This Week’s Birthdays (December 20 – 26)

Happy Birthday this week to:

Dec 20

1936 ● Judy Henske → The “Queen of the Beatniks,” late 50s and 60s Greenwich Village and Laurel Canyon folk singer, songwriter and one-time TV actress, worked with Lenny Bruce and the Whiskey Hill Singers with ex-Kingston Triomember Dave Guard, recorded two solo albums on Elektra Records in the early 60s, married and recorded with Jerry Yester, including the cult album Farewell Aldebaran (1969), continues to record and perform into the 10s
1944 ● Bobby Colomby → Drummer for jazz-rock/pop-rock fusion band Blood, Sweat & Tears, “Spinning Wheel” (#2, 1969)
1945 ● Peter Criss (Criscoula) → Drummer and “Catman” character in campy hard/glam-rock Kiss, “Detroit Rock City” (#7, 1976), solo
1948 ● Stephen “Little Stevie” Wright → Lead vocals for Aussie-based 60s pop-rock The Easybeats, “Friday On My Mind” (#16, 1967), then solo
1949 ● Alan Parsons → Brit studio engineer, part-producer for The BeatlesAbbey Road (1969) and Let It Be (1970), plus Pink Floyd‘s The Dark Side Of The Moon (1973), songwriter, musician and bandleader for prog-pop-rock The Alan Parsons Project, “Games People Play” (#16, 1981)
1956 ● Guy Babylon → Keyboardist and contributor in the Elton John band, died in a swimming accident in his L.A. home pool on 9/2/2009
1957 ● Anita Ward → One hit wonder R&B/soul-disco singer, “Ring My Bell” (#1, 1979)
1957 ● Michael Watt → Seminal post-punk bassist and founder of Minutemen, dos, FireHouse, also with The Stooges and Banyan
1957 ● Stephen William “Billy” Bragg → Brit alt rock singer, songwriter and left-wing activist, “Sexuality” (Modern Rock #2, 1991) and “She’s Leaving Home” (UK #1, 1988), wrote “A New England” for Kirsty MacColl (UK #7, 1985)
1966 ● Chris Robinson → Founder, guitarist and songwriter for roots/raunch rock The Black Crowes, “Hard To Handle” (Mainstream Rock #1, 1991)
1971 ● Roger J. Beaujard → Guitarist and drum machine programmer for death metal/deathgrind duo Mortician, “Chainsaw Dismemberment” (1999)
1975 ● Graham Hopkins → Former drummer for Irish grunge rock Therapy?, then solo, now sessions and touring bands
1980 ● Christopher “Dibs” Edwards → Bassist for Brit indie rock Kasabian, “Club Foot” (Modern Rock #27, 2004)
1982 ● David Cook → Multi-instrumentalist post-grunge pop-rock singer and songwriter, “The Time Of My Life” (#3, 2008), winner of the seventh season of American Idol (2008)
1990 ● JoJo (Joanna Noelle Levesque) → R&B/dance-pop singer and songwriter, “Too Little Too Late” (#3, 2006), actress

