December 31, 2002 – Kevin Scott MacMichael (the Cutting Crew) was born on November 7, 1951 in New Brunswick, Canada. Coming from a musical background, his father played drums and his mother was a teacher, Kevin picked up the guitar while in school and began his life-long passion for playing this instrument and the Beatles. He must’ve been quite inspired, as he apparently then learned how to play over 200 Beatles songs on guitar! (212 to be exact).
He began his career playing in local bands on the East Coast of Canada in the late 1970’s, notably Chalice and in 1978 the band Spice. Spice featured another guitarist Floyd King, who Kevin would continue to collaborate with over the years. They released a few singles that are very difficult to find now, including “Prisoner of Love” and “Beautiful You”.
December 22, 2002 – Joe Strummer (The Clash)was born John Graham Mellor on August 21, 1952 in Ankara, Turkey. The son of a British diplomat, the family spent much time moving from place to place, and Strummer spent parts of his early childhood in Cairo Egypt, Mexico City, and Bonn Germany.
At the age of 9, Strummer and his older brother David, 10, began boarding at the City of London Freemen’s School in Surrey. Strummer rarely saw his parents during the next seven years.
“At the age of nine I had to say good-bye to them because they went abroad to Africa or something. I went to boarding school and only saw them once a year after that – the Government paid for me to see my parents once a year. I was left on my own, and went to this school where thick rich people sent their thick rich kids. Another perk of my father’s job – it was a job with a lot of perks – all the fees were paid by the Government.”
December 13, 2002 – Zalman Zal Yanovsky (The Lovin’ Spoonful) was born on December 19, 1944 near Toronto, Canada. His father was a political cartoonist. Mostly self-taught, he began his musical career playing folk music coffee houses in Toronto. He lived on a kibbutz in Israel for a short time before returning to Canada. He then teamed with fellow Canadian Denny Doherty in the Halifax Three and both later joined Cass Elliot in the Mugwumps, a group made famous by Doherty’s and Cass’s later group the Mamas and the Papas in the song “Creeque Alley” which referred to an alley way in Charlotte Amalie on St.Thomas in the Virgin Islands.
In the Greenwich Village folk rock scene he was known as one of the early rock n roll performers to wear a cowboy hat, and fringed “Davy Crockett” style clothing, setting the trend followed by such 1960s performers as Sonny Bono, Johnny Rivers and David Crosby.
It was at this time he met John Sebastian and they formed the Lovin’ Spoonful with Steve Boone and Joe Butler, taking their name from a line in Mississippi John Hurt’s Coffee Blues. The band became an immediate smash with their first single, “Do You Believe in Magic?” a Top Ten hit in 1965, which led off a remarkable string of hits that established the Lovin’ Spoonful as one of the few American bands that could challenge the chart dominance of the Beatles and their British Invasion contemporaries.
August 10, 2002 – Michael Houser (Widespread Panic) was born on January 6, 1962 in Boone, North Carolina. He graduated from Hixson High School in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and became a founding member of Widespread Panic in 1986 while attending the University of Georgia with John Bell. Michael’s nickname was “Panic” due to his then frequent panic attacks, and this moniker later became the inspiration for the band’s name.
Widespread Panic’s large rhythm section, and John Bell’s virtuosity as a rhythm guitarist, allowed Michael to pursue an atmospheric lead guitar style that often lingered behind the primary melodies. His predominant use of the Ernie Ball volume pedal caused him to spend most of his performance time balanced on one leg, which would eventually lead to circulation problems causing his left leg to become numb. In 1996, during an acoustic tour through Colorado, known as the “Sit and Ski” tour, he was reminded of how much more comfortable and accurate his playing was while he was seated. Subsequently, Houser returned to playing all shows seated in 1997. He used a volume pedal for sonic effect, rather than just for volume control.
August 9, 2002 – Paul Samson was born Paul Sanson on June 4, 1953 in Norwich, England.
In 1976 Paul Samson replaced Bernie Tormé in London-based band Scrapyard, joining bassist John McCoy and drummer Roger Hunt. The band name was changed to McCoy, and they built up a busy gigging schedule, whilst also independently playing various sessions. Eventually, McCoy left to join Atomic Rooster. His replacement was the band’s sound engineer and a close friend of Paul Samson’s, Chris Aylmer. Aylmer suggested a name change to Samson, and recommended a young drummer, Clive Burr, whom he had previously played with in the band Maya. Burr joined, and Samson was born, although for a time Paul Samson used bassist Bill Pickard and drummer Paul Gunn on odd gigs when Aylmer and Burr were honoring previous commitments.
