, singer, producer and composer. He is best known as the former guitarist of the rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers, from 1988 until 1992, and again from 1998 until 2009. He recorded five studio albums with them.
Patsy Cline 1963 (b.1932) – Singer who was part of the early 1960’s Nashville sound, Cline successfully “crossed over” to pop music and was one of the most influential, successful and acclaimed vocalists of the 20th century. Her hits began in 1957 with Donn Hecht’s and Alan Block’s “Walkin’ After Midnight”, Hank Cochran’s and Harlan Howard’s “I Fall to Pieces”, Hank Cochran’s “She’s Got You”, Willie Nelson’s “Crazy” and ended in 1963 with Don Gibson’s “Sweet Dreams”.
Syd Nathan 1968 (b.1904) – American music business executive, who founded King Records, a leading independent record label, in 1943. He contributed to the development of country & western, rhythm and blues and rock and roll music, and is credited with discovering many prominent musicians, most notably James Brown whose first single “Please, Please, Please” was released on the subsidiary label Federal in 1956.
John Belushi 1982 (b.1949) – Comedian, actor, and musician. He is best known for his “intense energy and raucous attitude” which he displayed as one of the original cast members of the NBC sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live, in his role in the 1978 film Animal House and in his recordings and performances as one of The Blues Brothers.
Vivian Stanshall 1995 (b.1943) – English singer-songwriter, musician, author, poet and wit, best known for his work with the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, for his exploration of the British upper classes in Sir Henry at Rawlinson End (as a radio series for John Peel, as an audio recording, as a book and as a film), and for acting as Master of Ceremonies on Mike Oldfield’s album Tubular Bells.
John McGeoch 2004 (b.1955) – Scottish guitarist who played with several bands of the post-punk era, including Magazine, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Visage and Public Image Ltd. He was described as “one of the most influential guitarists of his generation” and he was also considered “the new wave Jimmy Page”. In 1996, he was listed by Mojo in their “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” for his work on the Siouxsie and the Banshees song “Spellbound”.
Furry Lewis 1893 (d.1981) – Country blues guitarist and songwriter who was one of the first of the old-time blues musicians of the 1920’s to be brought out of retirement, and given a new lease of recording life, by the folk blues revival of the 1960’s. He was the first guitarist to play with a bottleneck. He lost a leg in a railroad accident and once supported The Rolling Stones. Joni Mitchell wrote the song ‘Furry Sings The Blues’ after him.
Bob Wills 1905 (d.1975) – Western swing musician, songwriter, and bandleader. He formed the Texas Playboys in 1934 with Wills on fiddle, Tommy Duncan on piano and vocals, rhythm guitarist June Whalin, tenor banjoist Johnnie Lee Wills, and Kermit Whalin, who played steel guitar and bass. They had such hits as “Steel Guitar Rag”, “New San Antonio Rose”, “Smoke On The Water”, “Stars And Stripes On Iwo Jima”, and “New Spanish Two Step”.
Jerry Naylor 1939 – Country and rock and roll artist and broadcaster and inspirational speaker, who was the lead singer of The Crickets following the death of Buddy Holly.
Mary Wilson 1944 – American vocalist, best known as a founding member of the Supremes. Wilson remained with the group following the departures of other original members, Florence Ballard in 1967 and Diana Ross in 1970. Following Wilson’s own departure in 1977, the group disbanded. Wilson has since released three solo albums, five singles and two best selling autobiographies, Dreamgirl: My Life As a Supreme, a record setter for sales in its genre and Supreme Faith: Someday We’ll Be Together.
Hugh Grundy 1945 – English drummer, best known as a founding member of the band The Zombies. Rod Argent wanted to form a band and Colin Blunstone and Paul Arnold joined in early 1961 while all five members were still at school. The band started life as The Mustangs, but after discovering other bands using the name, they changed it to The Zombies. After the band won a local contest, they recorded a demo as their prize. Argent’s song “She’s Not There” got them a deal with Decca.
David Gilmour 1946 – English musician, singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. In a career spanning more than 50 years, he is best known for his work as the guitarist and co-lead vocalist of the band Pink Floyd. In 2011, Rolling Stone magazine ranked him number 14 in their list of the greatest guitarists of all time. Additionally, Gilmour was voted number 36 in the greatest voices in rock by Planet Rock listeners in 2009.
Kiki Dee 1947 – English singer who was the first white, female, blue-eyed soul singer from the UK to sign with Motown’s Tamla Records. She is best known for her 1974 hit, entitled “I’ve Got the Music in Me”, and also for her 1976 duet with Elton John entitled, “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”, which went to Number 1 both in the UK Singles Chart and the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.
King Floyd 2006 (b.1945) – New Orleans soul singer and songwriter, best known for his Top 10 hit from 1970, “Groove Me”. In 1970, Wardell Quezergue, an arranger of R&B scores, persuaded Floyd to record “Groove Me” with Malaco Records in Jackson, Mississippi. Jean Knight recorded her hit, “Mr. Big Stuff,” in the same sessions.
Alvin Lee 2013 (b.1944) – English singer and guitarist, best known as the lead vocalist and lead guitarist of the blues rock band Ten Years After. Lee’s performance at the Woodstock Festival was captured on film in the documentary of the event, and his ‘lightning-fast’ playing helped catapult him to stardom. He was named “the Fastest guitarist in the West”, and considered a precursor to shred-style playing that would develop in the 1980’s.
Chris White 1943 – Best known as the bass guitarist and songwriter of the 1960’s rock group The Zombies. White replaced the Zombies’ initial bassist, Paul Arnold, and became one of the band’s two main songwriters, alongside Rod Argent. He wrote two tracks on their USA debut LP, The Zombies, released in January 1965. On the UK debut release, Begin Here, he had three tracks.
Townes Van Zandt 1944 (d.1997) – American singer-songwriter whose songs included “If I Needed You” and “To Live Is to Fly”, which are considered standards of their genre. In 1983, six years after Emmylou Harris had first popularized it, Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard covered his song “Pancho and Lefty”, scoring a number one hit on the Billboard country music charts.
Arthur Lee 1945 (d.2006) – Musician and singer, known as the frontman, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist of the Los Angeles rock band Love, best known for their critically acclaimed 1967 album, Forever Changes.
Matthew Fisher 1946 – English musician, songwriter and producer. He is best known for playing the Hammond organ on the 1967 single, “A Whiter Shade of Pale” by Procol Harum, for which he subsequently won a songwriting credit. While all the band had experience in other groups, Fisher was the only one with formal music training. He recalls that A Whiter Shade of Pale was originally four verses and ten minutes long, with solos improvised in between, and convinced the rest of the group that he should do all the solos when it came to recording the song.
Peter Wolf 1946 – American rhythm and blues, soul and rock and roll musician, best known as the lead vocalist for the J. Geils Band from 1967 to 1983 and for a successful solo career with writing partner Will Jennings. Wolf was married to actress Faye Dunaway from 1974 to 1979.
Ernie Isley 1952 – is a member of the American musical ensemble, The Isley Brothers. Ernie started playing drums at 12. His first live gig as a member of his brothers’ band was as a drummer in 1966 at the age of 14. Ernie was influenced by José Feliciano’s version of “Light My Fire” and in 1968 got his first guitar. In 1968 he did his first professional recording, playing bass on the Isleys’ breakthrough funk smash “It’s Your Thing”, released in 1969. He played electric guitar, acoustic guitar, and drums on the group’s early 1970’s’ albums Get Into Something, Givin’ It Back, and Brother, Brother, Brother, before fully joining The Isley Brothers in 1973.
Jimmy Boyd 2009 (b.1939) – Singer, musician, and actor. He was known for his recording of the song “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”. Boyd recorded the song for Columbia Records in 1952, when he was 13 years old. It became a hit, selling over two and a half million records in its first week’s release and Boyd’s name became known internationally and he was presented with two gold records. Boyd’s record went to number one on the charts again the following year at Christmas, and continues to sell as a Christmas song. Collective disc sales by 1966 amounted to over 11 million copies.
Peter Banks 2013 (b.1947) – Was the original guitarist of the progressive rock bands The Syn, Yes, Flash and Empire. The BBC’s Danny Baker and Big George often called Banks “The architect of progressive music”. In Gibson Guitar’s ‘Lifestyle’ e-magazine of 3 February 2009, Banks is listed as one of the “10 Great Prog Rock Guitarists.” According to the article, “Before there was Steve Howe, there was Peter Banks. Artistic differences between Banks and singer Jon Anderson prompted Banks’s departure from Yes in 1970.
Mickey Dolenz 1945 – Actor, musician, television director, radio personality who was best known as the drummer and principal lead singer of the 1960’s pop/rock band the Monkees. Dolenz wrote a few of the band’s self-penned songs as well as providing the lead vocals for such hits as “Last Train to Clarksville”, “Take a Giant Step” and “I’m a Believer”.
Randy Meisner 1946 – Musician, singer and songwriter best known as a founding member of Poco and the Eagles. Throughout his professional musical career Meisner’s main role has been as a bassist and backing high-harmony vocalist as both a group member and session musician. He is best known for the Eagles hit song “Take It to the Limit”, which he co-wrote and sang.
Carole Bayer-Sager 1947 – Lyricist, singer, songwriter and painter. She wrote her first pop hit, “A Groovy Kind of Love”, with Toni Wine, while still a student at the New York City High School of Music and Art. It was recorded by the British invasion band theMindbenders, whose version was a worldwide hit, reaching #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. This song was later recorded by Sonny & Cher, Petula Clark, and Phil Collins, whose rendition for the film Buster reached number one in 1988.
Michael Allsup 1947 – Guitarist, best known for his contribution as a member of the group, Three Dog Night. In 1968, where he met a trio of vocalists(Danny Hutton, Chuck Negron, and Cory Wells), who had a recording contract with Dunhill Records and were looking for backing musicians. Allsup joined their new band Three Dog Night, which became a huge commercial success in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s.
Mel Galley 1948 (d.2008) – 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 nerve damage as a 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.
Dave Lambert 1949 – English singer-songwriter and musician, who has been a member of The Strawbs at various stages of the band’s career, beginning in the 1970’s.
Clive Burr 1957 (d.2013) – English drummer, best known as a member of Iron Maiden from 1979 to 1982. Burr played on their first three records: Iron Maiden, Killers and their breakthrough release The Number of the Beast, the last of which was the Maiden debut of Bruce Dickinson. Burr was fired from the band in 1982 during The Beast on the Road tour.
Gary Numan 1958 – English singer, songwriter, musician and record producer. He first entered the music industry as the lead singer of the new wave band Tubeway Army. After releasing two albums with the band, Numan released his debut solo album The Pleasure Principle in 1979. Most widely known for his chart-topping hits “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?” and “Cars”.
Ron “Pigpen” McKernan 1973 (b.1945) – Singer/songwriter who was a founding member of the San Francisco band the Grateful Dead and played in the group from 1965 to 1972. He was the band’s original front-man as well as playing harmonica and electric organ, but Garcia and bassist Phil Lesh’s influences on the band became increasingly stronger as they embraced psychedelic rock.
Hank Locklin 2009 (b.1918) – Country music singer-songwriter. A member of the Grand Ole Opry for nearly 50 years, Locklin had a long recording career with RCA Victor, and scored big hits with “Please Help Me, I’m Falling”, “Send Me the Pillow That You Dream On” and “Geisha Girl” from 1957-1960. His singles charted from 1949-1971.
St. Clair Lee 2011 (b.1944) – Rhythm and Blues vocalist with the band The Hues Corporation, which had a top ten record on the R&B and pop music charts called “Rock The Boat”. The single went to number one in 1974 and sold over two million copies.
Sir George Henry Martin 2016 (b.1926) – English record producer, arranger, composer, conductor, audio engineer and musician. He is sometimes referred to as “the Fifth Beatle” in reference to his extensive involvement on each of the Beatles’ original albums. Martin had 30 number-one hit singles in the United Kingdom and 23 number-one hits in the United States.
Lloyd Price 1933 – R&B vocalist, known as “Mr. Personality”, after one of his million-selling hits. His first recording, “Lawdy Miss Clawdy”, was a hit on Specialty Records in 1952. From 1957 to 1959 Price recorded a series of national hits on ABC Records that were successful adaptations of the New Orleans sound, such as “Stagger Lee”, “Personality”, which reached #2, and the #3 hit “I’m Gonna Get Married”. “Stagger Lee” topped the pop and R&B charts and sold over a million copies.
Mickey Gilley 1936 – Country music singer and musician. Although he started out singing straight-up country and western material in the 1970’s, he moved towards a more pop-friendly sound in the 1980’s, bringing him further success on not just the country charts, but the pop charts as well. Among his biggest hits are “Room Full of Roses,” “Don’t the Girls All Get Prettier at Closing Time,” and the remake of the Soul hit “Stand by Me”.
John Cale 1942 – Welsh musician, composer, singer-songwriter and record producer who was a founding member of the American experimental rock band the Velvet Underground. Since leaving the Velvet Underground in 1968 he has released approximately 30 albums. Of his solo work, Cale is perhaps best known for his album Paris 1919, and his cover version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”, plus his mid-1970s Island Records trilogy of albums: Fear, Slow Dazzle and Helen of Troy. He has produced or collaborated with Lou Reed, Nico, Nick Drake, Brian Eno, Patti Smith, the Stooges, Squeeze, Siouxsie and the Banshees and many others.