Dec 21

1913 ● Luise King (Louise Driggs Rey) → Vocalist for complex and sophisticated four-part harmony 30s, 40s and 50s Big Band/pop sibling singing group The King Sisters, “The Hut-Sut Song” (Top 30, 1944), recorded with her sisters on hundreds of albums and numerous radio specials over three decades and in the musical-variety TV program The King Family Show (1966-1969) and holiday specials thereafter, died from cancer on 8/4/1997
1921 ● Luigi Creatore → Grammy-winning songwriter, producer and record label executive, teamed with cousin Hugo Peretti to write dozens of hit songs for multiple artists, including The Isley Brothers‘ “Shout” (#49, 1959), Sam Cooke‘s “Twistin’ The Night Away” (#9, 1962) and Van McCoy‘s “The Hustle” (#1, 1975), died from pneumonia on 11/13/2015
1939 ● Wes Farrell → Musician, prolific songwriter and 60s/70s record producer, wrote or co-wrote hundreds of songs, including “Boys” for The Shirelles (1960) and The Beatles (1963), “Hang On Sloopy” for The McCoys (#1, 1965) and the theme song (“C’mon On, Get Happy”) to the Partridge Family TV series, founded Chelsea Records in 1972, died from cancer on 2/29/1996
1940 ● Frank Zappa → Multi-instrumentalist, musical satirist, rock/classical fusion composer, film score writer and producer, bandleader, frontman for The Mothers Of Invention, solo, “Valley Girl” (#32, 1982), died from prostate cancer on 12/4/1993
1940 ● Ray Hildebrand → With Jill Jackson, vocals in early pop-rock two hit wonder duo Paul & Paula, “Hey Paula” (#1, 1963) and “Young Lovers” (#6, 1963), left the music industry in the late 60s but returned in the 80s as a Christian music artist
1942 ● Carla Thomas → The “Queen of Memphis Soul,” Stax Records R&B/Southern soul belter, “B-A-B-Y” (#14, R&B #3, 1966) and 14 other R&B Top 40 hits, daughter of soul-funker Rufus Thomas
1943 ● Albert Lee → Brit country-folk-blues-rock guitarist, co-founded Head Hands & Feat, session work with Jackson Browne, Joe Cocker, Emmylou Harris, Eric Clapton and others, solo
1946 ● Carl Wilson → Guitars and vocals for sunny-pop/surf-rockers The Beach Boys, “Good Vibrations” (#1, 1966), died from brain cancer 2/6/1998
1951 ● Nick Gilder → Brit-born frontman for Canadian glam-rock Sweeney Todd, then solo, “Hot Child In The City” (#1, 1978)
1953 ● Betty Wright → Grammy-winning R&B/Miami soul and quiet storm vocalist, “Clean Up Woman” (#6, 1972)
1964 ● Emmett J. “Murph” Murphy III → Drummer for influential indie/cult rock Dinosaur Jr., “Start Choppin'” (Modern Rock #3, 1993), left in 1993 to join The Lemonheads, “Into Your Arms” (Modern Rock #1, 1993), rejoined Dinosaur Jr. in 2005
1965 ● Gabrielle “Gabby” Glaser → Guitarist and vocals for all-girl alt rock/hip hop Luscious Jackson, “Naked Eye” (#36, 1996)
1971 ● Brett Scallions → Guitar, bass and vocals for post-grunge/alt rock Fuel, “Falls On Me” (Mainstream Rock #9, 2004)

Dec 22

1939 ● James Gurley → Guitarist for 60s Janis Joplin-fronted, psych-rock Big Brother & The Holding Company, “Piece Of My Heart” (#12, 1968), performed with the band into the 00s, died on 12/20/2009 from a heart attack
1944 ● Colin Ernest “Barrie” Jenkins → Founding member and drummer for British Invasion pop-rock The Nashville Teens, “Tobacco Road” (#16, 1964) and hard/blues-rock The Animals, “Don’t Bring Me Down” (#12, 1966), now manages a music store
1946 ● Pamela Susan Courson → Long-time companion of Jim Morrison, frontman for The Doors, “Hello, I Love You” (#1, 1968), inherited his estate over the objection of his family following a California court decision that theirs was a “common law marriage,” died from a heroin overdose on 4/25/1974
1946 ● Rick Nielsen → Vocals and guitar for power pop Cheap Trick, “I Want You To Want Me” (#7, 1979) and “The Flame” (#1, 1988)
1949 ● Maurice Gibb → Singer, songwriter, producer in pop-rock then disco sibling trio The Bee Gees, “Stayin’ Alive” (#1, 1977), solo and producer, younger twin of Robin Gibb, died on 1/12/2003 from a twisted intestine
1949 ● Robin Gibb → Singer, songwriter, producer in pop-rock then disco sibling trio The Bee Gees, “Stayin’ Alive” (#1, 1977), older twin of Maurice Gibb, died from liver and colon cancer on 5/20/2012
1950 ● Alan Williams → Vocals for glam rock/rock ‘n roll revival The Rubettes, “Sugar Baby Love” (UK #1, US #37, 1974)
1955 ● Barry Sless → Six-string and peddle steel guitarist for country-rock David Nelson Band, Kingfish, Phil Lesh & Friends and others
1957 ● Ricky Ross → Lead singer in Scottish indie pop-rock Deacon Blue, “Real Gone Kid” (UK #8, 1988), solo, now a DJ on BBC Radio Scotland
1966 ● Danny Saber → Producer, remixer, trip-hop DJ and former bassist with alt Brit-pop Black Grape, “England’s Irie” (UK #6, 1996)
1968 ● Richard James Edwards → Rhythm guitar, songwriter and vocals for Brit alt rock/neo-punk Manic Street Preachers, “The Masses Against The Classes” (UK #1, 2000), disappeared on 2/1/1995 and officially presumed dead in a 2008 court ruling
1972 ● Vanessa Paradis → French teen-pop singer and actress, “Joe Le Taxi” (UK #3, France #1, 1998)
1984 ● Basshunter (Jonas Erik Altberg) → Swedish musician, DJ and dance-pop singer, “Now You’re Gone” (Dance Airplay #1, UK #1, 2008)
1989 ● Jordin Briana Sparks → R&B/pop-soul singer and songwriter, American Idol 2007 winner and youngest to date, “No Air” (#3, 2008) and four other Top 20 hits