July 21, 2002 – Angus Boyd “Gus” Dudgeon was born on September 30th 1942 in Surrey, England, the bucolic county just south of London where he would return to live in the 1970s.
His career began when he worked as a teaboy (now more commonly known as a ‘gofer’) at Olympic Studios — one of the premiere recording facilities in London. Within a short time, Gus advanced to a position of sound engineer and moved on to Decca Records’ studios at West Hampstead. There he got to work on sessions with artists signed to the record label, or hoping to be. His role on these dates would be to lay cable, plug things into things, and position microphones…all in support of the session producer. It was this training that Gus would use as a basis for his approach to production in the years to come.
June 27, 2002 – John Entwistle (The Who)was born on 9 October 1944 in Chiswick, a suburb of London, England. During his life he became famous as an English musician, songwriter, singer, film and music producer, who was best known as the original bass guitarist for the English rock band The Who. He was the only member of the band to have formal musical training. His aggressive lead sound influenced many rock bass players as he made himself immortal with the bass solo on their smash hit “My Generation”. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of The Who in 1990.
Entwistle’s instrumental approach used pentatonic lead lines, and a then-unusual treble-rich sound (“full treble, full volume”) created by roundwound RotoSound steel bass strings. He was nicknamed “The Ox” and “Thunderfingers,” the latter because his digits became a blur across the four-string fretboard. In 2011, he was voted the greatest bassist of all time in a Rolling Stone reader’s poll.
June 6, 2002 – Robbin Crosby (Ratt) was born Robbinson Lantz Crosby on August 4, 1959 in La Jolla, California. His dad was a teacher and wrote important historic documentary books about California.
In the mid 1970s Crosby played in the San Diego bands Mac Meda, Metropolis, Xcalibur and Secret Service. In 1980, Crosby was in the band Phenomenon which also featured Parramore McCarty later of Warrior and released one single. The same year he also recorded a live demo with the band Aircraft, which also featured Rob Lamothe, later in Riverdogs with Dio/Whitesnake/Def Leppard guitarist Vivian Campbell.
Crosby joined the Los Angeles rock band Ratt, in 1981 just after the name change from Mickey Ratt. In 1983 the band scored a recording contract and Crosby would end up co-writing many of Ratt’s songs including “Round and Round”, “Wanted Man” and “Lay it Down”. The album Out of the Cellar went to triple platinum based on Crosby’s co-penned “Round and Round”.
June 5, 2002 – Dee Dee Ramone (the Ramones) was born Douglas Glenn Colvin on September 18, 1951 in Fort Lee, Virginia. While an infant his family relocated to Berlin, Germany, due to his father’s military service. His father’s military career also required the family to relocate frequently. These frequent moves caused Dee Dee to have a lonely childhood with few real friends. His parents separated during his early teens, and he remained in Berlin until the age of 15, when he, along with his mother and sister Beverley, moved to the Forest Hills section of New York City, in order to escape Dee Dee’s alcoholic father.
Soon after he met John Cummings and Thomas Erdelyi and together they formed The Ramones.
May 6, 2002 – Otis Blackwell was born in Brooklyn, New York on February 16, 1931, he learnt the piano as a child and listened on the radio to rhythm and blues (then known as “race” music) and to country music in films starring such singing cowboys as Gene Autry and Tex Ritter. They were the two elements that were eventually to combine in the early 1950s to create the mainstream hybrid that became rock’n’roll.
On leaving school in the late 1940s, he worked first as a floor-sweeper at a New York theatre and then as a clothes-presser in a laundry. In 1952 he won a local talent contest at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem and secured a recording contract with Joe Davis’s Jay-Dee label. It was at Davis’s suggestion that he began writing his own songs. “I was thrown into it,” he later said.
His first release was his own composition “Daddy Rolling Stone”. It failed to reach the charts but later became a big hit in Jamaica where it was recorded by Derek Martin, and was also covered by The Who in their early “mod” period.
Blackwell made further recordings for RCA Records and the Groove label, which were among the earliest examples of the emerging rock’n’roll style. Yet, with all the time he was developing his songwriting, on Christmas Eve 1955, he sold the demos of six songs he had written for $25 each. They included “Don’t Be Cruel”, which featured him singing over an accompaniment of piano and a cardboard box for a drum.