Gary Walker 1942 – Was the drummer and vocalist with both The Standells and The Walker Brothers. After moving to Britain in 1965, The Walker Brothers had a number of top ten albums and singles there, including the No. 1 chart hits “Make It Easy on Yourself” and “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine (Anymore),” both of which also made the US top 20. In between the two was the lesser US hit “My Ship is Coming In”.
Mark Lindsay 1942 – Best known as the lead singer and sax player for Paul Revere & the Raiders. Among their hits were the songs “Kicks” (1966; ranked No. 400 on Rolling Stone‘s list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time), “Hungry” (1966), “Him Or Me – What’s It Gonna Be?” (1967) and the Platinum-certified classic No. 1 single “Indian Reservation” (1971).
Robin Trower 1945 – English rock guitarist and vocalist who achieved success with Procol Harum who he joined following the success of their debut single “A Whiter Shade of Pale” in 1967, remaining with them until 1971 and appearing on their first five albums. Before launching his own eponymous band, he joined singer Frankie Miller, ex-Stone the Crows bassist/singer James Dewar, and former Jethro Tull drummer Clive Bunker to form the short-lived combo Jude. This outfit did not record and soon split up. Trower retained Dewar as his bassist, who took on lead vocals as well, and recruited drummer Reg Isidore (later replaced by Bill Lordan) to form the Robin Trower Band in 1973.
Chris Thompson 1948 – English singer and guitarist known both for his work with Manfred Mann’s Earth Band and for his solo accomplishments. In 1978, he was featured in Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of the Worlds, providing lead vocals for the song “Thunder Child”.
Trevor Burton 1949 – English guitarist and is a founding member of The Move who were one of the leading British rock bands of the 1960’s. Their name referred to the move various members of these bands made to form the group. Besides Wood, The Move’s original five-piece roster in 1965 was drummer Bev Bevan, bassist Kefford, vocalist Carl Wayne and guitarist Trevor Burton. The final line-up of 1972 was the trio of Wood, Bevan and Jeff Lynne; together, they rode the group’s transition into the Electric Light Orchestra.
Brad Delp 2007 (b.1951) – Best known as the lead vocalist of the rock bands Boston and RTZ. Delp joined the short-lived band Mother’s Milk (1973–74) and after producing a demo, Epic Records signed the act. Mother’s Milk was renamed Boston, and the eponymous debut album was released in August 1976. Delp performed all of the lead and backing vocals, including all layered vocal overdubs.
Dean Torrence 1940 – Jan & Dean in the early 1960’s were pioneers of the California Sound and vocal surf music styles popularized by the Beach Boys. Among their most successful songs was “Surf City”, which topped US record charts in 1963, the first surf song to do so. Their other charting singles were “Drag City” (1963), “The Little Old Lady from Pasadena” (1964), and “Dead Man’s Curve” (1964); the last of which was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2008.
Tom Scholz 1947 – Rock musician, inventor, engineer, and philanthropist, best known as the founder of the band Boston. He is also the inventor of the Rockman portable guitar amplifier. He has been described by Allmusic as “a notoriously ‘un-rock n’ roll’ figure who never enjoyed the limelight of being a performer,” preferring to concentrate almost exclusively on his music, and in more recent years, spending much of his time working with charities.
Ted McKenna 1950 – Scottish drummer, who has played with bands Tear Gas, The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Rory Gallagher, The Sensational Party Boys, and The Michael Schenker Group. He also toured with Ian Gillan for a short period in 1990, alongside fellow former SAHB member, bassist Chris Glen.
Edie Brickell 1966 – Singer-songwriter widely known for 1988’s Shooting Rubberbands at the Stars, the debut album by Edie Brickell & New Bohemians, which went to No. 4 on the Billboard 200 chart. She is married to Paul Simon. Brickell had a role as a folk singer in the 1989 film Born on the Fourth of July. Her version of Bob Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall” is featured on the film’s soundtrack. She also sang a cover version of Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side” in the 1990 film Flashback.
Andy Gibb 1988 (b.1958) – British-born Australian singer, songwriter, performer and teen idol. He was the younger brother of the group Bee Gees: Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb. Andy came to international prominence in the late 1970’s with six singles that reached the Top 10 in the United States starting with “I Just Want to Be Your Everything” (1977), as well as three other top 20 singles. Gibb’s success was brief, as he battled drug addiction and depression and died just five days after turning 30.
Danny Joe Brown 2005 (b.1951) – Was the original lead singer of the Southern rock group Molly Hatchet, and co-writer of the band’s biggest hits from the late 1970’s. He is best known for writing and singing on such songs as “Flirtin’ with Disaster” and “Whiskey Man.” He was also the vocalist on “Dreams I’ll Never See,” a faster-tempoed cover of the Allman Brothers song. The band’s sound was immediately recognizable by Brown’s distinct voice: a deep, raspy, throaty growl.
Lawrence Welk 1903 (d.1992) – American musician, accordionist, bandleader, and television impresario, who hosted The Lawrence Welk Show from 1951 to 1982. His style came to be known to his large number of radio, television, and live-performance fans (and critics) as “champagne music”.
Harvey Mandel 1945 – Guitarist known for his innovative approach to electric guitar playing. A professional at twenty, he played with Charlie Musselwhite, Canned Heat, The Rolling Stones, and John Mayall before starting a solo career. Mandel is one of the first rock guitarists to use two-handed fretboard tapping.
Mark Stein 1947 – Lead vocalist, keyboardist, composer, and arranger for Vanilla Fudge, and was for the Tommy Bolin band, and Alice Cooper’s band during 1978 to 1979. Stein himself influenced organist Jon Lord of the band Deep Purple. Lord, in a 1989 interview said “I used to listen to Mark Stein of Vanilla Fudge in the late sixties. He was a useful source of tricks on the Hammond.”
Blue Weaver 1947 – Welsh keyboardist, session musician, songwriter and record producer. A founding member of Amen Corner and its successor Fair Weather, Weaver replaced Rick Wakeman in Strawbs when Wakeman left to join Yes. He was with the Strawbs during their most successful and critically acclaimed period where he played some notable mellotron and other keyboard sequences on their albums Grave New World and Bursting at the Seams. He left Strawbs in 1973, and toured with Mott the Hoople in the US tour. Queen were their support act.
George Kooymans 1948 – Dutch guitarist and vocalist. He is best known for his work with the Dutch group Golden Earring. Kooymans wrote “Twilight Zone”, the group’s only Top 10 Pop Single on the US Billboard Hot 100 which hit No. 1 on the Billboard Top Album Tracks chart.
Nina Hagen 1955 – German actress and singer who is often referred to as the “Godmother of Punk”. Hagen first pursued her career in the mid-1970’s. In 1974, she joined the band Automobil. After moving to West Berlin in 1976, she formed the Nina Hagen Band and signed with CBS Records. The band released two albums before Hagen decided to pursue her career as a solo artist. In 1982, she again signed with CBS Records and released her first solo album, NunSexMonkRock. She later released two more records under the label—the Fearless (produced by Giorgio Moroder in 1983) and Nina Hagen in Ekstasy (1985).
Vinnie Paul 1964 – Drummer and producer who is best known for being a former member, and co-founder, of the heavy metal band Pantera. He is currently a member of supergroup Hellyeah. He also co-founded the heavy metal band Damageplan in 2003 with his younger brother, Dimebag Darrell.
Jimmy Greenspoon 2015 (b.1948) – Keyboard player and composer, best known as a member of the band Three Dog Night. Greenspoon has performed and recorded with Linda Ronstadt, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, America, The Beach Boys, Beck, Bogert & Appice, Nils Lofgren, Lowell George, Kim Fowley, Donovan, Buddy Miles, Stephen Stills, Jeff Beck, Chris Hillman, Steve Cropper, Duck Dunn, James Burton, Hal Blaine, Leon Russell, The Wrecking Crew, Osibisa, Shaun Cassidy, Cheech & Chong, and Redbone.
Leonard Chess 1917 (b.1969) – Was a record company executive and the co-founder of Chess Records. He was influential in the development of electric blues,Chicago blues, and rock and roll. In 1947, Leonard became associated with Aristocrat Records, increasing his share in the company over time; eventually he and his brother Phil would acquire complete control. The Chess brothers moved the company away from black pop and jazz and other genres into down home blues music with artists such as Muddy Waters. In 1950, the Chess brothers renamed the company Chess Records. “My Foolish Heart” (Gene Ammons), “Rollin’ Stone” (Muddy Waters), and “That’s All Right” (Jimmy Rogers) were among the first releases on the new label. Leonard Chess played bass drum on one of Muddy Waters’ sessions in 1951.
James Taylor 1948 – Singer-songwriter and guitarist and five-time Grammy Award winner, Taylor was inducted into the RRHoF in 2000. His breakthrough in 1970 with the No. 3 single “Fire and Rain” and had his first No. 1 hit the following year with “You’ve Got a Friend”, a recording of Carole King’s classic song. His 1976 Greatest Hits album was certified Diamond and has sold 12 million US copies.
Les Holroyd 1948 – English bass guitarist, vocalist and songwriter, formerly with the British progressive rock band Barclay James Harvest.
Bill Payne 1949 – Co-founded, with Lowell George, the American rock band Little Feat. He is considered by many other rock pianists, including Elton John, to be one of the finest American piano rock and blues music artists. In addition to his trademark barrelhouse blues piano, he is noted for his work on other keyboard instruments, particularly the Hammond B3 organ. Payne has worked and recorded with other musicians including J. J. Cale, Doobie Brothers, Emmylou Harris, Bryan Adams, Pink Floyd, Bob Seger, Toto, Linda Ronstadt, Jackson Browne, James Taylor, Bonnie Raitt, Helen Watson, Stevie Nicks, Shocking Edison, Robert Palmer and Stephen Bruton.
Mike Gibbins 1949 (d.2005) – Welsh musician, most notable for being the drummer of Badfinger. Gibbins wrote “It Had to Be” on the album No Dice, “Hey Cowboy” on the album Ass, “My Heart Goes Out” on the Badfinger album, and the songs “Your So Fine” and the first half of the medley “In the Meantime/Some Other Time” on the album Wish You Were Here.
Jack Green 1951 – Played with T. Rex between 1973 and 1974, then with The Pretty Things between 1974 and 1976, recording Silk Torpedo and Savage Eye. After Phil May walked out on the Pretty Things he carried on with Peter Tolson, Gordon Edwards and Skip Alan in Metropolis. He also was a member of Rainbow for three weeks in late 1978.
Steve Harris 1956 – English musician and songwriter, known as the bassist, occasional keyboardist, backing vocalist, primary songwriter and founder of the British heavy metal band Iron Maiden. He is the only member of Iron Maiden to have remained in the band since their inception and, along with guitarist Dave Murray, to have appeared on all of their albums.
Charlie Parker 1955 (b.1920) – also known as “Yardbird” and “Bird”, was an American jazz saxophonist and composer. Parker was a blazingly fast virtuoso, and he introduced revolutionary harmonic ideas including rapid passing chords, new variants of altered chords, and chord substitutions. His tone ranged from clean and penetrating to sweet and somber. Parker acquired the nickname “Yardbird” early in his career. This, and the shortened form “Bird”, continued to be used for the rest of his life, inspiring the titles of a number of Parker compositions, such as “Yardbird Suite”, “Ornithology”, “Bird Gets the Worm”, and “Bird of Paradise”. Parker was an icon for the hipster subculture and later the Beat Generation, personifying the jazz musician as an uncompromising artist and intellectual rather than just an entertainer.
Michael Hossack 2012 (b.1946) – was a drummer for the band The Doobie Brothers. After hearing founding drummer John Hartman and Hossack together, the Doobies decided that having two drummers would beef up the rhythm section and so adopted the “dual drummers” sound pioneered by bands such as the Grateful Dead and Allman Brothers. Hossack played alongside Hartman on the band’s breakthrough albums Toulouse Street in 1972, The Captain and Me in 1973 and What Were Once Vices are Now Habits in 1974, which spawned the band’s first #1 hit, “Black Water”.
Mike Stoller 1933 – Half of the song-writing/record producing team of (Jerry) Leiber & Stoller. They found initial successes as the writers of such crossover hit songs as “Hound Dog” and “Kansas City”. Later in the 1950’s, particularly through their work with The Coasters, they created a string of ground-breaking hits—including “Young Blood”, “Searchin'”, and “Yakety Yak”. Leiber and Stoller wrote hits for Elvis Presley including “Love Me” (1956), “Jailhouse Rock” (1957), “Loving You”, “Don’t”, and “King Creole”. In all, Leiber and Stoller wrote or co-wrote over 70 chart hits. They were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1985 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.
Neil Sedaka 1939 – Pop/rock singer, pianist, composer and record producer. Since his music career began in 1957, he has sold millions of records as an artist and has written or co-written over 500 songs for himself and others, collaborating mostly with lyricists Howard Greenfield and Phil Cody. After high school Sedaka and some of his classmates formed a band called The Tokens. The band had minor regional hits with songs like “While I Dream”, “I Love My Baby”, “Come Back, Joe”, and “Don’t Go”, before Sedaka launched out on his own in 1957. Eventually, after a few personnel changes, in 1961, the Tokens hit No. 1 on the Billboard pop charts with the international smash “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”.