Dec 23

1935 ● Little Esther Phillips (Esther Mae Jones) → Versatile R&B/soul-pop-country-jazz-blues singer, “Release Me” (#8, R&B #1, 1962) and seven other R&B Top 40 hits, died from alcohol-related liver and kidney failure on 8/7/1984
1935 ● Johnny Kidd (Frederick Heath) → Pre-Beatles top Brit rock ‘n roll singer and frontman for Johnny Kidd & The Pirates, “Shakin’ All Over” (UK #1, 1960), died in a car crash on 10/7/1966
1940 ● Eugene Record → Vocals for smooth R&B/Chicago soul The Chi-Lites, “Have You Seen Her?” (#3, 1971), died of cancer on 7/22/2005
1940 ● Jorma Kaukonen → Guitarist for 60s psych-rock Jefferson Airplane, “Somebody To Love” (#5, 1967), then folk-rock Hot Tuna, still touring and recording in 2011
1941 ● Tim Hardin → Folk singer-songwriter, wrote and recorded the oft-covered classic “Reason To Believe” (1965), died of a heroin overdose on 12/29/1980
1943 ● Harry Shearer → Actor who portrayed bassist Derek Smalls in the “mock-rock” parody band Spinal Tap from the movie This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
1946 ● Luther Grosvenor (aka Ariel Bender) → Guitarist for Brit blues-rock Spooky Tooth, then early glam-rockers Mott The Hoople, “All The Young Dudes” (#37, 1972)
1946 ● Robbie Dupree (Robert Dupuis) → Light pop-rock one hit wonder vocalist, “Steal Away” (#6, 1980)
1948 ● Jim Pash → Vietnam veteran and original saxophonist for early surf/garage rock The Surfaris, “Wipe Out” (#2, 1963), converted to classical harp music in later years, died from heart failure on 4/29/2005
1949 ● Robert Steven “Adrian” Belew → Session and touring guitarist and singer for Frank Zappa, David Bowie, Talking Heads and King Crimson, with whom he records and tours in the 00s, solo
1951 ● Johnny Contardo → Vocals for rock ‘n roll revival “greaser” parody group Sha Na Na
1958 ● Dave Murray → One of the earliest members and stalwart guitarist for Brit heavy metal Iron Maiden, “Flight Of Icarus” (Mainstream Rock #8, 1983), for which he and bassist Steve Harris are the only bandmembers to have played on all of the group’s albums
1958 ● Victoria Williams → Idiosyncratic country-folk singer and songwriter, “Crazy Mary” (1994), career limited by multiple sclerosis, subject of the tribute/benefit album Sweet Relief (1993) featuring Pearl Jam, Lou Reed, Soul Asylum, Vanessa Williams and others
1960 ● Will Sinnott → Bassist in Scottish electronic psych/dance rock crossover band The Shamen, “Ebeneezer Goode” (UK #1, 1992), drowned while swimming in the Canary Islands on 5/23/1991
1964 ● Eddie Vedder (Edward Louis Severson III) → Lead vocals and guitars for post-grunge/alt rock kings Pearl Jam, “Last Kiss” (#2, 1999), solo
1966 ● Bobby Schayer → Drummer for hardcore punk Bad Religion, “Infected” (Mainstream Rock #33, 1995) from 1991 to 2001, resigned from the band after suffering a shoulder injury which left him unable to drum professionally
1974 ● Montsho Eshe → Vocals for Grammy-winning, progressive Afrocentric rap, funk-soul-blues-hip-hop group Arrested Development, “Mr. Wendal” (#6, 1992)
1975 ● Katie Underwood → Singer in pre-fab Aussie all-girl pop vocal quintet Bardot, “Poison” (Aus. #1, 2000)
1985 ● Harry Judd → Drummer for Brit pop-rock boy band McFly, “All About You” (UK #1, 2005)