Over time he realized his first love was songwriting and by that same year had settled into the groove that he would ride for decades as he became one of the greatest R&B songwriters of all time, whose work significantly influenced rock ‘n’ roll. Yet his first big hit as a writer came not with “Don’t Be Cruel” but with the sultry and atmospheric “Fever”. Originally an R&B hit in 1956 for Little Willie John, it became a huge global pop hit for Peggy Lee (who had passed just two months earlier) and has since been covered several hundred times by other artists.
His vocal style was said to have had a strong influence on the young Elvis Presley. He is however remembered best, not as a performer, but as a one-man song-writing factory, who helped to shape 1950s rock’n’roll and whose most memorable compositions included Don’t Be Cruel, All Shook Up, Fever and Great Balls of Fire.
His association with Presley began around the same time, when the singer covered “Don’t Be Cruel”. Originally released as the B-side of Hound Dog, the song had topped the American charts in its own right by September 1956. It simultaneously headed both the R&B and Country charts. Next, Presley recorded Blackwell’s “Paralysed”, which fared less well, although it later reached No 8 in the British charts.
But by April 1957 a version of “All Shook Up”, originally recorded by the little-known David Hill, had not only restored Presley to the top of the charts, but also become the biggest selling single of the year.
The song was written after Blackwell’s publisher, “Goldie” Goldhawk, had shaken up a bottle of Pepsi and said to him: “You can write about anything. Now write about this!”
Blackwell provided Presley with further hit songs, including “Return to Sender” and “One Broken Heart for Sale”. But “All Shook Up” and “Don’t Be Cruel” have remained in the record books as the two songs which stayed at No.1 for longer than any of Presley’s other hits.
There has been considerable speculation over the relationship between Blackwell and Presley, who never met. “We had a great thing going and I just wanted to leave it alone,” Blackwell said in an interview in 1989. Their two names often appeared together on records as co-writers, but in truth Presley’s role as a writer was negligible. It was common practice at the time to sell part or all of the rights of a song and Presley’s astute manager, Colonel Tom Parker, was well aware of the value of the publishing royalties. It has also been said that Presley borrowed many of his vocal mannerisms from Blackwell. Certainly it was the singer’s method at the time to copy wholesale the writer’s demo of a song, arrangement and all. As Presley used Blackwell’s demos to learn the songs, the debt was probably considerable.
A prolific writer, who sometimes used the white-sounding pseudonym John Davenport, Blackwell copyrighted more than a thousand compositions in his career. Among them was Jerry Lee Lewis’s signature tune “Great Balls of Fire”, as well as further hits for Lewis in “Breathless” and “Let’s Talk About Us”. There were more 1950s rock’n’roll hits with “Hey Little Girl” and “Just Keep It Up” by the now almost-forgotten Dee Clark, and Cliff Richard recorded his “Nine Times out of Ten”. Jimmy Jones had a hit in 1960 with Blackwell’s “Handy Man”, which was revived by James Taylor in the 1970s, and Neil Diamond, Billy Joel and Tanya Tucker also recorded his songs. So, too, did Ray Charles and Otis Redding, although Blackwell was disappointed that few black artists ever had hits with his compositions.
He continued writing and performing and enjoyed some success in 1976 with the comeback album “These Are My Songs!” on the Inner City label. He also recorded the tribute The No.1 King of Rock’n’Roll on his own Fever label when Presley died in 1977. In 1991 he was inducted into the National Academy of Popular Music’s Songwriters Hall of Fame. Three years later, Chrissie Hynde, Graham Parker and Deborah Harry were among those contributing cover versions of his songs to the album “Brace Yourself: A Tribute to the Songs of Otis Blackwell”.
Otis was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1986 and in 1991 into the National Academy of Popular Music’s Songwriters Hall of Fame.
His crowning moment came in the late 1980s when the Black Rock Coalition, an organization of black rock musicians, led by Vernon Reid, the lead guitarist of the band, Living Colour, held a tribute for him at the Prospect Park Bandshell in his native Brooklyn.
Although there were many other generous acknowledgements to his role and influence down the years, his style essentially belonged to an earlier era and he was never to repeat the scale of success he had enjoyed in rock’n’roll’s first decade.
Otis Blackwell died from a heart attack in Nashville, Tennessee, on May 6, 2002 at age 69.
Jimmy Dewar (12 October 1942 – 16 May 2002) was a Scottish musician best known as the bassist and vocalist for Robin Trower and Stone the Crows, the latter having its beginnings as the resident band at Burns Howff in Glasgow. He was educated at St. Gerards Senior Secondary School in Glasgow.