Adam Clayton 1960 – English-born Irish musician best known as the bass guitarist of the Irish rock band U2. Clayton is well known for his bass playing on songs such as “Gloria”, “New Year’s Day”, “Bullet the Blue Sky”, “With or Without You”, “Mysterious Ways”, “Get on Your Boots”, and “Magnificent”. His work on No Line on the Horizon has been cited as his best bass playing.
Daevid Allen 2015 (b.1938) – Australian poet, guitarist, singer, composer and performance artist. He was co-founder of progressive rock groups Soft Machine (in the UK, 1966) and Gong (in France, 1967).
Quincy Jones 1933 – Record producer, conductor, arranger, composer, musician, television producer, film producer, instrumentalist, magazine founder, entertainment company executive, and humanitarian. His career spans six decades in the entertainment industry and a record 79 Grammy Award nominations, 27 Grammy’s, including a Grammy Legend Award in 1991. Jones was the producer, with Michael Jackson, of Jackson’s albums Off the Wall (1979), Thriller (1982), and Bad (1987), as well as being the producer and conductor of the 1985 charity song “We Are the World”.
Jim Pons 1943 – Former bass guitarist and singer for several 1960’s rock bands, including The Leaves, The Turtles, and The Mothers of Invention. In 1973 Pons left the music industry to become the film and video director for the New York Jets football club. He held this position until his retirement in 2000. Pons and his family moved to Jacksonville, Florida in 2005, where he does game day video for the Jacksonville Jaguars, and plays upright bass in a bluegrass band called Lonesome Ride.
Walter Parazaider 1945 – Saxophonist, best known for being a founding member of the rock band Chicago. In addition to his usual saxophone, he also doubles on the flute and other woodwind instruments in the band, including clarinet. Inspired by the Beatles hit “Got To Get You into My Life”, Parazaider became enamoured with the idea of creating a rock ‘n’ roll band with horns. Early practice sessions at Parazaider’s house included guitarist Terry Kath and drummer Danny Seraphine, who were both friends during his teenage years.
Michael Martin Murphey 1945 – Singer-songwriter best known for writing and performing Western music, country music and popular music. He has recorded the hit singles “Wildfire”, “Carolina in the Pines”, “What’s Forever For”, “A Long Line of Love”, “What She Wants”, and “Don’t Count the Rainy Days”. Murphey is also the author of New Mexico’s state ballad, “The Land of Enchantment”.
Rick Dees 1950 – Entertainer, radio personality, comedian, actor, and voice artist, best known for his internationally syndicated radio show The Rick Dees Weekly Top 40 Countdown and for the 1976 novelty song “Disco Duck.” He wrote two songs that appear in the film Saturday Night Fever, plus performed the title song for the film Meatballs.
Doc Pomus 1991 (b.1925) – Blues singer and songwriter. He is best known as the lyricist of many rock and roll hits. Pomus was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a non-performer in 1992, the Songwriters Hall of Fame (1992), and the Blues Hall of Fame(2012). His first big songwriting break came when he chanced upon the Coasters’ version of his “Young Blood” on a jukebox while on their honeymoon. Pomus wrote the song, then gave it to Jerry Leiber andMike Stoller, who radically rewrote it. Pomus asked Mort Shuman to write with him because Doc didn’t then know much about rock and roll, whereas Mort was familiar with many popular artists of the day. Their songwriting efforts had Pomus write the lyrics and Shuman the melody, although often they worked on both. They wrote the hit songs “A Teenager in Love”, “Save The Last Dance For Me”, “Hushabye”, “This Magic Moment”, “Turn Me Loose”, “Sweets For My Sweet” (a hit for the Drifters and then the Searchers), “Go Jimmy Go”, “Little Sister”, “Can’t Get Used to Losing You”, “Suspicion”, “Surrender” and “(Marie’s the Name) His Latest Flame”.
Lightnin’ Hopkins 1912 (d.1982) – Country blues singer, songwriter, guitarist, and occasional pianist. Rolling Stone magazine ranked Hopkins number 71 on its list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time. Musicologist Robert “Mack” McCormick opined that Hopkins is “The embodiment of the jazz-and-poetry spirit, representing its ancient form in the single creator whose words and music are one act”. He was a major influence on Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan and many other musicians. His obituary in the New York Times described him as “one of the great country blues and perhaps the greatest single influence on rock guitar players.”
D.J. Fontana 1931 – Musician best known as the drummer for Elvis Presley for 14 years. He played on over 460 RCA cuts with Elvis. Fontana joined a band (originally assembled by Sam Phillips without a drummer) consisting of Scotty Moore (lead guitar), Bill Black (bass) and Elvis Presley (rhythm guitar), calling themselves “The Blue Moon Boys”. This became the band that would perform and record the vast majority of the Elvis Presley hits of the 1950’s (some also including piano and backing vocals from the Jordanaires) including “Heartbreak Hotel”, “Hound Dog”, “Don’t Be Cruel”, and “Jailhouse Rock”.
Arif Mardin 1932 (d.2006) – Turkish-American music producer, who worked with hundreds of artists across many different styles of music, including jazz,rock, soul, disco and country. He worked at Atlantic Records for over 30 years, as both an assistant, producer, arranger, studio manager, and vice president, before moving to EMI and serving as vice president and general manager of Manhattan Records. His collaborations include working with Queen, The Bee Gees, Anita Baker, Aretha Franklin, Roberta Flack, Bette Midler, Laura Branigan, Chaka Khan, Phil Collins, Norah Jones and many others.
Howard Greenfield 1936 (d.1986) – Lyricist and songwriter, who for several years in the 1960’s worked out of the famous Brill Building. He is best known for his successful songwriting collaborations, including one with Neil Sedaka from the late 1950’s to the mid-1970’s, and a near-simultaneous (and equally successful) songwriting partnership with Jack Keller throughout most of the 1960’s. Greenfield co-wrote four songs that reached #1 on the US Billboard charts: “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do”, as recorded by Neil Sedaka; “Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool” and “Breakin’ in a Brand New Broken Heart”, both as recorded by Connie Francis, and “Love Will Keep Us Together”, as recorded by Captain & Tennille. He also co-wrote numerous other top 10 hits for Neil Sedaka (including “Oh! Carol”, “Stairway to Heaven”, “Calendar Girl”, “Little Devil”, “Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen”, and “Next Door to an Angel”); Connie Francis (including the “Theme to Where The Boys Are” and “My Heart Has a Mind of Its Own”); the Everly Brothers (“Crying in the Rain”); Jimmy Clanton (“Venus in Blue Jeans”) and the Shirelles(“Foolish Little Girl”). As well, Greenfield co-wrote the theme songs to numerous 1960’s TV series, including Gidget, Bewitched, The Flying Nun and Hazel.
Phil Lesh 1940 – musician and a founding member of the Grateful Dead, with whom he played bass guitar throughout their 30-year career. After the band’s disbanding in 1995, Lesh continued the tradition of Grateful Dead family music with side project Phil Lesh and Friends, which paid homage to the Dead’s music by playing their originals, common covers, and the songs of the members of his band. Phil Lesh & Friends helped keep a legitimate entity for the band’s music to continue. Recently, Lesh has opened a music venue called Terrapin Crossroads, and has been performing with Furthur alongside former Grateful Dead bandmate Bob Weir.
Mike Love 1941 – Musician, singer, songwriter, and activist who is a member and co-founder of the Beach Boys. For most of the Beach Boys’ career, Love has been one of the band’s lyricists, contributing to each of their studio albums. In the 1960’s, Love collaborated with Brian Wilson and was a lyricist on singles including “Fun, Fun, Fun” and “California Girls”. Love’s work during this period also assumed elements of melancholy with examples being “The Warmth of the Sun” written the day of John F. Kennedy’s assassination and “I’m Waiting for the Day” from Pet Sounds.
Sly Stone 1943 – Musician, songwriter, and record producer, most famous for his role as frontman for Sly and the Family Stone, a band which played a critical role in the development of soul, funk, rock, and psychedelia in the 1960’s and ’70’s. Sly & The Family Stone had their first hit single with “Dance to the Music”, which was later included on an album of the same name (1968). Although their third album, Life (also 1968), also suffered from low sales, their fourth album, Stand! (1969), became a runaway success, selling over three million copies and spawning a number one hit single, “Everyday People”. By the summer of 1969, Sly & The Family Stone were one of the biggest names in music, releasing two more top five singles, “Hot Fun in the Summertime” and “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)” / “Everybody Is a Star”, before the end of the year, and appearing at Woodstock.
Howard E. Scott 1946 – Funk/rock guitarist and founding member of the successful 1970’s funk band War. Scott contributed lyrics, music, and co-produced some of War’s greatest hits, such as Cisco Kid, Slipping into Darkness and Why Can’t We Be Friends?. He was also the frontman and leader of the group. Scott and other members eventually left the original band in the 1990’s, losing the right to use the band’s name.
Ry Cooder 1947 – Musician, songwriter, film score composer, and record producer. He is a multi-instrumentalist but is best known for his slide guitar work, his interest in roots music from the United States, and his collaborations with traditional musicians from many countries. Cooder’s solo work has been eclectic, encompassing many genres. He has collaborated with many musicians, notably including Captain Beefheart, Ali Farka Touré, Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, Van Morrison, Neil Young, Randy Newman, David Lindley, The Chieftains, and The Doobie Brothers, Carla Olson & the Textones (both on record and in film). He briefly formed a band named Little Village.
Dee Snider 1955 – Singer-songwriter, screenwriter, radio personality, and actor. Snider is most famous for his role as the frontman of the heavy metal band Twisted Sister. He was ranked 83 in the Hit Parader‘s Top 100 Metal Vocalists of All Time. Their third album, Stay Hungry, hit shelves on May 10, 1984. This would become the band’s most successful record with the hits “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and “I Wanna Rock.” To emphasize the “twisted sister” image, Snider adopted a trademark persona of metal-inspired drag with long blond hair, an excessive amount of eye shadow and rouge, and bright red lipstick.
Bret Michaels 1963 – Singer-songwriter, musician, actor, director, screenwriter, producer, and reality television personality. He first gained fame as the lead vocalist of the glam metal band Poison who have sold over 45 million records worldwide and 15 million records in the United States alone. The band has also charted ten singles to the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100, including six Top 10 singles and the number-one single, “Every Rose Has Its Thorn”.
Scott Asheton 2014 (b.1949) – Best known as the drummer for the rock band the Stooges. He co-formed the Stooges in 1967 along with his older brother Ron Asheton, Iggy Pop and Dave Alexander. The original incarnation of the band released two LP’s on Elektra Records before moving through several lineup changes, releasing a third LP on Columbia Records in 1973 and disbanding the following year.
Fred Neil 1936 (d.2001) – Folk singer-songwriter in the 1960’s and early 1970’s. He did not achieve commercial success as a performer and is mainly known through other people’s recordings of his material, particularly “Everybody’s Talkin'”, which became a hit for Harry Nilsson after it was used in the film Midnight Cowboy in 1969. Neil was one of the singer-songwriters who worked out of New York City’s Brill Building, a center for music industry offices. While composing at the Brill Building for other artists, Neil also recorded six mostly rockabilly-pop singles for different labels as a solo artist. He wrote songs that were taken by early rock and roll artists such as Buddy Holly (“Come Back Baby” 1958) and Roy Orbison (“Candy Man” 1961).
Jerry Jeff Walker 1942 – Country music singer and songwriter. Best known for writing the song “Mr. Bojangles”, Walker’s prolific music career and widespread musical influence have made him an iconic fixture of the Texas country music scene. He settled in Austin, Texas, in the 1970’s associating mainly with the outlaw country scene that included artists such as Michael Martin Murphey,Willie Nelson, Guy Clark, Waylon Jennings, and Townes Van Zandt.
Michael Bruce 1948 – Best known as guitarist, keyboard player and vocalist for the original Alice Cooper group. He co-wrote many of the hit songs with some or all of the other members of the band. Michael often had lyrics and music written for a song; the lyrics would then be reworked by Furnier. Two examples of this process are “Halo of Flies” and “No More Mr. Nice Guy”. There are several Bruce-only credited songs including “Be My Lover” from Killer.
Nancy Wilson 1954 – Musician, singer, songwriter, actress, and producer. She and her older sister Ann are the core of the rock band Heart. On February 9, 1964, when Nancy and Ann watched the Beatles perform on The Ed Sullivan Show, she and her sister instantly wanted to be like the band. In an interview she said, “The lightning bolt came out of the heavens and struck Ann and me the first time we saw the Beatles on ‘The Ed Sullivan Show.’
Tammi Terrell 1970 (b.1945) – Was an American recording artist, best known as a star singer for Motown Records during the 1960’s, most notably for a series of duets with singer Marvin Gaye. With Gaye, Terrell scored seven Top 40 singles on the Billboard Hot 100, including “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”, “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing” and “You’re All I Need to Get By”. Terrell’s career was interrupted when she collapsed into Gaye’s arms as the two performed at a concert at Hampden Sydney College on October 14, 1967, with Terrell later being diagnosed with a brain tumor.