Dec 24

1920 ● Dave Bartholomew → Prominent and expansive New Orleans R&B producer, arranger, composer, with Fats Domino co-wrote “Ain’t That A Shame” (#10, 1955)
1924 ● Lee Dorsey → R&B/soul-pop singer, “Working In The Cole Mine” (#8, 1966), died from emphysema on 12/1/1986
1931 ● Ray Bryant → Blues- and gospel-flavored jazz pianist, composer and bandleader (The Ray Bryant Combo), scored a lone top 40 hit with “The Madison Time” (#30, R&B #5, 1960) and recorded into the mid-00s, died following a long illness on 6/2/2011
1944 ● Mike Curb → Musician, producer, record label executive with MGM, Bizarre and Curb records, former Lt. Governor of California, NASCAR racing team owner
1945 ● Lemmy (Ian Frasier Kilminster) → Bass and vocals for space rock pioneers Hawkwind, “Silver Machine” (1972), founded punk-metal Motörhead, “Ace Of Spades” (UK #15, 1980)
1946 ● Jan Akkerman → Founding member and guitarist for Dutch prog rock band Focus, “Hocus Pocus” (#9, 1971), solo, music journalist
1957 ● Ian Burden → Keyboards for late-70s synth-pop pioneers The Human League, “Don’t You Want Me” (#1, 1981)
1963 ● Mary Ramsey → Vocals in folk-pop John & Mary, then joined 10,000 Maniacs as lead vocalist in 1994 after Natalie Merchant‘s departure, “More Than This” (#25, 1997)
1968 ● Doyle Bramhall II → Guitarist and songwriter in Texas blues-rock The Arc Angels and Smokestack, played second guitar for Eric Clapton‘s band from 2004 to 2009, solo
1971 ● Ricky Martin (Enrique Martin Morales) → Puerto Rican teen-pop and later adult-pop superstar singer, “Livin’ La Vida Loca” (#1, 1999), TV actor in daytime soap opera General Hospital
1975 ● Joseph Washbourne → Keyboards and vocals for alt pub rock/white soul Toploader, covered “Dancing In The Moonlight” (UK Top 10, 2000)
1991 ● ‘Louis Tomlinson → Vocals in Brit-Irish boy band quintet One Direction, “What Makes You Beautiful” (#4, UK #1, 2011)

Dec 25

1907 ● Cabell “Cab” Calloway III → Popular jazz and scat singer, pianist, songwriter and bandleader, “Minnie The Moocher” (1931 and R&B #91, 1978), continued to perform up to his death following a stroke on 11/18/1994
1929 ● Chris Kenner → New Orleans R&B and early rock ‘n roll singer and songwriter, “I Like It Like That” (#2, 1961), his “Land Of A Thousand Dances” was covered by Wilson Pickett, Patti Smith and others, died from a heart attack on 1/25/1976
1929 ● William Franklin “Billy” Horton → Lead singer for R&B/doo wop vocal quartet The Silhouettes, “Get A Job” (#1, 1958)
1937 ● O’Kelly Isley, Jr. → Vocals for six-decade, multi-generation R&B/soul family group The Isley Brothers, “That Lady, Pts. 1-2” (#6, 1973), died on 3/31/1986 following as heart attack
1939 ● Bob James → Jazz-pop crossover keyboardist, composer, arranger and bandleader, “Feel Like Making Love” (#88, 1974) and two Grammy-winning albums, One On One (1980) and Double Vision (1986)
1940 ● Pete Brown → Poet and co-lyricist for blues-rock Cream, co-wrote “I Feel Free” (1966) and “White Room” (#6, 1968) with Jack Bruce and “Sunshine Of Your Love” (#5, 1968) with Bruce and Eric Clapton
1940 ● Phil Spector → Musician, songwriter, record producer and originator of the “Wall of Sound” recording technique, pioneer of 60s girl groups and former husband of Ronnie Bennett Spector of The Ronettes, “Be My Baby” (#2, 1963)
1943 ● Trevor Lucas → Guitarist and vocalist with renowned Brit folk-rock Fairport Convention, “Si Tu Dos Partir” (UK #21, 1969) and Fotheringay, producer for Al Stewart, The Strawbs and others, died of a heart attack on 2/4/1989
1944 ● Kenny Everett (Maurice James Cole) → BBC Radio DJ, Thames Television host, comedian and musician, “Snot Rap” (1983), died from an AIDS-related illness on 4/4/1995
1944 ● Henry “The Sunflower” Vestine → Guitarist for folk-blues-rock Canned Heat, “”Let’s Work Together” (1970) and Frank Zappa-led satirical rock group The Mothers Of Invention, “Brown Shoes Don’t Make It” (1967)
1945 ● David Noel Redding → Bassist for psych-rock Jimi Hendrix Experience, “Purple Haze” (US #65, UK #3, 1967), solo, died from complications of cirrhosis of the liver on 5/11/2003
1946 ● Jimmy Buffett → Country-folk-pop-rock singer, songwriter, perpetual beach bum and chief Parrothead, “Margaritaville” (#8, 1977)
1948 ● Barbara Mandrell → Country singer, songwriter and three-time CMA Entertainer of the Year, “Sleeping Single In A Double Bed” (Country #1, 1977)
1948 ● Merry Clayton → Soul and gospel touring and session singer, recorded with Ray Charles, Elvis Presley, Neil Young and others, duet with Mick Jagger on The Rolling Stones‘ “Gimme Shelter”, solo
1954 ● Annie Lennox → Vocals for New Wave pop-rock The Tourists, “I Only Want To Be With You” (#83, 1980), co-founder and one-half the synth-pop duo Eurythmics, “Sweet Dreams” (#1, 1983), Grammy-winning solo career, “Walking On Broken Glass” (#14, 1992) and three other Top 40 hits
1954 ● Robin Campbell → Guitar and vocals for multiracial reggae-pop UB40, “Red Red Wine” (#1, 1988) and over 30 other Top 40 hits
1957 ● Shane MacGowan → Guitar and vocals for Irish folk-punk-rock The Pogues, “Tuesday Morning” (Rock #11, 1993)
1958 ● Alannah Myles → Sultry, smoky and sensual Canadian pop singer and songwriter, “Black Velvet” (#1, 1990)
1964 ● Bob Stanley → Guitars and songwriter for indie dance-pop Saint Etienne, “Nothing Can Stop Us” (Dance/Club #1, 1992)
1967 ● Jason Thirsk → Bass player with power punk trio Pennywise (“The Western World,” Alt Rock #22, 2008), died from self-inflicted gunshot wounds on 7/29/1996
1971 ● Noel Hogan → Guitarist for Irish jangle/dream pop-rock The Cranberries, “Linger” (#8, 1993)
1972 ● Dido (Armstrong) → Electro-dance-pop singer and songwriter, “Thank You” (#3, 2001)
1972 ● Josh Freese → Drummer for industrial rock Nine Inch Nails, “The Day The World Went Away” (#17, 1999), also with The Vandals, Devo and others