There was a strong Scottish music scene in Glasgow in the early 1960s, serving great talents to the burgeoning birth of rock and roll. Alex Harvey, Lulu, Maggie Bell, Frankie Miller, Jimmy Dewar and others. Strangely, Jimmy’s musical career was not to begin with his vocal talents, but as guitar player with Lulu and the Lovers in the early 60’s. Dewar had started out playing in a local band called the ‘Gleneagles’ in the early sixties but his career began with Lulu and the Luvvers in 1963. From there he joined a band called ‘Sock ‘Em JB’ which included the legendary Scottish rock vocalist Frankie Miller.
In 1967 Jimmy joined a band called ‘Power’ with Maggie Bell, which later turned into ‘Stone The Crows’ with Jimmy and Maggie on vocal duty, managed by Peter Grant, who also toured the world with Led Zeppelin.
Maggie Bell took him on board with the legendary “Stone the Crows” and the shy man’s voice was soon exposed on classics like “The touch of your loving hand”. Another young singer had exploded onto the music scene, but the best was yet to come. Living in London with his wife Martha and their young family, he was approached by Frankie Miller. The two Glasgow buddies were having a small refreshment when out of the blue Frankie told Jimmy that “there might be a job going” with some guitar player called Robin Trower, that the music industry insiders were raving about. “What kind of job?” asked Jimmy. Frankie laughed and said, “Oh, I don’t know. Maybe playing bass, maybe singing”. Jimmy applied and got both jobs.
Dewars career reached its zenith with Robin Trower, the legendary British rock power trio, especially after the 1974 release of the album Bridge of Sighs, which put Trower in the global limelight as one of rock’s guitar legends, while Jimmy Dewar found recognition as one of the best white soul vocalists on the planet.
Trower had joined Gary Brooker’s band Procol Harum following the global success of their debut single “A Whiter Shade of Pale” in 1967, remaining with them until 1971 and appearing on the group’s first five albums. But the fact that Procol Harum was heavily keyboard focused, made Trower committed to find that right combination of artists that would help inspire him to write and play to his potential as a guitarist. He tried with the band ‘Jude’ with Frankie Miller, ex-Jethro Tull drummer Clive Bunker and Jimmy Dewars on bass. This wasn’t working for anyone. The outfit did not record and Trower soon split, taking only Jimmy Dewar with him. The rest is history!
Dewar made his mark as an acclaimed blue eyed soul singer, performing in front of sold-out stadiums and concert halls at the crest of the 1970s classic rock era. The Scot had a rich, powerful voice, with a soulful timbre, and has been regarded by critics as one of the most under-rated rock vocalists. His vocal sound was deep, gritty, and resonating, his style shows the influence of Ray Charles and Otis Redding. Like Paul Rodgers and Frankie Miller, his voice evoked a bluesy, soul-inspired sound. For a while The Robin Trower Band became the hottest thing on the planet and introduced “Stadium Rock” to the U.S.A. Frankie was right! The R.T.B. were the first band to sell tickets by the hundreds of thousands. Gold and Platinum albums were thrown at them like frizbees. Amongst James Dewars biggest fans were Frankie Miller, Billy Connolly, Donny Hathaway, Rod Stewart, not forgetting Maggie Bell and Lulu herself.
Dewar recorded his one solo album, “Stumbledown Romancer”, during the 1970s, at the height of his career, but it was not released until two decades later. He collaborated primarily with longtime Procol Harum organist Matthew Fisher on the album, with the title track relating a hard-luck story …
…Stumbledown Romancer I never made the grade Never on the dance-floor when the music played Always moving on when I should have stayed…
The famous Scottish screenwriter, Peter McDougall, still talks of his first experience of meeting Jimmy. When having a drink with Frankie, Peter noticed that the man standing next to him was clothed in snakeskin trousers, cowboy boots and not much else. “Who’s that?” Peter asked. Frankie replied “That’s James Dewar”. Peter howled, “ Well, I want to be one of them!”
It says it all. Everyone from Metallica to the Stereophonics were influenced by the voice of the Scotsman. Jimmy’s honeyed voice and effortlessly dead-on phrasing have received – all true – let’s not overlook that Jimmy’s voice was the soundtrack for the moment when countless people fell in love, much the way Elvis or Sinatra once were. Although it might make a few of us blush, I know I’m not the only person to have indelible, crystal-clear memories of making love while wrapped in the warming coccon of “Bluebird” and “For Earth Below” and “About To Begin” and “Little Girl”. And that’s not a nudge-of-the-elbow and a lascivious-wink type of comment but simply the highest praise I know to give an artist.