T-Bone Walker 1975 (b.1910) – Was a critically acclaimed American blues guitarist, singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, who was an influential pioneer and innovator of the jump blues and electric blues sound. Much of his output was recorded from 1946 to 1948 on Black & White Records, including his most famous song, 1947’s “Call It Stormy Monday (But Tuesday Is Just as Bad)”. Other notable songs he recorded during this period were “Bobby Sox Blues” (a #3 R&B hit in 1947), and “West Side Baby” (#8 on the R&B singles charts in 1948).
Ola Brunkert 2008 (b.1946) – Was one of the main session drummers for ABBA. Brunkert and bassist Rutger Gunnarsson are the only two side musicians to appear on every ABBA album. Brunkert played on the group’s first single “People Need Love”, their Eurovision hit “Waterloo”, and consistently on a great many of their recordings throughout the 1970’s. ABBA promised that ‘one day we’re gonna let you hear him sing’ in the liner notes for the album Arrival in 1976. His last recording session with the group was in October 1981, recording their hit single “One of Us”.
Jack Lawrence 2009 (b.1912) – Songwriter who was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1975. One of Jack Lawrence’s first major songs after leaving the service was “Yes, My Darling Daughter”, introduced by Dinah Shore on Eddie Cantor’s radio program. The song was Shore’s first record. His song, “If I Didn’t Care”, introduced the world to The Ink Spots. And, although Frank Sinatra was already a well-known big band singer, Lawrence’s “All or Nothing at All” was Sinatra’s first solo hit.
Bobby Smith 2013 (b.1936) – Was the principal lead singer of the classic Motown/Philly group,The Spinners. Smith sang lead on most of their Motown material during the 1960’s, such as the charting singles like “Truly Yours” (1966) and “I’ll Always Love You” (1965) and also on The Spinners’ biggest Atlantic Records hits. These included “I’ll Be Around”, “Could It Be I’m Falling in Love”, “They Just Can’t Stop It the (Games People Play)”. In 1974, they scored their only #1 Pop hit with “Then Came You” (sung by Smith, in a collaboration with superstar Dionne Warwick).
Andy Fraser 2015 (b.1952) – English songwriter and bass guitarist whose career lasted over forty years and includes a notable period as one of the founding members of the rock band Free in 1968, at age 15. Free consisted of Paul Rodgers (vocals), Paul Kossoff (guitar) and Simon Kirke (drums). Fraser produced and co-wrote the song “All Right Now” with Rodgers. Simon Kirke later recalled: “All Right Now was created after a bad gig in Durham. We finished our show and walked off the stage to the sound of our own footsteps. The applause had died before I had even left the drum riser. It was obvious that we needed a rocker to close our shows. All of a sudden the inspiration struck Fraser and he started bopping around singing All Right Now. He sat down and wrote it right there in the dressing room. It couldn’t have taken more than ten minutes.” Fraser also co-wrote two other hit singles for Free, My Brother Jake and The Stealer.
Nat King Cole 1919 (d.1965) – Singer who first came to prominence as a leading jazz pianist. He was widely noted for his soft, baritone voice, which he used to perform in big band and jazz genres, becoming a major force in popular music for three decades. Cole was one of the first African Americans to host a national television variety show, The Nat King Cole Show, and has maintained worldwide popularity since his death from lung cancer in February 1965.
Zola Taylor 1938 (d.2007) – She was the original female member of The Platters from 1954 to 1962, when the group produced most of their popular singles.
Paul Kantner 1941 (d.2016) – Guitarist, singer and songwriter, known for co-founding Jefferson Airplane, a leading psychedelic rock band of the counterculture era, and its more commercial spin-off band Jefferson Starship. Formed in 1965 when he and Marty Balin met, Kantner eventually became the leader of Jefferson Airplane and led the group through its highly successful late 1960’s period. In 1970, while still active with Jefferson Airplane, Kantner and several Bay Area musicians recorded a one-off side project under the name “Paul Kantner and the Jefferson Starship.”
John Sebastian 1944 – Singer-songwriter, guitarist, harmonicist, and autoharpist. He is best known as a founder of the Lovin’ Spoonful, a band inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000; for his impromptu appearance at the Woodstock festival in 1969; and for his #1 hit in 1976, “Welcome Back”.
Scott Gorham 1951 – Guitarist and songwriter who rose to international recognition as one of the “twin lead guitarists” of the Irish rock band, Thin Lizzy. Although not a founding member of Thin Lizzy, he served a continuous membership after passing an audition in 1974, joining the band at a time when the band’s future was in doubt after the departures of original guitarist Eric Bell and his brief replacement Gary Moore. Gorham remained with Thin Lizzy until the band’s breakup in 1984.
Billy Corgan 1967 – Musician, songwriter, producer, TV writer, and poet, best known as the lead singer, guitarist, and sole permanent member of The Smashing Pumpkins. Formed by Corgan and guitarist James Iha in Chicago, Illinois, in 1987, the band quickly gained steam with the addition of bassist D’arcy Wretzky and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin. The band’s direction has largely been driven by Corgan through his confessional lyrics, grandiose production values, and virtuosic musical interplay.
Ric Grech 1990 (b.1946) – Originally gained notice in the U.K. as the bass guitar player for the progressive rock group Family. Grech then joined Blind Faith where an understanding forged with Steve Winwood continued with spells in Airforce (1970) and Traffic (1970-71) and on many other albums as a session player with Winwood. He found time during this hectic period to produce Rosetta Hightower and carry out sessions with the Faces and Fairport Convention.
Alex Chilton 2010 (b.1950) – Songwriter, guitarist, singer and producer, best known as the lead singer of The Box Tops and Big Star. Chilton’s early commercial success in the 1960’s as a teen vocalist for The Box Tops was never repeated in later years with Big Star and in his subsequent indie music solo career on small labels, but he drew an obsessive following among indie and alternative music musicians.
Charley Pride 1938 – Country music singer, musician/guitarist, recording artist, performer, and business owner. His greatest musical success came in the early- to mid-1970’s when he became the best-selling performer for RCA Records since Elvis Presley. In total, he has garnered 39 No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts.
Wilson Pickett 1941 (d.2006) – R&B, soul and rock and roll singer and songwriter. A major figure in the development of American soul music, Pickett recorded over 50 songs which made the US R&B charts, many of which crossed over to the Billboard Hot 100. Among his best-known hits are “In the Midnight Hour” (which he co-wrote), “Land of 1,000 Dances”, “Mustang Sally”, and “Funky Broadway”.
Eric Woolfson 1945 (d.2009) – Scottish songwriter, lyricist, vocalist, executive producer, pianist, and co-creator of The Alan Parsons Project. He sold over 50 million albums worldwide. Following the 10 successful albums he made with Alan Parsons, Woolfson pursued a career in musical theatre. He wrote five musicals which won numerous awards and have been seen by over a million people, and have been performed in Germany, Austria, Korea and Japan.
B.J. Wilson 1947 (d.1990) – English rock drummer who was best known as a member of Procol Harum for the majority of their original career from 1967 to 1977. In 1962 he joined local group The Paramounts, who scored a hit with “Poison Ivy” in 1964. After follow up singles failed to chart, the group disbanded in 1966 and Wilson went into session drumming, playing with Cat Stevens and Lulu.
Bobby Whitlock 1948 – Singer, songwriter and musician. He is best known for being a member of blues-rock band Derek and the Dominos with Eric Clapton in 1970–71. Whitlock’s musical career began with Memphis soul acts such as Sam & Dave and Booker T. & the MG’s before he joined Delaney & Bonnie and Friends in 1968. On the critically acclaimed Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs (1970), Whitlock wrote or co-wrote six of the album’s fourteen tracks, including “Tell the Truth”, “Anyday” and “Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad?”
John Hartman 1950 – Best known as a co-founder and original drummer of the Doobie Brothers. At the band’s inception, Hartman was the sole drummer. However, in late 1971, the group added second drummer Michael Hossack, and the dual-drummers formation has persisted ever since. (Hossack was replaced in 1973 by Keith Knudsen.)
Bill Frisell 1951 – One of the leading guitarists in jazz since the late 1980’s, Frisell’s eclectic music touches on progressive folk, classical music, country music, noise music and more. He is known for using an array of effects to create unique sounds from his instrument.
John Phillips 2001 (b.1935) – Singer, guitarist, songwriter and promoter, most notably of the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, a landmark event of the counter-culture era and the Summer of Love. Known as Papa John, Phillips was a member and leader of the vocal group The Mamas & the Papas. After being signed to Dunhill, they had several Billboard Top Ten hits, including “California Dreamin'”, “Monday, Monday”, “I Saw Her Again”, “Creeque Alley”, and “12:30 (Young Girls Are Coming to the Canyon)”. John Phillips also wrote “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)”, in 1967 for former The Journeyman band mate, Scott McKenzie.
Jet Harris 2011 (b.1939) – He 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. He played in several groups including the Vipers Skiffle Group and the Most Brothers before, in 1959, joining Cliff Richard’s backing group, the Drifters, who later changed their name to the Shadows at Harris’s suggestion
Tom Constanten 1944 – Keyboardist, best known for playing with Grateful Dead from 1968 to 1970. He remained with the group for three albums and left after the band’s infamous New Orleans drug bust following a January 30, 1970 show at the Warehouse.
Ruth Pointer 1946 – R&B/Soul singer, best known for being the eldest member of the Grammy Award–winning vocal group The Pointer Sisters. The group eventually found fame with songs like “Yes We Can Can” (1973), their country crossover hit, “Fairytale” (1974) and “How Long (Betcha Got a Chick on the Side)” before Bonnie’s exit in 1977. Continuing as a trio, the group found their biggest success covering tunes of rock, pop and new wave with singles such as “Fire” (1978), “He’s So Shy” (1980), and “Slow Hand” (1981).
Vince Lovegrove 1947 (d.2012) – Was an Australian journalist, music manager, television producer, AIDS awareness pioneer and musician. He was a member of 1960’s rock ‘n’ roll band The Valentines, sharing vocals with Bon Scott whom he later introduced to heavy rock group AC/DC. As a manager, his former clients included pub rock singer Jimmy Barnes and rock group Divinyls.
Billy Sheehan 1953 – Bassist known for his work with Talas, Steve Vai, David Lee Roth, Mr. Big, Niacin, and The Winery Dogs. Sheehan has won the “Best Rock Bass Player” readers’ poll from Guitar Player Magazine five times for his “lead bass” playing style. Sheehan’s repertoire includes the use of chording, two-handed tapping, right-hand “three-finger picking” technique and controlled feedback.
Ricky Wilson 1953 (d.1985) – Musician best known as the original guitarist and founding member of rock band the B-52’s. The B-52’s was founded in 1977, when Ricky, his sister Cindy, Kate Pierson, Keith Strickland and Fred Schneider shared a tropical Flaming Volcano drink at a Chinese restaurant. In addition to his work with The B-52’s, Wilson played the guitar on the song “Breakin’ In My Heart” on Tom Verlaine’s self-titled debut album in 1979.
Paul Kossoff 1976 (b.1950) – English guitarist best known as a member of Free. He was ranked 51st in Rolling Stone magazine list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”. Kossoff’s guitar playing was also much in demand for session work and he contributed solos on several albums including: Jim Capaldi’s Oh How We Danced (1972), Martha Veléz’s Fiends and Angels (1969); Blondel’s Mulgrave Street (1974); Uncle Dog’s Old Hat (1972), Michael Gately’s Gately’s Cafe (1971) and Mike Vernon’s 1971 album Bring It Back Home.
Randy Rhoads 1982 (b.1956) – Heavy metal guitarist who played with Ozzy Osbourne and Quiet Riot. He died in aplane accident while on tour with Osbourne in Florida in 1982. A devoted student of classical guitar, Rhoads combined his classical music influences with his own heavy metal style. Despite his short career, Rhoads, who was a major influence on neo-classical metal, is cited as an influence by many guitarists and is included in several “Greatest Guitarist” lists.
Sister Rosetta Tharpe 1915 (d.1973) – singer, songwriter, guitarist and recording artist. A pioneer of 20th-century music, Tharpe attained popularity in the 1930’s and 1940’s with her gospel recordings that were a unique mixture of spiritual lyrics and rhythmic/early rock accompaniment. She became gospel music’s first crossover artist and its first great recording star, referred to later as “the original soul sister” and “the godmother of rock and roll”. She was an early influence on figures such as Little Richard, Johnny Cash, Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis.
Vera Lynn 1917 – Widely known as “The Forces’ Sweetheart”, is an English singer, songwriter, and actress whose musical recordings and performances were enormously popular during the Second World War. During the war, she toured Egypt, India, and Burma, giving outdoor concerts for the troops. The songs most associated with her are “We’ll Meet Again”, “The White Cliffs of Dover”, “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square”, and “There’ll Always Be an England”.
Jerry Reed 1937 (d.2008) – Country music singer, guitarist, and songwriter, as well as an actor who appeared in more than a dozen films. His signature songs included “Guitar Man,” “U.S. Male,” “A Thing Called Love,” “Alabama Wild Man,” “Amos Moses,” “When You’re Hot, You’re Hot” (which garnered a Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance), “Ko-Ko Joe,” “Lord, Mr. Ford,” “East Bound and Down” (the theme song for the 1977 blockbuster Smokey and the Bandit, in which Reed co-starred), “The Bird,” and “She Got the Goldmine (I Got the Shaft).”