Dec 26

1921 ● Steve Allen → TV personality, musician, composer, comedian and author, first host of The Tonight Show, hosted numerous game and variety shows including The Steve Allen Show and I’ve Got A Secret, penned thousands of songs including Grammy-winning “The Gravy Waltz” (1963) and pop/easy listening tunes covered by Perry Como, Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme and others, issued several albums of piano works, died from a heart attack following a car accident on 10/30/2000
1935 ● Abdul “Duke” Fakir → Ethiopian-American tenor vocalist in six decade R&B/soul vocal quartet The Four Tops, “Reach Out (I’ll Be There)” (#1, 1966), last surviving member of the group that performed together for over 40 years from 1953 without a change in lineup
1946 ● Bob Carpenter → Pianist (from 1977) for country-folk-bluegrass-rock The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and simply The Dirt Band, backed Steve Martin on “King Tut” (#17, 1978)
1947 ● George J. Porter, Jr. → Founding member and bassist for influential New Orleans soul-funk The Meters, “Chicken Strut” (1970), backing bassist for Paul McCartney, Jimmy Buffett, Tori Amos and others, continues to perform and record with others and as a solo artist into the 10s
1951 ● Paul Anthony Quinn → Early and influential New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) band Saxon, “Power And The Glory” (#32, 1983)
1953 ● Henning Schmitz → Sound engineer then keyboardist for German electro-rock Kraftwerk, “Autobahn” (#25, 1975)
1953 ● Steve Witherington → Drummer for Brit pub rock/blue-eyed soul Ace, “How Long” (#3, 1975)
1963 ● Dana Baldinger → Bassist for Brit indie-folk-pop Popinjays, “Vote Elvis” (Modern Rock #17, 1988)
1963 ● Lars Ulrich → Drummer for heavy metal Metallica, “Enter Sandman” (#10, 1991)
1967 ● J. (Jay Noel Yuenger) → Guitarist for groove/alt metal White Zombie, “More Human Than Human” (#10, 1995)
1969 ● Peter Klett → Founding member and guitarist for grunge-rock Candlebox, “Far Behind” (#18, 1994)
1971 ● Jared Joseph Leto → Lead vocals, guitar and songwriter for indie pop-rock 30 Seconds To Mars, “From Yesterday” (Alt Rock #1, 2006), actor
1979 ● Chris Daughtry → Fifth season American Idol finalist, bandleader and guitarist for rock Daughtry “It’s Not Over” (#4, 2006)

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