Jimmy had a stroke in 1987 that left him needing constant care. He died 15 years later on May 16, 2002 of a stroke after years of disability resulting from a rare medical condition, CADASIL, which caused a series of strokes.
Some day – maybe even right this moment – some kid who doesn’t know who the heck “Jimmy Dewar'” is, is going to plunk on a vintage Trower album on a whim, hear that voice riding atop Robin’s licks; vistas are going to open up wide and that kid’s world will never be the same again. This is the blessing inside the sadness – that every time that happens, Jimmy will be alive, strong and healthy.
Widely-regarded as one of the most underrated rock vocalists, the late singer for The Robin Trower Band had a rich, soulful and resonating voice as can be heard on all tracks of the break through album “Bridge of Sighs”. and in my opinion one of the all time best rock albums.
April 24, 2002 – Lisa Nicole Lopes, nicknamed Left Eye by her music pals was born on May 27, 1971 in Philadelphia. Her dad was from the Cape Verde Islands, a multi talented musician with a disciplinarian character. By age 10, she formed the musical trio The Lopes Kids with her siblings, with whom she sang gospel songs at local churches.
At the age of 19, having heard of an open casting call for a new girl group through her boyfriend at the time, Lopes moved to Atlanta to audition. TLC started as a female trio called 2nd Nature. The group was renamed TLC, derived from the first initials of its then three members: Tionne, Lisa and Crystal. Things did not work out with Crystal Jones, and TLC’s manager Perri “Pebbles” Reid brought in Rozonda Thomas as a third member of the group. To keep the “initial” theme of the band’s name, Rozonda needed a name starting with C, and so became Chilli, a name chosen by Lopes.
April 5, 2002 – Layne Staley (Alice n’ Chains) was born on August 22, 1967 in Kirkland, WA. Staley showed musical talent at an early age, and took up the drums at age 12. Staley approached music through his parents’ collection, listening to Black Sabbath (regarded by him as his first influence) and Deep Purple. But upon joining garage bands and discovering rock music as a teenager Staley switched his interest in drumming to singing.
In 1984, Staley joined a group of Shorewood High students in a band called Sleze, which also featured future members of The Dehumanizers and Second Coming. In 1986, as Sleze morphed into Alice N’ Chains, a band which Staley said “dressed in drag and played speed metal,” they performed around the Seattle area playing Slayer and Armored Saint covers.
March 27, 2002 – Dudley Moore was born on April 19th 1935. As an actor, musician, comedian and composer he first came to prominence as one of the four writer-performers in Beyond the Fringe in the early 1960s and became famous as half of the popular television double-act he formed with Peter Cook.
Dudley was bullied from an early age, and had an unhappy family life; seeking refuge from his problems he became a choirboy at the age of six and took up piano and violin. He rapidly developed into a talented pianist and organist and was playing the pipe organ at church weddings by the age of 14. He attended Dagenham County High School where he received musical tuition from a dedicated teacher, Peter Cork, who became a friend and confidant.
His musical talent won him an organ scholarship to Magdalen College, Oxford. He soon became an accomplished jazz pianist and composer. He began working with such leading musicians as John Dankworth and Cleo Laine. In 1960, he left Dankworth’s band to work on Beyond the Fringe. During the 1960s he also formed the “Dudley Moore Trio”. His early recordings included “My Blue Heaven”, “Lysie Does It”, “Poova Nova”, “Take Your Time”, “Indiana”, “Sooz Blooz”, “Bauble, Bangles and Beads”, “Sad One for George” and “Autumn Leaves”.
March 26, 2002 – Joe Schermie (Three Dog Night) was born Joseph Edward Schermetzler on February 12th 1946 in Menasha near Madison, Wisconsin.
Joe grew up in a musical family. His parents were both in vaudeville and when they finally left the road to settle, they bought a nightclub in Madison. Joe and his sister, Judy, would sneak in and watch the shows. Outside of the club, the Schermetzler family spent many hours singing and performing together at home – each taking a different instrument and/or singing. Joe, himself, learned to play drums and then bass.