Carl Palmer 1950 – English drummer and percussionist. He is credited as one of the most respected rock drummers to emerge from the 1960’s. In addition, Palmer is a veteran of a number of famous English bands, including the Crazy World of Arthur Brown,Atomic Rooster, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, and Asia. He was inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 1989.
Jimmie Vaughan 1951 – Blues rock guitarist and singer based in Austin, Texas. He is the older brother of the late Texas blues guitar legend Stevie Ray Vaughan. Several notable blues guitarists have had a significant influence on Vaughan’s playing style including the “Three Kings” (Albert, Freddie, and B.B. King) and Johnny “Guitar” Watson. He formed the band The Fabulous Thunderbirds with singer and harpist Kim Wilson, bassist Keith Ferguson, and drummers Mike Buck and Fran Christina.
Slim Jim Phantom 1961 – Drummer for Stray Cats. Alongside band mates Brian Setzer and Lee Rocker, he spearheaded the neo-rockabilly movement of the early 1980’s. Phantom currently plays in the band Kat Men with Imelda May guitarist Darrel Higham.
Gil Evans 1988 (b.1912) – Canadian jazz pianist, arranger, composer and bandleader. He played an important role in the development of cool jazz, modal jazz, free jazz and jazz fusion, and collaborated extensively with Miles Davis. In 1986, Evans produced and arranged the soundtrack to the film of the Colin MacInnes book Absolute Beginners, thereby working with such contemporary artists as Sade Adu, Patsy Kensit’s Eighth Wonder, the Style Council,Jerry Dammers, Smiley Culture, Edward Tudor-Pole, and David Bowie. He also arranged the music for the 1986 Martin Scorsese film The Color of Money.
Son House 1902 (d.1988) – Blues singer and guitarist, noted for his highly emotional style of singing and slide guitar playing. In addition to his early influence on Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters, he became an inspiration to John Hammond, Alan Wilson (of Canned Heat), Bonnie Raitt, the White Stripes,Dallas Green and John Mooney.
Otis Spann 1930 (d.1970) – Blues musician, whom many consider to be the leading postwar Chicago blues pianist. Spann replaced Big Maceo Merriweather as Muddy Waters’ piano player in late 1952, and participated in his first recording session with the band on September 24, 1953. He continued to record as a solo artist and session man with other musicians, including Bo Diddley and Howlin’ Wolf during his tenure with the group. He stayed with Muddy Waters until 1968. He also worked on albums with Buddy Guy, Big Mama Thornton, Peter Green, and Fleetwood Mac during the late 1960’s.
Solomon Burke 1940 (d,2010) – Recording artist and vocalist, who shaped the sound of rhythm and blues as one of the founding fathers of soul music in the 1960’s and a “key transitional figure in the development of soul music from rhythm and blues. He had a string of hits including “Cry to Me”, “If You Need Me”, “Got to Get You Off My Mind”, “Down in the Valley” and “Everybody Needs Somebody to Love”. Burke was referred to as “King Solomon”, the “King of Rock ‘n’ Soul”, “Bishop of Soul” and the “Muhammad Ali of soul”
Vivian Stanshall 1995 (b.1943) – English singer-songwriter, musician, author, poet and wit, best known for his work with the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, for his exploration of the British upper classes in Sir Henry at Rawlinson End (as a radio series for John Peel, as an audio recording, as a book and as a film), and for acting as Master of Ceremonies on Mike Oldfield’s album Tubular Bells.
David Lindley 1944 – Musician who is notable for his work with Jackson Browne, Warren Zevon, and other rock musicians. He has worked extensively in other genres as well, performing with artists as varied as Curtis Mayfield and Dolly Parton. Lindley is known for his work as a session musician. He has contributed to recordings and live performances by Jackson Browne, Warren Zevon, Linda Ronstadt, Curtis Mayfield, James Taylor, David Crosby, Graham Nash, Terry Reid, Dolly Parton, Bob Dylan, Rod Stewart, Joe Walsh and others.
Rosie Stone 1945 – Singer and keyboardist. She is best known as one of the lead singers in Sly and the Family Stone, a popular psychedelic soul/funk band founded by her brothers, Sly Stone and Freddie Stone. She often wore a platinum-colored wig while performing with the band, and was noted for her strong vocals. During the 1980’s and 1990’s, Stone worked as a backing session singer, appearing on recordings by Michael Jackson, Phish, Ringo Starr, Reef and Bobbysocks! In 2011 and 2012, Stone and her daughter Lisa toured with Elton John as members of his vocal backing group.
Ray Dorset 1946 – Guitarist, singer, songwriter, and founder of Mungo Jerry. He composed most of the songs for the band, including the hit singles “In the Summertime”, “Mighty Man”, “Baby Jump”, “Lady Rose”, “You Don’t Have to Be in the Army to Fight in the War”, “Long Legged Woman Dressed in Black”, and “Hello Nadine”.
Eddie Money 1949 – Rock guitarist, saxophonist and singer-songwriter, who found success in the 1970’s and 1980’s with a string of Top 40 hits and platinum albums. In the 1970’s, he charted with singles such as “Baby Hold On” and “Two Tickets to Paradise”. Money made a comeback in 1986 and returned to the mainstream rock spotlight with the album Can’t Hold Back. The album’s Ronnie Spector duet “Take Me Home Tonight” reached the Top 10, as did the hit “I Wanna Go Back.”
Roger Hodgson 1950 – English musician, singer and songwriter, best known as the former co-frontman and founding member of progressive rock band Supertramp. Hodgson composed and sang the majority of the band’s hits, including “Dreamer”, “Give a Little Bit”, “Breakfast in America”, “Take the Long Way Home”, “The Logical Song” and “It’s Raining Again”. He has also released 3 solo albums with In the Eye of The Storm released in September 1984 which would prove to be his biggest success without the group. The album became an international hit, selling over two million copies. The single “Had a Dream (Sleeping With the Enemy)” peaked at number 48 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, and the follow-up single “In Jeopardy” peaked at number 30.
Andy Parker 1952 – British rock drummer best known as the founding and current drummer of the Hard rock/Heavy metal band, UFO. Parker has been in UFO from 1969 (when he was 16) to the present. Parker had medical problems between late 2005 and early 2007, and his spot in UFO was briefly filled by Jason Bonham, until Parker’s medical issues were taken care of.
Dominic Miller 1960 – English guitarist who toured and recorded with World Party and King Swamp, worked on Phil Collins’ solo album …But Seriously and played guitar on every Sting album and tour since 1990. He has co-written many notable songs with Sting including “Shape of My Heart”, which was also a hit for Craig David and the Sugababes.
Thomas Blug 1966 – German musician, guitarist, musical electronic engineer and composer. He also formed his own band Thomas Blug Band with whom he released three albums besides his solo albums. He has also worked with band Dreist with whom he released an album in 1997 and a live album a decade later.
Leo Fender 1991 (b.1909) – Inventor who founded Fender Electric Instrument Manufacturing Company, or “Fender” for short. The guitars, bass guitars, and amplifiers he designed from the 1940’s on are still relevant: the Fender Telecaster (1950) was the first mass-produced solid-body electric guitar; the Fender Stratocaster (1954) is among the world’s most iconic electric guitars; the Fender Precision Bass (1951) set the standard for electric bass guitars, and the Fender Bassman amplifier, popular enough in its own right, became the basis for later amplifiers (notably by Marshall and Mesa Boogie) that dominated rock and roll music. Leo Fender was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992 – a unique achievement given that he never learned to play the instruments that he made a career of building.
Speedy Keen 2002 (b.1945) – Songwriter, vocalist, drummer and keyboard player, best known for his association with the rock band Thunderclap Newman. He wrote “Something in the Air” (1969) for the band, which reached No. 1 in the UK Singles Chart. As a session musician Keen played for others such as, Rod Stewart, The Mission and Kenny G. He also provided music for television advertisements and television programmes such as The Zoo. As a writer, apart from “Something in the Air”, “Armenia City in the Sky” and “Club of Lights”, he wrote songs for The Swinging Blue Jeans (“Something’s Coming Along”) and Crokodile Tears (“Your Love”).
Klaus Dinger 2008 (b.1946) – German musician and songwriter most famous for his contributions to the seminal krautrock outfit, Neu!. He was also the guitarist and chief songwriter of new wave group La Düsseldorf and briefly the percussionist of Kraftwerk.
Pinetop Perkins 2011 (b.1913) – Blues pianist who played with some of the most influential blues and rock and roll performers in American history and received numerous honors during his lifetime, including a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and induction into the Blues Hall of Fame. Perkins replaced Otis Spann when Spann left the Muddy Waters band in 1969. After ten years with that organization, he formed the Legendary Blues Band with Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, recording through the late 1970’s, 1980’s and early 1990’s.
George Benson 1943 – musician, guitarist and singer-songwriter. He began his professional career at 21 as a jazz guitarist. A former child prodigy, Benson first came to prominence in the 1960’s, playing soul jazz with Jack McDuff and others. He then launched a successful solo career, alternating between jazz, pop, R&B singing, and scat singing. His album Breezin’ was certified triple-platinum, hitting no. 1 on the Billboard album chart in 1976.
Keith Relf 1943 (d.1976) – English musician, best known as the lead vocalist and harmonica player for The Yardbirds. Relf co-wrote many of the original Yardbirds songs (“Shapes of Things”, “I Ain’t Done Wrong”, “Over Under Sideways Down”, “Happenings Ten Years Time Ago”), later showing a leaning towards acoustic/folk music as the sixties unfolded (“Only the Black Rose”). He also sang an early version of “Dazed and Confused” in live Yardbirds concerts, a song later recorded by the band’s successor group Led Zeppelin.
Chris Stainton 1944 – English session musician, keyboard player and songwriter, who first gained recognition with Joe Cocker in the late 1960’s. In addition to his collaboration with Cocker, Stainton is best known for his work with Eric Clapton, The Who, Andy Fairweather Low and Bryan Ferry. Stainton co-wrote “Marjorine”, Cocker’s first UK Singles Chart hit in 1968. His time as a Cocker backing musician came to a zenith on the Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour, in the United States and Canada in 1970. His initial involvement with Cocker lasted until the end of 1972.
Harry Vanda 1946 – Dutch-born Australian musician, songwriter and record producer. He came to fame in 1964–65 as the lead guitarist of the popular Australian group The Easybeats. In the same year he met rhythm guitarist George Young in a Sydney migrants’ hostel. In 2007, Australian Musician selected this meeting as the most significant event in Australian pop and rock music history. In 1966, Vanda began a successful and enduring writing partnership with Young; together they penned many of The Easybeats’ 1960’s recordings, including their major international hit, “Friday On My Mind”. From 1974 onwards they enjoyed huge success in Australia and elsewhere, writing and producing hits for a number of popular Australian groups and solo singers, most notably, AC/DC which included George Young’s brothers, guitarists Angus and Malcolm Young. Vanda & Young produced landmark albums such as Let There Be Rock, Powerage, If You Want Blood You’ve Got It, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, High Voltage/TNT, amongst others.
Randy Jo Hobbs 1948 (d.1993) – Played bass for The McCoys during the 1965-1969 period and in the bands of the brothers Edgar and Johnny Winter during 1970-1976. He played bass with Jimi Hendrix on some 1968 live sessions which were later released unofficially as Woke Up This Morning and Found Myself Dead (1980) and New York Sessions (1998), and officially as Bleeding Heart (1994).
Dan Hartman 1994 (b.1950) – Musician, singer, songwriter and record producer. Among songs he wrote and recorded were “Free Ride” with The Edgar Winter Group, and the solo hits “Instant Replay”, “I Can Dream About You”, “We Are the Young” and “Second Nature”. “I Can Dream About You”, his most successful song, reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1984. The James Brown song “Living in America”, which Hartman co-wrote and produced, was even more successful, reaching #4 in 1985.
Rod Price 2005 (b.1947) – English guitarist who was best known for his work with the rock band Foghat. He was known as ‘The Magician of Slide’, and ‘Slide King of Rock And Roll’, due to his slide guitar playing. Price joined Foghat when the group was first formed in London in 1971. He played on the band’s first ten albums, released from 1972 through to 1980. His signature slide playing ability helped propel the band to being one of the most successful rock groups in the United States during the 1970’s. His slide playing was featured distinctly on Foghat songs “Drivin’ Wheel”, “Stone Blue”, and the group’s biggest hit, “Slow Ride”, which was a top 20 hit in 1976.
Reg Isidore 2009 (b.1949) – Was a rock drummer best known for his work with Robin Trower. Isidore was Trower’s first drummer and he played on the Robin Trower Band’s first two albums Twice Removed from Yesterday and Bridge of Sighs. He regrouped with Trower and Jack Bruce in 1981 to record the album Truce. He also recorded albums with Richard Wright, Peter Green and Jimmy Witherspoon, among others.