After Joe’s family relocated to Phoenix, Arizona, to facilitate to his mother’s health, Joe started hanging with various bands in the area. Along the line, he was introduced to Cory Wells, and, eventually, Joe was able to bring his good friend, Michael Allsup, into the new musical project called Three Dog Night,(the name was chosen because Aborigines slept with their dogs for warmth and a bitterly cold night was a “three dog night”), which would also include Jimmy Greenspoon, Danny Hutton, Floyd Sneed, and Chuck Negron. Joe’s destinctive, hard-driving bass lines can be heard in all the 21 biggest hits by the band up to 1973, when he was the first to leave the band
Disillusioned with his role in the group, he left the band in ’73 and in the years after leaving Three Dog Night, Joe performed with various famous recording artists both in and out of the studio. In the studio, he recorded with Kim Fowley on his “Outrageous” album and Stephen Stills on his “Stills” album. Joe also went out on the road with Yvonne Elliman in support of her hit single, “If I Can’t Have You,” and he ventured into production with his first effort being that of Gayle McCormick’s first solo, self-titled, album after leaving the hit-making group, “Smith.”
In 1976 he formed a group ‘S.S.Fools’ (after the Three Dog Night album Seven Separate Fools) that included former members of Three Dog Night, Michael Allsup and Floyd Sneed and later Toto vocalist Bobby Kimball, as well as Stan Seymore and Wayne Devilliers and they recorded an album on Columbia Records. But by the end of the seventies the band was history.
The 1990s were also a good time for Joe. He thoroughly enjoyed playing live and joined Chuck Negron on stage for a few shows, becoming a member of Chuck’s band for a brief time around 1997. Not long after that, he joined good friend, Floyd Sneed, in the formation of a rock group called “K.A.T.T.” (Katt and the Time Trippers) and, with the band, recorded his last album – a self-titled effort.
From the very early days, Joe always had a troll doll proudly displayed at the top of the neck of his bass. Through the years, those dolls would be stolen or lost, but he would always replace them. He never told anyone why they were there – not even his sister! The unique “dancing” he did while he was playing was a style he picked up from another family member early in his life.
Joe appeared on the cooking show Food Rules in 2000 with original Three Dog Night drummer Floyd Sneed.
Joe Schermie died unexpectedly of a heart attack on March 26, 2002 at the age of 56.
Three Dog Night founding bassist Joe Schermie was their soul-inspired harmonic bedrock: always in the pocket, rendering all the right notes with a diversity of rhythmic variations, and allowing space within the songs for their remarkable triumvirate of singers to shine. Joe was a true finesse player with a rock ‘n’ roll edge: a rarity for LA studio cats in those days.
March 26, 2002 – Randy Castillo (Ozzie Osbourne) was born on December 18th 1950 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Randolpho Francisco Castillo was born to a Spanish/French/Native American mother, Margaret, and Native American/Hispanic father Frank (Kiko). He was one of five children, and his sisters, Frances, Marilyn, Phyllis and Christine, all play music. His first band experience was at West Mesa High School, playing in the jazz band, orchestra and marching band. He wrote the high school cadence that is still being used to this day.
He played trumpet for a short time then realized his passion was the drums. He decided he wanted a drum kit instead, especially after seeing The Beatles play on The Ed Sullivan Show in early February 1964. However, his father refused to buy him one, thinking he would only lose interest, as he had already done with the trumpet.
After playing in bands such as The Tabbs, The Mudd, The Wumblies and The Offenders, he relocated to LA and joined The Motels and embarked on his first major arena tour with them in support of The Cars.
March 21, 2002 – Speedy Keen was born John David Percy Keen on March 29th 1945. Speedy became vocalist, songwriter, keyboardist and drummer for Thunderclap Newman, a band The Who’s guitarist Pete Townshend created in 1969, to play and record songs written by ‘Speedy’, who had been The Who’s roadie and chauffeur for Peter.
Originally Peter Townsend, with whom Keen shared a flat, played bass for the band under the pseudonym Bijou Drains. Speedy wrote The Who’s “Armenia City in the Sky”, the only song The Who ever performed that was specifically written for the group by a non-member.
Speedy’s mega hit number one song “Something In The Air” , which he also sang, appeared on the soundtracks of the films The Magic Christian (1969), The Strawberry Statement (1970) Kingpin (1996), Almost Famous (2000), The Dish (2000) and The Girl Next Door (2004). He also released 2 solo albums (Previous Convictions) and went on to be record producer for the British band The Heartbreakers and Motörhead. “I Promise You” from the second album was used in the American TV series, The Big C.
March 1, 2002 – Doreen Waddell (Soul II Soul) was best known for her 1989 UK chart-topper and U.S. Top 5 hit, “Back to Life (However Do You Want Me)”with the R&B-dance group Soul II Soul and also as a member of the British acid house group KLF. Born on July 10, 1965, Waddell became lead vocalist on Feel Free, which reached number one in the dance chart in 1989. She also provided vocals on the tracks Happiness and the club hit Fairplay.