Ric Ocasek 1949 – Musician and record producer who is best known as the vocalist, rhythm guitarist and songwriter for the rock band the Cars. They had numerous hit songs from 1978 to 1988; he played rhythm guitar and sang lead vocals for a majority of songs (bassist Benjamin Orr was lead vocalist on the remaining tracks). After splitting writing duty with Orr in the 1970’s, Ocasek became the principal songwriter of the band, and wrote nearly all of the Cars’ material, sharing credit on only a few songs with bandmate Greg Hawkes as co-writer.
Phil Lanzon 1950 – Keyboardist for British rock group Uriah Heep since 1986. Lanzon has also worked both as a session musician and sideman with Grand Prix, Grant & Forsyth, John Lawton (former Uriah Heep-member), Mick Ronson, Chris Spedding, and Sweet, among others.
Chaka Khan 1953 – Singer-songwriter whose career has spanned four decades, beginning in the 1970’s as the front-woman and focal point of the funk band Rufus. Widely known as the Queen of Funk, Khan has won ten Grammy’s and has sold an estimated 70 million records worldwide. Khan was the first R&B artist to feature a rapper with “I Feel for You” in 1984. In the course of her solo career, Khan has achieved three gold singles, three gold albums and one platinum album with I Feel for You. With Rufus, she achieved four gold singles, four gold albums, and two platinum albums.
Dave Brockie 2014 (b.1963) – Was a Canadian musician, and best known as the lead vocalist of the metal band Gwar, in which he performed as Oderus Urungus. He performed as a bassist and lead singer in bands such as Death Piggy, X-Cops, and the Dave Brockie Experience (DBX), and starred in the comedy/horror TV sitcom Holliston as Oderus Urungus. Brockie died in 2014 of a heroin overdose, leaving Gwar without any of its founding members.
Nervous Norvus 1912 (d.1968) – His novelty song “Transfusion” was a Top 10 hit in 1956, reaching #8 on Billboard’s pop music chart. A second song, “Ape Call,” released later that year, also charted. The lyrics in “Transfusion” concern a careless driver who (cheerfully) receives blood transfusions after each accident. Graphic sounds of a car crash are included after each verse. Each stanza concludes with the refrain “Never never never gonna speed again” followed by lines such as “Slip the blood to me, Bud” or “Pour the crimson in me, Jimson.” The song was banned on many radio stations in the 1950’s. The song was later played on the radio by DJ Barry Hansen, which reportedly led to Hansen’s eventual nickname of Dr. Demento. The car crash sound effect from this song, dubbed from the Standard Sound Effects Library, can be heard on “Dead Man’s Curve” by Jan and Dean and “Leader of the Pack” by the Shangri-Las, and is currently available on the “Classic TV Sound Effects Library” from Sound Ideas.
Colin Petersen 1946 – Australian drummer, record producer and former child actor. He played as a member of the bands Steve and the Board, the Bee Gees and Humpy Bong. He was the first non-Gibb brother to become an official member of the Bee Gees. He played on the albums Bee Gees’ 1st, Horizontal, Idea, Odessa, and Cucumber Castle. He was an equal partner in the group from early in their period in the UK, and the Gibb brothers regarded his playing as essential to their sound. While he was a Bee Gee, he and Maurice Gibb wrote “Everything That Came From Mother Goose” with lead vocals and guitar by Colin, but it was not released.
Mike Kellie 1947 – English drummer best known as a member of Spooky Tooth and The Only Ones. In 1966 Kellie played in Birmingham in a band called The Locomotive with Chris Wood of Traffic, and later with the The V.I.P.’s (later Art) in Carlisle. Manager Chris Blackwell found a singer and organist from The New York Times band named Gary Wright, added him to the line-up of Art and launched the band Spooky Tooth with Kellie, Greg Ridley, Jimmy Henshaw, Keith Emerson, Luther Grosvenor and Mike Harrison.
Lee Oskar 1948 – Danish harmonica player, notable for his contributions to the sound of the rock-funk fusion group War, which he formed with Eric Burdon, his solo work, and as a harmonica manufacturer. He currently plays with 3 other original WAR band members, Harold Brown, Howard Scott and B.B. Dickerson, under the name Low Rider Band.
Nick Lowe 1949 – English singer-songwriter, musician, and producer. A noted figure in UK pub rock, power pop and new wave, Lowe has recorded a string of well-reviewed solo albums. Along with vocals, Lowe plays guitar, bass guitar, piano and harmonica. He is best known for his songs “Cruel to Be Kind” (a US Top 40 single) and “(I Love the Sound of) Breaking Glass” (a top 10 UK hit), as well as his production work with Elvis Costello, Graham Parker, and others. Lowe also wrote “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding”, a hit for Costello.
Dougie Thomson 1951 – Scottish musician who is best known as the former bass guitarist of progressive rock band Supertramp. Thomson played with Supertramp on all of their most famous albums: Crime of the Century, Crisis? What Crisis?, Even in the Quietest Moments, Breakfast in America, Paris, …Famous Last Words…, Brother Where You Bound and Free as a Bird.
Carol Kaye 1953 – Known as one of the most prolific and widely heard bass guitarists, playing on an estimated 10,000 recordings in a career spanning over 50 years. As a session musician, Kaye was the bassist on many Phil Spector and Brian Wilson productions in the 1960’s and 1970’s. She recorded guitar on Ritchie Valens’ “La Bamba” and is credited with the bass tracks on several Simon & Garfunkel hits and many film scores by Quincy Jones and Lalo Schifrin. One of the most popular albums Carol contributed to was the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds. She was also a member of The Wrecking Crew, which she insists was actually called “The Clique”, a group of studio musicians who played on a large number of hit records from Los Angeles in the 1960’s. Kaye performed on several American television themes including the Quinn Martin produced Cannon, The Streets of San Francisco, Mission: Impossible, M*A*S*H, Kojak, Get Smart, Hogan’s Heroes, The Love Boat, McCloud,Mannix, It Takes a Thief, Peyton Place and the Cosby Show. She is credited with performing on the soundtracks of Hawaii Five-O, The Addams Family and The Brady Bunch along with Ironside, Room 222, Bonanza, Wonder Woman, Alias Smith & Jones, Run for Your Life and Barnaby Jones.
Uriel Jones 2009 (b.1934) – Was a recording session drummer for Motown’s in-house studio band, the Funk Brothers, during the 1960’s and early 1970’s. Jones had a hard-hitting, funky sound, best heard on the tracks for the hits “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” – both versions, by Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell in 1967 and the 1970 remake by Diana Ross, “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” and Ain’t That Peculiar by Marvin Gaye, “Cloud Nine” by the Temptations (in which he was augmented by Spider Webb), Jr. Walker’s “Home Cookin’,” “I Second That Emotion” by Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, “For Once In My Life” by Stevie Wonder, and many more.
Jim Marshall 2010 (b.1936) – Was a photographer, often of rock stars. He had extended access to numerous musicians through the 1960’s and 1970’s, including being backstage at The Beatles’ final paid live concert in San Francisco’s Candlestick Park, and chief photographer at Woodstock. He was hired by Atlantic Records and Columbia Records to photograph their musical artists. His photos appeared on the covers of over 500 albums and even more were published in Rolling Stone. He famously photographed Jimi Hendrix setting his guitar on fire at the Monterey Pop Festival, and Johnny Cash at San Quentin. Marshall was said to have at least one Leica camera with him at all times. One famous story of a CEO that offered to buy the camera that he used to shoot Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock for $25,000 (in 1973) which he refused.
Vince Lovegrove 2012 (d.1947) – Australian journalist, music manager, television producer, AIDS awareness pioneer and musician. He was a member of 1960’s rock ‘n’ roll band The Valentines, sharing vocals with Bon Scott whom he later introduced to heavy rock group AC/DC. As a manager, his former clients include pub rocksinger Jimmy Barnes and rock group Divinyls.
Hoyt Axton 1938 (d.1999) – Folk music singer-songwriter, and a film and television actor. He became prominent in the early 1960’s, establishing himself on the West Coast as a folk singer with an earthy style and powerful voice. As he matured, some of his songwriting became well known throughout the world. Among them were “Joy to the World”, “The Pusher”, “No No Song”, “Greenback Dollar”, and “Never Been to Spain”.
Aretha Franklin 1942 – Began her career singing gospel at her father, minister C. L. Franklin’s church as a child. In 1960, at the age of 18, Franklin embarked on a secular career, recording for Columbia Records but only achieving modest success. Following her signing to Atlantic Records in 1967, Franklin achieved commercial acclaim and success with songs such as “Respect”, “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” and “Think”. These hits and more helped her to gain the title The Queen of Soul by the end of the 1960’s decade. Franklin eventually recorded a total of 112 charted singles on Billboard, including 77 Hot 100 entries, 17 top ten pop singles, 100 R&B entries and twenty number-one R&B singles, becoming the most charted female artist in the chart’s history. Franklin also recorded acclaimed albums such as I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You, Lady Soul, Young, Gifted & Black and Amazing Grace before experiencing problems with her record company by the mid-1970’s.
Elton John 1947 – English singer, songwriter, and composer. He has worked with lyricist Bernie Taupin as his songwriting partner since 1967; they have collaborated on more than 30 albums to date. In his five-decade career Elton John has sold more than 300 million records, making him one of the best-selling music artists in the world. He has more than fifty Top 40 hits, including seven consecutive No. 1 US albums, 58 Billboard Top 40 singles, 27 Top 10, four No. 2 and nine No. 1. For 31 consecutive years (1970–2000) he had at least one song in the Billboard Hot 100. His single “Candle in the Wind 1997” sold over 33 million copies worldwide and is the best-selling single in the history of the UK and US singles charts.
Brinsley Schwarz 1947 – English guitarist and rock musician. He formed a band named Kippington Lodge in 1965, which evolved into the eponymous band Brinsley Schwarz. He later went on to achieve success with Graham Parker as Graham Parker and the Rumour. He continued to record and tour with Parker following the splitting up of The Rumour in 1980, notably contributing to Parker’s The Mona Lisa’s Sister album (1988).
Bob Ezrin 1949 – Canadian music producer and keyboardist, best known for his work with Lou Reed, Alice Cooper, Kiss, Pink Floyd, Peter Gabriel, and Phish. As of 2010, Ezrin’s career in music had spanned four decades and his production work continued into the 21st century, with acts such as Deftones and Thirty Seconds to Mars.
Baz Warne 1964 – Is the current guitarist and vocalist of The Stranglers. Earlier in his career, he was the guitarist and front-man of numerous bands. His first recordings to be released were with the Sunderland Punk band the Toy Dolls, whom he joined as bassist in 1983. Warne sings lead vocals on many of the tracks contained on The Stranglers’ most recent studio albums (Suite XVI and Giants). In live gigs, he handles the vocals on the songs that had originally been sung by Hugh Cornwell.
Jeff Healey 1966 (b.2008) – Was a blind jazz and blues-rock vocalist and guitarist who attained musical and personal popularity, particularly in the 1980’s and 1990’s. He hit Number 5 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart with “Angel Eyes” and reached the Top 10 in Canada with the songs “I Think I Love You Too Much” and “How Long Can a Man Be Strong.”
Joe Schermie 2002 (b.1946) – He was the original bass player for Three Dog Night and played on most of the group’s 21 hits. Disillusioned with his role in the group, he left the band in 1973 and formed a group called S.S.Fools that included former members of Three Dog Night and Toto vocalist Bobby Kimball. He later played some shows with former Three Dog Night vocalist Chuck Negron’s band. He also worked with Stephen Stills, Yvonne Elliman and others.
Buck Owens 2006 (d.1929) – was an American musician, singer and songwriter who had 21 No. 1 hits on the Billboard country music charts with his band the Buckaroos. They pioneered what came to be called the Bakersfield sound, a reference to Bakersfield, California, the city Owens called home and from which he drew inspiration for what he preferred to call American music. Beginning in 1969, Owens co-hosted the TV series Hee Haw with Roy Clark. He left the cast in 1986. The accidental death of Don Rich, his best friend, in 1974 devastated him for years and abruptly halted his career until he performed with Dwight Yoakam in 1988. n early 1963, the Johnny Russell song “Act Naturally” was pitched to Owens, who initially didn’t like it, but his guitarist and long time collaborator, Don Rich, enjoyed it, and convinced Owens to record it, which he did with the Buckaroos, on February 12, 1963. It was released on March 11 and entered the charts of April 13. By June 15 the single began its first of four non-consecutive weeks at the No. 1 position. It was Owens’ first No. 1 hit. The Beatles later recorded a cover of it in 1965, with Ringo Starr as lead singer. Ringo Starr later re-recorded the song as a duet with Owens in 1988.
Diana Ross 1944 – Singer, songwriter, actress and record producer. Born and raised in Detroit, she rose to fame as a founding member and lead singer of the vocal group The Supremes, which, during the 1960’s, became Motown’s most successful act and is to this day America’s most successful vocal group as well as one of the world’s best-selling girl groups of all time. The group set a record scoring twelve number-one hit singles on the Billboard Hot 100 including the hits “Where Did Our Love Go”, “Baby Love”, “Come See About Me”, “Stop! In the Name of Love”, “You Can’t Hurry Love”, “You Keep Me Hangin’ On”, “Love Child” and “Someday We’ll Be Together”.
Steven Tyler 1948 – Singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and former television music competition judge, best known as the lead singer of the Boston-based rock band Aerosmith, in which he also plays the harmonica, and occasional piano and percussion. He is known as the “Demon of Screamin” due to his high screams and his wide vocal range. Aerosmith released such milestone hard rock albums as Toys in the Attic and Rocks, along with a string of hit singles, including “Dream On”, “Sweet Emotion”, and “Walk This Way”.
Richard Tandy 1948 – English musician, best known as the keyboardist in the rock band Electric Light Orchestra (“ELO”). His palette of keyboards (including Minimoog, Clavinet, Mellotron, and piano) was an important ingredient in the group’s sound, notably on the albums A New World Record, Out of the Blue,Discovery, and Time.
Jeff Plewman 1948 (d.2014) – Better known by his stage name Nash the Slash, was a Canadian musician. A multi-instrumentalist, he was known primarily for playing the electric violin and mandolin, as well as the harmonica, keyboards, glockenspiel, and other instruments. Nash worked as a solo artist beginning in 1975; founding the progressive rock band FM in 1976. Soon after releasing the band’s first album, Black Noise, in 1977, he left the band; he resumed his solo career in 1978 (it was not until after Nash’s departure that the album was widely promoted, eventually charting and receiving a gold record award). He rejoined FM from 1983 to 1996, concurrent with his solo work.
James Iha 1968 – He is best known as former guitarist and co-founder of the alternative rock band the Smashing Pumpkins and for his eclectic musical projects of recent years, most notably being a permanent fixture of A Perfect Circle. He was most recently a member of Tinted Windows, a 1960’s/1970’s inspired group with members of Cheap Trick, Fountains of Wayne, and Hanson.
Ludwig van Beethoven 1827 (b.1770) – German composer. A crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western art music, he remains one of the most famous and influential of all composers. His best-known compositions include 9 symphonies, 5 piano concertos, 1 violin concerto, 32 piano sonatas, 16 string quartets, his great Mass the Missa solemnis and an opera, Fidelio.
Randy Castillo 2002 (b.1950) – Was best known as Ozzy Osbourne’s drummer during the mid-1980’s to the early 1990’s, and later as drummer for Mötley Crüe, from 1999 to his death from cancer in 2002. Albums recorded with Ozzy were The Ultimate Sin (1986), No Rest for the Wicked (1988), an EP entitled Just Say Ozzy (1990), No More Tears (1991), and a double-disc live album, Live & Loud (1993).
Jan Berry 2004 (b.1941) – One half of the surf duo in the 1960’s Jan & Dean. Among their most successful songs was “Surf City”, which topped US record charts in 1963, the first surf song to do so. Their other charting singles were “Drag City” (1963), “The Little Old Lady from Pasadena” (1964), and “Dead Man’s Curve” (1964); the last of which was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2008.
Carl Bunch 2011 (b.1939) – Began playing drums as a teenager while recovering from extensive surgery on his right leg. By age seventeen, he was recording with Ronnie Smith and the Poor Boys, in Clovis, New Mexico. Buddy Holly was also recording in Clovis at the same time and was impressed with the young drummer. Bunch was invited to join Holly on the “Winter Dance Party” tour in 1959, along with Tommy Allsup and Waylon Jennings. The tour bus heater failed, and Bunch suffered from frostbite and was hospitalized. On February 3, 1959, Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson were killed in a plane crash.
Robert Lockwood Jr. 1915 (d.2006) – Delta blues guitarist, who recorded for Chess Records and other Chicago labels in the 1950’s and 1960’s. The only direct student of Robert Johnson, he is well known as a longtime collaborator with Sonny Boy Williamson II and for his work in the mid-1950’s with Little Walter. In 1950, Lockwood settled in Chicago. A 1951 78-rpm single featured “I’m Gonna Dig Myself a Hole” / “Dust My Broom” (Mercury 8260), and a 1954 release contained “Aw Aw (Baby)” / “Sweet Woman (from Maine)” (J.O.B 1107). In 1954 he replaced Louis Myers as guitarist in Little Walter’s band. He played on Walter’s number 1 hit “My Babe” in 1955. He left the band around 1957. In the late 1950’s he recorded several sessions with Sonny Boy Williamson for Chess Records, sessions which also included Willie Dixon and Otis Spann. Lockwood also performed or recorded with Sunnyland Slim, Eddie Boyd, Roosevelt Sykes, J.B. Lenoir, and Muddy Waters, among others.
Sarah Vaughan 1924 (d.1990) – Jazz singer, described by music critic Scott Yanow as having “one of the most wondrous voices of the 20th century.” Nicknamed “Sassy”, “The Divine One” and “Sailor” (for her salty speech). Vaughan’s New York Times obituary described her as a “singer who brought an operatic splendour to her performances of popular standards and jazz.” Fellow jazz singer Mel Tormé said that Vaughan had “…the single best vocal instrument of any singer working in the popular field.” Her ability was envied by Frank Sinatra who said that “Sassy is so good now that when I listen to her I want to cut my wrists with a dull razor.”
Andy Bown 1946 – English musician, who has specialised in keyboards and bass guitar. He is a member of the rock band Status Quo. Bown’s first major band was The Herd, along with Peter Frampton. After The Herd dissolved he spend two years with Judas Jump who were the opening act of the Isle of Wight Festival 1970. He was the bass player in the “Surrogate Band” during Pink Floyd’s The Wall tour in 1980 and 1981 and can be heard on the live album Is There Anybody Out There? The Wall Live 1980–81. He also did some keyboards for Pink Floyd’s The Final Cut album. He also played Hammond organ and 12-string guitar during the recording of Roger Waters’ solo album The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking in 1984.
Tony Banks 1950 – English musician and multi-instrumentalist, primarily known for being the keyboardist and a founding member of the rock band Genesis. He is one of the only two members (the other being bassist/guitarist Mike Rutherford) who have been with Genesis throughout the band’s entire history. His elaborate arrangements and keyboard solos – such as the piano introduction to “Firth of Fifth” and the instrumental sections of “The Cinema Show”, “Watcher of the Skies”, and “Supper’s Ready”— helped to establish Genesis’s sound. In addition to playing keyboards, Banks contributed (along with Anthony Phillips, Steve Hackett and Rutherford) to Genesis’s 12-string acoustic passages in songs such as “The Musical Box”, “Entangled”, “The Cinema Show”, and the beginning part of “Supper’s Ready”.
Andrew Farriss 1959 – Rock musician and multi-instrumentalist best known as the keyboardist, backing vocalist, and main composer for the Australian band INXS. Farriss is credited solely with keyboards on the band’s earliest albums, but by 1984’s The Swing, he was listed as playing guitar, as well. On stage, he also plays harmonica and various hand-held percussion instruments.
Brendan Hill 1970 – The drummer for American jam band Blues Traveler. He is one of the original members of Blues Traveler. In 1983, while attending school at Princeton High School in Princeton, New Jersey, Hill met Blues Traveler harmonicaplayer John Popper. Together, they formed the predecessor to Blues Traveler, Blues Band. This band played mostly at parties and saw numerous bassists and guitarists come and go. In 1987, with the addition of Chan Kinchla on guitar and Bobby Sheehan on bass, they officially renamed themselves “Blues Traveler”.
Ian Dury 2000 (b1942) – English rock and roll singer-songwriter, bandleader, artist, and actor who first rose to fame during the late 1970’s, during the punk and new wave era of rock music. He was the lead singer of Ian Dury and the Blockheads and before that of Kilburn and the High Roads. Dury’s lyrics are a combination of lyrical poetry, word play, observation of British everyday life, character sketches, and sexual humour: “This is what we find … Home improvement expert Harold Hill of Harold Hill, Of do-it-yourself dexterity and double-glazing skill, Came home to find another gentleman’s kippers in the grill, So he sanded off his winkle with his Black & Decker drill.” The song “Billericay Dickie” rhymes “I had a love affair with Nina, In the back of my Cortina” with “A seasoned-up hyena Could not have been more obscener”.
John Evan 1948 – British musician and composer best known for having played keyboards for Jethro Tull from April 1970 to June 1980. In 1970, he played as a session musician on Tull’s Benefit album (where his acknowledgement reads: “…and John Evan, who played keyboards for our benefit.”), and was eventually convinced by Ian Anderson to leave school to become a full-fledged member of the band. In addition to his many distinctive contributions to the group’s overall musical sound and stage personality, it is also notable that Evan composed the memorable piano introduction to Locomotive Breath, having achieved this task in studio while some of the other band members were out to lunch.
Milan Williams 1948 (d.2006) – Was an American keyboardist and a founding member of Motown’s mega-successful band, The Commodores. He 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”. He left the Commodores in 1989, allegedly after refusing to perform with them in South Africa.
Reba McEntire 1955 – Country music singer, songwriter and actress. She signed a contract with Mercury Records in 1975 and released her first solo album in 1977 and released five additional studio albums under the label until 1983. Signing with MCA Nashville Records, McEntire took creative control over her second MCA album, My Kind of Country (1984), which had a more traditional country sound and produced two number one singles: “How Blue” and “Somebody Should Leave”. The album brought her breakthrough success, bringing her a series of successful albums and number one singles in the 1980’s and 1990’s. McEntire has since released 26 studio albums, acquired 40 number one singles, 14 number one albums, and 28 albums have been certified gold, platinum or multi-platinum in sales by the Recording Industry Association of America. She has sometimes been referred to as “The Queen of Country”. and she is one of the best-selling artists of all time, having sold more than 85 million records worldwide.
Stefani Germanotta 1986 – known professionally as Lady Gaga, is an American singer, songwriter, and actress. Her debut album The Fame (2008) was a critical and commercial success that produced global chart-topping singles such as “Just Dance” and “Poker Face”. A follow-up extended play (EP), The Fame Monster (2009), was met with a similar reception and released the successful singles “Bad Romance”, “Telephone”, and “Alejandro”. Her second full-length album Born This Way was released in 2011, topping the charts in more than 20 countries, including the United States, where it sold over one million copies in its first week. The album produced the number-one single “Born This Way”. Her third album Artpop, released in 2013, topped the US charts and included the successful single “Applause”. In 2014, Gaga released a collaborative jazz album with Tony Bennett titled Cheek to Cheek, which became her third consecutive number one in the United States.
Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup 1974 (b.1905) – Delta blues singer, songwriter and guitarist. He recorded with RCA in the late 1940s and with Ace Records, Checker Records and Trumpet Records in the early 1950’s. He toured black clubs in the South, sometimes playing with Sonny Boy Williamson II and Elmore James. He also recorded under the names Elmer James and Percy Lee Crudup. His songs “Mean Old ‘Frisco Blues”, “Who’s Been Foolin’ You” and “That’s All Right” were popular in the South. Crudup recorded “Mean Ole Frisco Blues”, “Rock Me Mama”, “So Glad You’re Mine”, “Who’s Been Fooling’ You”, “That’s All Right Mama” and “My Baby Left Me”. These song were covered by many artists, including Elvis Presley, Elton John and Rod Stewart. He stopped recording in the 1950’s, because of disputes over royalties. He said, “I realised I was making everybody rich, and here I was poor”.
Earl Scruggs 2012 (b.1924) – Musician noted for perfecting and popularizing a three-finger banjo-picking style (now called “Scruggs style”) that is a defining characteristic of bluegrass music. Although other musicians had played in three-finger style before him, Scruggs shot to prominence when he was hired by Bill Monroe to fill the banjo slot in his group, The Blue Grass Boys. He later reached a mainstream audience through his performance of “The Ballad of Jed Clampett”, the theme for the network television hit The Beverly Hillbillies, in the early 1960’s. Scruggs joined Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys in late 1945, and quickly popularized his syncopated, three-finger picking style. In 1948 Scruggs and guitarist Lester Flatt left Monroe’s band and formed the Foggy Mountain Boys, also later known simply as Flatt and Scruggs. Flatt and Scruggs became members of the Grand Ole Opry in the 1950’s. In 1969, they broke up, and he started a new band, the Earl Scruggs Revue, featuring two of his three sons.
Hugh McCracken 2013 (b.1942) – Rock guitarist and session musician based in New York City, primarily known for his performance on guitar and also as a harmonica player. McCracken was additionally an arranger and producer. He appeared on many recordings by Steely Dan, as well as albums by Donald Fagen, Billy Joel, Roland Kirk, Roberta Flack, B. B. King, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, The Monkees, Paul Simon, Art Garfunkel, James Taylor, Phoebe Snow, Bob Dylan, Linda McCartney, Carly Simon, Graham Parker, Yoko Ono, Eric Carmen, Loudon Wainwright III, Lou Donaldson, Aretha Franklin, Van Morrison, The Four Seasons, Daryl Hall & John Oates,Hank Crawford, Gary Wright and Andy Gibb.
Chad Allan 1943 – Was the original lead singer, founding member, and front man of The Guess Who. In January of 1965, Quality released their single, a cover of the Johnny Kidd song “Shakin’ All Over”. As a promo stunt, Quality released promo copies of the single credited to “Guess Who?”. This became the band’s new name, although throughout 1965 they were being credited as Chad Allan & the Expressions (Guess Who?). In December 1965 Bob Ashley left the band and Burton Cummings of The Deverons replaced him. Shortly before Cummings’ arrival, the band dropped the name Chad Allan & the Expressions and began incorporating harder R&B material into their sets and became The Guess Who. In early 1966 Allan was starting to experience some voice challenges that made it difficult for him to sing. After the recording of the group’s third album, It’s Time, Allan left the band.