Soul II Soul, a musical collective led by Jazzie B, released five albums between 1989 and 1995, but only the first is considered a classic. Despite her initial success, Waddell slipped out of the limelight and did not recapture her early stardom.
After Feel Free, Soul II Soul’s follow-up singles were the international hits Keep on Movin‘ and Back to Life, both of which featured Caron Wheeler on vocals.
February 14, 2002 – Mick Tucker (the Sweet) was born in Harlseden, Northwest London on July 17th 1947.
As a boy, his first interest was drawing art. By fourteen he had changed to drums, influenced by Sandy Nelson, Buddy Rich, and Gene Krupa. Tucker’s father bought him a drum kit but only if he take’s drumming seriously. Hubert Tucker encouraged his son even getting him his first gig, sitting in for Brian Bennett of legendary British beat group the Shadows at a local workingman’s club. “He did well”. say’s Tucker’s wife, Janet, “If he had known who he was replacing, he would have been so scared!”
In 1965, Mick and vocalist Ian Gillan (Deep Purple) formed a soul band Wainwright’s Gentlemen and embarked on a career in pop music, playing around pubs and clubs. Vocalist Brian Connolly replaced Gillan when he moved on to DeepPurple fame, while Wainwright’s Gentlemen kept playing a mixture of R&B, Motown, and early psychedelic sounds. The band split in 1968.
He then became a founding member of the band “Sweetshop” in January 1968 along with Steve Priest, Brian Connolly, and Frank Torpey, who was later replaced by Mick Stewart who was himself succeeded by Andy Scott. The name “Sweetshop” was a reflection of a sugary trend in Rock and Roll with bandnames like Marmalade, Strawberry Jam, Clockwork Orange, Tangerine Peel etc. and was shortened to “The Sweet” in 1968 as a name that instigates all of the sweetness of flower power.
Sweet became one of the main glam rock acts in the 1970s. During the early years of 1971 and 1972, Sweet’s musical style followed a marked progression from the bubblegum style of the first hit, “Funny Funny”, to a Who influenced heavy rock style supplemented by a striking use of high-pitched backing vocals. The band achieved notable success in the UK charts, with thirteen Top 20 hits during the 1970s alone, with “Block Buster” in 1973 topping the chart, followed by three consecutive number two hits in “Hell Raiser” and “The Ballroom Blitz” both in 1973 and “Teenage Rampage” in 1974. Their first self-written and produced single “Fox on the Run” in 1975 also reached number two on the UK charts.
Sweet extensively toured the US and had a strong following in America. On an objective view Mick Tucker was a very talented drummer with a range of complex rhythms who could have helped any band considerably. Steve Priest said of Tucker “He was the most underrated drummer that ever came out of England,”. ″He was the powerhouse of the band. He was technically marvelous. His timing was impeccable, and yet he had a lot of soul as well and he really felt what he was playing.” Tucker was able to improvise tirelessly and played a seemingly never-ending flow of creative solos. Tucker began and ended his drum solos with his rendition of Elmer Bernstein’s theme from the 1955 film The Man With the Golden Arm.
Tucker also used two projection screens that was above his drum riser. One screen played a videos of him playing the drums, simultaneously the other video showed him playing timpani. He would trade off solos with these videos, then came out front and play the timbales along with a fast Christmas-style recording. Just before the band would come back, he would play the Bernstein melody on tubular bells and timpani. Tucker tried to make sure his solos appealed to all of the audience. Tucker understood that a great performance consisting of great played technique and presentation in equal doses.
His style reminded of an early Keith Moon. Mick was one of the few double bass drummers that didn’t let the second bass drum get in the way of a swinging tune like ‘Ballroom Blitz.’ He had a great feel on double bass, played them effortlessly.
“And those guys knew how to have fun,” Cheap Trick drummer Bun Carlos once said. “We’d call them back on stage during our encores and jam on ‘Let It Rock.’ Mick would play my kit with the 26″ bass drum and just rock out with us. I’d hop up on the riser with him, playing guitar and watching him play. We had some great times together.”
Other drummers who where influenced by Tucker fans are J and Snowy Shaw (King Diamond, Dream Evil, Mercyful Fate, IllWill, Notre Dame and Memento Mori).
Jack Irons of Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam, and Wallflowers stated of Tucker, “Mick was a great drummer.” “He had that fluid, ’60s/’70s rock ‘n’ roll freedom. His drumming was super-tight and musical, technical, and rocking.”