Evangelos Odysseas Papathanassiou 1943 – known professionally as Vangelis, is a Greek composer of electronic, progressive, ambient, jazz, pop rock, and orchestral music. He is best known for his Academy Award–winning score for the film Chariots of Fire, composing scores for the films Antarctica, Blade Runner, Missing, 1492: Conquest of Paradise, and Alexander, and the use of his music in the PBS documentary Cosmos: A Personal Voyage by Carl Sagan. He began his professional musical career working with several popular bands of the 1960’s such as The Forminx and Aphrodite’s Child, with the latter’s album 666 going on to be recognized as a psychedelic classic. Throughout the 1970’s, Vangelis composed music scores for several animal documentaries, including L’Apocalypse Des Animaux, La Fête sauvage and Opéra sauvage; the success of these scores brought him into the film scoring mainstream. In the early 1980’s, Vangelis formed a musical partnership with Jon Anderson, the lead singer of progressive rock band Yes, and the duo went on to release several albums together as Jon & Vangelis.
Terry Jacks 1944 – Canadian singer, songwriter, record producer and environmentalist, best known for his 1974 hit song “Seasons in the Sun”. Jacks took up guitar in his teens and at 18 formed a band called The Chessmen with guitarist Guy Sobell. The group had four top-ten hits in Vancouver between 1964 and 1966. Following The Chessmen, Terry and Susan Pesklevits (Susan Jacks), whom he later married, formed The Poppy Family along with Craig McCaw and Satwant Singh. They had several hits in Canada and internationally, their biggest being “Which Way You Goin’ Billy?”, which went to #1 in Canada and #2 on the Billboard charts in the U.S. The song was written and produced by Terry Jacks which earned him a Gold Leaf (Juno) award in 1970 for his production.
John ‘Speedy’ Keen 1945 (d.2002) – was a songwriter, vocalist, drummer and keyboard player, best known for his association with the rock band Thunderclap Newman. He wrote “Something in the Air” (1969) for the band, which reached No. 1 in the UK Singles Chart. Before joining Thunderclap Newman, Keen shared a flat with and worked as a chauffeur for Pete Townshend of The Who. He is famous among fans of The Who for writing “Armenia City in the Sky” which was included on the album The Who Sell Out (1967).
Billy Thorpe 1946 (d.2007) – English-born Australian pop / rock singer-songwriter and producer, musician. As lead singer of his band Billy Thorpe & the Aztecs, he had success in the 1960s with “Blue Day”, “Poison Ivy”, “Over the Rainbow”, “Sick and Tired”, and “Mashed Potato”; and in the 1970’s with “Most People I Know Think That I’m Crazy”. Featuring in concerts at Sunbury Pop Festivals and Myer Music Bowl in the early 1970’s, the Aztecs also developed the pub rock scene and were one of the loudest groups in Australia.
Bobby Kimball 1947 – best known as the original and longtime frontman of the rock band Toto. After being fired from Toto in 1984, Bobby Kimball relocated to Germany for a solo career. Kimball also continued to work as a session singer, singing background vocals with a trio composed of Michael McDonald from The Doobie Brothers and Bill Champlin of Chicago. Kimball was nearly asked by the band to return to Toto during 1989–1990 to record songs for the band’s greatest hits album, Past to Present 1977-1990, only to be replaced by singer Jean-Michel Byron (a decision said to have derived from Sony, the band’s record company at the time).
Dave Greenfield 1949 – is the keyboardist with English rock band, The Stranglers. His sound and style of playing, particularly on The Stranglers’ debut album Rattus Norvegicus, has frequently been compared to that of Ray Manzarek of The Doors. The comparison was even made at The Stranglers’ inception by Jean-Jacques Burnel, who claimed that Greenfield had not heard of The Doors at the time. Greenfield and fellow-Strangler Jean-Jacques Burnel released a joint album in 1983, Fire and Water (Ecoutez Vos Murs), used as the soundtrack for the film, Ecoutez vos murs directed by Vincent Coudanne.
John Popper 1967 – Musician and songwriter who is most famous for his role as frontman of rock band Blues Traveler performing harmonica, guitar, and vocals. He is widely considered a harmonica virtuoso, and is listed by harmonica manufacturer Hohner as a “Featured Artist”, an accolade reserved for only the best and most successful harmonica players.
Jeanne Deckers 1985 (b.1933) – better known as Sœur Sourire (“Sister Smile”, often credited as The Singing Nun in English-speaking countries), was a Belgian singer-songwriter and initially a member of the Dominican Order in Belgium as Sister Luc-Gabrielle. She acquired world fame in 1963 with the release of the French-language song “Dominique”, which topped the U.S. Billboard and other charts.
Frankie Lane 1913 (d.2007) – Singer, songwriter, and actor whose career spanned 75 years, from his first concerts in 1930 with a marathon dance company to his final performance of “That’s My Desire” in 2005. Often billed as “America’s Number One Song Stylist”, his other nicknames include “Mr. Rhythm”, “Old Leather Lungs”, and “Mr. Steel Tonsils”. His hits included “That’s My Desire”, “That Lucky Old Sun”, “Mule Train”, “Cry of the Wild Goose”, “A Woman In Love”, “Jezebel”, “High Noon”, “I Believe”, “Hey Joe!”, “The Kid’s Last Fight”, “Cool Water”, “Moonlight Gambler,” “Love Is a Golden Ring,” “Rawhide”, and “Lord, You Gave Me a Mountain.”
Sonny Boy Williamson 1914 (d.1948) – blues harmonica player, singer and songwriter. He is often regarded as the pioneer of the blues harp as a solo instrument and played on hundreds of blues recordings for many pre–World War II blues artists. Under his own name, Williamson was one of the most recorded blues musicians of the 1930s and 1940 and is closely associated with Chicago producer Lester Melrose and Bluebird Records. His popular songs, whether original or adapted, include “Good Morning, School Girl”, “Sugar Mama”, “Early in the Morning”, and “Stop Breaking Down”.
Graeme Edge 1941 – English musician best known as the drummer and a songwriter for the English band, The Moody Blues. Edge is the only remaining original member of The Moody Blues still performing in the band. Edge provided a foundation for the original R&B and rock flavoured band fronted by Denny Laine, playing on all their Decca singles including the UK chart topping “Go Now” (January 1965), and other 1965 hit songs; “I Don’t Want To Go On Without You”, “Everyday”, and “From The Bottom of my Heart (I Love You)”, which were additionally released in that year.
Jay Traynor 1943 (2014) – Traynor was the third lead vocalist of the Mystics, singing falsetto on “The White Cliffs of Dover”, and lead on “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” and “Blue Star”. Later, he started Jay and the Americans with Kenny Vance and Sandy Yaguda, and was the original lead singer. He sang lead on the group’s first hit, “She Cried,” which was followed up by the album She Cried.
Eric Clapton 1945 – English rock and blues guitarist, singer and songwriter. He is the only three-time inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: once as a solo artist and separately as a member of the Yardbirds and Cream. Clapton has been referred to as one of the most important and influential guitarists of all time. Clapton ranked second in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” and fourth in Gibson’s “Top 50 Guitarists of All Time”. He was also named number five in Time magazine’s list of “The 10 Best Electric Guitar Players” in 2009.
Jim ‘Dandy’ Mangrum 1948 – is the lead singer and frontman for the American Southern rock band Black Oak Arkansas. He is noted for his raspy voice, long hair, and wild, sexually-explicit stage antics which sometimes included miming sex with a washboard which he often uses to accompany his singing. His stage persona is credited as having been a major influence on Van Halen vocalist David Lee Roth. In 1973, they released their most successful album, High on the Hog, which reached number 52 in the charts. One of the songs from the album, “Jim Dandy”, which was a cover of the 1957 LaVern Baker song, reached number 25 in the Billboard charts, and became their best known single and Mangrum’s signature song.
Lene Lovich 1949 – Singer, songwriter and musician of Serbian descent based in England. She first gained attention in 1979 with the release of her hit single “Lucky Number”, which peaked at number 3 on the UK Singles Chart and made her a leading figure of the new wave music scene. In 1975, she joined the band the Diversions and shortly afterwards wrote the lyrics to Cerrone’s single “Supernature”. After the band broke up, Lovich started looking for another band that would let her join and contacted the radio presenter Charlie Gillett, who got her to record a demo of Tommy James and the Shondells’ song “I Think We’re Alone Now” and played it to Dave Robinson of Stiff Records, who decided to sign Lovich.
Dave Ball 1950 (d.2015) – English guitar player who in April 1971 left Big Bertha and joined Procol Harum after he saw an advertisement in Melody Maker. He replaced Robin Trower, who had left the group to form his own band. He can be heard on the group’s live album, Procol Harum Live with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, but left the group during the recording sessions for their 1973 album Grand Hotel, in September 1972.
Tracy Chapman 1964 – Singer-songwriter, known for her hits “Fast Car” and “Give Me One Reason”, along with other singles “Talkin’ ’bout a Revolution”, “Baby Can I Hold You”, “Crossroads”, “New Beginning” and “Telling Stories”. She is a multi-platinum and four-time Grammy Award-winning artist.
Celine Dion 1968 – Canadian singer, songwriter, businesswoman and occasional actress. Two of her albums, Falling Into You (1996) and Let’s Talk About Love (1997), were both certified diamond in the US. In addition, her 1995 album D’eux, is the best-selling French-language album of all time. Dion remains the best-selling Canadian artist in history and one of the best-selling artists of all time with album sales of over 200 million copies worldwide.
Phil Ramone 2013 (b.1934) – Recording engineer, record producer, violinist and composer, who in 1958 co-founded A & R Recording, Inc., a recording studio with business partner Jack Arnold at 112 West 48th Street, New York. In the studio he quickly gained a reputation as a good sound engineer and music producer, in particular for his use of innovative technology. Among the performers whose music Ramone produced are Burt Bacharach, the Band, Bono, Ray Charles, Karen Carpenter, Chicago, Natalie Cole, Bob Dylan, Sheena Easton, Aretha Franklin, Billy Joel, Elton John, Quincy Jones, B.B. King, Julian Lennon, Madonna, Barry Manilow, Barbra Streisand, Celine Dion, Paul McCartney, George Michael, Liza Minnelli, Anne Murray, Olivia Newton-John, Sinéad O’Connor,Luciano Pavarotti, Peter, Paul and Mary, June Pointer, Carly Simon, Paul Simon, Frank Sinatra, Phoebe Snow, Rod Stewart, James Taylor, the Guess Who, Dionne Warwick, Stevie Wonder and others. He is also credited with having recorded Marilyn Monroe’s intoxicated version of “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” to John F. Kennedy.
Preston Ritter 2015 (b.1949) – Drummer, drum teacher and author of drum methods who joined The Electric Prunes in 1966, and played on their debut studio album, The Electric Prunes, and two hit singles, before being replaced by Michael Weakley during recording of the band’s second album, Underground , in 1967. He was also involved with Linda Ronstadt, The Beach Boys, and Dobie Gray.
Herb Alpert 1935 – Musician most associated with the group variously known as Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, Herb Alpert’s Tijuana Brass, or TJB. Alpert is also a recording industry executive, the “A” of A&M Records, a recording label he and business partner Jerry Moss founded and eventually sold to PolyGram. Alpert’s musical accomplishments include five No. 1 albums and 28 albums total on the Billboard Album chart, nine Grammy Awards, fourteen platinum albums, and fifteen gold albums. As of 1996, Alpert had sold 72 million albums worldwide. Alpert is the only recording artist to hit No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 pop chart as both a vocalist (“This Guy’s in Love with You”, 1968), and an instrumentalist (“Rise”, 1979).
Lowell Fulson 1921 (d.1999) – was a big-voiced blues guitarist and songwriter, in the West Coast blues tradition. Fulson was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He also recorded for business reasons as Lowell Fullsom and Lowell Fulsom. After T-Bone Walker, Fulson was the most important figure in West Coast blues in the 1940’s and 1950’s. His most memorable and influential recordings included: “Three O’Clock Blues” (now a blues standard); the Memphis Slim-penned “Everyday I Have the Blues”; “Lonesome Christmas”; “Reconsider Baby” recorded in 1960 by Elvis Presley and in 1994 by Eric Clapton for his From the Cradlealbum as well as by Joe Bonamassa); and “Tramp” (co-written with Jimmy McCracklin and later covered by Otis Redding with Carla Thomas, ZZ Top (on 2003’s Mescalero), Alex Chilton, and Tav Falco.
Lefty Frizzell 1928 (d.1975) – Country music singer-songwriter and was one of the most definitive honky-tonk singers of country music. A vocalist who set the style of singing “the country way” for the generations that followed, Frizzell became one of the most successful and influential artists of country music throughout his stellar career. Among the artists he influenced are George Jones, Willie Nelson, Roy Orbison, The Everly Brothers, Keith Whitley, Merle Haggard, and John Fogerty. He laid a foundation for the many generations of country music performers that followed him. Because of this, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1982. Though he started his career being influenced by other country musicians, in the 1950’s Frizzell became one of country music’s most well-known artists.