Snowy Shaw, said of Tucker, “Mick’s tastefulness, precision, and strong signature put him at the very top of the list of drumming heroes I had when I was trying to master the profession,” he says. Technically, he was right up there with Ian Paice and John Bonham. Like a kid in a candy store, I devoured his selection of trademark tricks and licks, which he delivered so musically, and with conviction and grace like no one else. It may have been Peter Criss who first got me into drums, but it was Mick Tucker whose drumming most influenced me and who taught me how to play music.”
In 1997 Tucker had a bone marrow transplant from his brother to combat his leukemia. He had recurring infections however, before succumbing to the illness at the hospital in Welwyn Garden City in Hertfordshire, Southeast England. He was 54 years old when he died on 14 February 2002.
February 13, 2002 – WaylonJennings was born June 15th 1937. Jennings began playing guitar at 8 and began performing at 12 on KVOW radio. His first band was The Texas Longhorns. Jennings worked as a D.J. on KVOW, KDAV, KYTI, and KLLL. In 1958, Buddy Holly arranged Jennings’s first recording session, of “Jole Blon” and “When Sin Stops (Love Begins)”. Holly hired him to play bass.
He rose to early prominence as a bassist for Buddy Holly following the break-up of The Crickets. He escaped death in the February 3, 1959, plane crash that took the lives of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson, when he gave up his seat to Richardson who had been sick with the flu. In Clear Lake, Iowa, Jennings gave up his seat on the ill-fated flight that crashed and killed Holly, J. P. Richardson, Ritchie Valens, and pilot Roger Peterson.
February 1, 2002 – Hildegard Frieda Albertine Knef was born December 28, 1925 in the city of Ulm, Germany. (The German PEGGY LEE)
In 1940, she began studying acting. Even before the fall of the Third Reich, she appeared in several films, but most of them were only released after the war. To avoid being raped by Soviet soldiers, she dressed like a young man and was sent to a camp for prisoners of war. She escaped and returned to war-shattered Berlin where she played her first parts on stage. The first German movie after World War II, Murderers Among Us (1946), made her a star. David O. Selznick invited her to Hollywood and offered her a contract – with two conditions: Hildegard Knef should change her name into Gilda Christian and should pretend to be Austrian instead of German. In America she appeared on Broadway as “Ninotchka” in the Cole Porter musical, Silk Stockings.
She refused both of Selznick’s conditions and returned to Germany. In 1951, she provoked one of the greatest scandals in German film history when she appeared naked on the screen in the movie Sunderin (1951). The Roman Catholic Church protested vehemently against that film, but Hildegard just commented: “I can’t understand all that tumult – five years after Auschwitz!”
January 22, 2002 – Peter Bardens was born in Westminster, London on 19 June 1945 just weeks after World War II came to an end. The name of Peter Bardens is best known from the success of Camel, the progressive rock group he led in the early 1970s.
The keyboard player’s greatest influence on the British music scene, however, took place in the previous decade, when he was a formative member of London’s art school R&B scene and a figure of irrepressible spirit and energy. The son of Dennis Bardens, a writer of mystery novels and biographies, he was born in London in 1945, was brought up in the then Bohemian district of Notting Hill and attended the local Byam Shaw art school, where he studied Fine Art.
Fired by the burgeoning blues movement in west London, Bardens recruited an apprentice drummer called Mick Fleetwood whom he had heard rehearsing in the garage of a house three doors away from where he lived. With the intention of joining a group, Fleetwood had moved to London in 1964 to stay with his sister: “There was a knock on the door. ‘I’ve been hearing you play: would you like a gig?‘ He literally kickstarted me into the music business.”
21 January 2002 – Peggy Lee was bornNorma Deloris Engstrom on May 26th 1920 in Jamestown, North Dakota, the seventh of eight children. Her father was Swedish-American and her mother was Norwegian-American. Her mother died when Peggy was just a four year old toddler. Afterwards, her father married her step-mother Min Schaumber, who treated her with great cruelty while her alcoholic but loving father did little to stop it. As a teenager she developed her musical talent and took several part-time jobs so that she could be away from home to escape the abuse of her step-mother.
Lee first sang professionally over radio in Valley City, North Dakota. She later had her own series on a radio show sponsored by a local restaurant that paid her a salary in food. Both during and after her high school years, Lee sang for small sums on local radio stations. Radio personality Ken Kennedy in Fargo, North Dakota, changed her name from Norma to Peggy Lee. Miss Lee left home and traveled to Los Angeles at the age of 17. Continue reading Peggy Lee 1/2002